Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Podcaster Spotlight: The Independent Characters - Geoff Hummel (Conclusion)

The Independent Characters Podcast team works hard at Adepticon 2011.

Today we finish out our interview with Geoff Hummel, co-host of The Independent Characters Podcast. Watch this blog later this week for our final interview with The Independent Characters hosts - Zach!

Anything you'd like to say about the Adepticon coverage you'll be doing this year?
As Carl already mentioned, we're trying to innovate the format and step up our game. While we feel that the coverage we did last year was well done, we'd really like to push things a bit and get the audience the feeling of actually being present for the games. We've continued researching both sportscasting and other televised events (such as poker and magic) to help us figure out exactly how best to bring the Adepticon experience into people's homes. Of course we've also taken steps to help the viewers understand exactly what's going on during the game, such as using wireless lapel mics on the players and focusing on only one table per round.

What sort of events will you be taking part in at Adepticon this year? Any huge plans?
This year I'm really looking forward to playing in the 40k Friendly Tournament. The theme is The Emperor Abides. It seems like a really fun way to meet other players without all the pressure of the Championship. Also, and this is a HUGE bonus for me, it doesn't start until noon. The whole event should be nice and relaxed. I think all of the local guys going with us that aren't in the Championship will be playing in the Friendly.
I'm also taking part in the Team Tournament once again. Last year I had a great time as a last minute addition to Team Table or Tie where each of us took armies with no scoring units. We tried to keep things fun and light by dressing as 70's era tennis players (with sweatbands that matched our armies!) and handing out gold star medals to all of our opponents. This year we're going to try playing with more competitive forces, but our theme will keep things light-hearted throughout the day. I can tell you though, the Team Tourney is exhausting. Four games with two 1,000 point armies per side is a lot of 40k. I can't believe there are some guys who play all day Friday, Saturday, and then compete for the top spot on Sunday!
Of course the great thing about a huge Con like Adepticon is meeting up with people from around the country and all over the world. We made a lot of great friends last year and although the internet makes the world feel smaller, there's nothing quite like grabbing a beer with a pal after a long day of gaming.

What do you envision for TIC podcast in the next three years?
Three years is an awfully long time! We'd love to see the show continue to grow as it has over the past 2 years. Our main focus has always been on delivering quality content that people will enjoy listening to. It doesn't do any good to deliver information to listeners if the show isn't entertaining. On the other hand, we don't feel like entertainment without content is a sustainable model for a 40k podcast. As long as we continue to keep things fresh and exciting, I'm sure people will continue to enjoy the show.
With that being said, we're always talking about new ways to keep the show fun for us to make and for people to listen to. The Golden Throne Awards that we're working on currently have been a blast to brainstorm for and are a great way for our forum users to participate in the show itself.
Geoff's Eldar attempt to murder Carl's Ultramarines
What have been some of the biggest challenges that you've faced as a 40k podcaster?
The biggest challenge for me has been the deadline nature of podcasting. We've tried really hard to make sure that we don't miss release dates. Every once in a while we have to release a day or two late, but that's always due to some technical issue or other. A lot of people don't realize how time consuming podcasting is. We have to talk about the show well ahead of recording to make sure that all three of us are on the same page with the topic. Then we each spend time researching and brainstorming. We try to hold regular production meetings over Skype to stay on top of this as well as update the calendar. Then we have to set aside a whole day to record. While the shows are usually between 2 1/2 and 3 hours, they can take around 6 to record with breaks and other delays.
After the show is recorded one of us will edit it. It takes twice as much time to edit as you have audio if you go through the entire show with a fine toothed comb. I always try to make sure to do this when I edit as it gives the show a level of polish that sets us apart from more casual offerings. Once the show is edited, Carl takes the files and compiles them along with all of our commercials and music. Also, he does the show notes at this time that give links pertaining to the content. All of these steps take up an incredible amount of time, and that doesn't even count all of the technical work on the website and answering emails. Podcasting really is a hobby within a hobby!

What are a few things that you'd like to get out of the rumored 40k 6th edition this summer?
There are a number of things that I think would enhance the game. Morale rules that actually mean something would be great. They seem to cripple some armies while being completely ignored by others. Also, I'd love to see some options for reactions. The easiest example is when a unit gets charged. Maybe they could voluntarily break, fire a shot, or brace for the assault. Going to Ground was a great step in this direction and I'd like to see more in 6th. Flyers could be a lot of fun too. If each race got some kind of plane I'd be happy. If nothing else, I love the models.
There's a lot of cleaning up that can be done with 5th Edition to tighten an already great rule set. A bit a tweaking to Wound Allocation and True Line of Sight/Area Terrain rules would help a ton.
What do you usually look for in a blog or news site on the web?
I actually don't spend a ton of time looking at news or blogs. Generally I check Bell of Lost Souls every few days for news and rumors. They used to catch a lot of crap for stealing news from Dakka and Warseer, but I love the one-stop shopping feel of the site. From there, I'll jump to whatever catches my eye from the margins. A lot of times that'll be Fritz or Dave Taylor's blogs. I also try to check out From the Warp for some painting and modelling tips as well as hobby product reviews. I trust Ron to give me the low down on all of the best tips and toys. Of course, nothing beats our forums at (shameless plug achieved!). We have such a great and friendly community there that I find a lot of awesome links and pics to fill my browsing time.

Can you tell the readers a little about the hobby challenge you're taking part in?
Sure! Many moons ago Zach had the idea for us to do a long term hobby challenge. It rapidly evolved into getting forces done for Adepticon, since that is a huge event on all of our calendars. We each chose an army to paint, and then decided on a points level. Since most of our gaming is at 1850 locally, we decided that it was the perfect level. Once we opened it challenge up to our listeners and forum users we also tossed in the idea of having a sideboard so that people could have different units to play with as well. The extra 400+ points gives a ton of flexibility. Those who are doing the challenge to win a prize have created threads on our board to track their self-determined monthly commitments. The beauty of this system is that if people want to set really low commitments each month, they won't finish an entire army on time! I'm really proud of the fantastic armies that everyone has been working so hard to complete.

Will you get your Eldar done in time?
Well sadly the answer is probably no. The chances of me finishing the full 1850 are really slim at this point, and you can just forget about the sideboard. I do still plan on having 1,000 points for the Team Tourney as well as an additional 500 points to add to that for the 40k Friendly. I know I'll never hear the end of it from Carl though...
Any fear of the Atomic Wedgie that you may receive?
The wedgie is certainly a factor for me, as Zach is a pretty large guy. My real motivator though is making sure that I don't let my teammates down for Adepticon. These guys added me last year and I was honored to join them in battle. I can't stand the thought of not being able to fight along side them this year because I was too lame to finish some painting.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell the world?
Only that we really appreciate all of the listeners and the feedback that have made The Independent Characters as successful as it is. It has been a wild ride watching our download numbers climb from their humble beginnings. We love making the show, but it has been the overwhelmingly positive support that motivates us to continue pushing ourselves and the medium of podcasting as far as we can.

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