True crime stories are often times more than stories about murder and other horrific acts, and the hosts of True Crime Obsessed are sure to include all facets of true crime in their hilarious podcast. In this episode of On the Mic with Ad Results Media, Lindsay Boyd and Nathan Spell are joined by TCO hosts, Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle as they discuss the origins of True Crime Obsessed, what documentaries to cover, and the WHY behind true crime.

Podcast Transcript


What are the true crime documentaries, Chrissy Tiegen, and the garbage bell have in common. They all tie into True Crime Obsessed in this part. Three of Why We Love True Crime. Lindsay Boyd and Nathan Spell are joined by TCO hosts, Patrick Hinds In Gillian Pensavalle as we discuss the, how, the WHY and the humor behind True Crime Obsessed. So let's go. That's the great thing about They grow with you as much as I had. I couldn't wait to get back to my sleep number bed. I love my third love bras. They're hands down the most comfortable bras I've ever owned. I love making blue apron.



I love it. It's my me time. Thank you. You guys so much for joining us. If you wouldn't mind introducing yourselves for our listeners who might not be familiar with your show, that would be great. Hi, we are the dynamic duo. I never call us that. Buh-bye True. Crime Obsessed. My name is Gillian Pensavalle. I'm the cohost and co-creator. Hi, I'm Patrick Hinds. I am also the co-creator. I was really nervous to go first. So I said something I never say sometimes. And it happened keeping it it's Canon now. Oh, sorry, girls. Sorry. I just did that too. And I'm curious how you guys started working together. I know that y'all both have podcasts that pertain to Broadway.


(1m 22s):

Yeah, well like most true crime podcasts. It all starts with Broadway musicals. I think that's, that's, that's also cannon. We met through the prophet Podcast world and we just became really fast friends. And we always talk about how unusual it is to make friends when you're our age, you know, and like we're both married and I've got a kid and you know, we're both really busy GP. This feels like it was at this point. It does. And also because our friendship was based on our social lives. So we would see each other a lot in person. And I think that's, that's why the story feels so far away because it's been so long since we've been able to do that.


(2m 4s):

But even just hanging out, you know, we would text each other, are you in Midtown? We would go to happy hour a lot. And we were just talking about Broadway stuff. You know, I still do the hammock ass. Patrick had theater people and Broadway backstory, which is still my favorite Podcast. So we were like talking of it. We knew that a lot of the same people are, we knew, you know, and then those conversations would be like half Broadway. And then we get sick of that. And then we talk about the latest thing we watched or the late. Did you hear about the, the latest in the Ad non SIADH case or my husband and I are good friends with Damien Echols, who is one of the West Memphis three. So that would come up like Patrick was interested in that. No, one's interested in talking about true crime and we both found that in one another. And then like one thing led to another and now we're here talking to you. It really was a thing that started out as like a hobby in my living room, you know, like we just, we would get together and do this thing.


(2m 47s):

And we both had other jobs and we both had other like, things like Obsessed was not the most important thing in our lives at all. You know, it was just a thing that we did together for fun. And then we were just kind of like, this is really hard, But it's really fun. It was taking us, you know, 10, 15, 20 hours a week to make this thing. And we're like, we need to figure out how to make that a thing that is like sustainable, you know? And that was, that was sort of where we started taking it more seriously. I remember that conversation. I remember exactly where I was. It was really hot. It always started in the summer of course, great time to start a podcast and no air conditioner, nothing. And so I lived live on the upper East side and you at the time, lived all the way up in the Heights and it's hard to get there and taking the subway have to go downtown to go uptown, to go across town and all this.


