Back in January, I was fortunate enough to be invited to take part in the recording of an episode of Failed Task Podcastand had an absolute blast- you can see my update about it here. Well, three members of their team (Steve Sears, Jake Maire, and John Buchanon) were nice enough to sit down with me for an interview. We discuss the ins and outs of podcasting and their personal histories with gaming for our latest piece in our series Portrait of a Gamer.
Warning: although their show is absolutely hilarious, it deals with mature subject matter and is decidedly NSFW. Beware, this interview follows suit, featuring mature themes and language- you have been warned, dear readers.
|From left to right: John Buchanon, Jake Maire, and Steve Sears|
So, how did you guys start your podcast series?
Jake: A drunken conversation during last year’s Super Bowl. We think we are funny and worth listening to- why not let others hear our words?
Steve: Pretty much. I’d been tossing around the idea of starting a podcast with some of the guys for a while. Once we bought our house we had a somewhat decent place to record. I jumped on it that night when I had everyone here and we all decided to give it a shot.
Jake: Yea, we still don’t know what we are doing really.
Steve: It snowballed like crazy. It went from an idea, to a plan, to a thing real quick. From the start it wasn’t very long before we were doing live shows, meeting tons of interesting people, going to cons, and other cool stuff.
John: I went to Steve’s house for the Super Bowl, spent most of the time hoping this one guy didn’t puke on me, then Steve asked me if I wanted to do a podcast with him- although I had heard the word before, I told him I didn’t know 100% for sure what that was- so to explain he took me Jake and Randall in to the computer room and showed us gay porn. To say the least, I was confused.
Steve: In my defense it wasn’t gay porn. I put on meatspin.
Jake: It was a man fucking another man in the ass in such a way as to make the second man’s dick helicopter.
Steve: You act like you weren’t the one that first showed it to me.
Well, that certainly sounds like a memorable party- to think that that resulted in such a successful teaming-up. Is there anything that you guys particularly enjoy about the process of putting out a new show every week?
Steve: Pretty much everything about it is gratifying in its own way. We hang out weekly, usually end up hanging out after the show for drinks and food, and we get to do all this cool stuff that we wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to do.
Jake: Hanging out with friends and talking about stuff that people want to hear about is pretty baller.
John: I enjoy finding the toy news and doing research on the rescues that I bring to the show each week. The reviews are fun too, I usually buy a toy of some kind the week before or earlier that week and spend some time looking it over and thinking about what I like or don’t like about it. Even the packaging of the toys are pretty interesting sometimes.
So what kind of process do you guys follow to get ready for the show each week?
Jake: Heh, process. We (John and I) show up, maybe help pick out some news to talk about, then we wing the crap out of it.
Steve: Nah, Jake doesn’t give himself enough credit.
Jake: Originally I talked about Heroclix but that didn’t go so well with the audience. I was informed they “tune out” until I finished.
So now I relegate myself to snark, puns, and looking good.
Steve: We all keep an eye out for things to talk about during the week. John, of course, finds toy news, brings toys to review, and rescues toys he finds in thrift stores, yard sales, and whatnot. Frank is heavily in to the anime and video games so he looks out for stuff of that nature. Jake and I both come across weird news stories and stories about current events that we kinda bookmark to headline the show or to bring up if we remember them while we’re all off on a tangent.
Do you think it would be fair to say that your show covers geek news of various topics, along with improvisational comedy about the items of the week you find online?
Steve: Oh most definitely. We adhere to the “fuck it we’ll do it live” mentality. We give ourselves a rough idea of the direction we’d like to go then just kinda see what happens from there.
So would any of you describe yourself as a gamer and if so, what is your earliest memory of gaming?
Jake: Absolutely. Oh man, I was like 6 or 7 when I got my NES. Mario bros 1, 2, 3 was my jam. Also Kirby’s Adventure, the first game I ever beat. When the rereleased it on the GBA as Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland I flipped. I can beat it 100% in about an hour on hard.
Steve: Without a doubt. Playing Donkey Kong at my baby sitter’s house. I’d never really seen video games before and she said it was something her grandson enjoyed. She brought out a Nintendo and I was hooked.
John: I would say as far as gaming goes, I try to be kind of an omnivore, I mean obviously there are going to be some things out there that just aren’t going to appeal to me at first glance, but I try to give about any game a chance- whether it’s board, video, roleplaying, card, miniature, whatever. And there have been a few games that I didn’t think I would like at first, but I tried them anyway and ended up loving them. Like the original West End Games D6 Star Wars roleplaying game. I thought a roleplaying game sounded pretty lame. But MY friend convinced me to play. I played a bounty hunter with a jet pack and ended up loving it and wanting to play more. To this day, if I’m offered a chance to play a game and I don’t think I’m going to like it, I think to myself “Hey! You didn’t think you would like playing Star Wars D6.” And then I give it a chance. But then sometimes my first impression can be right- for example the role playing game Torg. That game was a turd.
My earliest game memories would have to be playing gin rummy with my family. As far as video games go, I remember when the lil mom and pop grocery store got Pac-man and Donkey Kong. Not sure if that was at the same time- just remember them both being there at some point. But those were always so busy, I never had a chance to play. But then I was mostly there for comic books and candy. As far as home systems go? My brother was the first kid in the hood to have a pong system.
Wow- it seems like all of you have had a pretty long relationship with gaming of one sort or another. So what do you think it is that draws you to games?
Jake: My addictive personality and general crappiness at sports.
[You’ve] got to have some sort of outlet.
John: Well I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was a kid, but games in whatever form seem to have a way of helping you make friends. I mean, I know I wouldn’t have the wealth of high quality friends I do now if it hadn’t been for gaming.
Steve: It’s just always been a fun outlet and a way to get away from the boring, everyday bullshit.
|The Failed Task Podcast team with their fourth member, Frank Day|
Excellent, well, I think that may cover everything. To wrap it up though, do you guys have any advice for anyone who would like to start their own podcast?
Jake: Like Nike says, just do it.
But seriously, if you want to start a podcast just send 100 dollars to Steve and he will send you a deluxe podcast starter kit which includes some of the best advice he and we can give.
John: Don’t do it, we are already the best. Just listen to ours and save yourself the heartache of not being as good as us. Just kidding, do what Steve did- find some awesomely talented friends, get them drunk and show them gay porn. Works every time. No but seriously, just find something that you love, start talking about it and just have fun.
Steve: There’s really no easy starting point. You just have to dive heard first and be prepared to do a lot of hair-tearing as you figure stuff out. Don’t rely on one single source of information but bounce around and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to mess around and try new things. In the end you just have to remember that nobody really knows what the hell is going on but the more you stumble through the better of an idea you can get.
Jake: Like walking through a thorny bush to get 20 dollars
Steve: Pretty much. But the 20 dollars is a mile away. And there’s no easy way around the bush. And you’re naked. You have to learn how to duck and weave through those thorns pretty fast.
If you like what you’ve read, check out Failed Task Podcast and their weekly, live recorded episodes every Saturday night.