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PodUKast Episode 12 - PodUK 2020 Retrospective + Transcript

Bret 0:00

This episode of the UK podcast was sponsored by Boo Makes Things, a geeky and LGBT friendly small business bringing crocheted cuteness to the world. Check them out at and enter the code PODUK to get 10% off your order.

Jess Anson 0:46

Hello and welcome to the UK PodUKast! I'm Jess, it's been a while but we're back.

Bret 0:52

Yes, I - we're a bit rusty. But don't worry, I'm Bret, and I'm alive again.

Chris 0:57

I'm Chris and it's very windy.

Jess Anson 1:02

[laughter] You're not wrong! We're recording this on the day of storm Chiara so you might get some some ambient noises in the background

Chris 1:08

but don't worry it's not ghosts

Jess Anson 1:11

...Oo. I'd be okay with that though.

Bret 1:12

Nobody was worrying about ghosts until just now.

Chris 1:15

Okay now now worry about ghosts.

Jess Anson 1:18

can you imagine if you caught a ghost on podcast? For the first time ever!

Chris 1:22

That must be a podcast already right

Bret 1:24

it's gotta be - most haunted but it's a podcast

Chris 1:28


Bret 1:28

let's get them next year

Jess Anson 1:31

we should

Bret 1:33

see if Millennium point is haunted

Jess Anson 1:36

Millennium Point doesn't have haunted energy, but there are a few venues I've been to before thatdefinitely do have haunted energy.

Chris 1:42

yeah. Yeah. Last week. We did a convention.

Bret 1:45

Yeah, that happened.

Chris 1:47

Yeah, it was only a week ago. Feels like it was months ago now because

Jess Anson 1:53

this week has shot by compared to January which really, really, really dragged

Bret 1:58

January really crawled, but That meant that meant I didn't feel like I had 20 minutes to do all of the art like it - like last year, where I was panicking and doing like, a minute before we ordered it.

Jess Anson 2:12

There's always something to panic about right at the - right at the last minute, you know, always

Bret 2:16

Well, yeah.

Jess Anson 2:17

That's just how event planning goes. How are you guys feeling post event?

Chris 2:22


Bret 2:23

Yeah, pretty good. Yeah. I managed to - I think I'm the only one here that managed to actually sleep on the night of the event. So I was pretty good The morning after to be honest. Almost got stranded in Birmingham, but it didn't so that's fine.

Jess Anson 2:37

Yeah, almost!

Bret 2:40

But yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. For those that weren't at the super secret pizza party. My last train - I was gonna get the last train so I could stay as long as possible. And then my last train got cancelled with little to no warning -

Chris 2:53

Oh, I didn't know this

Bret 2:54

with nowhere - Oh, yeah. No. So I had to like ask if anyone had a spare place to sleep. And fortunately Jess did. Because that was - it was much rather you than a random guest/attendee

Jess Anson 3:10

Well, you had Trent Shumway offering up a bed that didn't actually exist.

Bret 3:13

Yeah. That would have been very interesting.

Jess Anson 3:19

That'd be quite fun. I feel like. Sleepover with KFAM.

Bret 3:22

on a bed that doesn't exist. That's the main point of the problem

Jess Anson 3:27

If it had existed! If it had.

Bret 3:30

If it had, yeah.

Jess Anson 3:32

Anyway, I felt like a corpse the entire week,

Chris 3:35

Oh same

Jess Anson 3:37

I wasn't doing very well. I barely slept the night before. I took Night Nurse at 1am in the morning, which stayed in my system until about.. I would say about 2pm the next day. So the first half of PodUK I was just kind of.. harkening back to two minutes ago, I did feel like a ghost. And then the night after I didn't sleep at all. So that was fun. I mean that was okay cuz it was post event and you know, I didn't need to be awake. Yeah, everything was already done but it did kind of make me think like if we ever do a two day event.. How am I going to survive?

Chris 4:12

I think it'd be fine because the second day like you've already gone through one day you've - there's less like stuff to do at the very beginning. This is from my experiences like working in events and stuff like that. When things are multiple days. I always find the second day so much easier because like the beginning of the first day is the most difficult part and the end of the second day is difficult because you're taking everything down again. But the beginning of the second day is normally a breeze because just leave it all up and running from the previous day.

Jess Anson 4:42

Chris, how were you feeling on the day?