(3m 31s):

And it was a lot of work also. It's still, as, you know, watch the documentary is, it takes a lot of time. I always say, we're not just eating popcorn. It takes six ish hours and watch a 90 minute thing because we're stopping every two seconds separately to take our notes. And I remember kind of looking at each other and saying, do we want to do this? Like the Elman Louise style? Are we just going to like drive off this cliff and see what happens and really commit to this? Because we knew because we had been both in Podcasting for so long Patrick longer than I was, but we kind of knew, all right. If we make a decision to do another Podcast, first of all, our husbands are gonna be furious and second, we really have to make it a thing. So do we want to put in all of the work that we knew and we kind of looked at each other, we'd been burned before and we were kind of like, no, we looked you're like, I want to do it with you.


(4m 14s):

Let's let's just do it. The major land On starting a podcast about True Crime documentaries, live landing on this really fun, popular thing that We, that never meant to be, that we had no idea or thought like, we really don't think of ourselves as funny people at all. I knew that I wanted to do a true crime scene and we had started talking about making a podcast about the Zodiac. We were like, let's solve it, going to solve it. And then we were like, well, why don't we do something that could be like a weekly thing that rather than like a limited series thing. And I wanted to make a nerdy sort of straightforward NPR style podcasts that would have segments where we would do like an interview segment, a segment where we would talk about a thing, like talk about a documentary and then like a True Crime news segment.


(5m 3s):

And we recorded a pilot where we did that. We did all three of those segments. And when we were listening back, I was like this in the middle where we talking about this documentary, it's more of a recap thing. And it's really interesting. And there's nothing else out there. Like I'm obsessed with podcasts. I could tell you every podcast and the Apple's like top 200 charter, any Dave, the way Obsessed for the podcast. And I was like, there's nothing else out there. That's like, this is this the thing. And it was a big leap because I really didn't want to make that. I really wanted to make a nerdy, quiet, straightforward, high brow thing. And here we are making this trash And the thing is True.


(5m 45s):

And then the ENT, that's the name of <inaudible>. We are making this trash to the Gillian of Patrick story, but We, and then the first several, I mean, several episodes of True Crime Obsessed are not last episode. Like not, not even close. I always say it sounds like we're trying not to disturb the person in the next room. And we finally, the reason I love making the show so much is one. I feel like we both consider it therapy for ourselves to be able to say these things and have these feelings, because we have a lot of feelings I'm mostly raging. And, you know, it's like we get to get all of this out. And we just sort of, I always quote Patrick, like we just let it become what it was supposed to be.


(6m 25s):

And that happens with a lot of creative things, a lot of the time. And I think sometimes people have this idea in their heads, like it's got to be this high brow three segment thing or whatever their thing is. And thankfully Patrick was willing to say, well, let's see what it's gonna be. And we just grew into this absolute madness. That truly is nothing like the first couple of episodes. That's why I think it was for our 100 Episode, we redid the documentary we covered for our first episode, which was the imposter. And it's, I can't even listen to those early episodes because it's like, who are these people? You know, we make a recap Podcast. That's what True Crime Obsessed is. And our first episode where we did the imposter, we were not recapping. Like we, weren't sort of just like talking about it, you know, it's sort of like to hear the evolution of like, Oh, we should play the trailer for the thing before the thing.


(7m 14s):

So people know what it's about. You know, that doesn't come in until episode 10 or 11, sort of like, we're just think God, we had no idea what we were doing. Totally. I'm curious about what stories you all decide to tell, like which documentaries you decide to watch? Because two of my favorites that y'all did actually didn't strike me as True Crime and that's action PARC in Jesus' camp. Those are my two favorites. They had me rolling. So I'm, I'm wondering which one is the oldest side to y'all. How do you pick those? Are you really trying to like pay attention to the numbers? Like we try to like, look at the downs, like the, like the, our highest downloaded episodes. Are you guys as this? We are, I was listening to I'm like editing our one for this week now.


(7m 56s):

And I'm like, in this episode we are part of the problem. Like, I totally understand that we're part of the problem, but it's like, people want murder, you know? And like, so those were the ones we try to, like, we try to find the most because those are the ones that people respond to the most. But we were pretty clear from the beginning of that. Like if we found a documentary, like a non-fiction documentary that was interesting to us and didn't necessarily fall into a stretch, True Crime category, we are going to do this, you know? And so like, that's where the action part or grizzly man or Jesus camp, you know? I mean, although Gillian is very clear that Jesus can't really answer Crime. It's child abuse, like a hundred.


