Random Pimage Presents 8 Qs with @AlRuff and @Obajoo

Well it’s Monday once again and you know what that means…  No it’s not time to feed your sibling to a volcano to appease the fire gods… though on second thought I still owe my sister for telling on my about sneaking out when I was.. err nothing… Love ya sis don’t pay any attenion to the Mayan death cult on it’s way to your house…   No it’s actually time for more 8 Questions.  This week I bring you another double stuffed 8 Qs.  The wonderful talent behind the Gearheart Podcast Novel.  If you haven’t given it a listen really what are you waiting for?  … No really why haven’t you listened to it yet…  You’re gonna make Alex Cry and he’s good peeps…. Again like I was saying before… ooh SHINY!!!! This week I bring you the talented and and just totally freaking awesome couple behind the Gearheart Alex and Renee White.

Alex White

1 ) How did you get into Podcasting?

I got into podcasting because no one would read my novels.  I don’t know if people thought they sucked or what, but I could almost never get someone to finish a book.  I think everyone has been burned by having a writer friend who makes them read something truly awful.  I eventually decided that it was the medium- reading off a computer screen kind of sucks- and I thought I’d podcast the book.  After all, if you can combine it with something you have to do anyway, like manual labor or commuting, it would at least be a diversion.  So yeah, I started podcasting because I thought it would suck less than reading it off a computer screen.  Naively, I believed that I had a new idea.  Imagine my surprise when I found a blossoming community of awesome people!

2 ) When did you start writing and Why?  Do you remember that “1st” story?

I started writing poetry as a little boy.  I loved limericks and I avidly consumed Shel Silverstein.  When I got a little older, I had a girl I wanted to impress, so I wrote a story about an adolescent werewolf named Percy.  She liked it, so I kept writing horrible short fiction for girls in the hopes of impressing them.  Wow.  This question has made me realize that my artistic life began as a very base pursuit…

3 ) What’s it like working on a Podcast like the Gearheart with your Spouse?

It’s great fun!  At first, things were pretty crazy, and it took us a long time to get into the swing of production.  Poor Renée… she’s always getting dragged into my hairbrained schemes.  I’ve put her in prank movie trailers, comic projects, music and now this.  Other than our marriage and our child, The Gearheart is the longest running project we have ever undertaken.  I’m proud of the working rapport we’ve built, and I think it serves us very well.  Things weren’t always easy- creative disagreements were had, but we came out ahead.

4 ) You’re also a graphic artist does that play for or against your writing crative efforts?  (Are you ever working on one when the urge takes over to be working on the other?)

I’m a writer who happens to be good at graphic design.  Every other talent- music, design and marketing- is geared toward making more people hear and enjoy my stories.  I pay the bills with my design, but if I had my druthers, it would be the other way around.  So I use my honed skills to enhance my writing.  If you need a fancy cover and a soundtrack to make you read/listen to my book, I’ll make it for you.  I just want to be taken seriously, and I think presenting my ideas in a way people understand will help.  The mass media is capable of such a slick presentation, and I don’t want to be stifled by the fact that I can’t match their values.  I’ll just try to learn how they do things and make it myself.

5 ) If I remember correctly you do your own music for the podcast too.  Is there any part of the production you don’t do yourself (other than the female parts)?

Renée handles the all-important detail of making sure we believe in the tension between the male and female characters.  I make sure that when the spotlight is ready to go on, everything is in place.  I handle graphics, web design, music, mastering, mixing and tagging.  Also writing, but who cares about that?

6 )  I’m going to make an ass out of u and me and assume here that you have a fascination with old time radio because of the “commercial” you’ve done for the show – What are some of your favorite old radio dramas and what drew you to them and your style of podcast?

Well, I had a boxed set of tapes of The Shadow that I used to listen to all the time, but not a lot other than that.  I always liked the promise of old radio dramas, but I never really got into the execution.  That’s probably why I don’t actually do a full-on radio drama for The Gearheart.  I did look at a lot of movies and TV, such as “O Brother Where Art Thou” for the “Pappy O’Daniel’s Flour Hour.”  I like those little things.  The commercials started out as a fun diversion, and I wanted to make something in the vein of the era I was going for.  I wanted pulpy 20s, so that’s where those come from.

7 ) I saw on twitter you were working on a Agustus short story, any chance we might see a little more of the other characters’ pasts like maybe that of the mercenaries?

Well, I don’t want to spoil anything.  Let’s just say we learn a LOT about them in the next book.

8 ) Now that the Gearheart has finished up – What’s next?

Next? I don’t get to take a break?  *sobs*  Actually, I’m planning to begin production on my next podcast very soon, with a planned Fall release.  It’s called “Festival of the Bizarre,” and it’s a near-future noir thriller.  It should entertain those of you with more… shall we say… violent streaks…  I’m also working on “Maiden Flight of the Avenger,” the Augustus short story, hopefully to be released soon.  Lastly, I’m working on a secret Gearheart project that should please everyone.  I’ll try to drop more details as I firm things up for publication.

Thanks for the opportunity, Robert! Keep on pimpin’!

(btw it’s Rich… not Robert)

Renee White

1 ) How did you get into Podcasting?

