I sort of stumbled into an approach that ended up working really well. I eased into the scene by just showing up to gigs and taking photos, then posting them on social media. The queens loved it because they had high-quality performance shots, and it gave fans a dependable resource for local drag coverage.
I was providing useful content to a community long before I ever asked anything of them in return.
So, when I began distributing episodes and asking my followers to give the podcast a shot, I had a really enthusiastic following that trusted me to provide them with relevant, entertaining content.
I could write a thousand-page dissertation on all that I’ve learned from this project and I’d still find more things to say. I’m not being dramatic when I say making Drag in the Peg changed my life. It exposed me to this extremely positive, insanely talented community that I never really fit into before, and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. But probably the biggest thing I learned from the project was how to be a drag queen. As to whether or not I’m a good drag queen – scholars remain divided.
I had to consider a number of variables, like prominence, diversity in perspective, relevance and a sustainable scope for the project. Essentially, I needed performers who had seriously impacted the drag scene and had enough to say about their experience to fill a 30- to 45-minute episode. I needed performers who represented a mix of perspectives, from queens who’d been performing for nearly two decades to performers who’d started less than a year ago, so every episode wouldn’t have the same stories and themes. And, on a more technical side, I needed dragoons who performed often enough for me to photograph them regularly and collect audio from their gigs. Lastly, I had to account for my own capacity as a full-time student and freelancer. I only have so much time a day, and I couldn’t feasibly make a 50-episode series to feature every active performer in the city without getting super burned out.