Chris 4:44

I was in a lot of pain.

Jess Anson 4:47

Oh yeah

Chris 4:48

basically for the entire weekend. My feet were flaring up. And I could barely walk but I powered through it was a long couple of days. I started at eight on Friday morning. Through to like 10pm with the setup, and then back there again at 7:30. Next morning,

Jess Anson 5:07

DId you managed to get breakfast?

Chris 5:09

Yeah, some someone - one of the volunteers brought me breakfast, which was lovely.

Bret 5:13

That is lovely

Jess Anson 5:14

oh, yeah, that might have been from our hotel.

Chris 5:15

Yeah, I think so.

Jess Anson 5:18

We got you some stuff! Because Chris stayed in a conference hotel. But the conference hotel didn't start breakfast until What was it? like eight in the morning

Chris 5:25

eight, because for some reason, they they only start at 8 on the weekends, whereas during the week, it's like six, whichwould have been perfect. But yeah,

Jess Anson 5:32

yeah, I just I just can't get over that logic. Because it's a conference. Hotel! conferences tend to start pretty early.

Chris 5:37

yeah. But they also tend to be at the during the week.

Bret 5:40

That's true. That's true.

Jess Anson 5:41

Well. We're not a conference. We're a *convention*. So we play by different rules.

Bret 5:44

We're not, we are a convention - clear delineation. Also, like, you guys were in Birmingham on the day before, right?

Chris 5:55


Jess Anson 5:56


Bret 5:56

I had to drive. Well, I say I had to drive up. I had to make Zac drive up on the morning. I didn't get - for the record. I didn't get breakfast either. Because I had to get up at like six o'clock and then be in a car for an hour, which is not Fantastic.

Jess Anson 6:13

Well, I mean, feel for my friends who had to get up at like five in the morning and drive up two and half hours

Chris 6:18

From Kent. Yeah,

Bret 6:19

That feels like like that was like bad decision making.

Jess Anson 6:24

But without them we wouldn't have an ev- Well, I mean, like, you know, they're very, very, I'm really glad that they've stepped up to help because it helps me having people that I know that well come up and volunteer for us.

Chris 6:36

and honestly, because of the volunteers like we, I think, unanimously I think we've all agreed it was so easy to run this year. Because we had so many volunteers basically doing all of the detailed tasks, which meant that we could just sit back and make sure like, globally the whole thing was working.

Jess Anson 6:57

Because I know them so well. I can just I feel comfortable going okay, you do this, you do this and I know who likes what I know who doesn't like what so I can kind of shift it around their personalities. It makes things a whole lot easier for me. I think both years it's been really nice. Just being able to just kind of sit and watch the event unfold around me.

Chris 7:14

Yeah. Especially because it's been well, particularly your life for the last. What, eight months?

Jess Anson 7:24

Yeah, we booked it back in April. And I think planning properly started in about May.

Chris 7:30

Yeah. Almost a year.

Jess Anson 7:34

Yeah. And then I quit my job. I've been really working on it since about October. For the last four months or so.

Chris 7:38

Yeah. I mean, me and Brethave been doing some things but not quite as much as you

Jess Anson 7:44

No, I have, I have every admin job. It's a lot. I enjoy doing it. Otherwise, I wouldn't do it. But like, there's so much to think about. When you plan an event.

Bret 7:56

That's true, like, I don't realise how much there is until I see your spreadsheet and go Oh, I haven't thought about at least a third of those.

Jess Anson 8:05

Yeah, the spreadsheet. Yeah, you look at it, it's got like 50 different tabs for each different thing and it's like - but that's because I need to make sure that I know that everything's down, because we were talking about this on the on the new PodUK discord the other day, about how if you don't plan things out, and if you kind of leave it and don't think about it, then you end up with Dashcon. And you end up with Fyre Festival and you end up with Tanacon, which is not what we're striving to do, we're striving to be better!

Chris 8:33

Extra hour.. in the ballpit.

Jess Anson 8:35

That's right! We're not offering an extra hour in the ballpit because we do not have a ballpit -

Bret 8:40


Jess Anson 8:42

and we will never have a ballpit!

Bret 8:43

Now. Not with that kind of attitude

Chris 8:44

We are considering puppies, but no ballpit.

Jess Anson 8:46

Maybe puppies. Puppy playpen! So we've been receiving outpourings of gratitude and love from the people who came from the podcasting community. But how did the day feel from your guys perspective?

Chris 9:05

It was stressful to begin with, I think because there was some stuff which hadn't been set up the night before. Thankfully I had Keiron there, my colleague who was able to like - I was basically able to say can you just sort this stuff out and I go do something else. And yeah, so he just got on with it. Without him I don't think I would have been able to get it all set up in time To be honest. Because I was on the platform at like, two minutes to the opening ceremony getting the Twitter wall going on the projector. So yeah, but after that, once we had done the opening ceremony and once like the ball got rolling with the, with the performances and stuff like that. Honestly, it was a breeze. Like with especially like I said, already having volunteers on hand to like help change the stage around and everything like that. I was able to sit back and just make sure that everything was going going according to plan. Yeah, and I was actually able to sit back and just enjoy the podcasts which was nice.

Bret 10:06

Yeah, that that does sound pretty nice. I didn't get to see anything! Because I was - well my job on the day was making sure all the guests were where they needed to be, which you - Jess kept doing which is bad because Jess had enough to worry about on the day. So my like, but because the guests that we got with generally pretty on the ball, I would run to the green room like 20 minutes before something started. The guest I need isn't there so I run to the place where they're supposed to be. And they're already there. So I've just done a whole lap of the Convention Centre for no reason. It did really good for my Pokemon GO eggs, but other than that kind of

Jess Anson 10:55

Getting your 10,000 steps in.

Bret 10:57

So so like I spent most the time like flitting between the platform, the green room, and everything -everyone was happy, everyone was relaxed, even like 10 minutes before someone's show they were relaxed because they were confident that things were going to go well. It was all very good. Good reactions. I didn't get to see it.

Jess Anson 11:18

This is this is what I mean by kind of planning everything down to the detail, like the amount of emails, I sent these poor performers to make sure they knew everything to make sure that everything was kind of like, this is what you're doing. This is where you need to be. And the good thing is most of them read them! That's what you want.

Chris 11:34

Yeah. I had a bunch of correspondence with the performers in the auditorium, like the weeks leading up to it, and they were all excellent. I got to the point where everyone knew what was going on. They told me everything that I needed to know about their show. They were able to give me all the files and things that they needed to give me and everything. So on the day there weren't people - like I do events for a living. Mainly like conferences and corporate stuff, and you always get people running up to you like just before they go on on stage with their USB drives saying, Oh, I've got some updated slides and all that sort of stuff. I didn't have any of that! I had someone come to me like right the very beginning of the day saying this is the intro music for our show in like five hours time, which is fine because we got loads of time. But yeah, it was it all went really well. And the performance did a stellar job of being organised.

Jess Anson 12:31

Yeah, I think if there's one thing I've noticed from doing these events it's that podcasters and podcast fans are really considerate and, you know, polite people who want to make sure that everything's gonna go right. They won't just kind of forget about it and you know, leave you hanging, which I imagine you've experienced quite a lot in your day job(!)

Chris 12:50

Yeah, I've had times where I've been like updating slides during the presentation that the slides are being shown in.

Jess Anson 12:55

Oh god! Every time I came down to the AV.. cave?

Bret 13:01


Jess Anson 13:02

I suppose. What would you call that?

Chris 13:04


Jess Anson 13:06

Yeah, you and Keiron seem really chilled out and like happy with the things that were happening. So I was happy with that.

Chris 13:11

Yeah, yeah, it went really really smoothly. Yeah, it was great.

Jess Anson 13:15

I mean from from my point of view, it's funny, I - last year I did about 20,000 steps the whole day. This year I did less than that, which I was not expecting, especially considering that we were spread out over even more rooms this time.

Chris 13:26

I haven't actually checked my steps. Let me have a look. I tried to do as little walking as possible because my feet were really really hurting.

Jess Anson 13:32


Chris 13:33

Let me have a look.

Bret 13:34

Let me see how much I did on the day because I can't remember how much I did either. I know I hatched like three eggs in GO.

Jess Anson 13:39

I think I had like 18,000 this year. I think it was partly because last year I thought the only way to get to the - from the auditorium to a different part of the venue is by going up and down the IMAX stairs. And then I realised that there's an elevator behind the green room this year so that really took down my steps. ..Maybe I should have just kept using the stairs. I feel bad though, going up and down the steps when there's a performance going on, because you have to be really conscious of like being really quiet and making sure that you're like, not interrupting anything.

Chris 14:07

Seems my app doesn't want to tell me how many steps I did, but it was the most that week. So

Bret 14:12

I'm back and I did 15,890 steps.

Jess Anson 14:16

Oh, Slightly less than me. slightly.

Bret 14:18

What was yours? Sorry, my internet dropped out for a second

Jess Anson 14:21

18,000. Give it take. Still less than last year.

Chris 14:26

I have no idea what mine was. All it's telling me that is ws more than 6000 which is the goal apparently, I haven't actually set up this app properly.

Jess Anson 14:36

Should be 10,000. 10,000!

Chris 14:37

I've only got this app for Pokemon Go. That's the only reason why. Because of the adventures.

Bret 14:43

Hell yeah.

Jess Anson 14:45

My day - I feel like it started off a bit hectic because people weren't arriving on time, which is, you know, but once everything kind of settled down about an hour in, I was able to calm down and just let everything happen. I chilled out a lot more than last year. Because I was so tired because of the aforementioned Night Nurse situation.

Chris 15:04

You were just coming down all day.

Jess Anson 15:06

Yeah, I picked up halfway through the day, went to watch a few panels, did the king falls meet and greet. I think for me, the best thing about the day was that it was noticeable, the change from year one to year two. Cuz I mean, for one thing we sold double the tickets. Two there was no snow this time.

Bret 15:25

So everyone could get there

Jess Anson 15:26

We weren't hindered by that. And we had some - We had the Promenade this year, which was a - it came about because of the feedback from last year because a lot of people were saying that the tables were nice and the meet and greets were okay. But it would be good if there were more tables and more opportunities for socialising.

Chris 15:43

Yeah. And we realised that the the meet and greet space wasn't really used to its full - because we realised that like, actually people were just meeting and greeting on the platform as it was. We didn't really need to schedule a zone for them

Jess Anson 16:01

No, I mean I come from - because I come from TV convention backgrounds, I'm used to a meet and greet being long queues. And you go and - well, either either long queues where you go and get your autograph, and you say, Hello. Or the coffee lounges, where it's like 20 people sat in a circle with the one celebrity and you just got to chat for a little bit. But, you know, having been in this podcasting circle for a couple of years, now, you realise that, you know, we're not dealing with A list celebrities - well, you know, B list - C list TV celebrities. We're just dealing with people who've made a fun thing and they want to communicate with their fans. Andhey want to have a good time doing it. They don't need to have bodyguards, they don't need to be chaperoned around the building, you know, by someone whose - [laugh] arm is as big as a tree trunk!

Chris 16:48

Yeah, and everyone on that platform is basically on the same sort of level. Everyone's a fan of podcasts, and they may create their own podcast, but they're also a fan of another podcast that's on the platform. So

Bret 17:00

Yeah, but even though there was like the king falls, like meet and greet, all day, they were just sort of mingling. They weren't, they weren't even behind their table the whole time. They were just milling around the platform on the same level as everyone else. It wasn't - there's like, I feel like with podcasting, because it's such a personal thing. There's no, there's, like the hierarchy of like, TV star to TV fan is completely gone.

Jess Anson 17:25

it's a whole different thing.

Chris 17:26

Yeah, we've addressed the fact before on this podcast that we can - anyone can make a podcast so the majority of those fans can also call themselves podcasters just because they've done something with their mates before. Yeah.

Jess Anson 17:41

If people listen to it and people enjoy it. It's, you know, yeah, it's a podcast. I mean, even if they don't, it's a podcast, but you know! Yeah, the King Falls meet and greet format was interesting, because the meet and greet format that I had in my head was basically what people were doing on the platform all day anyway, so kind of felt a little bit.. what's the word.. superfluous? It didn't eel needed.

Bret 18:03

But it was still very popular.

Jess Anson 18:05

Yeah, no, it was, um, it was well received but a couple of people in the feedback forms have been like, well, it was just what we had in the platform anyway. Which I totally agree with. I think people were expecting photo ops, which I would have called 'photo ops', if they were going to be photo ops, which is you know, you have a background, you have the the umbrella lighting or whatever it is. And you have a professional photographer standing there taking photos of you with the people. We don't really have the budget for that yet(!) So it kind of ended up being a little bit like, oh, okay, we're just going and talking to these people. But I feel like a few people went to the meet and greet that hadn't already done that. So it kind of worked out. But either way, it was pretty cool being on the other side of a meet and greet this time!

Bret 18:48

As I say, Yeah, you're usually on the - in the queue. So how did that feel?

Jess Anson 18:51

Oh, I'm always like -- it took me a long time to get over the fact that these are just people? Like with Misha Collins from Supernatural, because that's my background, Supernatural. The first time I had a meet and greet with him, I was absolutely terrified. And I told him as much and you know, he was like, 'Oh don't be scared!' and I was like, 'aaahh!!' Yeah, as time went on, I was just like, oh, he's just a guy. I can just say hi to him. And it's funny. watching people at the beginning of that process, at these meet and greets. It's like, oh, oh, that's sweet! So yeah, it was it was a fun experience. I enjoyed doing that.

Chris 19:27

I was with you when we went to the meet and greet with Travis McElroy. And you just talked about PodUK.

Jess Anson 19:32

Yeah, I wanted to have a whole thing - I think I ended up talking to him for like five seconds because I actually did get a bit overwhelmed about that. Just because there was a huge queue behind me. Had I had my way I probably would have had like a 30 second conversation with him. But that didn't - that didn't end up happening. Yeah, so meet n greets can be interesting. You never quite know how it's gonna work out.

Bret 19:51

Yeah, I get what you mean, like I only ducked head into that. That meet n' grete. But it did feel like there was a different atmosphere between that and like the platform stuff because -and also like, I feel like the photo op thing - like me personally, I would prefer just like an impromptu selfie to a proper photo, because it feels more real.

Jess Anson 20:12

Yeah, a lot of people said on the feedback form, they didn't feel that they could get a photo which I feel quite sad about actually, because I was - I was saying like, from the beginning that I'll take a photo for you, I'll do the photos, you know. And I did, I did take photos for quite a few people but I think we're dealing with people who do suffer from you know, shyness or social anxiety and figuring out how to cater to that better might be in my kind of list of things to work on for the next events. Cuz I - you know, I've been there, I've done that, but it's quite difficult to - not to come off as insensitive, but I feel like having been through that and kind of come out the other side, it's difficult for me to remember what it was like, So maybe putting myself back in that headspace would be a thing to do. I dunno, that was a bit of waffely bullshit. But

Bret 20:58

that's the whole show you've just described!

Jess Anson 21:01

Yeah, right.

Chris 21:02

That's this show, yeah!

Jess Anson 21:03

But I was -in terms of the promenade it was one thing I really didn't get to do because I was focused more on making sure that the panels and the workshops and everything were running as they were supposed to. Or at least ducking my head in and and seeing that, oh yeah, the volunteers have done exactly what they should do, and it's fine. And ducking back out again. I didn't get to go round the promenade. But everything I've seen about it looks really good. Like it's - on the feedback formsp eople are citing it as the favourite thing of the day. It's beating out the live shows and the panels even at the moment, which is really interesting. But it does kind of make sense to me because it was just like one big social event on the platform

Bret 21:37

that's true. I spent a lot of time sort of walking through there and occasionally dipping in to see how my table is doing. The platform had a really good atmosphere. I think. Because it was like listeners and creators all literally on the same level. It just had this.. I don't know, there was just something very like welcoming and nice -

Jess Anson 22:05


Unknown Speaker 22:06

Yes. Cameraderie.

Jess Anson 22:09

It was an interesting one in planning because the platform is a - it's not your conventional convention hall shape. . So planning out the layout was quite difficult. And I wonder if there'd be a better way to do it in the future. But it seemed like in most cases, it was okay. I think.

Chris 22:24

Yeah, I think it seemed to work.

Bret 22:26


Jess Anson 22:27

I feel like even - because I was a bit worried that you know, if people were facing outwards the other way then they might feel a bit left out but I, as far as I could see people were going around there and saying hi, and you know, not leaving them out or anything.

Chris 22:38

Yeah, I think the the one section like underneath the staircase to the auditorium felt slightly separated from the row at the back of the platform, though. I don't know whether there's a way of -

Jess Anson 22:52

the king falls tables?

Chris 22:53

- arranging. Yeah, there were a few performance and I