My Digital Life: Toronto Podcaster Jeremy Enns

Jeremy Enns runs a podcast called “Summer Camp: The Case of the Phantom Pooper” that blends true crime, mystery, and investigative reporting with the nostalgia of summer camp. We spoke with him to find out more about it.

Jeremy Enns

What is your channel called and what is it about?

My podcast is called Summer Camp: The Case of the Phantom Pooper, and it can be found anywhere you get your podcasts!

This podcast blends true crime, mystery, and investigative reporting with the nostalgia of summer camp.

When did you start it? What motivated you at the beginning?

The true events documented in this podcast took place in 2017. At the time, I was really into storytelling podcasts like Serial and S-Town. I had an ambitious dream to create that type of show, but I had no story!

Unrelated, that summer, I took a leave from work and moved to this summer camp to train 50 teenagers how to be camp counsellors. When the first prank landed in my lap (so to speak), I decided to record the events that unfolded on my iPhone. When the summer ended and I had an opportunity to reflect on all the raw audio I’d captured, I thought I might be able to make this dream come true! It took six years, but here we are.

Who were you inspired by? Any influences?

There were many! The aforementioned podcasts inspired the format: a story developed over several episodes. But since the prank that kicked off the story involved a giant turd, I knew I needed to lean into the comedic angle, so my podcast is also a friendly parody of the genre.

While I was working on the project, American Vandal dropped on Netflix. This mockumentary inspired me to embrace the silliness of my project while respecting the fact I was dealing with a true story.

I also love the podcast A Very Fatal Murder from The Onion and other satirical shows like This is That from CBC.

How would you describe your audience?

One obvious audience is people who have attended or worked at summer camps.

In talking about my project as it crystallized, I’ve learned that every camp has its own idiosyncrasies, traditions, and pranksters. (By now, I have heard of phantom poopers haunting at least six other camps!!!) It’s my hope that by diving deep into the lore of my camp, the story will help attendees of all camps reminisce about their own formative summer camp experiences. I think the story captures the magic that exists at every summer camp.

That said, for listeners who have never been to camp, the show will either make them wish they had or exhale in relief they didn’t.

This story appeals more broadly to lovers of the true crime genre as well. My *poo* crime podcast provides levity compared to the dark subject matter true crime diehards may be used to, but it has its fair share of intrigue too.

What is your creative process? Do you have people who work with you?

This was my first project of the kind, so I learned as I went.

After recording the audio on my iPhone in 2017, I painstakingly transcribed the clips so I could cut and paste pieces of the story into the narrative I was developing. While there is now free transcription software that might have saved me time, in hindsight, I am glad to have spent so much time with the raw audio. It allowed me to pull the best clips for the show.

In conjunction with all this transcription, I created story arcs. There were many revisions as I sorted out the best way to communicate the story.

Early on, I knew how I wanted the show to feel, so I reached out to Matt McGinley to explore licencing his music. He has composed for NPR, Serial, S-Town, and This American Life. After browsing his amazing library, I selected the tracks that would help me bring the story to life.

Then I hit a creative wall. I was too close to the story and wasn’t sure how to bring my project across the finish line. So, I enlisted the help of a friend from camp, Jordan Stothers, who has a background in film and storytelling.

Together, we ripped apart each script, over and over again. My wife, whose editorial skills are top-notch, took many cracks at the scripts too. We moved story beats around, developed the characters, and amped up the nostalgia factor.

After 18 months of rewrites, it was time to record. I borrowed some professional audio gear and turned my bedroom closet into a recording booth. With vocal coaching from Jordan, we captured the vibe we were hunting for.

I edited the show together on my old MacBook Pro. Another camp pal, Josh, is responsible for the beautifully mixed and mastered final product.

How do you monetize your content? Do you also have another job?

This project has never been about the money! There is satisfaction in merely having pulled it off. But after working for so long to perfect the show, I thought it would be fun to bring in some professionals ahead of its release. The Sonar Network took an interest and helped me put together a launch plan. If a lot of people listen, we might make a few bucks on podcast ads. We created an aftershow with bonus content for paid subscribers of SONAR+.

I work full-time in software sales and own a car wash in Niagara-on-the-Lake with my family.

What is your favourite piece of content you have created?

This podcast!

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part of this project was the creative challenge. It was a labour of love.

What are your future plans for your channel?

I have no future plans, but I’m confident another project will find me, just like this one did.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram. In your podcast app, search “Summer Camp: The Case of the Phantom Pooper”

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Canadian content creator that you love?

This may seem weird, but I am going to shout out Jeremy Enns. No, not me, but another Jeremy Enns became a friend through my first podcast, The Open Road Podcast. Jeremy creates content to help podcasters find their voice and promote their shows. His weekly newsletter is wildly helpful. He’s an all-around amazing dude! Find him here.

 

 

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Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography