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#PPAMonth Podcast Roundtable #6

Roundtable three
Lets go around around around the roundtable!

Pokemon Podcast Appreciation Month is entering the final week! We have asked several Pokemon podcasters plenty of different questions through a roundtable survey. They were asked amazing questions such as their thoughts on music, what makes a great episode and their proudest moments! Today we are presenting another round of responses!

We have received several different responses from different Pokemon podcasts. The idea with these Podcast Roundtable is feature a variety of different podcasts and how they respond to similar questions. After all, a Pokemon tabletop podcast will response differently to questions compare to a Pokemon battling podcast.

Below are the podcasts that we will feature in today’s Podcast Roundtable.
Critical Ditto (Tabletop)
Pokemon Variety Hour (Specialty)
2’s Company (Tabletop)
Science of Pokemon (Specialty)
PkmnMstrz (Pokemon GO)

Now that you know who we have at the table, lets go see how they reply to our questions!

1: What lets you know that you made a great podcast episode?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): This is a really tough question. We find that our best episodes are never the ones we think are going to be the best after a recording.

It’s impossible to predict what people will respond to or really enjoy. We find the important thing is to have fun and have a great time. If you have a great time, it will probably be a great episode. And the editing process can always turn a bad episode into a good one!

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): Our greatest episodes are the episodes that we can look back on and be like “I remember that, that was pretty funny.” The kind of episode that doesn’t just go up and go mostly unremembered after that point.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): The rush of endorphins after recording an episode is what makes us feel that we have made a great episode.

It’s that feeling right after finishing up play where we both just go, WOW! All of our episodes are fun to record but there are always those special little sessions that give a much greater wash of emotion.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): We definitely have criteria (that) we use to judge our episodes. Was it factual? Yes, that’s the first step. Is it based on modern science? Yes, then that is important. Did we give context to things that may be difficult? Yes, that’s also good. Did we explain topics in a way that accessible to all fans? If we can hit that last one, I think that’s the big kicker.

We want fans to enjoy the show and have fun, but we feel it’s important that they learn too. I think we’ve come to accept that it’s okay for us to take ourselves more seriously as we continue. Our current format has us interviewing researchers and experts each month which at times can feel intimidating, but I think we often end up making connections to the games that we ourselves didn’t expect.

That said, I know there is room for improvement always and my goal is always to work harder to deliver ever improving content. I don’t want to ever feel like something was 100% great, because I want to strive to always do better.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): If my face hurts from smiling/laughing after recording, I know it’ll be a great one.

2: What kind of feeling do you wish your listeners would get from listening to your podcast?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): We always want our listeners to feel a part of the world we are playing in. It’s why we encourage listeners to send us their original character ideas for us to add to the story.

We hope they invest and after that we want them to constantly feel like they don’t know what will happen next. We want people to feel like we could go anywhere, do anything at any moment that is completely unexpected; hopefully meaning it’s exciting to listen to.

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): Honestly we just want people to laugh. Our podcast is meant to be comedic, so that’s our biggest goal.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): When listening to our Pokémon campaign, Henry’s Story, we hope that the audience feels like they are listening to a brand-new episode of the Pokémon anime.

In creating the Corrett region, Jonah has really tried to pull from that moment of discovery when the audience discovers a new aspect of the world or even a brand-new Pokémon. We hope to convey that childhood wonderment and nostalgia of playing a Pokémon game for the first time.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): Well hopefully they’d walk away having learned something. I guess I want them to feel empowered in understanding our world and seeing how wondrous and amazing it is.

I desire for our fans to feel excited to learn more and use our show as a jumping point to go further. I hope they don’t let some of our more serious news segments bring them down too much, we just want to make sure that our viewers are aware of what’s happening in the world around them. However, interacting with them online, we’ve come to find them to be pretty well informed.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): Just fun! Knowing they got information for the upcoming week and events, but had fun being part of our lives and being included in our family. As though we were sitting in our living room shooting the crap with you in person, having a drink (adult or otherwise), and giving our pets hell as they make a fuss while we talk Pokémon GO.

3: What is your thought process when it comes to picking music for your podcast?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): Well we are obviously limited to the music we are allowed to use. We’ve been very lucky to be allowed to use the music we use (Braxton Burks and GlitchXCity) who are extremely generous.

We like to use music to cut between scenes and reset our listeners attention. We have long episodes (1 hour – 1 hour and a half) so we understand people may drift away while listening. Music is a great opportunity to cut it all up into smaller sections and create an atmosphere going into a new scene.

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): There isn’t much music in the show, but the music we did choose is just what fits the vibe of the segment that it’s for.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): We have only recently started adding music to the show, but we like to play with themes.

Whether it’s a specific battle track for each of the rivals, or an ambient background to set the mood for a town, the music will follow. As more episodes with music come out, we are also tossing around the idea of adding music tracks to our older episodes for re-release.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): We currently only have our opening and transitional stings. Our early episodes had music in the background, but we’ve taken it all out as we’ve become more serious with our content.

