Dear Postcards from Pearl!
Maybe you didn’t know this but it is the anniversary for your podcast! Well, it is kind of late because I am totally sure it was back in June. But you know how it is. Time flies when you are having fun! And you sure have been having lots of fun!
After all, you are a tabletop Pokemon podcast that is run by Jonah. He comes up with the story and the land of Kinoko. Also, let’s not forget the characters! It is amazing with how you are able to make your own original characters but fit in some named after your own fans.
And how can I forget about Sarah who plays Pearl! She is such a fun and great character to follow along in a tabletop campaign. And we are not talking about just Pearl! Sarah is such as creative person and it surely shows when she plays Pearl.
Postcards from Pearl has been on the air for two years now! Did you know that? That is so amazing. Now, for some reason we didn’t get your Top 5 Episodes to celebrate last year. I was certain we did that. Though, we can skip that because we have done an interview with you. (Yeah. You already know that but I am saying this for the readers of this feature.)
So how about we get to this interview for Postcards from Pearl featuring Jonah and Sarah! So see you soon!
Pokemon Crossroads: What made you guys want to start a (Pokemon) tabletop campaign? What was the motivation to make it into a podcast?
|Jonah: Well way back when I first found about (the now-defunct) Pokemon 5E system, I really wanted to get my hands on it and give it a try. |
Sarah knew a little about Pokemon, but didn’t really grow up with it. So starting a Pokémon tabletop campaign was a great way to share that love in a unique and engaging format!
|Sarah: The jump to turning it into a podcast wasn’t too hard for us! We already had our main podcast feed going with The Quest Company, so the transition into creating a more kid-friendly podcast worked really well! Especially since we are both teachers, now we have something to share with our students with no hesitation or worries of more mature content slipping in!|
PXR: Where did the name “Postcards from Pearl” came from?
|Jonah: Believe it or not, when we recorded the pilot, we still didn’t have a name for the podcast! It wasn’t until we got to the end of that recording and Captain Ron gave her the postcards to keep in touch that we realized that the postcards could be the sort of framing device for the show. Once we realized that, the title “Postcards from Pearl” came really quickly and easily!|
PXR: How did the amazing duo of Jonah and Sarah come to be? What is their origin story?
|Jonah: Oh boy, that is quite the story! The short version is… We have been friends since freshman year of college, and we were just friends until senior year! It wasn’t until senior year that we realized that we had been oblivious that whole time! |
We started hanging out more one-on-one when we were performing opposite each other in a show and started dating soon after. And the rest is history!
PXR: You (Jonah and Sarah) have made it clear that you are a pair of thespians. What led you guys to such a path?
|Sarah: I have adored theatre ever since I was a little kid and saw a production of “The Wizard of Oz!” I was six years old and have been acting and performing ever since. A true mini Pearl!|
|Jonah: I have always been a very creative person, whether it’s been in the realm of visual arts or performing arts. I love seeing shows and going to museums and making things. |
What really drew me to theatre and hooked me in was doing my school Christmas play in 4th grade – it was called “The X-Mas Files” and it was exactly what it sounds like! Cheesy as it was, I loved performing in it and haven’t ever wanted to do anything else since then!
PXR: By the sounds of it, Sarah has plenty of “chaotic energy” when getting into the role of Pearl. Part of that comes from her personal experience and other times it is just…Pearl. How much of Pearl is based on Sarah and just “chaotic Pearl energy”.
|Sarah: Oh gosh… what can I say? That’s a toughie! |
I guess I would say the vision of the podcast started with Jonah being able to share part of his childhood with me. Little did I know that I was unleashing the rabid inner child in me so that Jonah could experience a small glimpse of the feral creature I was at that age!
PXR: How does your relationship (Jonah and Sarah) work when creating the tabletop game or what happens during the game?
|Sarah: Recording is always a very exciting experience because Jonah puts so much work into it that I really just get to sit down and enjoy what he has prepared! It’s an awesome surprise as a player and such a treat to create together!|
|Jonah: It is definitely a partnership when we are recording, and I try to make sure that Sarah feels like she has as much creative agency as I do in the process. We did improv together for years, so a lot of how we work together in playing stems from that.|
PXR: You have had many different guests from other Pokemon tabletop podcasts on “Postcards from Pearl”. Who have been some of your favorites?
|Jonah: It would be impossible for us to pick a favorite guest! Not only are they all absolute gifts because of the obvious vocal skills that they bring to the table, but their creative attitudes and improv skills are all outstanding. |
We are really selective with who we bring on to the show because we care so much, and having guests with the willingness to play and a knowledge of the show they’re coming on is a huge part of that. We’ve been so lucky to have Megan, Adam, and Stew on the podcast, and we hope to see all of their characters come back!
