We geeks are every where, and in force. That, I reckon, is the main takeaway from this chat with Charlie Kennell and Grant Robinson. One is about to do what conventional wisdom would dictate as impossible – organise a pop culture convention in a semi-rural Queensland city. The other is about to do it again.
In this episode, I chat with Charlie Kennell, the organiser of Cairns’ first pop culture convention, Tropicon, and Grant Robinson, organiser of Sugar City Con, which had its first outing in Mackay last year and returns to Mackay this year, about just what it takes to manage and run a convention in your off-hours.
Andrew Navaro, Art Director for Fantasy Flight Games.
It’s one thing to create the beautiful pieces of art that grace the pages and playing pieces of Fantasy Flight Games’ products. It’s another thing entirely to ensure that each image not only fits with the tone, themes and atmosphere of not just a given product but also a whole line of products.
Artist and tabletop gamer Andrew Navaro is the leader of a team of art directors at Fantasy Flight. It’s his job as art director to oversee the art direction of Fantasy Flight’s lines and manage the relationships between Fantasy Flight and its roster of freelance artists.
In this chat, Andrew and I discuss his love of gaming, how he came to work at Fantasy Flight Games, just what his job involves and the current state of art in the tabletop gaming industry!
It’s one thing to start a business in order to sell a product, yet another to believe in the product and its benefits. But Brad Russell, the co-owner and operator of Earth Toys with his wife Bree, lives and breathes a whole philosophy of play that seems absent from most places that sell toys.
In my fifth location interview, I visited Earth Toys, a shop in the middle of Cairns, to talk with Brad about how he and Bree set their business up and how it’s going, but came away not just with that but also a hefty slice of Brad himself.
Brad is a great guy to talk with: Always relaxed, always intelligent and always very insightful. Relax and let this one sink in!
And once you’ve finished this episode, drop in and see Brad when you’re next in the area. You’ll probably leave with something you hadn’t thought about buying before, but with a view on playing – and living – that you’d never considered before.
Leigh Dall’Osto is one of my more popular guests, and her story of going from the campaign trail of a local government election to opening a successful fusion of cafe and community centre in Edmonton, on Cairns’ south side, has garnered some interest outside the podcast too.
A few weeks ago I was talking with one of the writers at work about the podcast, and he asked me if I could pen a few words about career changes with Leigh as the sample case. I submittted a draft, and he asked if I could get Leigh to tell me more about that period between when Leigh lost the election and opened the cafe.
Thankfully, Leigh was happy to answer my extra questions over the phone. Thanks to having Leigh on speaker, I was able to record the conversation for quotes in the article – and after I was done, I realised the recording would make a great episode!
So please enjoy the return of the effervescent Leigh Dall’Osto to the Paid to Play Podcast!
Episode Ten! Ten episodes! Ten interviews! Double Digits!
It can be easy at times to dismiss regional cities as Hicksvilles with little going for them culturally. Yet Cairns, with its international airport and major tourism draws like rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef a stone’s throw away, does a damn good job of not just attracting, but also breeding artistic talent.
Jesse Kuch falls within both categories. He exercises his musical creativity as a DJ, a gig that regularly takes him across and outside the country. And as the entertainment editor for the local daily newspaper and the manager of an independent dance music record label, he has a vested interest in keeping his finger on the pulse of the local entertainment scene.
For my fourth location recording, I decided to pack my Behringer Podcastudio up and take it into work, where I interviewed Jesse in the media room. The general quality is improved on my last three location recordings (where I relied on my netbook’s built-in microphone) but there are also a few more pops and other distortions as I learn my way around using the kit on location.
Still, these don’t get in the way of a great interview with a fellow whose enthusiasm for music is almost boundless!
The common trend in career changes is people giving up their old job in order to focus on what they love to do. While opening and managing a cafe might seem about as far removed from politics as you can get, Leigh Dall’Osto opened Plan B Cafe in order to keep doing what she’s always wanted to do, even when political avenues closed on her – help bring the people in her community, the town of Edmonton (around fifteen kilometres south of Cairns), together.
In my second location recording, I had the chance to sit down with Leigh at her cafe and talk about just how a cafe can help people get to know others in their own town – and what some of the surprises along the way have been!