My guest today is genre reader, writer and podcaster Paul Weimer.
SCy-Fy: Paul, you are involved in a wide variety of podcasts. How do you ensure that you are always well prepared?
PW: Research, Research, Research. If I am on Skiffy and Fanty and we’re talking to an author, I’ve read the book and thought about what I want to ask the author about her and her work. If it’s a Torture Cinema episode, I’ve watched the movie and have my likes and dislikes. If it’s a topic on SF Signal, I’ve come up with a list of books or things to bring to the table. Same for SFF Audio – listen to the audiobook, be ready to discuss the book. I’ll often have tabs open with stuff to pull into those discussions.
SCy-Fy: What are your future plans?
PW: Continue to expand and grow as a podcaster and member of the genre community. I’d like to guest on more podcasters, practice and continue to develop my voice, as it were.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major challenges for podcasts in future?
PW: Standing out. Podcasts are in a boom cycle, and it seems that there are now a ton of podcasts out there. How do you stand out when there are podcasts of every shape, form and variety? How do listeners “find” you and your work?
Also, keeping the show fresh and interesting, so listeners don’t go off to listen to one of the many alternatives.
SCy-Fy: What advice would you give anyone presenting a podcast?
PW: Practice before you go on. Do a few episode zeros to get a feel for what you want to do, what you like and don’t like. Be yourself – I can’t tell you how many NPR clones there are out there now. Make it your own.
SCy-Fy: Which resources do you use the most?
PW: Wikipedia, for general stuff. TV Tropes can be a sink hole of time and attention, but sometimes cogently highlights stuff I want to talk about in regards to something older and more established. Nothing beats, however, having the book in front of you, ready to bring up a point you want to get across.
SCy-Fy: Points to watch out for?
PW: Decent equipment. Sometimes my microphone picks up the unwanted, and the editing process can be painful. You can fix it in post, but try to get it right the first time. Also, give yourself a little time to wind up and then wind down around the actual hitting of record.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
PW: Knowing that listeners are out there, getting feedback, and understanding that my voice isn’t just going out to dead air. There is also a real camaraderie on all the podcasts I am on, regularly and irregularly. There’s a lot of chat and steam blowing before and after podcast discussions as we warm up and wind down. This seems to be true of every podcast I’ve ever been on. It’s a universal. That social connection keeps me doing what I do.
SCy-Fy: What have been some of your favourite episodes?
PW: I’ve had some real thrills – talking to Kim Stanley Robinson about SHAMAN. My recent SFF Audio podcast about THE NARRATIVE OF A. GORDON PYM was one of the best episodes I think I’ve ever done. My visit to The Three Hoarsemen podcast to discuss Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and the works of Charles Sheffield was a lot of fun too. Excellent discussion.
SCy-Fy: Which forthcoming books, films and TV shows are you most looking forward to reading or watching?
PW: Ilana Myer is a clever and interesting columnist and writer whose debut novel Last Song Before Night intrigues me with its promised blend of magic and music. Fran Wilde, of Cooking the Books and many other projects, also has a debut novel this year set in a city in the clouds that I am eagerly looking to try – Updraft. Laura Anne Gilman is returning to secondary world fantasy, kind of, with a world where the West is held by the Devil in Silver on the Road. Kate Elliott, one of the writers I read everything of, has two novels coming this year, the YA novel Court of Fives and a return to the Crossworlds universe in Black Wolves. That last…I know more than a little about already.
On the visual front, I’m hoping Avengers 2 holds up to expectations, that Minions will be as funny as the Despicable Me movies, and that Jurassic World will bring back the sensawunda the original did years ago.
SCy-Fy: Any last words?
PW: There’s a podcast for every taste and variety. Life is too short for listening to crap you don’t want to – and you don’t have to. From deep thought on complicated works of authors, to light and fun episodes about bad movies, there is a podcast taste for everyone and every mood.
I might be arrogant to think that my work is worth your attention, but my wide variety of material means I have something to offer everyone, with all of my hats.
SCy-Fy: Thank you, Paul.