PXR: Which other Pokemon tabletop podcasters would you like to have on “Postcards from Pearl”?
|Jonah: We would love to make our way through the rest of the Critical Ditto roster for sure!|
|Sarah: I really want Brandi specifically to come on, but Jonah says Tom would have to come up with a new character to guest with because he’s scared to have that much chaotic energy in the same room.|
PXR: Music has been pretty big when it comes to “Postcards from Pearl”. From “TabletopAudio.com for providing the ambient sounds” to whatever songs Sarah improvs on the fly. What goes into the thought process of what music pieces you put into the podcast proper?
|Jonah: The ambience and music is definitely a huge part of my editing process. |
There’s a lot of great artists whose music we use, like Braxton Burks, Insaneintherainmusic, GlitchxCity, etc., and those Pokémon remixes and covers are definitely my go-to.
But for the moments when the Pokémon music isn’t quite the right fit, I try to take into account the mood and environment and find something that enhances those elements for the listener. Sometimes I’ll even have specific music in mind if I’m planning an encounter! But it is so rewarding to me when I find the song that just “fits!”
PXR: I know this question has been asked a few times but it is on the mind. It was mentioned early on that Luca was never supposed to join Pearl on her journey. Though, he is now a main stay of Team Pearl with his “Teen Squad”. How has his inclusion to the story affected the story overall and planning?
|Sarah: Can we really imagine Pearl surviving for two minutes without Luca? This show would have been much shorter. I’m thinking death by Ekans or an explosion of crates?|
|Jonah: Yeah, the original intent was more of a “rotating cast” of companions for Pearl with her also spending a decent amount of time solo. But once we got like four episodes in and she insisted on Luca sticking around, we just went with it! |
Since his family has such a big place in the world as celebrities and members/former members of the Pokémon League, it has led to some interesting social interactions that might not have happened if he was more of an in-and-out NPC that mostly showed up when Team Nasty stuff was going on! Plus he’s good at battling, so I have to account for that when planning encounters!
PXR: One of the things that makes “Postcards from Pearl” special is the inclusion of the listeners and supporters. Examples of this are Holly from Holly’s Honey Hut and Mikey the Haunter (Thanks!). How do you try include all these fans in the story?
|Jonah: I really do keep a running list of Patreon supporters and people who give us social media shoutouts! If it’s possible to find out easily or if they mention it to us, I make notes of any of their favorite Pokémon so that the characters named after them can have them. |
So when I’m thinking through listener NPCs for an upcoming area, I check my list and see if there’s any that make sense to show up! And occasionally if I need some inspiration, I’ll take a listener NPC and think through what sort of encounter would be fun to meet them in.
PXR: What are your opinion of the podcast’s first ten episodes? Do you like them? Anything you wish could have come out differently?
|Jonah: Honestly, I adore those early episodes and their simplicity and sweetness. Those are our “true north” for the podcast. Even though Pearl has obviously gone on to deal with bigger and more mature problems than a Muk ruining someone’s flowers, I always want the podcast to be able to bring those same feelings for our listeners.|
|Sarah: I agree with everything Jonah said. If I sense I’m “getting in my head” or the temptation to preplan creeps in before recording I listen to those beginning episodes. They reset me and remind me who Pearl is and what the show is all about.|
PXR: So where does the stories come from? All the events and paths that Pearl faces in each episode?
|Jonah: They come from a lot of different places! First and foremost, the structure I have set up is the established map and locations like gyms. Things related to that and major overarching events have first priority in regards to what Pearl experiences when she goes to a specific location. After that I look at whatever the environment is and think of what people and Pokémon would be there and what they may need or want to provide a “hook”.|
I also will draw inspiration from the actual Pokémon games and TV shows and think of stories and events I can put my own twist on.
