What’s Your Podcasting End Game? #NationalPodcastDay @zmblpodcast @gamingdeath @freemandaddy5 @spydersvenom

In honor of October 1st (or is it September 30th), #NationalPodcastDay, here is my rather epic diatribe on the state of podcasting and how we can bring about positive change.. You may want to grab a large cup of coffee or tea!

For many podcasters, their shows are labors of love. They stay on the grind because they have built an audience and, with that, have developed a sense of responsibility. They might really enjoy what they do but they are not necessarily compelled to up their content marketing or social media game. The tragic part is that, to them, there may not be much value in podcasting beyond sticking to habit/ritual.

Why is that?

Well, podcasters tend to have day jobs and other responsibilities well beyond the general umbrella of social media, online business, and marketing. That is not the primary challenge but it does impact how producers and creatives approach their podcasts. The more other projects and work take precedence, the more podcasts suffer in quality and growth. This happens in business and it’s the result of not having a deliberate direction or clear plan early on.

My challenge or, better yet, burning question to podcasters is this:

Why can’t your podcast(s) support your other endeavors? Brah, do you even social media strategize?

I’m all for labors of love and doing your life’s work, but eventually something has to give. You also have to think about your collaborators. They may have other expectations and obligations… But we’ll get to that.

What I have found is that many podcasters do their shows “just for fun” but, deep down inside, whether they realize it or not, they are desperately seeking motivation and purpose. They wish they could monetize the content or justify doing it full-time. In some cases, our fellow podcasters simply use podcasts as an excuse to catch up with friends. Remember, folks: podcasts may be one of the last forms of free media left but that doesn’t mean it should be devoid of rewards.

Success in podcasting, like all social media, starts with being honest with yourself.

Friendly podcasts are nice but there is a growing number of brocasts these days. Brocasts are typically defined by pointless banter, lack of diversity, and the chaos that ensues from lack of preparation, organization, and/or motivation. I’d hate to say it but pointless brocasts are the direct result of doing things “just because you love it”; a nice notion that is usually not 100% true and leads to resentment. Without some path to revenue or incentives, podcasts become mere technical feats, time killers, and space fillers.

Not all brocasts are inherently bad.. Our friends at the Gaming Death Podcast go deep on gaming news, social issues, and other relevant matters, but they keep things fresh with banter and sophomoric humor that some geeks find endearing. The podcast is not for everyone (no podcast is or should aim to be) but they make it clear what their tone and voice is early on in each episode. Love them or hate them, they’re authentic and passionate about the subject matter they discuss.

Let’s be clear: pursuing some personal gain is not a bad thing. So long as the art and message come first, no one can really blame you for trying to do more through and with a medium you love. We all have to make a living, after all. Monetization doesn’t have to be a dirty word.. Just don’t be a shark – be honest and social about self promotion.

If only money did grow on trees...

Perhaps if money grew on trees, we wouldn’t have to worry about the stress of making money.. But it’s not that easy, sadly.

 

What’s Your Podcasting / Social Media End Game?

A theme I often revisit in business and marketing coaching sessions is the notion of maintaining a deliberate direction. The idea is painfully simple: identify and support systems for repeat success. In order to do that, you need to set milestones and have goals. With deliberate efforts towards goals, momentum will be steady and your direction intentional. Of course, there are plenty of people that have random luck and simply stumble into big success but that’s usually reserved for those in niche markets with timing or brand power already on their side.

With that in mind, think about what your “end game” is. It can be an exit strategy or a major milestone. What will happen when you reach that goal or if you don’t in X amount of time? When will you feel most or least satisfied? You need to know your limits and those of your team members. Before you can think about your ultimate goals, you have to look at the road laying right in front of you.

As weeks, months, and years pass by, what will keep you and your collaborators engaged?

We simply must pace ourselves and not jump TOO far ahead. Again, it all boils down to what will give you the most satisfaction and motivation. Running on fumes is no good. Plan ahead but also enjoy today for everything it brings. Be content and grateful.

I saw our friends at Zombie Life Podcast tweet about how podcasting is the last of free media. They tweeted (and I’m mostly paraphrasing),

#Podcasting is the only truly free media left. We dont do it for $$, we enjoy it

I LOVE that sentiment but podcasting can only move forward if we start think more strategically. Sharing compelling content we are passionate about is awesome.. But love alone won’t get you through the rainy days, folks.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Movie Review #TurtlePower #TMNT

Written By Fred Rojas a.k.a. @Spydersvenom
Visit Fred at http://gaminghistory101.com and The B-Team Podcast.

