This Just In… From Gen Con (2014)

A thing that didn’t happen this past summer was my (co)hosting of This Just In…From Gen Con.

tjiThis Just In… is a podcast about the gaming convention, recorded and distributed during the convention. Seven main episodes in all, morning and evening broadcasts most days with just a single show on the final day, where we talk about what we’ve seen at the convention and what at the convention we’re excited about. Add on the obligatory pre-convention and post-convention episodes, and we’ve got nine actual episodes to fill. Well, that plus additional recordings in the months before the convention to get people interested about TJI and a whole slew of recordings and interviews from the convention to be released in the weeks and months (if we’ve got the material) following.

There were a few reasons why TJI 2014 didn’t happen, several of which were out of my control and a few items that were. I’ll not go over the why of it here. This space is about what I would have hoped the show would have been.

My main goal with the show’s content was to deliver the Gen Con experience to listeners. I wanted to get short interviews from the halls of the Indiana Convention Center and bring them back to the people that couldn’t make it. I wanted to focus on different aspects of the convention that weren’t just about what new games are being released.

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Most of the interviews listed below I envisioned as short recordings, edited into the broadcast, instead of having guests come onto the show for the entire twenty or thirty minutes of the podcast. Instead of a morning zoo radio type of recording, I was hoping to go more NPR All Things Considered or Radiolab on it. By which, I mean hosts talking about a topic which leads into a pre-recorded piece and then back out with the hosts continuing the Gen Con discussion. (If we went full Radiolab with all their audio mixing, each episode would take weeks to complete!)

Our first show would have had interviews with people lined up outside the exhibit hall for the opening of the convention. We’d talk about what they’re excited about, how far they traveled to get here, their experiences with the convention so far. I would want to mic up my co-host that morning to get his impression of the exhibit hall — this would have been Ron Blessing’s first time attending Gen Con. (A longer version of Ron’s experience could be built into a post-convention show all its own with me interviewing Ron. We could full-on Radiolab up that puppy. If Vern, Ron’s wife, was able to attend and co-host (also her first Gen Con), that would have been a cool “First Time at Gen Con” episode.)

Ogloszono-zdobywce-Diana-Jones-Award-w73614For the same first show, I also would have wanted to speak with Matt Forbeck. We’d recap the Diana Jones Award from the previous night, but I’m really interested in bringing families to the convention. The last time I attended Gen Con (in 2013), his wife and children (five!) stopped by my booth. While the kids were entertained by the puppets (and wanting to leave to see the Dalek next door), I had a chance to talk to Ann Forbeck about the show. That conversation about Gen Con as a family event would have been nice to have.

cosplaySaturday, I would hope to have broadcast a short interview with a professional model who cosplays at the convention. In addition to cosplaying, Marie-Claude designs and fabricates all of her costumes. I would like this discussion to be all about the numerous cosplayers at the convention (because there’s always a ton of them) and a look at how much time and detail goes into creating the amazing costumes attendees wear. I’d also like to bring in the guy in the Dalek (I’m blanking on his name right now…Jim?) at the WhoNA booth. In 2013, I was boothing right next door to the big Doctor Who merchandise booth and chatted with him after the show was over.

One of the big draws at Gen Con is True Dungeon. I’d like to score an interview with Jeff Martin, the founder of True Adventures and True Dungeon, where we would discuss setting up the event. Combine that with interviewing one of the staff that leads players through the attraction, and a chat with some adventurers both before and after the event.

I also know the Event Coordinator for Fantasy Flight Games. FFG takes up dozens of tables, running hundreds of games over four days. Jaffer is in charge of logistics for the play space, organizing dozens of volunteer game runners, tournament judges, and other staff. How all that is handled for a convention the size of Gen Con would have made an interesting story.

GoD_logoThis Just In has always had a bent towards indie RPGs, and I’d want to talk with some of the folks organizing Games On Demand. I’d actually play a game (which I never do enough of at the convention) and report on how GoD works. Perhaps score an interview with one of the GMs on how they prep for a GoD slot, opposed to a regular convention game.

During the convention, I would be walking the exhibit hall, recording a minute or two at different aisles and booths, talking about the smaller booths one would see at Gen Con. This would be stitched up for a “Walking the Hall” post-convention show.

One thought that came up from Chris Perrin, one of TJI’s co-hosts, about crowdfunding spotlights was neat. We bookend the convention with paired crowdfunding episodes. One about funding campaigns that are scheduled to be at Gen Con, then one after the convention where we revisit the funding campaigns spotlighted in the first episode — where the projects are now that the convention is over, the reception at Gen Con, and what lies ahead for the projects.

Structurally, I was thinking the at-Gen Con episodes would be set up like so: intro, host banter and discussion about recent con stuff, recording #1, host reaction and discussion, (optional recording #2,) final host segment, outro. The host banter stuff would only take about 15-20 minutes to record, splicing in prerecorded bits could make those episodes out to 30-45 minutes. With multiple people sharing the hosting duties, we would only need two hosts for each episode.

Theoretically, I could be co-hosting the Wednesday AM episode and not need to be back on until the Thursday PM one. More hosts = more time off-air to find things worth bringing back to the show.

Anyway. That was my big plan for TJI. I wouldn’t mind trying again for 2015, but.… Well. We’ll see.