(8m 38s):

I will stand by that 100% class action park. Totally. There were lawsuits filed. And that's the thing too. I see this a lot in our Facebook group that has like 35,000 people in it. Sometimes they'll say things like, you know, well, if the class action park, is it really true crime. And so there's someone in the comments like, don't hate me about your comments more than murder. Okay, bye. And We, and I agree with that. And we also need that for our mental health. Like, I can only talk about like rape and murder and animal abuse, like give me an art heist, give me like the mob. And I know the mob is garbage. I know they cause a lot of pain physically and emotionally and mentally, but give me like a Mic millions, right? Like get like that. And that just as a palette cleanser for us, and it is true Crime and the listeners can even hear us approaching it in a different way because it is True Crime.


(9m 19s):

I know there's a lot of paperwork involved with the FBI, but like we need a break from the goriness of it too. Outside of obviously thinking about creating the show. I'm curious personally, what is the first True Crime story that you remember, you know, out there in the world, like from your own life, what's the first story you heard and the more familiar with, I never have a good answer for this. I, you know, I was one of those kids who grew up on unsolved mystery is so it's like, it was less of one specific case. And more like that show that made me be like, Oh no, I really am fascinated by this. You know, like that. And even on, on that show, like, you know, they would have the categories of like murder or whatever, whenever it would be like unexplained, whatever.


(10m 4s):

That was the thing that was always the thing I went to the Bermuda triangle, or I'm such like an AAV nerd, basically. Like that's what I always equate this to. Like, what's the nerdiest thing you can be. I'm like that for True Crime. I love that you love the conspiracies and that doesn't come up a lot on the pot, but I love that. That was like your start. And all of those I read helter-skelter are way too young. That's why, that's why I am who I am today. Well, I was going to say to you, I think that one of the first true crime movies I ever saw was paradise lost. Right? What are the HBO back in the early nineties? Like those were the ones that like, I think were their first ones that I watched that I was like, Oh, that's the weird part about true crime is the community around it.


(10m 48s):

So, you know, there, there really is a commute. You don't think you hear about like true crime Tik TOK or whatever. Like, there are so many, there's a reason why Apple, like a year and a half ago, they never had a true crime category and they have to add to it because it is the most popular thing. Like it's why our Facebook group has 35,000 people and growing like people, when you like weirdos like true Crime and they wanna find each other in talk about it. The thing about paradise loss, which we also Love, I think just as viewers have true crime documentaries, Patrick and I both love when we know that the filmmaker set out to do one thing and then it turned into something else. So cap capturing the Friedmans is a great example of that.


(11m 30s):

This guy just thought that he was going to be like film a child's party clown, which to me is True Crime anyway, because the words, and then it became something horrible. Right? And so the same with paradise loss, like they thought like, lets go see this sensational. Oh like these Satanists are down in Arkansas. And then it became like, Oh my God, these three innocent men walking free. I think we're drawn to that to like what the medium can do to get stories out, get people out of prison, get people are still continuing those conversations. Do you think that there is like one aspect of this that people are fascinated with? Cause I think obviously this show titled True Crime Obsessed and the fact that there is this obsession, all of us, your fans, you all are obviously Obsessed. You've got fans that are Obsessed. What is it that draws people that you are Crime?


(12m 12s):

Like why are we so obsessed with it? The only things that like I've, I've always struggled with how to say how to answer this question because I really think that people are drawn to Crime because it's something that can happen to any of us. And all of these stories are about regular people that something just terrible happens to you and for, and oftentimes for no reason, you know, like these people get murdered or people get kidnapped for people, you know, something terrible happens and it just could be any of us. So there is an element of like wanting to understand it. I also think too, that true crime inherently is good storytelling. It's just a really good beginning, middle end of the end.