PXR: What is your favorite thing about the Pokemon fandom? What about the Pokemon tabletop community?
|Sarah: It is so passionate and I love it! The Pokémon fans/the tabletop community are so energetic, approachable, and creative. Simply ask “What’s your favorite Pokémon?” and you’re about to have an awesome conversation.|
|Jonah: Adding on to that specifically what I love about the table top community is seeing and hearing how people’s creativity and love for Pokémon manifests itself in their stories.|
PXR: Here is a question that I would love to ask all Pokemon tabletop podcasters. What is your thought on an epic “Avengers” style crossover between other Pokemon tabletop podcasts? Maybe not as epic as Endgame but just a crossover.
|Sarah: YES! That’s why Pearl gets so many PokeGear numbers! But have no clue how that happens and I understand if DMs just can’t handle it.|
|Jonah: Absolutely yes! My biggest curiosity is what format that would take place in since there are plenty of Pokémon podcasts outside of the tabletop genre.|
PXR: What do you enjoy about the podcast’s fans?
|Sarah & Jonah: Our fans are amazing!!! They are extremely thoughtful and so encouraging. We are so impressed with their own creativity. Also they are stinking smart and never miss a single detail in our podcasts.|
PXR: What kind of advice would you give to any of the podcast’s fans who may be interested in podcasting? Either Pokemon or another subject.
|Jonah: Think about what’s stories you want to tell whether it’s a Pokémon podcast or not! Even if it’s not something you think of as “narrative-based” podcasting is all about stories. But if you find something you want to tell and are passionate about you will find folks who want to listen to it.|
|Sarah: Go for it!! Just remember it takes time. It takes time to find a story, time to record and time to edit.|
PXR: How do you think the podcast has grown since the beginning?
|Jonah: The production value has certainly grown largely due to the contributions of our wonderful patrons. They have allowed us to upgrade our equipment and get new music and software. |
The story itself has grown in scale over time as Pearl has grown as a trainer. We have reached a point where Pearl is transitioning from a novice trainer trying to get some badges to a serious player who has potential to make a large scale impact in the region.
|Sarah: Yes to all that, and the fan base has grown! We love posting episodes and receiving reactions and messages from listeners! I love ending the work day and asking Jonah “What did they think of the new episode?”|
PXR: Where do you think the podcast will be in another three years?
|Sarah: Pearl will be a boss and Sealy will be an icon known throughout the land. Mickey Mouse who? Lol |
But in all seriousness I have no idea but a big goal would be to do a live show at some point.
|Jonah: I certainly see Pearl being close or at the top of the ranks in the region, judging from her current trajectory. I don’t know if we will see her at the Pokémon League by then, but I have to imagine that if not we will be approaching that point.|
PXR: What is your favorite podcast memory?
|Sarah: Ugh I can’t pick just one, but a big highlight for me was the lake battle and getting Team Nasty behind bars. That was such a difficult battle and genuinely exhausting for me as we recorded it but Pearl didn’t give up and it actually made a difference. I loved that.|
|Jonah: I would say the second battle against the Spiritomb in the Tomb of Sorrows. The Spiritomb originally came into being because I was trying to make something fun for a Halloween episode, but the consequences of that creation had such far reaching implications in the overall story and arch of the show. |
The second battle felt like a culmination of a lot of those ideas and I was so happy with how it played out and that it had such a big payoff for Pearl.
PXR: Which podcast episode from the last year would you like to recommend to new listeners and why?
|Sarah: Ep. 50 Family Meeting! |
This one is just so funny to me and if you haven’t listened before it covers a lot of the need to know characters while also setting you up for what is to come.
|Jonah: Ep. 63 Cookin’ Cuties: First off all this episode has one of my favorite bits (Cooking with CoCo) that has ever happened.|
I had also wanted to incorporate Contests for a while so it was very exciting to dive in. We had a blast with the Contest mini arch. So if Pokémon Contests are your jam I highly recommend.
PXR: Lastly, what would you like to tell to fans of the podcast?
|Sarah: WE LOVE YOU! Thank you so much for listening! It means so much to us!|
|Jonah: Thank you for your continued patience and engagement as we transition to this new game system. We are excited for you to hear it.|
Thank you so much to Jonah and Sarah for taking the time to do this interview with us for the podcast’s two year anniversary. Postcards from Pearl is one of my favorite podcasts. Their podcast is so great and funny. They have been a huge inspiration for the theme of this year’s Pokemon Podcast Appreciation Month. After all, who wouldn’t like to receive a postcard?
Also, a huge thanks and shoutout to @MBurgundyArt from Twitter! They are a huge Postcards from Pearl fan who make plenty of fan art for the show! A lot of their work was featured for this interview. Please make sure to check MBurgundy on Twitter for other pieces of amazing art!
Make sure to follow the podcast on Twitter, Quest Company Junior, by clicking here!
Either way, happy anniversary to Postcards from Pearl! Thank you for the fun at the table, fun for the family!