If you love podcasts and you love science fiction films I have discovered just the thing for you – The Science Fiction Film Podcast; I caught up with the show’s creator and presenter Dean and he gave me an insight into how the show is put together, why Science Fiction is the best and most importantly who would win in a fight between Captain Kirk and Han Solo.
Recorded in Massachusetts in the USA, the Science Fiction Film Podcast (#SFFP) is one of my favourite shows to listen to. It is hilarious, informative and a must listen for any fans of the science fiction genre. From the very first moment I listened to this show it was clear that the force was strong within them.
Each show follows a set format that sees the host Dean and his co-hosts Jessica and Matt discuss “production notes” and then delve into a detailed scene by scene discussion of the film. On paper this format may sound pretty dry however it never is because the charm, humor and sheer enthusiasm of the presenters make each episode riveting. The episodes are produced on a weekly basis and each episode takes a look at a different film giving it the SFFP treatment. They often find time to throw in a few impressions of Mark Walhberg, a recurring gag, and always have time for some pretty serious Jeff Goldblum appreciation. (Hey it’s Goldblum, who can blame them?)
There are a lot of podcasts out there, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly; but occasionally you can discover a true gem like the Science Fiction Film Podcast. It is an independent production but it has all the hallmarks of a professional show with a creative team who really know what they are talking about and behind the humor is an impressive drive to produce top quality content.
As people who read this blog will know, I like to connect with people as I love to know what inspires the impulse to create interesting things, whether that is music, stories, art or podcasts. As is so often the case I let curiosity get the better of me and I reached out across the waves using Jedi mind control (ok it was email) to ask Dean if he minded answering a few of my questions, thankfully he agreed.
When did you start LSG media and how did you get into podcasting?
LSG Media was a few different things before it was as you know it today. I knew I wanted to podcast, but I didn’t want to be limited by genre. So I started the Liberty Street Geek Podcast. We covered a few different television shows and some movies. It was humble beginnings. I was a solo host, and quickly realized I wanted more. I re-branded to the Science Fiction Film Podcast to go more niche, and to have a fresh start, and this was a difficult decision, because I let a lot of old content go, which was hard.
Ultimately I wanted a uniform approach to the show with the same intro and outro music, and the same segments. The original show was largely experimental with changes to music and the use of different software and equipment. However I knew that this wasn’t the way to go, because I wanted a consistency that would appeal to listeners and keep them coming back for more. The Science Fiction Film Podcast is about 6 months old, but I have podcasted (as more of a hobby) for about a year before with the old show.
Podcasting comes naturally to me as I love talking about things that interest me. There is a bit of a teacher, philosopher, and geek in me. I thought I wanted to be a writer, as I realized that I had a lot of stories in me, but I lacked the drive to pursue it. But with podcasting there is nothing I’d rather be doing. I have earbuds in constantly, and I am always thinking about the next show.
Did you always want to be a Star WarsMan when you grew up and how did you get on at college?
As a kid I never knew what I wanted, and I am starting to get the feeling that what I wanted wasn’t possible until podcasting. Most of my life has seen me trying to figure out how to utilize my passions. I love exploring the creative side of life more than anything and I didn’t like working for work’s sake. I liked working for something, and for something that mattered to me. Something that I enjoyed. This means that school and I rarely got along. I don’t actually have a college degree, and most of the classes I took at college (or University for you Brits) were for the enjoyment of it. I loved history, astronomy, philosophy, creative writing, anything that was mentally engaging.
One of the most engaging aspects of the show is your unashamed enthusiasm and the fun banter you share with Jessica and Matt. Your friendships are real and that transmits to the listener making them feel like they are part of a tight-knit group of friends, everyone is included. Is this a conscious presenting style or are you just a naturally chilled out inclusive type of dude?
