AnimeChicago’s Spotlight interview series highlights local organization leaders, artists and personalities. We’re chatting with Carl Dayagdag of Games. Anime. Stuff., a Chicago-based podcast for anime and video game fans.
AC: Who is the GAS team and how did you get started?
CD: The GAS team primarily consists of me, David Reyes, and Gus Navarrete, with Keaton Heflin and Danny Canales rounding out the rest of the group and appearing whenever they’re available for an episode.
I got started by helping out a local community college’s Anime club and one of my major responsibilities was to bring in my MacBook and microphone for podcasting. One evening when I was video recording an evening event, I ended up meeting with David Tamez who told me that he worked as a soundboard for Slam Internet Radio and that if I ever wanted to do live podcasting, he could provide those services for a small fee.
Also at around this time, I also started hanging out with David Reyes a lot more and, long story short, he wanted to do a podcasting thing but only if I was on board with it. To help convince me into forming the podcasting group which would eventually be called GAS, he was going to immediately provide sponsor backing to take care of the podcasting expenses if we were to use Slam Internet Radio’s services so all we had to worry about is gas money. And yes, that pun was intended.
AC: How are GAS podcasts scheduled, planned, and recorded?
CD: The first thing that we take care of is determine who can make it to the podcasting session which is usually done at Slam Internet Radio and recorded live between 6 and 8 PM on Mondays. Sometimes we use our own equipment to pre-record episodes and then give it to David Tamez which is then played “live” on our scheduled recording dates if we don’t feel like driving down there for that week, but that’s rare because it’s time consuming to get set up and then pack up all of our equipment at someone’s house.
The next thing that we do is figure out what we’re going to be talking about for that episode. Typically a planning session goes something like this:
(In the car driving to Slam Internet Radio)
Carl: “So we have anything to talk about for this episode?”
Dave: “I got nothin’. Let’s just wing it like we always do.”
Gus: “So did you read [Name of Sci-fi or Fantasy Novel] yet Dave?”
Gus: “Why haven’t you read it yet Dave?”
Carl: “… I guess we can talk about that for part of the show.”
Now if we’re lucky, we might have something planned out for an episode and those usually begin after I remark how badly our current episode went after we’re done recording it. Those typically end up being better because we’re clear about what we’re going to be talking about and even discuss the details of it while we’re hanging out over the course of the week.
I’d like to say that we air our episodes weekly, but that’s not always the case. Even with all of this planning we might have to spontaneously cancel a recording session because of various reasons (lack of money, key podcaster can’t make it, etc.) so I apologize in advance for whenever that happens, which is why I decided to create a blog so you can sort of keep up to date on what our most recent episodes are.
AC: What are some of the challenges faced with podcasting about video games and anime?
CD: One of the biggest challenges is reminding ourselves that we need to go to our sponsors to pick up the money to cover the operating costs for podcasting at Slam since we usually slack off until the day we’re supposed to go on air to get it. Then there’s exerting self-control to make sure that this money does not get spent on something frivolous like food on the way to the radio station.
However, to directly answer your question, the challenge we have when podcasting about video Games and Anime is that it’s easy to regurgitate the same information that we’ve found on major news sites and leave it at that to pad out our air time. I’ve told everyone at GAS that’s not a good way to distinguish ourselves from every other podcasting group out there that also covers the Stuff we talk about who might have better connections, equipment, and talent at their disposal. You need to have information that’s unique to you and what your audience might be interested in, and getting that information might require a little bit of insight from the news coming out of those major publications or just from simply hanging around with various Anime fans in Chicago.
An interesting challenge that I personally have with our show is that there are certain things that Dave and Gus vehemently oppose to me talking about on air. It’s amusing to see them frantically shutting me up whenever I start talking about something that hits their berserk button, which recently was AKB0048, Pretty Cure, and Aikatsu! We should probably do an episode figuring out why they don’t want me to start talking about Stuff like this sometime!
AC: Which episode is your favorite to date?
CD: That would be Episode 9. The reason why is it’s one of those episodes where it flowed really well despite several setbacks since we arrived late to Slam and really needed Keaton since he had a lot of content to provide for that episode but couldn’t make it. The host for the show that airs after us is also a really cool guy and good Magic player and decided to join in on our show halfway through the show which was really neat. We also got some actual paperwork done during that recording too!
AC: What advice would you give aspiring anime podcasters?
CD: Aside from reading the Stuff that I mentioned when you asked me about the challenges of doing this?
- You can’t do this alone, but make sure that whoever you’re working with is just as passionate about getting this off the ground as you are.
- Start small and start doing it. Use your current computer and buy a simple microphone if you don’t have one already to start recording some podcasts and then find a way to distribute them online. You will learn a lot by doing this and quickly figure out where you need to invest your time and energy to plan out your schedules more effectively and whether or not you want to keep doing this for a long time.
- Be familiar with broadcasting technique. For example, if someone is performing a physical action that’s affecting the show in some way, make sure to explain it to the audience because they can’t see what you see in the studio. In one of our recent episodes Gus threw something at Keaton and was planning to throw something else so I had to keep interrupting the conversation at this point for around 7 seconds to get everyone to pause so I can verbally address what was going on since it was all happening really fast. If you were listening to the podcast as this point without a play-by-play commentary, you would barely hear the impact of the first object that Gus threw at Keaton and be slightly confused as to why there was a small commotion happening.
- Always be researching EVERYTHING you believe is relevant. You think that you might have a big head start by being passionate about Anime or Games, but you’d be surprised how little you’ll have left to work with when you talk about it for longer than three hours. The only way for you to have more material for your show is to keep learning new Stuff every day.
AC: How do we tune in?
CD: Although we do broadcast live on Mondays between 6-8PM, I don’t recommend relying on that because of our inconsistency of adhering to this schedule. Instead, check out our blog, our Facebook page, or on iTunes.