Interview: Shannon & Matt – Seattle Geekly

Matt and Shannon from Seattle Geekly.

by Rasmus Rasmussen on February 8, 2010

I met with Shannon and Matt at Arcane Comics in Ballard, Seattle. They are regulars here, I found out as they entered the tiny boutique and the clerk lit up in a smile and a “I have your stack of comics ready!” But I wouldn’t be surprised if the store owners are proud to count this couple among their costumers. They are after all the producers of “Seattle Geekly”, a weekly podcast about all things geek. That includes comics but also things like movies, games and news from the community.

They regularly interview guests on their show, and it was a little surprising to see them turn a little shy at first, once they were the ones in the hotseat. Within a few minutes though, they were picking out their favorite super heroes and goofing off in front of the camera. I got the sense that this was a brilliant example, of a couple who had made it their shared activity to dive into and talk about the things they enjoy the most.

AP: What does it mean to be a geek to you, and why is it important enough to share with the world?

SG: The best definition for geekdom that we’ve come up with is really an analogy – Geeks are to culture what nerds are to technology.  In broader terms we tend to view geekiness as the quality of having a particular fondness for certain kinds of media, books (especially genre fiction), movies (once again of the genre category), video games, boardgames, etc.

There are a couple reasons we decided to share our geekiness with the world.  First on a personal level it was a really good excuse to get us out of the house and to some of the cool events that happen in the area.  Also, being a geek can be kind of lonely sometimes.  A lot of the activities geeks enjoy are, or can be, pretty solitary.  We wanted to get the word out that there are great opportunities to go and socialize with other geeks.  There really is a community and we want people to know about it.

AP: You ask listeners to dare you to watch bad movies, you have contests, do interviews and feature fellow geeks of all kinds. What do you take back from interacting with the community like this?

SG: For the bad movies, those are things that Shannon would probably end up watching anyway and it made a good bit for the podcast.  For the rest we really wanted to be as interactive as possible.  It gets back to promoting the geek community, we like meeting new and interesting people and we like sharing the things we enjoy with our little corner of the world.

A great example of the community that is out there was our first trivia night at Neptune Coffee.  We host one trivia night a month on various geeky topics and the first one we did covered the works of Joss Whedon.  The turnout was much higher than we expected, 25 or 30 people, and everyone had a great time.  There are communities like that made up of fans of just about any tv show, game or movie and we’re just trying to let people know about them.

AP: As a couple, how has the making and success of your podcast affected your relationship?

SG:  Minus time spent at our day jobs we’re pretty much together 24/7.  As we said before, the podcast gives us a great excuse to go out and do things together which is geat! We have really come to realize that neither of us could do the podcast alone, there just aren’t enough hours in the week for one person to do it.  It’s given us a shared project that we both enjoy and can be proud of.

AP: How do you share the work?

SG: We brainstorm ideas for shows together and we usually have things planned out 1-2 months in advance.  Shannon takes care of coordinating interviews and writes the show notes, Matt manages the website, gathers news and keeps the event and convention calendars we have on our site.

AP: With all the time and effort put into the site and podcast, are you able to make it pay for itself or better yet, your mortgage?

SG: The short answer is no.  The long answer is noooooo.  Even though we have it structured like a business we really view it as a hobby.  If we had gone into this project with the idea of making money we would have been horribly disappointed.  We’re certainly open to the idea of turning Seattle Geekly into a major media empire that could support the two of us full time but realistically we’re happy with a few people buying t-shirts or hitting our paypal donate button.

We have a business license and we have seperate e-mail and physical mailing addresses for “geekly” business.  We try and keep things as professional as we can when we’re “on the clock” at events and conventions, but of course we’re geeks too so the fanboy/girl in us frequently shows through.

AP: Any chance you might go beyond podcasting to feature articles, regular video or even expand the number of contributors to go beyond just the two of you? What are your plans for the future of Seattle Geekly?

SG: We’re actually working on doing some things with video.  Of course we’ll be using borrowed equipment and technical expertise but we’re going to try it!  We’d love to have regular articles, but we’re about at the limit of what the two of us can do in terms of generating content.  We’re certainly open to the idea of contributing bloggers.  If anyone wants to contribute articles we’d be happy to turn into editors and post content from other people.  Of course we can’t pay anyone for anything they do, but we’d be happy to have additions to the Seattle Geekly circle.

Our plans for the future are kind of undefined.  We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing of course and we’re trying to be mindful of potential opportunities to increase our audience and add new features.

Be sure to check out Seattle-Geekly.com, get the podcast straight from iTunes and follow @seattlegeekly on twitter.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ron hammond February 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Nice interview with an enterprizing, articulate couple that are having a wonderful time doing what they were going to do anyway (who happen to be my son and daughter-in-law.) Their definitions of geek and geekiness resonate well with me, under which I certainly qualify as a geek but with different genres than theirs. And there are a lot of us that are passionate about art that are in their financial boat (“The short answer is no. The long answer is noooooo.”).

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Tom Riggs February 9, 2010 at 5:36 am

Well, they may not be floating their own financial boat, but here we see another fine example of the Seattle Geekly economic stimulus package, helping to keep an independent comics store in business. One of their recent podcasts featured music by Jonathan Coulton which was so great, it caused me to rush home and buy his album off iTunes. I’ve given money to Neptune Coffee, Gary’s Games, and the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company… places I never would have patronized had I not heard about them from the “Geeklies”. Not only are they building community, but by letting other geeks what’s going on where, they’re keeping geeky things alive (or undead, as the case may be…). Special thanks to the interviewer for getting their story out so more people can satisfy the Seattle Geek in themselves.

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