(12m 52s):

Or like if there are, if you don't know what happened, it just ends on a cliffhanger. You know? Like I think there is real True intrigue in these stories. Yeah. And I think it's a way for people to talk about their own fears. So instead of saying, I don't want to get snatched when I'm on, you know, changing my tire on I 10. Right? Like, so I'm going to be prepared. So instead of talking about that fear, which I know as a woman, I lived with all the time, like walking down the street at night, like I, that would be fun if I could do that without having all of these like weird protection things around me, you know, like not being on my phone, no headphones, but I think it's a way to talk about it and have it not be about yourself. So when you're saying I watched this documentary and wasn't that so scary and sort of being able to engage in this fear that you have and still have it be a little removed from you.


(13m 37s):

And I think that what Patrick and I do at very and tried very hard to do is also not take away from the story that happened to a real person or real people. So that's where our sadness and rage and anger comes in because this is a real stir. These aren't characters, these are real people, it's true Crime. So to live in that fear of talking about how sad it is or how mad it makes you and the, the corrupt police or the bad lawyers or whatever, and, and kind of working through that. And that's why I say it's therapy and also feeling like, okay, well I'm not like talking about myself and my own fears. I'm sort of projecting it and deflecting it, but also like taking it on at the same time. It's a very odd balance.


(14m 18s):

What does the process look like for you guys? How much time do you spend on each Episode preparing? I know obviously if it's a docu series it's hours long, you have to watch it, but then you mentioned that you're stopping constantly. So what's the total workload for the single project. I mean, for me, you know, I try to watch the thing all the way through one time without stopping and then I'll go back and take my notes on it. And then it typically takes me an hour to get through every 20 minutes to, during taking my notes. So like, if, if something is, is like an hour and a half long, I can't do that math, but it's several hours. And then the recording of it is another three or four hours.


(15m 0s):

And then the editing of it, it's like a full 40 hour week to do one Episode and we are doing, luckily now we've been able to, with our we've been successful enough that we've been able to bring people in. So we have editors that work with us now. And, but it's ton of work. I mean, that was the thing in the beginning. That was so surprising was neither. I mean, I won't speak for Jillian on this front, but for me, I didn't necessarily have the technical skill to make the thing that I wanted it. Like I didn't have the technical school to make it to be the thing that I wanted it to be. But I had to develop that very quickly in order to be able to put this thing out in the world. And so, you know, in learning how to make these episodes, like that was the thing in the beginning where we were like, We, this is not a hobby.


(15m 41s):

It was never a thing that took us an hour or two a week to make. It was always the thing that took us 20 or 30 hours a week to make, you know? Yeah. Even before that conversation of like, what are we doing here? Are we going to do this for 30, 40 hours a week? And what else? You know, because I do relate to that, not with this podcast, but with other creatives, you know, the whole cast or other, you know, web series I've done where it's like, Oh, I want to make a web series. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'll figure it out. I'm a person who learns by doing, I think that's why it works because Patrick and I felt very Kendra it in that sense where it's like, well, we want to do something and just, we don't necessarily know how to do it. Doesn't mean we can't do it. So we'll do it. We'll just like figure out how to get there together and do the work. You need to figure it out and make a pilot that no one has ever heard.


(16m 24s):

I think it's gone now forever. It's like, you've deleted it. It's well, actually you can kind of find it in pieces. In from our pilot episode, we did the thing with imposter, which is our, our in our Episode won. And the interview segment was an interview. We did, I did with a person in Boston who was a blogger and her blog is like cryptid antiquarian. And she was chronicling these vanishing men and these college aged men who vanished rather than like, just getting rid of that. I put it up as a blog, out to our website has a blog and it has a one entry. And it's this interview that I did with this person. So you can still hear that there. The other thing too, I think, was that we weren't expecting people to, it's not that we weren't attracting people to listen.


