Derek Graziano, host of The Sometimes Geek Podcast, has some quick advice to aspiring podcasters out there who might be hesitant to make the jump, “take chances and have fun.” Simple as that. In conducting around 40 of these Podcast Spotlights so far, there seems to be a common thread that ended up being the catalyst in creating their podcast. They always wanted to start a podcast but didn’t know where to start; saw there wasn’t anything exactly like what they wanted to make; and ultimately just said “screw it” let’s try something new.
Though Derek’s advice is simple, it’s very pointed. And in that regard Derek’s experience creating The Sometimes Geek Podcast is a familiar one: he wanted to create a short-form gaming podcast with some comedy thrown in. He checked out the market and the majority of similar podcasts out there skewed towards the longer form. With this mission in mind, he succeeded. The Sometimes Geek Podcast is an excellent podcast about the gaming industry, with some jokes thrown in, combined with Derek’s unrivaled fandom of games as a whole. The majority of episodes are under 20 minutes, so they’re perfect for your commute, the gym, or just listening with friends while you play video games.
I got a chance to catch up with Derek and discuss how he started The Sometimes Geek Podcast, where he stands on the endless short vs. long-form podcast debate, and why the gaming industry is excelling at taking chances. Below is a transcribed interview, enjoy!
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast about?
Derek: It’s a weekly gaming news recap/editorial that focuses on shorter episodes for easy consumption.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Derek: It gives them all the major gaming news without having to listen to longer versions (typically over 1.5 hours in my experience) or without having to spend the time checking multiple gaming sites on a daily basis.
DP: Why did you choose to podcast?
Derek: I’ve been a podcast listener for years, typically pulling 5 or 6 a week for my own listening.
DP: As a relatively new podcaster, what have you already learned that you wish you knew when you started?
Derek: I guess the easy answer to this is everything. Despite all of the research I did, having read various blog posts and listening to a handful of podcasts on where to start, none of it really prepared me for the experience of producing my own show. Aside from the usual things like being socially active online, that I was pretty bad about, the biggest thing I learned was to let my show develop and evolve from it’s original concept. When I first started, The Sometimes Geek Podcast, I had planned on a longer episode format with comedy aspects to it. This was basically mimicking other gaming podcasts that I was already listening to. While my co-host at the time and I were making ourselves laugh, it really didn’t translate to the listener. As I later moved onto hosting my episodes solo, I then ran into issues with keeping the length in an area that felt like it was long enough. Ultimately within the last few months I feel I’ve hit my stride by letting go of those concepts and the quality of my show is better for it.
DP: There seems to be an endless debate between shorter snack’able podcast episodes, and more longer form. Can you give us a quick campaign for why shorter is better?
Derek: Personally I listen to both. While a longer podcast is great for times at work that I can sit at my desk and get things done, it’s harder to find the time to actively listen to something while doing shorter everyday tasks. In all honesty, when I listen to a longer form podcast, it tends to end up as background noise to whatever I’m doing at the time. I find it to be less about absorbing the podcast as opposed to drowning out everything else. With a shorter podcast it gives you the chance to get in and get out, listening to everything the host has to say, at your own leisure. I’ve noticed specifically with gaming podcasts, most have tended to be longer. As someone who’s already absorbing all of this information through various websites I feel a shorter podcast is a great way to cover those topics for someone that doesn’t want to devote as much time, but still wants to stay up to date.
DP: Gaming, in particular, seems to be pushing the boundaries for experimenting with different engagement methods with Twitch, the rise of eSports, and more. Where do you think podcasts fit into this ecosystem?
Derek: The gaming genre’s ability to adapt and change has really been it’s strong suit. I feel that things like Twitch have been a unique change to the culture that lends itself openly to fan interactions and engagement with creators in a way that we don’t really see anywhere else. Meanwhile, with it’s rise in popularity, eSports have helped show a mainstream audience that there can be more to this community than the stigma and stereotypes that gamer’s had originally seen in earlier days. I feel that podcasts have already been learning the same things and have been focusing on spreading a more accessible and user engaged environment. Much like Twitch, the podcast genre is yet another way for someone to start creating their own product and getting it out to an audience of like minded individuals that also enjoy the same things.
DP: Which games and/or stories do you think could transition to a popular movie that haven’t already been tried?
Derek: That’s a tough one. Video game stories have historically been adapted into notoriously terrible movies. Part of this is the fact that the interactive nature of putting someone into the role of a main character personalizes the story in a way that a movie doesn’t. That being said, a game that was narrative focused like Heavy Rain or Life is Strange could make for a great story, but I don’t know how popular they would be. The Halo franchise could probably be a good popcorn flick/action movie that would be visually entertaining and is a pretty well known game to most audiences.
DP: What are your favorite podcasts?
Derek: I listen to so many different genres that my list is going to be pretty random. I’m a big fan of The Giant Bombcast, The RT Podcast, My Brother My Brother and Me, Solomonster Sounds Off, and Alice Isn’t Dead.
DP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Derek: I want to thank you for giving me a chance to talk about my podcast and to give it a little spotlight. For anyone thinking about starting their own podcast, whatever the genre might be, just go out and start it. It’s been a lot of fun starting a hobby that has given me a chance to reach out to an audience that I might have never interacted with before. Take chances and have fun.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
Derek: www.sometimesgeek.com and searchable on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and Podbean.