The antidote to the "don't give up your day job" blues: Chats with career crazies and freelance fun-makers on how to turn what you love doing into income!
Tag Archives: Venkman
“For whatever reasons, Ray – call it fate, call it luck, call it karma – I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe we were destined to get thrown outta this dump.”
“For what purpose?”
“To go into business for ourselves.”
Tabletop Gaming Company Founder and Publisher Chris Birch loves the tabletop gaming scene, from roleplaing games to wargames and boardgames; he grew up on Dungeons & Dragons, Steve Jackson’s Ogre and 15mm historical wargames. He loves it so much that he long harboured a dream of making and publishing games.
Five years ago, Chris followed his dream to create and run a game company and founded founded Modiphius. The company used Kickstarter to enable their first project, Achtung! Cthulhu; since then Modiphius has become full-time employment for Chris and around twenty employees. Modiphius has created new games and secure the licenses for some of the biggest franchises around, including Infinity, Fallout, Conan and Star Trek.
Join Chris and I for a great chat about headphone-stealing squirrels, what a major convention does to your work schedule, preparing for the tabletop gaming business through the music and fashion industries and making sure you choose projects based on whether you genuinely love them!
Narrative designer for computer and video games Evgeni Puzankov works as a freelancer in the video game industry from his home base in St. Petersburg in Russia.
After working as an employee doing scripting and production for video games and becoming a lead narrative designer on Suricate Games’ title Panoptes, Evgeni went full-time as a freelancer in October 2016.
Since, he’s crafted narratives for the Steam Greenlight game The Long Reach and a few more games yet to be announced.
Miniature model maker Fon Davis has worked on over thirty feature films across a two decade career. He’s an alumnus of the Industrial Light and Magic Model Shop and Disney, having produced concept art and made models for Starship Troopers, Galaxy Quest, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. Recently, he’s worked on Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy and Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.
Fon founded his own design and fabrication studio, Fonco Creative, in 1997 in San Francisco, and after setting up shop in the premises of Vanaheim Studios in Los Angeles, he bought the whole 16,000 square foot facility out at the end of first quarter 2017, renaming it Fonco Studios.
Join us for a fantastic chat about the importance of a portfolio in the special effects industry (and why Fon didn’t wind up needing one when he interviewed at ILM), the possibilities of virtual reality in entertainment, how special effects folks insert themselves into the movies they work on and the questions from the show’s Patreon backers!
Professional prop-maker Steven Meissner owns and operates SoloRoboto Industries as a full-time business. He makes custom and replica props, weapons, and accessories for cosplayers and collectors, and has occasionally made trophies for other companies, as well as worked on projects for the odd TV commercial.
Steven and I have a great chat about discovering that other people will pay you to make cosplay costumes for them, running the maths on your passion business, teaching yourself your craft with the help of a community, and what it means to live in a city that no one grew up in and where everyone’s pursuing a dream.
Geek collectable company owner Shaun Paulet decided to take a slightly different approach to the collectable market than most vendors. Instead of sourcing all the usual lines of stuff from the producers for the toy and collectable business, Shaun levered his passion for affordable collectibles to create, in conjunction with a collection of top Australian artists, a line of limited edition collectable prints available online or nationwide at Australian conventions for his company COMICS2MOVIES.
But after finding success within the artistic world of prints, Shaun decided to bring his own creativity and passion for comic books to the table, and thus was born XCT, a comic book series about clones of mythical monsters and ancient warriors like Spartacus fighting to the death for an audience of billions in the Xtreme Champion Tournament. XCT was successfully launched in Australia, New Zealand and the US in 2014.
Shaun and I have a great chat about high school sporting achievements, being the most funded Australian comic book crowdfunding project on Kickstarter, letting other people play with your stories, competing with the iconic American comic books for shelf space in Australian stores and ensuring your daughter shares your love of comics!
Podcast coach and host Scott Doucet loves podcasts. He loves listening to them. He loves making them and helping people make them. He loves them so much that he co-founded and continues to administer a huge community of podcasters on Facebook.
And just recently, he’s applied his experience and passion for podcasting to launch an all-new show, Podcast Bay, where he invites podcasters new and veteran to talk about the trash, the treasure and the trickery of the podcasting game!
We have a great chat about Scott’s first job in radio at 14, his discovery that podcasting isn’t just guys sitting around talking movies, finding a mentorship on a budget, and being hockey in the streets but Warhammer 40K in the sheets!
Business Vision Catalyst and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. Stephanie L H Calahan works with busy, purpose-driven entrepreneurs at the intersection of heart and head, to leverage their business and get their message out with power, ease and joy; so they can make a powerfully positive difference in the world, exponentially up-level their profits, shift their mindset towards possibility and take a no-excuses approach to boldly creating a highly successful and meaningful business built around who they are. In short, to enjoy a highly-successful and meaningful business… while working less.
After Stephanie chose to leave a successful-on-paper nine-to-five corporate life that was putting her through an emotional and physical wringer, she quickly discovered that if not approached correctly, entrepreneurship could be just as damaging. Ultimately, she stepped back and re-defined everything, and now lives a self-employed working and family life that brings her all the benefits she offers her customers.
Stephanie and I have a great chat about being a consultant from childhood, armchair travel, unlocking the golden handcuffs, a blinding flash of the obvious, giving a child the benefits of a stay-at-home mom without being one and the crippling fear of disappointing your spouse.
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.
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.