I think I was so busy enjoying playing with music composition tools that I was taking away from the important content and information. As for the opening, I was definitely aiming for the feel of APM or NPR.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): Been fun to grab music. Was looking for something that makes people thing of gaming. Something upbeat. I think we found it and enjoy it.

4: How do you handle the structure of your podcast? Why is it structured a certain way in segments?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): We don’t have a “set” structure per se. As a continuous story we just try to move from scene to scene chronologically. We place a lot of emphasis on going to the next best scene.

We are trying very hard, especially recently, to dive into the scenes of action in order to keep the story moving at a pace. We have a midsection in the middle mainly to give ourselves and our listeners a bit of a break, to think about something completely different for 5-10 minutes.

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): It just gives us a chance to do a bit more content beyond the main topic of discussion, a VARIETY of content if you will. I’m sorry.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): Due to our podcasting being a running TTRPG campaign, our structure follows the path of a story from beginning to end.

Each segment of the story is separated into different arcs that revolve around a certain theme, i.e. the first trainer’s tournament or challenging the first gym. While the show would certainly be fun wherever you start, starting at episode 0 or episode 1 will help a listener understand the full story.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): Oh, it depends on which one of us is hosting. I like cold opens too much. Lucas, not so much. It’s probably because I grew up always watching SNL.

We always do a news segment after our opening focusing on science and Pokémon news. Then we dive into the topic getting a background and then either their interview or the discussion on the Pokémon. We always wrap it up with a closing. We keep it simple.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): lol Without structure everything would fall apart. With our “Event Radar,” “Rookidee in the Data Mines,” and the “Battle Arena,” it helps keep each episode on track, and keep our listeners know what’s coming up.

5: What kind of style do you think your podcast has?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): A chaotic one. We come to the table (and we hope our listeners start every episode) and we genuinely have no real idea of what is going to happen. Which is what is exciting about it. It sometimes gets out of hand very quickly.
Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): It’s mostly just a comedic conversational kind of show. Sometimes we try to be more informative, but conversational is where we mostly air.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): A big draw of the 2’s Company podcast is that our two different campaigns have drastically different styles.

Henry’s Story, our Pokémon campaign, tries to emulate the cute and wholesome vibe of the Pokémon anime and capture that nostalgic feeling of those who loved Pokémon as kids.

While our other campaign, Shiloh reborn, follows a much darker style of thriller mystery focusing on suspense and critical details.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): . We started because Lucas, having a background in biology and zoological education, would host panels at conventions like Metrocon and Dragoncon. He’d share those pieces online afterwards or discuss it on Facebook.

After becoming friends, we decided to just take that one step further. Our first episode is a study of wings and how flight words in birds (and how it wouldn’t work for Dragonite), and the style has really evolved from there.

The original reason I joined was bring in the mythology behind Pokémon and wishing to provide some laughs. Having a background in the social sciences and education I had hoped to dive into the human influences on the game or the parallels too. I wanted to make sure we had someone there that would push in the folklore, geography, and culture that influences the games because that’s always been my favorite piece.

Having to take over as host while Lucas is abroad this next year, has really changed my role and I’ve been working to ensure that there is more educational value.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): Informative, but silly. Made to keep you laughing even as we provide information that could be boring.

6: Why do you choose to release your podcast on the day that it is released on?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): Practically we release every two weeks because Tom and Ali who edit the episodes both have full time jobs.

Our episodes are quite long so it takes maybe 8-12 hours to edit one episode. To find a spare 8-12 hours in a working week is a hard thing to do.

We release on Mondays because a) we all like starting our weeks listening to podcasts, there are a lot of our podcasting friends who also release on a Monday (Postcards From Pearl, Force Majeure) so it’s nice to feel a part of that. Also because Tom insists that PokéMonday is a great pun…………………………….

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): It really came down to time management really.

The co-host who edited the show for its first 60 or so episodes also edited another podcast every week that came out Monday, so it just became routine to work on them one after the other and schedule them for the same day.

Once I took over editing for this show, I saw no reason to change the release day, so it’s still Monday.

2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): Much like a cartoon show, we release on Saturdays. We feel that a weekend release gives people two options.

One is that our show can be a nice treat to start the weekend off after a long work week.

Two is that a listener could save the episode to help start their next week off right. In the end we hope that no matter what day we release an episode our listeners will be excited to see our show pop up in their feed!

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): Haha. That’s completely random. It is more so, what day was I able to find a few hours to mix it? I tend to do a lot of editing to shrink sizes down by cutting more smaller pauses and so forth.

Realistically some of our interviews would be over an hour long if I didn’t. Thank you to all of the researchers who are such good sports. Lucas and I coordinate who takes what week, but it’s random. If the episode is done, we push it out. If things are easier for my work this Fall maybe we’ll have a consistent schedule, but because so much of the school year is up in the air, I just don’t know. I apologize to everyone, truly. I’m sure it’s frustrating.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): Originally when I was alone it was when I had a free moment, and when I had something to rant on.