(17m 8s):

We just both came from the Broadway world where like we knew what that size audience was. And we knew that that was like a hobby size audience, you know? And so when we started to like actually seeing ourselves on the Podcast charts, in league with our Podcast heroes and We, and you know, we're looking at the numbers and we're like, Oh my God. Like that was when we were like, we have a real opportunity to connect with people and to really do this or not. And we really need to make a decision right now. And we did. Yeah. I think he made the right decision. So I know that earlier you said that you don't think that you all are funny, but I think that y'all are great at blending humor Into your content.


(17m 51s):

But that being said, how do you avoid coming across sounding like your making fun of victims or making fun of There is literally zero work involved in that. I don't know how to say it other than like, We are, we are making a podcast where we're recapping these documentaries. If it's funny to you that it's a comedy Podcasting and I'm so grateful that you think it's funny, thank you so much. You know, we are really just being the sort of a heightened version of ourselves, but we, we never ever even come close to the line of like making fun of the victim or the Crime or whatever. And we're just not wired that way. It's not what we're interested in talking about in that way.


(18m 32s):

So like, we're super interested in making fun of the person who like knew the documentary who was coming over and like did not get dressed on the calendar. You signed the release. We always say that you signed a piece of paper that said, yes, this can go out into the world if you know, what's going out into the world. And so that when we focus on that, it makes it easier. And so exactly like Patrick said, like Lindsay, when you asked, like how do we not make fun of the victims? We just don't. And I think, because we want to talk about this one to get stories out there and to, because we're so upset about it, like, which is so funny to say, right, for people whose, who make a comedy podcast, what we're talking about this, because we're upset about it in some way we have feelings about it.


(19m 20s):

I think that we are, we have an opportunity to normalize some things. Like, I think that when we, when we're covering a case where the person who was murdered was the sex worker. I think that like it is. So I think that we really take the opportunity to do that in sex work as a thing. That's the thing that happens, you know? And like, and we can actually talk about the why, why is that, you know, the idea of like making fun of a sex worker or sex work as the thing that is real when we are just not, I could not think of a single joke, like nothing about that. As funny to me, you know, sometimes I think the things that people might think we would be making fun of all of the things we really want to explore and talk about and normalize, Right.


(20m 0s):

Or that no, one's asking those questions in the documentary too. Sometimes we get like, wait, are we seriously sitting here? And no one's asking about this. And I think people see that. I think people laugh at those kinds of questions because they're like, Oh yeah, I thought that too. So they're not laughing because it's ha ha hilarious. Funny. I think they were laughing because it's like, I just asked my husband that and he didn't care. I asked my best friend and my roommate that, and my roommate doesn't care, but these two crazy people care. And I think it's the caring that makes people smile. And I think that smile leads to people laughing in spite of Sometimes I also think the, We, we give people permission to laugh. You know, I think the, We, I think sometimes we, like, we always say that our hope is that what we can contribute to these cases is keeping people talking about them because people can find some humor.


(20m 52s):

You know, we can talk about the JonBenet case and guess what, if there are elements of like, whatever it is about that case that like that are funny. And even saying that out loud sounds wrong. You know, there's nothing funny about a little girl, A perfect example of that is like what it was at the cottage cheese in the pineapple or whatever. And it's like our, I was like, have you, is that a thing? Like, I didn't know what I, what I grew up, like, whatever that snack was. And it's like tragic and horrible. But again, I always say like, we don't want to think about the tragedy. So let's focus on the weird, what was that tonight? Was it cottage, cheese, and pineapple, and then leaning into that. So to us that it becomes funny because We, I don't think I'm funny, Patrick doesn't think he's funny, but I think he's funny and he thinks I'm funny.


