Today’s web crush is a little different from our usual ones. We typically talk about awesome things we just happen to stumble across on the internet, but today’s is a little closer to home. Two of our LGG&F writers, Lady Saika and BrothaDom, recently decided to start a podcast together called Character Reveal. Character Reveal is a fun, conversational podcast in which Saika and Dom sit down with creators who work in anything from cosplay to video games to TV series. Over the course of their first six months, they’ve even interviewed other LGG&F writers, like our own Pantydragon and SquidInkSamurai. So for today, I thought I’d turn the tables on them and interview them instead.
Luce: As our readers will know, you guys have been writing about representation and diversity on our blog, Lady Geek Girl and Friends, for a couple years, and you’re now the hosts of Character Reveal, a podcast in which you talk to creators about themselves and their works and also discuss representation and diversity. How did you come up with the idea for Character Reveal, and what made you decide to take the leap to podcasting?
Dom: The idea came from listening to a lot of podcasts, really. Representation conversations are happening more and more, which is lovely. However, I was thinking about how much harassment happens online and it feels like it comes from a lack of empathy for the person. As in, it’s hard to fling vitriol at someone who you see as a person, rather than as some grand idea. So I figure if we can get to know people a little better, this might remedy some of that. The leap to podcasting felt natural, because you can get a bit more tone and humor between people doing audio rather than text.
Saika: Dom reached out to me with the idea of the show and asked me if I wanted to co-host. I wasn’t sure at first, because I’m kind of shy and I’m certainly not an expert on podcasting or interviewing. At first I thought he just asked me because no one else would do it! But I worked through my impostor syndrome and have really come to enjoy it. We realized recently that we’ve almost hit half a year of releases – it doesn’t feel like it’s been six months at all.
Luce: For those readers who may be interested in making the same sort of leap, what would you say is the biggest difference between podcasting about a topic and writing about a topic?
Dom: At least with us, podcasting is far less scripted, heh. With writing, it’s completely scripted and you know how it will go start to finish for the most part. But when you talk to someone, their answers can send you down wild or interesting paths you hadn’t considered. You have to improvise more, you know?
Saika: The biggest difference for me is that when I’m writing for LGG&F I get to plan out my posts ahead of time; they’re run past editors and I get to polish them before a reader sees them. In Character Reveal, we don’t really plan anything ahead of time. I only get one chance to express my thought, and it doesn’t always come out as smoothly as I’d like. I can count on my trusty co-host to edit out my more clumsy stumbles, though.
Luce: You guys have interviewed some very diverse guests in your episodes thus far, both in terms of inclusivity and in terms of what geek genres they’re interested in. How do you select your guests and how do you decide what to discuss with them?
Dom: The selection process is pretty loose, to be honest. We try to send out feelers to see who might be interested, or just ask people whose work we enjoy. It definitely helps to follow people on Twitter who love to signal boost interesting creations and people. As far as what to discuss, heh, it really just is starting by asking them how their day is going and what they’re known for. From there, it’s improvisation, really. We usually have at least a couple topics to push them on if the need arises, but it’s mostly meant to be a naturally evolving conversation.
Saika: As Dom said, there’s not really a selection process—we just reach out to people we’d like to talk to, and hope they write back! We handed out a lot of business cards at New York Comic Con. That said, though, going back to the original idea that it’s hard to send hate to someone you see as a person, we’ve tried to consistently spotlight people from marginalized identities, as they’re often the target of that kind of unkindness. Also, it’s just important to us to uplift those voices! Once we have them on the show, the sky’s the limit. We might talk a little about what cool thing they do—whatever it is that brought them to our attention, but we just as often will end up chatting about a pairing we like, a trailer we’ve just watched, or even what kind of candy they like. It’s much more of a conversation than an interview.
Luce: Recently you started another section of your podcast called Geekly Reveal, in which you discuss fandom issues of the day and share what you’re both currently into. What was the impetus behind starting this?
Saika: We realized we had a lot of opinions about nerdy stuff that we wanted to, well, opine about. It’s actually been really fun, especially because on Character Reveal I’d rather let the guest shine than spend too much time spitting out my various hot takes.
Dom: On the one hand, it was just to make sure we had consistent content to release each week. We’re normally pretty good about getting guests, but cancellations and audio mistakes happen. On the other hand, it’s nice to have something more topical because we’re both pretty opinionated heh heh. And we would rather get the takes out while they’re relevant, rather than weeks later when Character Reveal might come out. Plus, I like the idea of a show that’s structured like a radio show with music. Have you enjoyed that portion at all?
Luce: Yeah, I have enjoyed the Geekly sections—sometimes more than the Character Reveal interviews! I enjoy opinions and hot takes on the news a lot, haha. However, in the Character Reveal interviews, you do have a fun get-to-know-you section called the rapid fire round. I’ve been listening to your stuff all week, so what do you say? Up for a rapid fire round?
Dom: I’m flattered, haha. Sure!
Luce: Which fictional character do you feel you are most similar to?
Saika: I’ve always felt a very close kinship with both Hermione Granger—I was definitely always the awkward know-it-all with only a few close friends in school whose idea of “light reading” seemed a bit… heavy… to my peers. (And I had hugely bushy brown hair and big teeth, so.) I like to think I grew up into as cool of a person as Hermione did, too!
Dom: Probably Lucio from Overwatch… I’m not as consistently positive as he is, but I do like to “amp up” and cheer people along. Teamwork makes me happy. Also, we’re both Black guys, haha.
Luce: Saika, favorite song from your favorite musical?
Saika: Ooooh, that’s an evil question. Well, my favorite musical is Les Mis, so I’ll say the finale from that. Gets me weepy every damn time, but also gives the show a kind of happy and redeeming ending.
Luce: Dom, favorite plotline from a Sonic game?
Dom: Probably Sonic Adventure 2. Despite all the cheese and narm, Dr. Eggman had a clear goal and was dangerous. The team-up at the end was awesome. Sonic being mistaken for Shadow was pretty dumb though, but hey, it’s a Sonic game.
Luce: Finally, as we head into the jumpscare horrors of Halloween, tell us: which fictional character would you most like to see get punched in the face?
Saika: Yikes, there are lots, but for some reason the first thing that came to mind was the most hipster answer possible: the Woggle-Bug from the L. Frank Baum Oz books. He was such an annoying character and yet no one ever told him to chill.
Dom: Milhouse. I hate Milhouse.
Dom and Saika, thanks for talking to us about your new podcast venture! If you’d like to listen to Character Reveal yourself, you can find them on their website, Twitter, and Facebook. Check them out today!