Game designer and writer Monte Cook has worked on hundreds of roleplaying and board game products. He co-designed the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, served as design consultant on the Pathfinder roleplaying game and, in 2012, co-founded Monte Cook Games, LLC. As Creative Director and Lead Designer, Monte co-created the Cypher System roleplaying game rules that are the heart of The Strange and the award-winning Numenera.
Monte also bends his writerly talents to novels and fiction, comic books and nonfiction works. In his spare time, he makes the odd YouTube series with fellow geeks, like the a tongue-in-cheek take on ghost hunting reality shows, Geek Seekers, co-starring Jen Page.
Please listen for a great chat about sleeping on couches while interning with an RPG company, some of the dearly departed brands of the RPG industry, why you shouldn’t listen to gossip about the “big guys” and the differences between working for and running an RPG company.
Castle Corsetry owner-operator and cat-lover Lauren Matesic has designed and built hundreds of corsets as well as custom costume orders specialising in expertly tailored spandex suits and impeccable cosplay recreations.
As a geeky girl herself, Lauren’s enthusiasm makes her work truly exceptional, and fellow geeks have come to know Lauren as the go-to girl for commission cosplays for conventions across the country every year. Her designs have been worn by geek-culture celebrities like Team Unicorn, Ivy Doomkitty and Adrianne Curry!
On top of all that, Lauren’s latest project is an upcoming web series Pawsplay, which launches on the AWE Me YouTube channel Monday, July 18th!
Lauren and I have a great chat about the challenges of working with spandex, how the makers’ collective that Lauren lucked into sharing office space with inspire and challenge her (and made her the most awesome office space in the world) and about how keeping your child self’s imagination alive after when people say the days of dress-up ought to be over is at the heart of getting paid to play.
Board game marketer Brittanie Boe, known to pretty much everyone as Bebo, is an example of paid to play success for those of us who feel like life has locked us into the nine-to-five. She is a single mother and lover of board games who had a day job working in the marketing department of an insurance company.
Now, Bebo is the marketer for a board game distributor, managing multiple social media channels with a team of fellow enthusiasts, attending industry and fan conventions and generally helping enthusiasts find the right games for their tastes. On top of all that, she works from her home!
And if that’s not enough, Bebo joins forces with my guest for episode 77, Teri Litorco; together, they are the blogging, YouTubing and podcasting duo of tabletop gaming, The Board Dames!
It was great chatting with Bebo about how she transitioned from day-job dullness to work-from-home wonderment, how Bebo’s friends and family help stop her from losing herself in work and what her next steps will be – as well as her not-so-secret desire to form a country music band!
It’s my pleasure to kick Season 4 of the Podcast off with this chat with Jeff Saamanen, one of the two minds behind an animated sci-fi epic called Lost Hope. Jeff and his co-creator Natalie Harvey are currently running a Kickstarter to fund the first four episodes of this fusion of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Archer, and it’s my pleasure to help promote their campaign!
It was great fun to have a virtual sit-down with Geoff and geek out about science fiction, animation, independent projects and games in general! Please listen and enjoy!
Tonja Davis is an incredible fusion of geek and fitness enthusiast. She’s not only worked in technology and for one of the biggest business names in the geek world, she’s also taken her own struggles with with chronic illness and injuries – in her own words, “If there’s something you can break, I probably broke it!” – and turned them into programmes to help those whom the mainstream fitness industry neglects.
The business born of the fusion of these loves is Action Hero Fitness, a comic book-themed body and health coaching business that aims to help geeks struggling with fitness. Tonja levers web technology and even online-enabled game consoles to run coaching sessions for people whose health issues prevent them from going to gyms or outdoor fitness courses.
C. J. Miozzi is the paid player I want to be when I grow up. He’s a writer, graphic artist and voice talent, and he’s built his revenue streams around his love of video games, especially Diablo III. He’s probably best known for his YouTube channel of advice for players of Diablo III, for which he goes by the handle of Rhykker.
We chat about the difference between personalities and content providers on YouTube, the conflict between outsourcing and the desire for complete control, pursuing a career almost completely outside your field of study and planning for the inevitable changes in any modern career, not just freelancing. Oh, and we have a bit of a geek-out about Dungeons & Dragons.
Frank Macri has been grappling with the idea of Work since his late teens. He’s made it his purpose to help those who are educated and passionate but still not sure where how they can take what they have and make their lives about their true selves.
Frank is currently working on a book called Life Orgasm, “a provocative guide to living with passion.” You can currently download his free guide, “How to Climax (On Life)” from his website and catch his weekly YouTube show where he vlogs on his experiences in China, to where, as of this writing, he’s recently returned after teaching there for a year just after finishing university.
We had a great chat about going it on your own in another country, looking at failure in a positive light and how the cliched phrases of positivity and self-help sometimes need a little shaking up!
Birdy and Mike Diamond are keen writers who believe that good stories come from outside the self; that the trick to writing is getting in tune with the lives that the people you’re writing about are living and letting them tell their stories through you.
One avenue of portraying their stories that they’ve explored has been Internet TV and audio plays. They’e currently developing several projects and engaging people of various talents to help complete a few key ones – including yours truly as a voice artist!
Notes for Listeners:
This episode was the first time I’d experimented with using Skype credit to call a land line phone number. I was expecting that my guests’ side of the conversation would be phone call quality; it turns out that Skype records us both at that grade.
During this episode, Birdy and Mike make mention of a group called the Writer’s Circle. Since the recording, they have decided to depart the group.
Nei Ruffino has been working freelance in the comic book industry as a colourist and overall artist for almost a decade. While she’s done work for all the major labels, Nei is probably best known for her work on Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales series and her colours for Danger Girl penciller J. Scott Campbell.
Nei is a big believer in not just paying it forward, but the independent scene. She’s been live streaming Photoshop tutorial videos and recently launched a Patreon crowdfunding page to support both her tutorials and her personal projects, including the one shot comic, Azure.
It was a pleasure to chat with Nei about how she got her break in the comics industry, the daily realities of creating art (including deadline pressure and repetitive strain injury) and the comic book convention scene. I’m glad that I could fulfil Mal Semmens (of KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables)‘ request to get Nei on the show!
My wife Vickie requested that I chat with Joy Harjo right in the early days of the podcast. Joy is one of the people Vickie truly admires; a poet whose works are just as often abstract free prose as they are traditionally-formed poetry. Joy and her work have both been acclaimed for years, her first published collection hit the shelves in 1980.
Joy doesn’t define herself as a poet, though, nor a musician. She always grew up knowing that she would become an artist, and her quest to express the things beyond us all have led her not just to poetry and the saxophone, but to script writing, a memoir and travel around the world. Her work often addresses the disconnectedness and damage in all of us in these supposedly civilised times, and she draws much from her experiences as the blood of the Mvskoke native American nation, a people outside their country whilst still within their own country.
I chatted with Joy about her career as a poet and musician, the ups and downs of the Internet and the danger of others pigeonholing your work.
ALSO: Stay tuned after our chat for a quick update on… going weekly!