From the Star Wars kid to the creators of Penny Arcade, the Internet has the power to make anyone a star. Now, with the creation of video podcasting, anyone with a video camera and a dream can make their own show and be watched by a worldwide audience.
Of course, not all podcasts are created equal. While some shows have a distinct public access television feel to them, others look and feel as professional as your favorite shows on television today. One podcast that clearly rises to the top of the pack is Kitkast, a weekly ten minute show featuring “sex news and sexy interviews.” The show also features a lovely host, Ms. Kitka.
The opening of every Kitkast has a vintage newsreel feel to it, complete with a black and white shot of Ms. Kitka in a military uniform saluting the camera. The show itself is shot pin-up style, with Ms. Kitka dressed in a revealing outfit and striking a variety of poses. Originally, Ms. Kitka planned on modeling the show after Rocketboom, another popular video podcast. She was going to sit behind a desk reading stories with a large map as a backdrop, but when the map ended up crumpled in the mail; she ended up coming up with the current style at the last minute. One of the challenges for her, though, is coming up with different shots each week. “People like seeing the different angles and positions,” Ms. Kitka said. “It’s kind of like flipping through a magazine – you don’t want to see the same pose every time.”
Her podcast is a lot like The Daily Show, if Jon Stewart talked about porn every week. Ms. Kitka gives viewers all of the latest news about the porn industry and any other sex related stories, giving her own humorous slant and punchlines. Sometimes though, it’s hard for her to think of a good one-liner. “Sometimes, there will be a really good news story that you just have to use, but you can’t think of a punchline at the time,” she said. “So, I’ll write something in square brackets that says, ‘Insert joke here,’ or ‘Insert better joke here.’”
Every show also features a five minute interview segment. Ms. Kitka had never interviewed anyone before starting her show and in the beginning; she found the process to be rather nerve-racking. Admittedly, it took her a while to get the hang of it. During her first interview, it was hard for Ms. Kitka to keep a straight face. “I kind of stopped in the middle of it and giggled with the girl I was interviewing,” she said. “Luckily, you can cut this stuff out. It’s easy in the editing process to cut out your screw ups.”
Her favorite interview was one she did for the fourth episode of Kitkast. It was with her former high school classmate Tommy Torque, who was the male winner of a French Canadian reality television show called Porn Star Academy 2, which Ms. Kitka describes as “American Idol meets porn.” It was the first interview she did at someone’s house – she did the entire interview on Torque’s bed.
Ms. Kitka was really impressed with Torque’s honesty. “Interviewing him was hilarious because he came out with the most simple, regular things that you would talk to your friends about, but not necessarily say on TV,” Ms. Kitka said. “He said how hard it is to get a hard on when you are in front of lights and camera and all these other students in the Porn Star Academy, but also said it really is a dream come true to get to have sex with beautiful women.”
Ms. Kitka loves the honesty of the guests on her show and tries to give them an open forum to say anything they want to. “Whatever you want to say, if you want to piss on George Bush or John Kerry or whoever, I’ll put it up,” she revealed.
That honesty and the show’s unique pin-up feel help to keep people coming back week after week. Ms. Kitka averages 11,000 subscribers to her video podcast and estimates that she has a total of 40,000 total viewers each week.
The other reason her show is so successful is the production quality and professional look of each episode. That comes from the long hours she puts into each show. It takes Ms. Kitka three to four hours every week to write and research the content for each show, then five hours for filming (which gives her around 50 minutes of raw footage), 14 hours of editing and two to three hours of compression, uploading and posting. Considering she does all of this on her free time while holding down a full time job, it’s easy to see her dedication.
Of course, she’s always been interested in film making and communications. She tried to pursue a career in the field, but she didn’t get accepted to the communications program at her university. “I was 19 when it was time to go to university and even though I had studied some communications, I didn’t get in,” she said. “I think the reason I didn’t get in was because I was so strange. I was this punk rock chick with crazy hair and crazy piercings and crazy makeup and everything and it really didn’t jive with the image that they had at their university. So I ended up taking a completely different path, taking a U-turn and moving away to the U.K. to work. I turned to martial arts and studying Asia.”
Ms. Kitka never really planned on doing a show about sex. “I’ve never been a specialist in sex,” she said with a giggle. “I started it because I started this erotic dancing class and I was really, really excited about it. I just wanted to tell everybody just how cool it is and how much fun I was having and how sexy it is. Girls should do this just to feel good about themselves.” So, she ended up starting her own blog. “Originally I had a whole bunch of stuff, it was a real hodgepodge of things, but I started narrowing it down to only sex things because people were more interested and I ended up getting a lot more comments and I enjoyed writing about it. It got to a point where I just loved doing it and needed to do more, but I wanted to do it in a different medium.” After pitching the idea to her boyfriend, Kitkast was born. Her boyfriend, who she affectionately refers to as Zod, is the cameraman for her show.
While fans may see her as a witty sexual icon, Ms. Kitka reveals that she is really a nerd at heart. She was raised on Star Trek and is convinced that it is more than just a show; it can be a model for how to live your life. “Forget religion, all you need is Star Trek to teach you how to be a good person,” she said. Ms. Kitka even works at Sci-Fi conventions from time to time.
In fact, the only time she has been recognized by someone was because of a Sci-Fi convention. “I was working with Kevin Sorbo and Adam Baldwin,” she said. “I was sitting next to Adam Baldwin, taking money for autographs and someone came with a camera. I didn’t even notice the camera when the guy came. He was a video blogger.” A few days later, someone went to her blog and posted a link to the Sci-Fi fan’s video. “It had music on it and everything and it had me talking to Adam Baldwin and this guy recognized me.”
Of course, Ms. Kitka is hoping to get recognized more in the future. She would love to get her own television show one day. She even promises that if she did land a TV gig, she would still continue to do Kitkast as a side project, since she believes the future of broadcasting is with the Internet. As long as the future includes her in revealing outfits making wisecracks, we promise to be along for the ride.
Written by Joel Murphy, February 2006. For more information on Ms. Kitka and Kitkast, visit her website..