I don’t know if I am a naturally chilled out type of dude or not, and that would really depend on who you ask, but I flit between water and fire depending on the situation. But more to your point… yes, I absolutely decided to be myself, and that naturally led to me being relaxed and inclusive. I think that people often take themselves way too seriously. They are so concerned with what people think, and they are constantly presenting something other than themselves… some artificial masquerade. I think we are all guilty of sometimes satisfying the status quo. The average person (myself included) get up, go to a job, and we are basically functions that are expected to be a certain way. That way is usually not how we really are. It’s not what we really care about. It is easy to be myself when talking about Star Wars or some other geeky thing. And not to make this answer too long, but I actively seek group participation, and it is because I am genuinely curious as to who my listeners are. I want to know more about them. I want them to feel like they are part of the show.
Can you tell me a little more about your plans for the future and where you would like the pod to be in 2 years time?
At this point I am all in – meaning I want this to be my job. I don’t really have a fall back plan. I know that this likely scares the shit out of people who care about me. Christ, it scares the shit out of me, but I do have some lofty goals. I want to do more shows, more episodes, and grow the show into something bigger, into a community of people. It’s not about being rich or anything, but the idea of doing this for a living is too exciting not to pursue with 100% of my ability. I think that dedication is a cute word people use, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to accomplish anything in any profession.
Your attention to detail is high (with your whiteboards and production notes). With that in mind how long does it take to put one show together?
Some shows take longer than others, and it really depends on the information out there. The A New Hope episode took me a long time to prepare for, because there is so much content out there, and I didn’t want to just repeat the same stuff that we have all heard before. Independence Day was easier, even though I have seen it less, because there are so many funny things that occurred to me while watching it that I could jot down.
I wouldn’t call it joke writing, but if a funny thought occurs to me while watching – I jot it down, and use it as a launching point for one of my wacky tangents. But on average I watch a film while taking notes. Sometimes I watch it through for pleasure, and then view it a second time whilst taking notes. Then I capture some sound bites from the movie (of which we have decided to do a lot less of), and then we record, and then do post-production.
Honestly… it’s a second job. But to answer your question simply — We spend anywhere from 2 hours watching, 1 hour of audio grabs, 1 to 4 hours of research, 1.5 hours of recording and about an hour of editing.
When you prepare a show and then edit afterwards do you have a preferred place to work, like a specific space to be creative?
Unlike authors, I don’t really have the benefit of creative space. I require technology to accomplish my show, and that typically means I banish myself to the podcasting room. Currently, a small office in our apartment.
Why do you love Science Fiction?
In the interest of time (because as you know, all my other answers were so short!!) I will try to keep this brief, because this could be an entire 4 page essay by itself. Here is the “I am so smart and cool answer”; science fiction allows us to explore ethical and moral dilemmas that you can’t explore with modern-day tales. Is Data property? If so, why? If not, why not? Is it ethical to alter a timeline to prevent something tragic? But most importantly I love it because it is fun. Space, different civilizations, fantastic technology, interesting characters. What’s not to like? Science fiction has the potential to buck the norm. It can tackle issues and toss aside preconceived notions. It gets us away from the mundane – which we could all use a little more of.
Picard or Sisko?
Picard is the best Captain in Starfleet. His record is exemplary, and he is a brilliant leader. Sisko is a man’s man, a guy that I would rather work for as his passion is contagious, but it can also lead him into dark places that aren’t really great for Starfleet.
Picard is the epitome of human evolution to me. As someone who likes gritty realism I almost find him too perfect, but that’s what TNG explored, and he is the best product of that vision.
Who would win in a fight between Captain Kirk and Han Solo?
Kirk would kick Han’s ass six ways from Sunday if we are talking characters. But Harrison Ford would mop the floor with Billy Shat, hands down.
In a wild-west gun fight Solo would win but in a straight UFC style battle I would have to go with Kirk.
Thanks so much to Dean for taking the time out to chat with me. I highly recommend you check out the Liberty Streek Geek (LSG Media) website for more information on upcoming shows and how you can support them for future projects.