After our recent interview with Joe from Pixel Drip Games, who recently quit his job to develop his own game, we thought we’d chat with another Aussie going out on their own. Meet Jack Laurence, host of Australia’s favourite new true crime podcast One Minute Remaining. A former Anchor for Australia’s Hughesy Ed and Erin on 2DAY FM, Jack’s wealth of radio experience lead him down the path to creating One Minute Remaining.
“After 14 years working in radio I was becoming more disillusioned by it all I suppose,” he said.
“Like many people, once you’ve been in the same industry for so long you naturally start to get jaded and look for other options available.”
One Minute Remaining features recordings of Jack speaking with incarcerated men and women in the United States. Their crimes? Anything from simple burglaries to murder. But for Jack, the discussions aren’t about the listener deciding whether the person is guilty or innocent, it’s a platform for the incarcerated to tell their stories. The platform itself, a 30-40 minute episode, is both a familiar medium and somewhat of a natural evolution from radio to podcasting.
“…it was definitely not an overnight decision to leave the career behind. I was probably contemplating doing something else for maybe two years however, after doing radio for so long I just didn’t know what a future outside of radio looked like.”
“There’s been so many ups and downs doing my own project,” he said.
“Obviously, the main one is the fact that I’ve gone from a guaranteed weekly salary to essentially no money at all.
“Of course, podcasts can make money but like any business, there are no guarantees. I was lucky that we had savings and my wife has a very good job and was happy to let me quit my job and make this my focus and give it a go.”
Since launching in September 2022, One Minute Remaining has had over 700,000 downloads and has made various ‘Top 10’ podcast playlists around Australia.
“The success of the show in such a small amount of time is of course just beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.
“The Facebook group now has over 3400 listeners all communicating daily about the show and discussing the cases etc.
“Sometimes because I’m busy it might be a couple of days where I can’t jump in there but to go in and see people are just having their own conversations and debates over the stories that I am bringing just brings me a lot of pride.”
Like Australia, prisoners in the United States face various human rights issues but in the US, journalists are generally able to contact prisoners, depending on various state laws.
“The hardest part about interviewing the men and women is sometimes dealing with outside influences,” he said.
“A couple of the men and women I speak with have friends on the outside of the prison who misconstrue what I’m doing or something I’ve said and they then contact them and completely take something out of context and I’ll wake up to an angry email that I need to sort out.
“Also I do sometimes get random calls in the middle of the night from some of the men and women and I can’t answer, at the end of the day, I have inserted myself into these people’s lives so I can’t just ignore a call from them. For a lot of them, I am their only contact with the outside as they have no family and friends left.”
“After 14 years working in radio I have done hundreds of interviews with ‘famous’ people and believe it or not they can be tricky people to deal with so you have to learn how to ask questions that might be tricky you have to learn when to ask something or when to just move on so that’s taught me a lot.”
The realm of podcasting and interviews can give greater depth and breadth to the stories of being human which in all honesty, is what attracted me to keep listening. These are real people. These are real stories and unlike a lot of true crime podcasts, we’re listening to the conversations raw.
“The difference with what I do now is I get time to build relationships with these men and women. I don’t just go on the first call and ask the harder questions, the tricky questions might come after we’ve already spoken for many weeks or months.”
“Also many of these men and women have spent their lives being attacked and accused, I don’t do that, no matter how guilty they may seem it’s not my job to pass judgment or accuse them of lying that’s again not what I’m here to do.”
Like, Jack, I work on Ezra Magazine solo. It crops up from time to time and honestly, there are weeks and months I don’t think about it. It hums along, it does what it needs to do. However, there are days when I want to ask someone a question about something or want some feedback or just generally hand the reins to someone else.
“…the whole working solo thing has really been one of the biggest challenges for me. Working in radio I spent 90% of that time working in on-air teams, teams of creative people who naturally like to throw around ideas, if you ever got stuck on an idea or needed help you could lift your head from your desk or jump out of the studio and call in a few people and work it out together.”
“In the situation I’m in now I sit in my kid’s toy room/ the “Prison Pod” as I call it and if I get stuck on an idea it’s up to me to fix it. Time management has never been a strong point of mine and still isn’t, I try each week to write down a checklist of what needs to be done and do my best to work through everything but essentially it usually falls apart!”
One of the biggest factors for me as a creator myself is actually trusting in myself that I know what I’m doing. I think it plagues a lot of creators. Am I worthy enough to tell this story? Am I willing and able to finish this? To be completely honest, Jack’s interview sat in draft mode for a few months. I just couldn’t wrap my head around completing another article. Self-doubt creeps in and then days, weeks and sometimes months pass by.
“I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I know what I’m doing, I have struggled probably in the last 5 or so years with a lot of self-doubt and anxiety in my abilities, that comes from being made redundant from a radio role back in about 2014/15 it really knocked my confidence and it always sat in the back of my mind. I think that’s probably another reason I chose to make this leap is to prove to myself and maybe the industry that I can create something and it works and be successful. There’s always that creeping self-doubt and anxiety but I’m learning to manage it.”
When I asked Jack about what he’d say to someone considering pursuing something like this, his answer somewhat surprised me because, interestingly enough I agree. Sometimes you think you’re ready to tackle a project. Sometimes you think to yourself, “Now would be a good time.” Then time and time again something fails. You fail again and again. Until one day, the lessons you’ve learned compile themselves into a working, managing platform and Jack is one of the few that has been able to pursue a goal and stick to it.
“I guess you’d think I’d say DO IT!!! and I would but I’d also say make sure you’re 100% ready for it. I often sit here and think, “If only I’d done this 5 years ago! Imagine where I’d be”. Then I also think actually 5 years ago I wouldn’t have been ready for this. I have always been someone who wants to at least have a crack! If you ask my wife she’d say I have creative ADD, I have done a lot of projects in the past that have FAILED!”
I also enjoy working on projects and never finishing them. It’s great (sigh).
“But I never want to be old and tell my grandkids about an idea I had but I couldn’t do it because (insert excuse here) so when I wrote a script for a 6-part sitcom I made it, when I wrote a kid’s book I self-published it, when I wanted to try to stand up comedy I did. If you have a dream then go for it, we get one go at life and there are no do overs so don’t live your life thinking “what if”. I realise I’ve completely contradicted myself in that answer.”
“What do I wish someone had told me? To just relax and trust the process, in fact, that’s something I need to keep telling myself. My anxiety means I spend a lot of time thinking that this whole thing is going to blow up and be a failure. I won’t be a motivational speaker anytime soon (haha).”
“Success for me from a show point of view is a hard one as there are so many different measures of ‘success’ in podcasting. I think some people would already say the show is somewhat of a success, I think watching people talk about the show I created with so much passion and people telling me they can’t wait for Tuesdays now because of my show, that to me is an incredible success.
“The show gets listened to in over 80 countries and to me, that’s mind-blowing success but I think now as a father of two with a wife and a mortgage, success is just financial security for my family, making sure that I can provide for my children and make them proud of their dad.”
You can find One Minute Remaining on any good podcasting platform.