 

tmnt_posterTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), the 2014 live action reboot, is finally here.  I say this because we’ve been seeing coverage on the movie’s development for over a year and it all seemed to be bad news for the franchise.  That’s significant for many of us that were kids when the comic launched in 1984 and eventually transcended every major medium over the course of the fifteen years that followed.  In short, you couldn’t get away from these “heroes in the half shell” in the late 80s/early 90s if you were tuned into pop culture in the least.  TMNT is a bare-bones, predictable plot where a vapid lead reporter stumbles into one troubled situation after another while immature childlike creatures try to protect her with pointless explosions and IQ-free action sequences.  Don’t think I’m being negative; that’s exactly what the Ninja Turtles have been all along, and this film nailed it.

tmnt_april

It’s the strangest dichotomy from start to finish.  On one hand you’re watching a familiar plot as April attempts to break a story on the nefarious foot clan that has plagued New York City.  On the other hand you’re introduced to a new aesthetic for the Turtles that takes some getting used to.  As you progress through the film’s 100 minute jaunt everything will begin to bleed together and suddenly you don’t question a Shredder that looks like the Predator.  Despite these visual setbacks, TMNT still remains quite self-aware and has no problem digging deep into the vaults and featuring characters like Vernon Fenwick (Vern) or using the line “tonight, I dine on turtle soup.”  There was even a line where Vern asks April if the Turtles may be aliens and she mentions how dumb that concept would be – which those that followed the film’s development will note was the original idea for this reboot.  I even have to commend the frantic camera work of Lula Carvalho that seems to borrow from some of my favorite parts of the cartoon show, in some cases matching the shots exactly, because I never would have imagined it be allowed in a major film.

tmnt_turt_cast

While Michael Bay did produce this film, his touch is barely present in the grand scheme of things and probably is the last name you should be interested in.  I wasn’t thrilled with writing duo Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec (of Alias fame among others) penning the script, but a third involvement of Evan Daughtery (Snow White and the HuntsmanDivergent) did assist in grounding the plot and giving it a justifiable ending.  Director Jonathan Liebesman’s Battle Los Angeles and Wrath of the Titans work clearly came in handy for some of the crazier action sequences – there’s an excellent snowy mountainside sequence.  Many criticized Megan Fox for being the hot chick without much talent, and while I sadly must admit her acting leaves something to be desired, I would argue she fills the shoes of April O’Neil appropriately in every way except for her visual similarity to the character in comics and cartoons.  As usual William Fichtner is underutilized as Eric Sacks, who has a large role in the script but always falls short of any true character development.  I’m sure many would argue that the Turtles themselves should be mentioned, but I neither knew much about the actors nor could recognize them enough in the film to consider it notable.

tmnt_turtles

If you grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you probably were introduced by a frantic cartoon whose ability to withstand the test of time is debatable.  When the live action film released it was clearly forced to use drama and one-liners to conceal the fact that big guys in rubber suits cannot emulate their cartoon counterparts.  This new film is finally able to keep up with what the cartoon started, which may be great for kids and fans of the original, but dwindles to nothing more than Hollywood summer blockbuster spectacle to most others.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it, but if you’re hoping to see some sort of gritty new well-written world where the Ninja Turtles are handled like Nolan’s Dark Knight saga, look elsewhere.  Still, I can’t help but feel that perhaps this license just isn’t suited for something so high brow, it’s just big dumb fun.

Final Score: 3 out of 5

The reviewer paid to see this film and was provided with no press passes or other promotional material.

Pixelated Pints Returns In The Glorious Episode 10 – Featuring The Nose Tampon!

Obligatory Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians is all the talk amongst comic book fans and the non-geek folk alike.  Fred wants everyone to know (including Chip Cella of The B-Team) that he has NOT seen it yet.  I haven’t seen it yet either but it is definitely on the must-watch list.  Sadly, it’s hard for me to go to movie theaters because we have a large family and, well, people are idiots at theaters.

Please turn off your cell phones..  And leave your kids at home.  kthxgg

I am Groot.

Groot Loops Cereal - I Am Groot - You Are Groot - We Are Groot

If you want an in-depth look at Guardians Of The Galaxy over the past several decades, check out Agents Of SHIELDcast.  I’m sure Fred and Heffe will be reporting back with his findings well.  Until then, let’s keep this a spoiler-free zone, friends!

Nose Tampon & Fred’s Recovery

Fred assures us that he is making a speedy recovery and we’re glad to have him back so we can officially-OFFICIALLY welcome Pixelated Pints to the GANG!  That said, try not to give him a hard time about the nasaly sounding voice.  Honestly, I kinda like the Keith Sweat tone to his voice now. *smirk*

Brace Yourself - That Wizard Is Coming

 Destiny Beta Talk..  Again

“That wizard came from the moon!”

Apparently, the wizard is no longer from the moon.  If you don’t know what we’re talking about, check out Fred’s favorite web site (sarcasm) for a little background:

http://www.polygon.com/2014/6/20/5828892/that-wizard-came-from-the-moon-shirt-destiny-bungie

Fred discusses his feelings on Destiny and why he canceled his pre-order.

If you miss out on the zeitgeist of this game, you will be very lonely.

Heffe likes Destiny.  Fred is not a fan.  His argument (and I am paraphrasing):

What happens if you try to play the Titanfall campaign now?  Disappointment.  Destiny might be different but will the consistent updates be enough.  Still, is Destiny the flavor of the moment.  Will it be relevant in two years?  And WTF is that zeitgeist stuff that keeps coming up on Pixelated Pints Episode 10?

zeitgeist – n. the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

I agree with Fred’s sentiment.  This is actually why I am taking a break from console gaming.  It feels that a lot of games are hot for a week or a few months, then they suck thereafter.  There aren’t many console games I can think of that you can go back to at any time or join late without feeling like you missed out on the full experience.  Destiny has one thing on it’s side: at least it’s not an EA game!