(21m 36s):

Totally. And like, also in that, like in that documentary, they spent a hundred thousand dollars, like rebuilding a model of the house. Did you want to just spend that money to test the evidence? You know what I mean? Yeah. They have a conversation in a conference room somewhere, did you have to rebuild? And then they had the woman remember it in that awesome. Like bad-ass like sexy suit. She was climbing in and out of like the cobwebs and it's just, they were it's like, what am I watching here? Can we just solve the thing? Or we have to waste 20 minutes on the cottage cheese in the pineapple, Like what we're trying to solve this thing. I feel like there's a better way to spend that a hundred thousand dollars. That's all right. It's of like recreating the perfect cobweb. Can we not want you to like, get out of business here? So on the subject of your bringing in the humor elements, ah, this is a question that we didn't send your way ahead of time, but I wanted to know the garbage bill.


(22m 18s):

Where did that come from? How did that come up? I love it. They came from, if I remember correctly, the first time we ever talked about it was in the tabloid Episode, which is like Episode of 21. And it, the thing is like Julie and I have not recorded in person over a year. And so we forget each other, like actual mannerisms, like, you know, but Julian would get so bad to be liked. And I remember her saying like, I'm going to get you something in, you know, like we need, we need something for you to hit. And so we, I remember being like, I'm getting to a bell, we're getting, we're going to get bell. And I was thinking of like a chow bell. And I was like, no, Because they went and it would be attached to the word garbage. I'd be like, this person's garbage. And we need like a thing where it's like, boom bang or some of that.


(23m 1s):

And we are trying to do as a, we were trying to become like Foley artists. And then it was like, and it all just sort of begin at camp. And this is so much, it's so funny that you asked that because so much of the garbage is also just like a metaphor for everything that True Crime Obsessed is where it's like, he said something that I said, something that we both started talking over each other about kind of the same thing. And suddenly there's a Podcast or suddenly there's a garbage bag or suddenly there's a, there's like a catchphrase that we didn't know was a thing. And so then I was like, yeah, I was like, I need something where it's like, you know, when you hear that sound, you know, that person's a piece of shit, you know, their garbage, whatever that is. I can't, you know, some sweaty day sweating head to toe. And like there, she was sitting on this little snack table. Patrick had gotten the bell. And so then when there was like an argument, not like a fake argument where Patrick was like, well, then we need, cause I was like, all right.


(23m 45s):

So the garbage and then also a hero bell. So then I would say like, okay, well when you knew that someone okay, dang, but this is the hero style. And then I was like, well, you know, maybe there should be like a hero harp because that's nicer than a bell. And I was like, no, we're not going to be a morning. Zoo radio show really wanted the different kinds of sounds that he would like, you would threaten me. You'd be like, well, I'm going to put it in the harp and post. And I'm like, don't you do it? We're not, we're not doing that. We're not doing like SFX on this thing or just not. It's funny too, because people really connected to the garbage when we were doing our live shows in Chicago and we were doing two live shows back to back in and we have the garbage bag, like a garbage there'd be like a spotlight on her.


(24m 28s):

Like she's in a better treatment than either, either in between shows. And one of the house people came back and was like, we're trying to clear the house, but everyone is trying to take pictures with that bell leaving the bell. Like I have. So many of them are like, people just want to give us spells. Are they like our very first, our very, very first live show we ever did. People were bringing the dinging them or saying dang. And we were laughing with the audience. Cause we were like, we have to be in charge of when we did the garbage. That's the, that's the gag, right? Everyone's garbage all the time to try and plan collectively here.


(25m 11s):

We'll Patrick and Gillian. I want to be mindful of y'all's time. Thank y'all so much for joining us today. Well, this has been a lot of fun. Everyone who's listening. Go check out True Crime, Obsessed, check out the Patriot On page, anywhere else that they should check out. Guys. We go live on Instagram every Tuesday at, at noon Eastern time and a very cool, True Crime Obsessed podcasts. We call it ladies who lunch. We just like chat for half an hour and we just like catch up. We are definitely sometimes Chrissy. Sometimes they're in the comments and hanging out, but we talk about the Episode that comes out on Tuesdays. Well, we'll just be hanging out if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe for updates on future episodes and leave us a comment with your feedback, questions or ideas for future segments.


(25m 56s):

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