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The Best Podcasts for Creatives in 2021

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If you work in a creative field or would dub yourself a ‘creative,’ then you already know how rewarding it is to flex your creative muscles, brainstorm new ideas, and get to execute those ideas on a regular basis. You also know how vital it is to get frequent mental stimulation, stay up to date with developments in the creative sector, and feel like you’re part of a greater community

Individuals whose day jobs allow them to be creative can range from writers or designers who work with clients or run their own businesses, to brand marketers who constantly formulate innovative ad campaigns and new tactics to reach their target audiences. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, many advertisers were forced to think on their feet and adjust their marketing message based on the state of the world. 

Many creatives enjoy the flexibility and comfort of working from home and setting their own schedule. However, because of this, creatives can occasionally feel isolated from the rest of the world.

This is where podcasts for creatives come in handy. Listening to a good podcast can expand your mind, provide you with new ideas, and give you an opportunity to learn from the leading creators in your industry. You can even integrate podcasts into part of your creative process. 

For example, the photographer Gregory Crewdson claims that he drives around listening to podcasts about movies while he’s still in the preliminary stages of a project, searching for inspiration and scouting locations. 

Whether you’re in search of some thought-provoking background listening, or you want to feel inspired to develop new creative habits in 2021, we’ve put together a list of some podcasts that we enjoyed listening to in 2020. Whether these shows are brand new or already have an enduring legacy, we can safely say that we’re excited to see what they will bring us in the new year. 

Here is our list of the best podcasts for creatives in 2021. 

Best Podcast for Screenwriters in 2021

Scriptnotes

If you’re aspiring to be the next Aaron Sorkin or Shonda Rhimes, then this is the show for you.

Scriptnotes is a fantastic podcast for anyone who wants to understand both the art and the business of screenwriting. Hosted by John August (who most recently co-wrote the script for the live-action adaptation of Aladdin) and Craig Mazin (best known for creating the award-winning miniseries Chernobyl), Scriptnotes features interviews with accomplished screenwriters, regular exercises like the Three Page Challenge (wherein August and Mazin evaluate listener submissions), and candid discussions about being a working screenwriter. 

Although Scriptnotes will most interest budding screenwriters or those already employed in the biz, August and Mazin routinely share great advice concerning writers’ routines and rules for crisp storytelling that any creative is sure to benefit from. 

Best Podcast for Creative Inspiration in 2021

Sound Stories 

Every creative individual’s well of inspiration is bound to run a bit dry sometime sooner or later, but a rousing podcast may be all you need to get your ideas flowing again. 

We couldn’t help but add Sound Stories as our go-to for true tales and stimulating conversations that spark creativity. Hosted by Voices co-founder Stephanie Ciccarelli, Sound Stories is jam-packed with discussions between Ciccarelli and a number of experts in different creative disciplines. In each episode, Ciccarelli gets to the bottom of how her guests wound up in their profession, what makes them tick, and how they stay motivated as a creator.

Best Podcast for Marketers in 2021 

Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller

It’s well-known that marketers who want to resonate with their audiences and stick in their brains long beyond the runtime of a traditional ad ought to weave a compelling brand story. And when it comes to brand storytelling, there’s one figure who towers above the rest: Donald Miller.

Miller is a best-selling author who, in 2017, published the book Building a StoryBrand. Drawing on the fundamental principles of strong storytelling that we see in everything from myths to movies, Miller makes a case for an influential marketing framework that has changed how countless brands tell their own story to the world. 

The podcast is filled with practical advice about growing your business and marketing your message, and it includes a ton of interviews with leading figures in business. 

Best Podcast for Filmmakers in 2021

Team Deakins

While 2020 isn’t likely to go down in the history books for the glut of positive developments it delivered to the world, one thing that we were grateful to receive was a podcast from one of the world’s most beloved cinematographers. Team Deakins, which launched in April of this year, is helmed by husband-and-wife duo Roger Deakins (who is behind the dazzling camerawork and unforgettable imagery of 1917 and Skyfall) and James Ellis Deakins.

Each episode of Team Deakins begins with a specific question related to filmmaking, but you can never predict the insightful avenues the ensuing conversation will wander down as Roger and James speak with the likes of Rachel Morrison, Denis Villeneuve, and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

Best Podcast for Getting New Ideas in 2021

IDEAS

No idea, however obscure or elusive, is off-limits with this radio show produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Originally debuting as “The Best Ideas You’ll Hear Tonight” back in 1965, IDEAS investigates a wide range of thought-provoking topics. 

Some of the best creative work is the result of viewing the world from a different angle, or framing a concept in a way that it had never been considered before. This is what IDEAS is all about, and it makes for perfect listening for anybody who forgets the vastness of ideas that are out in the world. 

Best Podcast for Writers in 2021 

Longform

This selection is an oldie but a goodie. Even though Longform launched all the way back in 2012, its quality has remained consistent. Hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff, each episode is structured around an interview with a non-fiction writer, podcaster, or filmmaker. 

The conversations on Longform somehow feel laidback and illuminating at the same time, and they really dive deep into the unique stories behind every writer’s career and every published piece of nonfiction. If you’re the type of person who loves to engross themselves in a good book or essay, then this show is sure to win you over. 

Best Podcast for Positive Thinking in 2021

The Imagine Neighborhood 

When you’re a creative who primarily works from home and gets minimal face-to-face interaction with colleagues or peers, it can take a toll on your mental health. Thus, it’s important for creative professionals to develop self-care routines. And If you’re looking for some fun, uplifting listening to incorporate into that routine, The Imagine Neighborhood is the perfect show to add to your playlist.

Created as part of the nonprofit organization Committee for Children’s Second Step Program, The Imagine Neighborhood is a scripted children’s podcast that tells stories aimed to encourage children to “grow kinder.” Scotty Iseri, the show’s founder, has created a whimsical cast of characters—including the likes of Macho Supreme and Princess Donnasaurus—who offer lessons about emotional intelligence and social-emotional learning that both children and adults can learn from. 

Best Podcast for Artists in 2021

Dialogues: The David Zwirner Podcast

The David Zwirner Gallery, which was created by one of the most influential art dealers in the world, launched this podcast in 2018. Hosted by David Zwirner’s son Lucas Zwirner, each episode of Dialogues pairs two artists in conversations with one another, and you can always count on the discussions that follow to be fascinating. 

While visual art is the primary focus of the show, and art icons including Jeff Koons and Marcel Dzama have graced the pod with their presence, the show has also attracted curators, critics, writers, editors, and other notable figures in the art world. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be an industry insider to enjoy this show—it’s really just about two passionate contemporaries picking one another’s brains and discussing why they do what they do. 

What are your favorite podcasts for creatives?

As we head into 2021, picking up a new podcast may provide just the inspiration you need to expand your creative purview or start your own creative venture. The great thing about the podcasts listed here is that they’re both perfect to listen in on while you work, or while you’re taking a break from your creative pursuits. And who knows—maybe by this time next year, you’ll be launching a podcast of your own? 

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