Yesterday, in IoM’s exclusive interview with Tony Mast, we discussed his earlier short story anthology published through the St. Louis Writers Meet-up Group. Today we talk about his movie review podcast, The Back Seat Producers. BSP recently reached the 100th episode milestone. In a hobby wher many shows pod-fade after episode 9, this is a remarkable event in and of itself.
TONY: Unasked Question is the name of the company that Tony #2 and I started to house all of the things we did. Primarily at first it started out with just a podcast. It gave us a layer of legal protection. My wife is an attorney, so one of the things that she always worried about was what we were doing, what we were saying. If somebody says something stupid one day and someone decides to sue us, they’re not gonna get a whole lot. They’re gonna get Unasked Question and Unasked Question really doesn’t own a whole lot of anything. At least at the time it didn’t. It’s actually starting to have a little bit of property to it now.
ARON: Adam (some call him David) Pinilla wasn’t your original co-host. That was Tony #2. We don’t hear much from him anymore on Back Seat Producers. What’s up with that?
TONY: Tony #2 worked with me on Toasted Ravioli, though he doesn’t have any stories represented in it, but he was a big part of it for a long time. We talked about doing (another) anthology. We had run a couple of different ideas past each other, but nothing ever stuck. It just never really got off the ground. He was really busy with stuff he had in his life. He wasn’t able to participate in the podcast for awhile. Then my daughter was born and I went on a podcasting hiatus…
You’re aware of situations beyond the scope of this (interview) where eventually Adam Pinilla became free…
ARON: He became a free agent.
TONY: Yeah, he was a free agent. He was on the market! One of the first things I said to him immediately after all that was, “Man, I’ve really enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with you.”
Adam and I had talked a couple of times. We hung out at GenCon. I wasn’t big into gaming, but it was one of those things I was offered to go. My wife was six months pregnant. I knew it would probably be one of those last hurrah kind of weekends. I said, let’s do it!
I roomed with Adam, Phil, and Paul. We had a really great time. We clicked. Got along real well.
I had been listening to Fear The Boot pretty much since I met the guys at Archon in October of the year that we both started podcasting. I went out to a recording of Fear The Boot where we did the Dungeons and Dragons movies. Adam and I got to a point where we were laughing so hard about that damned monkey staff, literally, I thought one of the two of us was going to pass out. We were laughing so hard.
When the whole situation went down (at FtB), I went to Adam. “I really don’t know what’s going on,” I said to him, “But I know that you are a good podcaster and it would be a damn shame if you stopped. I’ve got an empty seat. It’s there for you if you want it. You can try it out for awhile. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. Worst case scenario you spend a couple of weeks at my place drinking some beer.”
He wanted some time to think about it and clear his head after all that happened.
I talked to Dan about it. I didn’t want to make any more hard feelings over anything.
ARON: That turned out well, didn’t it? (Laughs)
TONY: Yes, there were hard feelings. (Laughs) Yes, there were. At the time though, it wasn’t as bad.
One of the things that Dan said to me, “What happened was between us as personalities. I can never work with him again but I can’t deny that he works hard. If he joins you, he’ll be a great worker. He’s a great personality behind the microphone. I can’t say anything bad about the work he did with us.”
That’s just the kind of guy Dan is, though.
A month or so went by.
I was burning off the last few episods of Fanboy Smackdown – the name of the podcast at the time. I was releasing the last episode I had.
I was really to the point where I wasn’t going to do it alone again. I did it for awhile when I was doing that stupid movie review show. I think it went okay, but it was more like work when I was doing that. Then Adam said, “You know what? I think I’ll give it a try.”
It’s been a ride ever since. It’s been a blast.
ARON: I don’t want to turn this into the Adam Pinilla Appreciation Hour, but his podcasting has vastly improved since he left Fear the Boot. His skills and his ability to steer a conversation. The improvement is observable. Crazy, crazy better.
TONY: It is. It really is. I listen to him on The Podge Cast and on Back Seat Producers. He’s different in both of them. Especially when he is steering a conversation. When he’s in charge of the show, he even takes on a different voice. He gets this professional tone about him. It’s fun to watch.
ARON: Now, Adam isn’t the only used-up podcaster you’ve rehabilitated.
TONY: Yes, Adam. Then later Luke (Meyer).
Luke refers to me as the Podcasting Muse. He was pretty much done with podcasting (after his experience at FtB). He guested on an episode of BSP. We were sitting here BSing and I told him flat-out: This is all about fun. If you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? It’s not supposed to be work. It’s a hobby. We’re not making any money off this. I have no illusions that what I am doing every Wednesday night drinking beer and bourbon with my friends is going to do anything other than make me more friends. If it makes me more friends, I am successful. That’s my measure of succes.
Then by all accounts, Tony Mast is a success.
Back Seat Producers records live each week while a chatroom full of regulars listen in and comment as the hosts review movies. BSP’s live shows are streamed Wednesday evenings at or around 9 o’clock Central time on Ustream.
Come back tomorrow for part 3 of the Tony Mast Interview!