Podcasting Queens - Interview with Tessa Netting and Anna Brisbin
The world of podcasting is going through a boom right now. And it’s no wonder, as it’s the most versatile way to consume content. You can listen on the go, as you work or whilst you’re chillaxing at home munching on a family-sized bar of chocolate (I swear that's not me). I dabble in loads of podcasts. However, there’s one in particular that I tune into every week, without fail. And that is the wonderful Fantastic Geeks (and where to find them).
This project was a result of a collaboration between two of the most revered geek content creators out there, Youtubers Tessa Netting and Anna Brisbin - AKA Brizzy Voices. Tessa is infamous for her ‘things to do’ style videos (her Edinburgh video makes me want to get on the Hogwarts Express straight to Scotland), whilst Brizzy is known for her voice over work (if you’ve not seen her Pokémon impressions, go do it now.)
The two notoriously team up on videos that are all things Harry Potter related, so they decided to take their work one step further. The initial idea for a podcast came from conversations that the two had personally on a day-to-day basis, and it only seemed to make sense for them to put these topics on a platform where everyone could join in on the discussion.
If you’ve never heard of the show before, it’s like geeky talk show but with a Potterhead twist. Tessa states, “Harry Potter is our core fandom for the podcast (like it is in our lives) but we love branching out into other fandoms as well”. These include films, TV, books and more (the latest episode was about musicals, so my inner theatre kid was going insane). There’s something for every nerd out there to enjoy.
The magical element stems a lot from the games played within the show, such as the Ravenclaw Riddle, letters from ‘The Owlery’ - IE: questions from listeners - and my personal favourite, sorting different characters from various fandoms into the Hogwarts houses, because as Tessa puts it, “WE JUST WANT TO SORT ALL OF THE THINGS”.
...I may have listened to the Avengers sorting episode at least three times. No shame. #SlytherinPride
The two have managed to grow their show through social media. Not just by promoting it, but by engaging with fans regularly on groups and forums to ask for questions on certain topics, opinions and images. These are then featured on the show, creating a wonderful interactive element with all the listeners out there. It shows how clued up these gals are with their fans, one of the most important things for creators in my humble opinion.
The episodes so far have also featured other creators and fellow nerds who have podcasts as well (a process the two call ‘cross-podinating’, which I adore). These include Butch Hartman, the creator of Fairly Odd Parents and voice actor and YouTuber, Brian Hull. But that’s not all. Brizzy hints, “I don’t want to spoil it, but we’ve got a pretty amazing guest lined up who we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have such an extended conversation with otherwise!”
Fantastic Geeks is also topical and reactive, as Brizzy states: “Either Tessa comes over or we go to lunch and just go through things that we’re interested in talking about right now.” This includes one of the latest episodes which featured theories on the latest movie trailer in the Fantastic Beasts series, Crimes of Grindelwald. So if you’ve got nobody nearby to bounce your own feelings off of, then this podcast is a fabulous way of offloading your thoughts.
As well as the pop culture element, the two hosts kindly provide great advice and support for their listeners. In episode 19, the two had a whole show dedicated to answering questions to Harry Potter related problems. From the best ways to date a Hufflepuff, to knowing what to do when a friend ghosts you because they see the fandom as ‘childish’.
For me - and I’m sure for many other readers out there - these are topics that not many other friends will discuss in detail (us hardcore fans are a rare breed). I think it’s awesome that this space is one where fans can feel comfortable to get advice from these lovely ladies, and discuss more in the online communities of the show.
Speaking of which, these two are passionate geek girls. From their Harry Potter fashion styles, to the unapologetically nerdy videos where they quote lines from the books/movies all the time (literally me all day every day, no joke). On this Tessa states, “I think being a geek girl and being openly passionate about the things or fandoms you love is extremely important.
“We all love something, we are all fans of something and I pride our podcast in being a place for girls (and boys!) to celebrate that love and not be afraid to show it.”
Brizzy reiterates this point. “I think it’s just our instinct to be our obsessive, passionate selves. But we noticed that most of the geeky or nerdy podcasts in the forefront are hosted by men, so it’s been nice to try to give the podcast world a different perspective for geeky subjects.”
I couldn’t agree more. Too often I’ve felt the need to hide this nerdy side of myself, in fear of being outcast and rejected. However, as I’ve continued with this blog, I’ve discovered girls like Tessa and Brizzy. Girls who remind me that it’s cool to be my real geeky and outlandish self. And this podcast only helps to grow my self-confidence, which I'm sure it does for others out there as well..
Got a question for the gals that you want answered on the show? Drom em an owl!
Starting a podcast requires great marketing, but also the ability to communicate well with your listeners and bring their thoughts into the content. Tessa and Brizzy are so dedicated to regularly talking with their fans, reading out reviews and comments on the show and putting up polls on the online communities. This for me makes the podcast more than just an audio show. It’s a brand of its own entirety.
To any aspiring podcasters out there, take note. By engaging and responding to your listeners, you’ll keep people coming back. Once you record an episode and put in live, be sure to spend some time to converse with your listeners and their thoughts. And respond to their comments! Even if it’s just one, it can make a person's day.
As for everything else, Brizzy has some simple advice for you. “Pick something that you could talk about for absolutely EVER. And of course pick a great friend who loves the thing as much as you and whose schedule matches up with yours to record frequently.” This is key. If you want to create a series, block out time in a calendar and make sure you have the space and resources to do it (IE a good-quality mic and ideally a soundproof room).
No doubt, a podcast requires serious dedication to succeed. But take some leaves out of these girls books, and you’ll sure be onto a good start.
Fantastic Geeks is currently on it’s 22nd episode, and already it’s topping the podcast charts and gaining listeners worldwide. I’m so excited to see what’s in store for this show in the future. If you haven’t yet had the chance to catch an episode, pop on over via the links and see what interests you. The episodes aren’t linear, so you can enjoy whatever looks most intriguing to you.
And of course to finish off, I had to ask the question we were all thinking. If they could, who would be the dream guests to star on the show? Tessa answered, “Ezra Miller and J.K. Rowling. That’s it.”
Well, if the podcast keeps growing as it has been, I reckon it’s only a matter of time ladies. All is well.