Kickstarter Projects And Explaining “Investment”

Fred has a big problem with Kickstarter.  Heffe sits back while Fred rants a bit.  Fred’s biggest problem is that media outlets refer to Kickstarter backing as “investing”, which is misleading.  Do backers/pledgers really feel that they are entitled to something in return?

Heffe agrees that Kickstarter projects are not investments because there is no profit sharing.  Does material result qualifies as ROI (Return On Investment)?  What do you think?  You can e-mail PP at pixelatedpints@gmail.com or leave us a VM with your thoughts at (206) 415-4987 so we can discuss further.  Don’t be shy – share your thoughts with the GANG!

The infamous Potato Salad Kickstarter project returns.  Fred jokes that the project had a better ROI than most other crowdfunding efforts.  LOL..  Now that may be true indeed!

Here’s a Kickstarter we’d love for you to support: Fire With Fire!  FwF is a PvP TD (Tower Defense) game in the spirit of Tower Wars or Warcraft III customs designed by our pal Theory with music from one of our biggest supporters – Stephen Gibson a.k.a. Esgee!

EA Access: Value Or Rip-Off?

For $30 a year or around $6 a month, you can subscribe to EA Access.  Think Netflix for video games.  While the EA library is very sports-heavy, you can play gems like Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2 FOR FREE for as long as they are available in the library.  It is worth noting that this will be a download service with limited availability.

Sony must have seen this as a conflict of interest since they have their stinker of a streaming service, Playstation NOw.  Sony turned EA Access and now it will be an XBox One exclusive.  Even if you are not interested in the free offerings and yesteryear’s hits, the biggest benefit of the service will be early access granting you a 5-day headstart on new releases.

Fortengard in the “chat” says EA Access will be a paywall within paywall..  And EA is notorious for nickel-and-diming consumers.  As much as I dislike EA, I see the value for your buck.

For some reason, everyone picks on EA.

Fred and Heffe urge gamers to stop complaining about the free stuff we’re getting now with, say, XBox LIVE Games With Gold.  Console gaming is really trying to drive value for gamers.

To put things into perspective, SNK is charging $9 for their Neo-Geo renting services, when you can own the games for that much.  What??  Now, who would be better-suited to do a streaming or rental type subsciption service?  Activision, Ubisoft, Square-Enix, Deep Silver..   What library would get us excited about getting freebies?

Defining Value In Preorders/Retail

One of the recurring themes we have here at GANG is the matter of preorders and retail pricing.  With that, there’s stuff like early access games and Steam Greenlight.

Are preorders and early access good for the consumer?

I’m not a fan of pricing on the console.  When you consider the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for console gaming, you’re easily spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in a two to five-year span..  Even if you are a “casual” gamer.  PC offers an investment that will last you longer.  The initial entry point can be rough but, after that, there is value around every corner.

Preorders I feel are losing their appeal.  The bonus content rarely warrants the initial buy-in.  For most of us, waiting for a sale makes more sense, unless we are worried about missing out on the zeitgeist for the particular game.  Essentially, we’re paying for the water-cooler conversations and the bragging rights that come with being early adopters.

Fred notes that PC pricing will always be more competitive than console pricing because they have abandoned the retail model long ago.  Consoles also subsidize the hardware cost through attachments, which keeps the initial cost lower than comparable gaming PCs.  Fred goes on to say that early access is a great idea but it needs to be quarantined from the completed games because a lot of these games never quite get “finished”.

Here’s my argument: early access games are often no different than a lot of full retail offerings..  Except you’re paying less for them.  There is less risk with PC gaming.  You get more value for your buck on the PC front, whereas console games are removing value from initial releases more and more.  Just look at how many iterations of Street Fighter IV there are!  And let’s not even get started on the DLCs and locked on-disc content…  Meh.

Unfocused Focus Groups..  And The Decline In US Education

Focus groups still have a place but do gaming companies and their research/marketing partners have any clue what they are doing?  Fred will tell you the answer is a resounding NO!  To illustrate this, he shares a story of a highly-educated woman who suggest a game with Kratos in a World War II setting.  Yup, because WW2 hasn’t been the theme of any game before.

Are focus groups too unfocused to accomplish anything of value?  Value..  There’s that dirty word again.  Furthermore, is US education getting that bad?  Come on, we must have better ideas than that Kratos crap!

Is Minecraft Is Over-Rated?

MOE-JANG pops up into the discussion.  Is Notch a total douche?  What is he doing with the tons of money that Minecraft has made him?

The PP crew agrees that Minecraft is an over-rated POS.  What do you think?  If you ask this guy, Scrolls is the real Mojang game of note.

For more rants and drunken gaming goodness, visit the PP crew at http://pixelatedpints.com/ and PixelatedPints on Google+/YouTube!