With adding Roxy, we can always talk on all the news each week. In listening to other podcasts in the same Pokémon GO niche, I noticed Tuesdays seemed to be an empty day. “See a hole, fill a hole,” am I right?

7: What kind of image do you shoot for your podcast? Branding?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): As Pokemon has SUCH a strong, recognizable brand we don’t try to move too far away from that.

We don’t really think too much about the aesthetic but there are a lot of brilliant artists who put their own interpretation on the characters in the podcast. Gun to our heads, we’d say we try and keep it like the anime, quite light and loose. However, there are moments of darkness.

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): The only image that gets used is the logo, which honestly wasn’t given much thought and was thrown together by a buddy of mine in Photoshop. Honestly thinking about reworking it at some point.
2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): The biggest image we are aiming for with our podcast is all about discovery and world building.

Henry’s story follows a journey through a brand-new Pokémon region with lots of lore to uncover and new Pokémon to discover, the world is building as we play. While the system of dungeon world that we use for Shiloh has empty space built in, a way to uncover new things about the world as we play.

Immersive world building and challenging play.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): We’re really just a group of guys that enjoy talking about science. We want to be seen as accessible and transparent.

We’ve had dinner or drinks with people at conventions after a panel because we understand that we are a community. We do events with our network (Poke Casters Network) where our fans can come hang out and participate for free on a regular basis. We’ve never wanted to put ourselves or science behind a paywall. We understand that we are stronger and smarter together than we are alone, and I think we want our fans to feel valued because of that.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): A little bit of everything. We like being involved in just Pokémon Culture. I’m the retired grinder, now battler, photographer, and PvP Play-by-Play Commentator. Roxy’s on the grind to Lvl40 now, and loves that shiny hunt.

8: What is your proudest moment of your podcast?

Critical DittoTom and the Dittos (Critical Ditto): I think launching it.

We spoke about doing a podcast over a year before launch and actually seeing it there on iTunes and Spotify (and most other pod platforms) really felt like a huge achievement.

Another moment was getting our first fan art from Miraculous Monty. That was brilliant! And of course our discord server makes me proud every day as it’s such a lovely environment and must thank the Paladins (leaders of the server) for that. So thank you Britt, Arauro, Gigi, Carrie and Rove.

Pokemon Variety HourRiely (Pokemon Variety Hour): Reaching Episode 50.

(Episode) 50 was a huge milestone, and it was even more significant for me as the show ended for a while due to some internal stuff for a while after Episode 41, so hitting that milestone gave me a strong feeling of “Yeah, we’re back baby.”

2s CompanyJonah (2’s Company): I think the proudest moment would have to be when we finished the first arc of the story.

At that point we had not started releasing episodes yet, but we were looking back on a finished project with the potential to grow, and even if nobody ended up listening, we still loved what we had created and the story we were about to tell.

Science of PokemonProfessor Collins (Science of Pokemon): Okay, so there are three and they are very different and yet important. The first was when Lucas was invited to a national education conference. He was recognized for his work using video games and nerd culture in teaching. I was really proud of him and happy for him. It was a sign that we were okay to take our work seriously and see it having some actual educational value.

The second was this Summer. Last Summer, we worked with three other podcasts to form a podcast network (Poke Casters Network) that would operate as non-profit and do charity work while helping shows grow and building an open community. We held our second series of charity events this summer, and honestly the number of podcasters who were genuinely interested in collaborating blew me away. It has been just amazing seeing so many people come together. While the network isn’t the show and vice versa, the show was the reason we started the network, so I count it.

The third was last summer. Don and I presented over the weekend at Colossalcon (among other conventions) and we had our second and third panel packed. We had people lining up all through the hall and then once inside, standing despite it being a larger room. There were people crowding in around the walls. Even our last panel that was at night (on a Saturday at one of the largest party conventions) was full of people coming to listen to us talk about economics. I think that’s when we realized that there would be a larger appeal for our content than we imagined. I never thought I’d see that many people give up time to listen to us talk.

I also love that my six-year-old now does panels with me. She has said that she’s wanted to be a biologist since she was two (partly because I’m friends with several outside of the show). Now that I get to bring her to events and have her on the show is great. Yeah, she interrupts because she’s a Kindergartener, but I’m pretty sure she knows more about predatory behavior that most adults I know. We recently were invited to Wizards World together and I just love getting to share this with her.

PkmnMstrz JoltSw1tch (PkmnMstrz): Being accepted into the Pokémon Professor Network. Made me feel like I was doing a good job, and yet has pushed me to do more and do better. Now working as a team for a common goal, rather than fighting the fight alone.

Ken’s always said, “As the tide rises, all boats rise.”

Special thanks to Tom & The Dittos, Riely, Jonah, Professor Collins and JoltSw1tch from their respective podcasts for taking the time to answer these questions. We hope you love these podcasts! Make sure to give them all a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! See you next time for your next roundtable!

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