Honestly, I’d never thought about it until Alex started doing The Gearheart podcast.  Originally, he was doing all the voices on his own.  He had asked me if I wanted to help, but I said no because I had never acted before.  The extent of my voice talents at that point were making silly voices for Ari’s stuffed animals.  But after listening to Alex doing the female voices, and honestly thinking he sounded completely ridiculous, I decided to give it my best shot.  I knew how much this story meant to him, so I wanted to help him make the best product he could.

2 ) What’s it like working on a Podcast like the Gearheart with your Spouse?

At first it was really weird!  I still get a little shy around him like some star-struck teenager.  I’m told that will wear off in time.  I made a rule in the beginning that he couldn’t look at me when I was acting.  Silly, I know, but I felt so self-conscious!  Unfortunately, that shows in the beginning episodes when my “acting” was really just dryly reciting lines.  As the podcast went on, I learned to ease up and really get into the characters.

3 ) Is it difficult keeping all the characters straight that you have to do for the Podcast?

Oh goodness, yes.  Ever had a conversation with yourself, but trying to use two different personalities?  It’s bonkers.  I don’t just have to worry about the voice pitch, but also the cadence with which the characters speak.  If it gets really difficult, we’d record all of one character and then the next character afterwards, and edit them together in post to make sure the voices stay consistent.

4 ) What Exactly is a “Domestic Scientist”?

“Domestic Science” was the term used back in the 50’s for “homemaking” when they taught it in schools.  I wanted a term that was kinda geeky sounding, but also encompasses all the crafty stuff I do.

5 ) Okay I see the geeky and awesome looking Baked goods pics at your blog, and your Avatar on twitter – Any other cool baked goody projects in the planning / execution stage?

I REALLY want to do a Dr. Who cake for my birthday in April, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to do it.  I’m also planning on making a D20 cake tutorial for @kyledockery (http://twitter.com/kyledockery) sometime soon.  Life has been a little insane these last few months, so I haven’t had a lot of time to make really crazy stuff.

6 ) What other creative hobbies help you pass the time?

here are too many to name!  I seem to make a hobby of collecting hobbies.  If I see something cool on the internet, I want to learn how to do it.  I picked up knitting, crochet, and cross-stitching just to make video-game related crafts.  (You can see those at my Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/obajoo/sets/900086/)  I am learning photography, and I also draw a bit.  I’ll hopefully be using that last one to make some art for a potential Gearheart game Alex and I have designed.  It’s still in testing, but it is going very well!  I also love board games and video games.

7 ) What are the biggest changes you’ve had to make to adjust to your son’s diagnosis?

It would almost be easier to answer what HASN’T changed.  When your kid has autism, your entire life is turned upside down.  Since I feel that we need to concentrate on Ari’s therapy, I’ve basically put my life on hold.  No going back to school for me, no having another kid for at least 3 years, no job to bring in extra income.  And that’s the long run stuff that’s easy to ignore.  It’s the day to day routine that can completely wear me out.  For instance, when he is thirsty and wants some juice, I can’t just give him the juice cup.  He has to vocalize for it.  Just one little syllable: “ju-” is all we need.  But that is so hard for him, that he’ll break down into tears, screaming and kicking, because he’s so frustrated that he can’t communicate what he needs.  And I have to wait the tantrum out, patiently repeating “Juice?  Want juice?  Say ju ju ju….”  Those tantrums can go on and on.  Not the normal 2 year old fits, but like 30 minutes and counting.  He ran around randomly crying off and on after lunch today for over an hour and I still don’t know why.  As for other changes, our lives are filled with therapist meetings, doctor appointments, researching articles on sensory integration disorder and autism, reading book after book on autism, listening politely to “advice” from people who read an article one time so now they think they’re experts.  Luckily he’s not that bad in public, but when he has his bad days, we have to deal with people staring at us for one reason or another, judging us.  If he’s acting up they stare with a sneer, obviously thinking I’m a bad parent that can’t control my kid.  If he’s making weird sounds, or shaking his head violently despite my efforts to calm him down, they stare wondering “What’s wrong with him?”  I try not to let it get to me, but it still hurts.  But things are looking up!  His therapy is going very well and can now use 4 words.  He works harder than any other 2 year old I know, and I love him more and more and couldn’t be more proud of him.  Together, we’ll get through this.

8 ) What does Obajoo stand for / mean?

It’s a nonsense word, actually!  When Alex, our friend Joey, and I were making up nick names for ourselves for a freelance design group, I couldn’t think of a thing.  I think I saw an Odwalla truck or something earlier that day so I said “Quick!  What’s a three syllable word that begins with O?” being silly more than anything.  And Joey pops in with “OBAJOO!”  So it stuck. 🙂

You can Find them both on Twitter Alex as @ALRUFF and @TheGearHeart and Renee as @Obajoo

You can find more on the Gearheart at it’s homepage – http://www.thegearheart.com/

and you can find Renee’s Blog The Domestic Scientist over at http://www.thedomesticscientist.com/

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About rasplundjr

Smart Alec Family Man, Helpdesk Geek, Wannabe Writer, Wannabe Podcaster, Not a guru just a guy, Viking Wannabe, and Irreverent Critic

Posted on April 5, 2010, in 8 Questions, Podcast, Podcasters, Podiobook and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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