2018 alumnus co-writes scripts for 13-episode season on Spotify’s Dissect podcast
Whether or not you are a fan of “Because The Internet” by Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover, tune in to Spotify’s podcast Dissect, with new episodes every Tuesday for the next 11 plus weeks, for Camden Ostrander’s incisive exploration of Glover’s second studio album, film, and screenplay. The 2018 alumnus and Dorsey Scholar co-wrote the season’s 13 episodes with Dissect’s creator and host Cole Cuchna.
Whether or not you are a fan of “Because The Internet” by Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover, tune in to Spotify’s podcast Dissect, with new episodes every Tuesday for the next 11 plus weeks, for Camden Ostrander’s incisive exploration of Glover’s second studio album, film, and screenplay.
The 2018 alumnus and Dorsey Scholar co-wrote the season’s 13 episodes with Dissect’s creator and host Cole Cuchna. The podcast takes an in-depth look at the music and social context of one album each season. Cuchna tweeted that he hired Ostrander to co-write the season, which debuted Sept. 8, because Ostrander unlocked the door to Cuchna’s understanding “Because The Internet” (BTI).
“His insights are invaluable and this season wouldn’t exist without him,” Cuchna says in his tweet, suggesting everyone take a look at Ostrander’s website. “It will impress even the most obsessive BTI fans.”
Childish Gambino actually was Ostrander’s introduction to culture. While still in middle school, he discovered Donald Glover, the actor, through the TV show “Community.” And, in 2010, right before starting high school, when Ostrander was finally allowed to freely roam the internet, the first thing he did was check out Glover, only to discover that he made music too.
Glover’s mixtape, “Culdesac,” was the first tape Ostrander downloaded from the internet and the first music he discovered on his own. It opened his mind to an entire world of culture.
“I was hooked, and I've been a devout fan ever since,” says Ostrander, an Honors student who majored in English and was chancellor of DangerSauce, the college’s premiere improv troupe. “Glover's work across all of his mediums has always provided me solace, opportunity to figure out how to deal with any struggles I may be facing, and the chance to come up with my own interpretation of art and the meanings of things.”
That interest continued into college and became the focus of Ostrander’s senior capstone, when he was able to earnestly begin academic writing and creation around his Glover studies. He produced a website and other work, which explored BTI through a metamodern lens, during his English senior seminar and English professor Paul Muhlhauser’s Transmedia Storytelling class.
A fan of Dissect since its second season in 2017, he mentioned the podcast in his discussions and presentations of his BTI website and work at academic conferences.
“Creating my website gave me a product that could be spread online, and got my foot in the door with Dissect,” says Ostrander, who credits his work at the college’s Writing Center and English professor Mary Bendel-Simso’s Westminster Detective Library with shaping who he is today. “Everything I learned from creating the website influences my work now and helps make sure I can reach audiences as effectively as possible.”
It was only natural that Ostrander answered Cuchna’s call for materials and writing on an album worthy of consideration for a season of Dissect. The website and work Ostrander completed his senior year were soon on their way to Cuchna.
“Cole liked it, and told me to keep in touch,” says the Montgomery County high school English teacher.
“While the album receives most of the focus, Glover employed so many different outlets to draw connections and make a world for audiences to explore. There’s a screenplay, film clips, music videos, online platforms, blogs, performances, and Glover even turned his public life into a grand act of performance art,” - Camden Ostrander
Since Cuchna seemed to leave the door open to the possibility of working together, Ostrander spent some free time he had during quarantine creating a huge guide to content within the “Because The Internet” world. Since the creation was so expansive, over the years it has become difficult to find all of the pieces. Ostrander’s guide meant to help the uninitiated consume the content necessary to understand and appreciate Glover’s work.
“While the album receives most of the focus, Glover employed so many different outlets to draw connections and make a world for audiences to explore. There’s a screenplay, film clips, music videos, online platforms, blogs, performances, and Glover even turned his public life into a grand act of performance art,” he says. “The guide is online and has gained a bit of traction in Glover fan communities.”
Ostrander sent the guide to Cuchna, and the rest is history. At Cuchna’s request, he created an official pitch, outlining the season and explaining why it would be impactful. Cuchna asked for a spec script, and Ostrander delivered an episode on the song, “Worldstar.”
They had a deal. Ostrander was hired to write scripts with Cuchna and compile material for web guides to every episode — all according to the 13-episode plan Ostrander had outlined in his pitch.
“Cole (Cuchna) is an incredible collaborator in the writing process, and we work together to make the scripts as polished as possible for production,” Ostrander says. “His work is stellar, and he treats these albums with the respect they deserve, bringing audiences closer to the artists’ creations. I always knew that BTI would be perfect for the show, and hoped that Cole would cover it — it wasn’t even conceivable that I could be a part of it for a long time and then it all came together. It was very surreal.”
Ostrander sees podcasts as an incredible opportunity to spread information and conversation with the potential for large audiences.
“Getting an album covered in Dissect also has a certain cultural cache at this point — it helps add a level of academic legacy to the work,” he says. “Writing for Dissect, about ‘Because The Internet,’ is an opportunity to spread appreciation, awareness, and conversation of the work’s magnificent qualities.”
In fact, he’d like to do that for all of Glover’s work and is hoping that his experience of working on the podcast propels him to a doctoral program that will empower him to teach college courses in English or Cultural Studies, especially classes on Glover’s work.
“With that plan, there’s plenty of opportunity and space to create bodies of work akin to this season of Dissect — whether that be podcasts, books, films, web material, or anything else, really,” he says.
Ostrander’s career plan is “to learn, connect, and create as much as possible.” He’d like to interview artists and publish conversations in long-form audio and video, publish his non-fiction and fiction writing, and continue sharing his insights on Donald Glover.
“I’d love to write a Donald Glover biography or help him write his autobiography,” Ostrander says. “My biggest hope for Dissect is that he likes it…”
Episodes of Dissect are available on Spotify here: www.dissectpodcast.com
Camden Ostrander’s website: www.metamoderncam.com
Camden Ostrander’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetamodernCam