Interview with Drinks at the Dal

Cocktail-Chemistry-SetOne of the oft-cited reasons for why Lost Girl is such a delightful show is the chemistry between the cast members. You can tell that the actors like each other and have a blast making the show, and the fun and camaraderie they have gives the scenes some extra spice and panache, as well as that certain je ne sais quoi.  Yep, chemistry is part of what makes this show special.

_1396556868_coverIf you’ve ever listened to Drinks at the Dal – a podcast way station for Lost Girl fans (and if you haven’t, fercrissakes, then you’d better start), then you know that the kickass trio of women who host the podcast have this same kind of chemistry. They all bring different points of view to the show, they laugh, they’re smart, they play off each other, and are overflowing with insight and depth. It makes their podcast special – and fun. I’m a big fan!

Recently Stephanie, Annie and Kris were kind enough to answer some (several) questions about their podcast.

1. How did you get interested in podcasting, and why did you start a Lost Girl podcast?

Stephanie: I feel like these two questions are kind of one and the same for all of us. None of us had ever podcasted before we started Drinks at The Dal. I’m a big NPR listener so I had listened to All Songs Considered as well as the podcast versions of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and Fresh Air on and off over the years.

lolzcastBut I thought of podcasts as the recording of a live show, specifically a live show done by professionals. It wasn’t until the past year or so that I really became aware of podcasts as a medium for average folks to produce entertaining and informative content, and that realization was really spurred by someone planting the idea in my head about producing a Lost Girl podcast.

Why a Lost Girl podcast? Well, my partner was really sick of me gushing about the show and told me I needed to make some friends and talk to them about it. No, I’m kidding. My partner is fantastic and listens to all my fangirling. But I was spending a lot of time thinking about and analyzing the show, and I realized that I had a lot of stuff to say about Lost Girl and I really wanted to know what other people thought about it.

At the time, Dave and Wayne’s Faetalists podcast was the only dedicated Lost Girl podcast regularly producing new episodes, and I thought I would have a very different perspective than theirs so I would be adding to the conversation and not just duplicating the work they do. They talk about the show from the perspective of longtime sci-fi/fantasy fans, and while I would describe myself as a genre fan, I tend to view television through a feminist, social science lens. I’m interested in how women are portrayed, how masculinity is portrayed, how LGBT characters are portrayed, how people of color are portrayed, and what kind of social and political power people have in the universe of the show. So hopefully we are adding a different perspective into the mix.

Annie: I’ve never really been interested in podcasting as a medium. I fell into this podcast through a mix of pure naivete and overenthusiastic fangirling! I saw @ImageFeeder and Stephanie having a conversation on Twitter about starting a Lost Girl podcast – I said, sure, I’ll help. Not having any podcasting experience or technical know-how, I think I brought a lot of enthusiasm about a show I was passionate about. I have a background with a BA in literature/film studies and had a long history of being a part of various fandoms, such as Xena, Battlestar Galactica and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. What I wanted was the chance to discuss with others my love for the show on a more frequent basis than attending conventions a few times a year.

I was interested in being part of a Lost Girl podcast that could discuss the show from various points of view. We could be a part of a balanced discussion, yet have our favorite characters. Do episode reviews and cover more thematic material. Respect everyone’s opinion and bring up analysis of a scene that others hadn’t thought of. But above all, have a great time exploring this world that Lost Girl created.

Kris: I really got interested in podcasting about a month or six weeks after I recorded my first episode of Drinks at The Dal with Stephanie. Yes, really. I’d listened to a handful of podcast episodes in the past, but it wasn’t really something I spent time thinking about. Then, Stephanie started talking about how she was going to start a Lost Girl podcast. I was a little worried that she’d ask me to co-host with her and was relieved when she told me she’d found Annie to be her co-host.

Stephanie: Basically, I railroaded Kris into recording the first two episodes with me because I couldn’t think of anyone else to ask. I’m a tyrant.

Kris: True. Then, she roped me into coming back for the Bo episode (after I’d spent an hour and a half talking her ear off about Bo). We recorded episode 9 (the ship names one) that same night and, as you can probably tell, we had a great time with it. Recording those, along with the response we got to them, was what really hooked me. Also, Stephanie put me to work on the show notes, so . . .

Annie: I loved having Kris come on as a special guest about a zillion times (ha ha!) and then co-host. We make such a compatible trio because we have different personalities, yet we all mesh well together. So thanks Stephanie for railroading Kris into co-hosting! 😀

2. How did you choose the name Drinks at The Dal?

Stephanie: Amazingly, Drinks at The Dal was the first name I suggested when we were brainstorming, and it stuck! I wanted the name to evoke the idea of getting together with your friends and chatting and having a good time, and I wanted it to be really obvious to fans that the podcast was about Lost Girl just by looking at the name. So I wanted to mention The Dal, since that’s where the gang socializes, and I liked the alliteration of Drinks at The Dal. Though had we been able to anticipate that Kenzi was going to refer to herself and Dyson as “pals at The Dal” in “In Memoriam,” we would probably be PATD instead of DATD right now.

Pals at the Dal!
Pals at the Dal!

Annie: Yup, that was all Stephanie. She said the name and I said ‘Brilliant!’ We temporarily had inflated egos for .02 seconds watching “In Memoriam,” joking that Emily Andras had written the line ‘pals at The Dal’ due to the DATD name.

3. How much time does it take to plan, record and edit an episode, as well as the supporting work of show notes and promotion via social media?

Kris: Show notes, when I do them, take about 2-3 hours.

Stephanie: At least an hour goes into planning the episodes on my end. If you’ve tuned in to one of our live streams, you know that I have an outline in which I try to plan the flow of the episode and make notes so that we don’t forget to talk about something. For the topic-based episodes, the planning can add up to much more than an hour, especially if it’s a topic that I’m really passionate about.

The recording generally takes 1-2 hours, though on a couple of occasions it’s run closer to 3 hours when we’ve really been having a good time.

I’ve never really timed myself on the editing process, but I do know that it took me upwards of 8 hours to edit one of our hour-long episodes. However, that can really vary. I just edited two half-hour episodes in about three hours.

Once the podcast episode is ready, it takes me about an hour and a half to get the post keep-calm-and-retweet-this-6ready for the website, less if Kris has typed up the show notes.

When the season was going, I spent about an hour every night getting social media posts ready for the next day. Then Kris and I will pop on and off of Twitter throughout the day and respond to people or retweet anything interesting or important.

Annie: When we do episode reviews, I watch the episode once, just as a fan. (I’m a very emotional fangirl – I tend to talk/yell back at my TV, so beware!) Then I’ll watch it again and take my own detailed notes and reactions which I have for reference during the podcast. But I’ll refer to Stephanie’s show notes for the outline of how the podcast will unfold and what topic we’ll talk about next. The joke is (and truth as well) is that I can be behind or over enthusiastic with my shipper stuff, I sometimes don’t read the others’ show notes, so I can get off topic. But eventually we get there and take 1-2 hours to record an episode. Lately, it’s been more like 2 hours an ep. The more complex the episode is as the season unfolds, the more we find we have to talk about.

I have to give so much credit to Stephanie for doing the editing, because it’s a long process that I don’t have the know how or time to devote to. Kris is the star of backup editing, writing out incredibly detailed show notes and maintaining the social media, especially Twitter during the live streams. These two co-hosts make the site look and the podcast sound fantastic, and I just help where I can. I’m privileged to be doing this with them.

4. What’s your favorite part about doing the show?

Kris: Spending an hour (or several) pretty much every week talking about a show I love with people I tolerate. Kidding! I’m kidding! I like them, too! It’s also great getting feedback from people who listen.

Stephanie: Recently, it’s been the live streams. Because I love talking to Kris and Annie — if you can’t tell, we have a pretty good time together — and I love hearing what other people think about the show, and the live streams combine those two things. We have some funny, smart people who watch the live streams and tweet their thoughts to us. It’s awesome.

Annie: In my daily life, I’m an introvert. I never, ever thought in a million years I’d do something like this. I barely even knew what a podcast was. DATD gave me a chance to take a risk on something and break out of my shell. I love talking about this show, these characters that have such an incredibly deep, personal resonance with me. Doing it with these two co-hosts and just laughing about the silliest stuff makes for some fun times. And having other fans listen in, contribute and share their own opinions. The fact that five people listen, let alone several hundred, blows my mind.

5. Have there been any controversies or behind-the-scenes podcast drama?

Kris: ALL the time. You wouldn’t believe the screaming matches we all get into. No, I’m kidding! I don’t think there have been. Nothing serious, anyway.

Stephanie: Well, Annie doesn’t like it when Kris and I pretend to flirt.

Kenzi doesn't like it when Bo and Lauren flirt either
Kenzi doesn’t like it when Bo and Lauren flirt either

Annie: Kris and Stephanie flirting makes me uneasy!!

Kris: Which we did solely because it got such a hilarious and emphatic reaction from Annie.

Stephanie: Her reaction being, “I do not ship it! I do not ship it!”

You know, I think we’ve all had a moment or two where we got frustrated and thought that we weren’t able to get our thoughts in, but I think we try to be understanding that sometimes things happen and it’s not personal. In general, I think we have a really good time together.

Annie: I think we are a really good mix of personalities. Stephanie is the analytical one who keeps us (read: me) on track when I go off on a passion-filled Doccubus tirade. Kris is a thoughtful listener and commentator who will really come up with some ways of looking at an ep I haven’t thought of. She also has quite the sense of humor. And I guess I have what people call a dry humor. I never think I’m being funny, but apparently others do – which is why it’s called dry humor! The fact that anyone finds me amusing still puzzles me!

[Sally:  as a longtime listener, I agree with this analysis. I’ve thought that if we classified the DatD hosts in Freudian terms, then it would look something like this:

  • Annie as id – bringing passionate enthusiasm with a keen interest in the health and frequency of Bo and Lauren’s intimate relations, such as “Where is my Doccubus sex?”
  • Stephanie as superego – applying the lens of a feminist and social science perspective to Lost Girl, keeps the id on track
  • Kris as ego – the mediating influence between the id and superego who operates according to the reality principle

Obviously each host is a full and complete person in and of themselves, and Freud is a little out of vogue these days, but I amuse myself.]

6. Annie is the most open “shipper” on your podcast team. How does each of you individually approach the concept of “shipping” for Lost Girl, both your personal preference and while podcasting?

Kris: Annie’s a shipper, you say? I hadn’t noticed. OH — the Doccubus thing! Right. I also ship Doccubus, though not with the same fervency as Annie. And I’m not kidding about shipping Hotpantsless (Lauren and Crystal), though I admit that I play it up because I think it’s funny when I do. I might be the only one who does. I don’t know. I like to think I keep a pretty realistic perspective on the whole shipping situation. On a show like this, ‘ship status is always changing, so I try not to freak out too much (in a good way or a bad way).

Pizza? Beer? Me?
Pizza? Beer? Me?

doccubusStephanie: I think it’s natural that people “ship” couples when they watch TV shows. I think we kind of can’t help ourselves. I’m probably a moderate shipper. I have couples that I like and that I’m rooting for, but mostly I just want the show to tell a good story. I don’t often say it, but when I say I “ship” a couple, I usually just mean that I enjoy seeing that couple together. On the podcast, I try not to get into who I think is going to be endgame or anything like that. Instead, I try to focus on what we’re seeing on the show in regards to pairings and whether I’m enjoying what’s happening with them.

Annie: I’m a shipper, and I’ve always tended to be a shipper with the various fandoms I’ve been in. I’m a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve type and am passionate in expressing my emotions. But I’ve never been against anyone shipping whomever they want to. Just as long as all are respected, that’s what I like to see.

fig,white,mens,ffffff

 

7. You guys interviewed Emily Andras, Executive Producer for Lost Girl, in 2013. Were you nervous? How did you prepare?

Kris: We were all pretty nervous, I think. We spent months trying to come up with questions and had a couple of planning sessions to hash out the final question list and call dibs on questions. Also, Annie took me for coffee and pastry, which I really appreciated.

Stephanie: Until Emily showed up on our video call, I don’t think I fully believed the interview was actually going to happen. I think I mention in the podcast that I embarrassingly said, “Oh my god,” when she joined the call. I don’t really remember being nervous until that moment, but Emily was so warm and lovely that I wasn’t too nervous for long.

Annie: I can’t believe that we made it happen! As I’ve told Kris and Stephanie, when I gave Emily a DATD business card at FanExpo and timidly told her about the podcast, she said “Oh, I know you guys!” to which I replied in a very undignified way “I’m s*itting myself!” But it was great to get past the nerves and to have Emily show up. She was so generous with our time and most of all made us laugh with every answer. That’s the lasting impression I have of that interview.

8. Drinks at The Dal has robust content beyond the audio podcast – the show notes, twitter, tumblr, Facebook. (Anything else? — No, that’s it. That’s enough!) What is your social media philosophy/strategy?

Stephanie: I’m glad you think so! I think I’m better at Twitter than anything else, but that’s probably because I prefer Twitter to the other platforms. I like how interactive it is. So I guess that’s my strategy — interact with people! This maybe sounds a little creepy, but I keep an eye on the LostGirl hashtag, and if I see someone asking a question that I know the answer to I’ll reply to them. And, of course, I try to respond to people who tweet the podcast. I also try to throw questions out there regularly because I think social media is best when there’s a back and forth. As far as a philosophy goes, I try to be funny (with varying degrees of success, I’m sure) and most importantly I try to be positive.

People like pictures
People like pictures

Also, pictures. People like pictures.

Annie: It’s been a very, very smart move by Stephanie to instantly have DATD available on social media from the beginning. I remember seeing what she had put up, even from the first day. I was amazed. It really is the way to get the word out there and stay connected, using social media in the best of ways.

Tweet, tumbl and uh, facebook Drinks at the Dal on these social media sites.

9. Recently Drinks at the Dal started live-streaming your podcasts. What made you want to do this? How does it enhance the experience? Are you ever worried about saying something you might wish later you hadn’t?

Stephanie: Before Season 4 started airing, I worried (probably too much) about releasing our discussions of the new episodes as quickly as possible. Due to our schedules, the earliest we could record our episodes was late Tuesday evening, which meant the earliest I could release them was Thursday. But it occurred to me that even though I couldn’t release the edited episodes any sooner, we could live stream our recording sessions so that if people were really anxious to hear our thoughts about the episode they could hear them a couple days earlier.

I’m so glad we started doing the live streams. I’ve really enjoyed getting people’s feedback while we’re recording because we’ve been able to include other people’s thoughts and theories in the podcast that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. (Thank you, Kris, for keeping an eye on Twitter while we record!) It does make for a longer recording time and more editing, but I love getting to interact with other Lost Girl fans while we record. I can’t speak to the experience of the people who watch the live streams, but we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about them.

I worry about saying something I might regret pretty much every time I open my mouth, whether I’m on the mic or not. I actually think the live streams have helped me be a little less nervous because it has really started to feel like I’m just chatting with a group of friends.

Kris: (You’re welcome, Stephanie.) I used to worry about saying something I’d regret. The more we’ve recorded, the less I worry. For the most part, I think people have taken things the way I’ve meant them, which is always what I worry about the most. Knowing that I can clarify in the shownotes or the comment section or on Twitter helps, too. I think the three of us are pretty good about checking each other clarification-wise.

ProfanityAnnie: I’ve really enjoyed the live streams as they’ve gone on and I’ve gotten used to them. Except the first time when I didn’t check my email and was reminded that we were live as I came on. (“Annie, stop swearing!” was the reminder I got from my co-hosts! LOL!) Again, the fact that people take time to listen to the ‘raw’ recording and enjoy our thoughts as they sometimes come tumbling out, is amazing. One of the best compliments we did receive is that it is like drinking at a bar with friends.

10. Occasionally you all solicit and have guests on your podcasts. What makes for a good guest podcaster? What should fans who would like to volunteer to be a guest keep in mind when contacting you?

Stephanie: Enthusiasm is probably the most important attribute of a guest podcaster. Having a strong perspective is a close second. We love it when guest contributors have theories and questions that they want to talk about.

If you’re interested in being a guest podcaster, have a topic or a Lost Girl episode in mind that you want to talk about when you contact us. Think about what aspect of the show really fascinates you or gets you excited — that’s what you should talk about. Also keep in mind that at the moment we’re not planning to do episodes on the main characters. We released episodes on each of the main characters before Season 4 started airing, and we’re not ready to revisit them quite yet. However, if there is a recurring character or even a guest character you really liked and want to talk about, bring it on!

11. What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in starting a podcast? (For any topic, TV show or otherwise.)

Kris: Make sure it’s something you like to talk about. And, while you don’t need co-hosts, I know I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own. So, for me, compatible co-hosts is a must.

Stephanie: I would second what Kris said. Definitely, it needs to be a topic you’re passionate about. That’s the most important thing. Co-hosts are also really helpful.

Only do it if it’s fun. If it isn’t fun anymore or a certain aspect of running your podcast isn’t fun anymore, stop doing it. I admit that I went kind of big with Drinks at The Dal. We do weekly episodes (which are edited), live streams, detailed show notes, weekly link roundups, and we stay active on Twitter and have a Facebook and tumblr presence. You don’t have to do all those things. You can do biweekly or even monthly episodes — being consistent is the most important thing. If you really like recording podcast episodes but you hate editing, try to figure out how to cut down on your editing. Maybe you need a more detailed outline or even a script before you start recording. If you hate using Twitter, you don’t have to use it.

On the technical side of things, I would really recommend doing some research beforehand. I found Daniel J. Lewis’ podcast and website The Audacity to Podcast very helpful when I was putting together Drinks at The Dal. Also, go ahead and spring for a good microphone up front. I recommend the Audio Technica ATR-2100 USB mic. Its price went up recently, but it’s still pretty affordable and very versatile. And don’t use BlogTalkRadio. Just don’t.

Annie: I third what everyone said. Enthusiasm, enthusiasm! And I don’t know if I could do this by myself since I don’t have what I consider a ‘work the room’ kind of personality. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of or pick up the slack when it goes silent for a few seconds. It’s also incredibly prudent to be organized – have a basic outline so you know where you’re going and don’t wander off topic. But don’t be too strict with it either. If you find you’re not having a good time, it’s not worth the effort. And if you’re like me and don’t have the technical know how, find a partner that does, or research the ways you can podcast online as Stephanie suggested.

enthusiasm-quotes-zest-quotes

 

12. Can you speak about the balance between being a fan of a show you love, and being objective and even critical when there are characters and plotlines you don’t like?

Kris: Speaking solely for myself, I’m a fan of the show first and foremost. I don’t think I’d be able to do the podcast with any regularity if I wasn’t. That’s not to say I can’t and won’t be critical, of course. For me, loving something always leads to thinking about it too much, and my college years were spent analyzing stories, so it’s all stuff I’m pretty much thinking about anyway.

Stephanie: I think you absolutely can love something but still be critical of it. For sure, I’m a huge fan of Lost Girl, but I do not think it’s perfect. I think it’s important to be critical of things you love. When it comes to the podcast, we strive to be critical but not negative. Hopefully, we’ve never said something like, “This storyline was terrible” and that was it. My rule for myself is that when I say I don’t like something I have to say why. I have to explain my reasons. Furthermore, I try to be clear that it’s just my opinion, and I by no means think I have the “right” opinion. But even when we like something, we try not to dwell too long on whether we thought something needsmoremonkeyswas good or bad but rather what does it mean.

Annie: I think the key is constructive criticism, which was so drilled into me in college. If one says they don’t like a storyline or a character’s progression, it has to be backed up with examples and a reason why it doesn’t work for them. There’s a difference between criticism, even biased criticism, and negative vitriol where people just hate on a character or plot line. When I read things like that, it’s the fastest way to turn me off. Regardless, I have a love for Lost Girl and all its glories and its flaws. As I mentioned earlier, first I watch it as a fan, which is based on an emotional level, then I pull back and look at it from an analytical level. Both sides have their appeal and both I find fascinating.

13. Why the unreasonable hatred of Massimo’s hip clothing?

y u no like my shirt
y u no like my shirt

Stephanie: Because I can see it, Sally. Because I can see it.

Now, just to be clear, while I do not find Massimo’s wardrobe visually pleasing I do think it suits him. [Sally says: OMG I hope that you intended for this to be a pun because it is awesome.]

Annie: Some things you can’t explain. It just is. ;D

14. How has podcasting changed the way you experience Lost Girl? Do you ever miss being “just a viewer,” rather than part of the fan/reviewer community?

Kris: I take notes during my second (and possibly third) viewings of new episodes now. I do occasionally miss being able to “just” watch the show.

Stephanie: I think mostly it has changed my experience in a positive way because I get to hear a lot of different theories and perspectives from a wide variety of people. I do sometimes wish I didn’t have to take notes while watching an episode, but I always watch it once through as just a viewer and no distractions.

Annie: It’s given me a chance to do something different and be an ‘active’ viewer. My only comment is ‘people think I’m funny?’ I met someone at the Emerald City Comicon recently and gave them a DATD card and they said ‘That’s you?’ It made me downright blush, honest!

15. Tell us something personal and amusing about yourself.

Kris: I was going to say that I snort when I laugh, but everybody who’s listened to the podcast knows that. Oh! In high school, we were playing a trivia game in one of my classes, and a question about science fiction came up. Pretty much everybody in the room turned to look at me, even though I only knew maybe half of the people in the class. Is that sufficiently amusing?

Annie: My fanfic ideas tend to come to me when I’m about to go to sleep, driving home, or, strangely, in the shower. Don’t know if that’s amusing. Most of the time, I forget to jot them down and the flash of inspiration is lost – it’s more frustrating to me than amusing! ;D

Stephanie: My last name is Beaver. No. Really.

beaver beaver2 20090218-beavertails Jerry_Mathers_1960

16. Describe your podcast persona for DatD in a whimsical way. (Example: Annie: Diehard Doccubus Diva)

Kris: What is my podcast persona? I don’t even know. Quirky Quixotic Quipper?

Stephanie: Measured Methodical Moderator?

Annie: Well Sally, you gave me the best moniker with Doccubuster – referring to my weekly Doccubus lovin’ tangents! Best. Name. Ever!!

17. Once Lost Girl is over (NEVER!!!!!) will you keep podcasting?

Kris: That depends on whether or not Orphan Black is still going at that point. And what else I’ve become obsessed with.

Stephanie: I think so. I really do enjoy it. But I did go several years between TV show obsessions, so I might take a break until a new show or a new topic really riles me up.

Annie: I don’t know. I’ll see. I wouldn’t be adverse to it, although it would really take another special show that resonated with me to commit.

18. Do you have any stalkers who LOVE Drinks at the Dal and won’t leave you alone? Is her name Sally?

Kris: This hypothetical Sally you mention might be one of the best unanticipated side effects of working on Drinks at The Dal.

Stephanie: Ditto.

Annie: No, unless it counts cool peeps who support us all the way. Like you! ;D

19. Is there anything you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?

Stephanie: Yes. And the answer is, “I’d love to, but I just can’t bend my arm that way.”

Annie: No, my cat Nani is not a Doccubus shipper.

Kris: I don’t know, but I will misinterpret this question as an opportunity to mention that the three of us are doing a Bomb Girls podcast, and Stephanie and I have an Orphan Black podcast. You know, if anybody reading this is a fan of those shows and wasn’t aware.

DaTDladies

4 thoughts on “Interview with Drinks at the Dal

  1. Okay, Stephanie, your answer raises the question: which way does your arm bend and how far? Asking for science.

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