When we first started this comic we knew that we wanted to try and promote ourselves on Twitter. We figured it would be our best tool for reaching an audience outside of our Facebook friends and family. What we didn’t realize was just how wonderful the fan community on Twitter is, the friendships we would develop because of it, and how many of them were creating excellent Star Wars content themselves.
Case in point: Hyperspace Podblast.
As of this writing, Hyperspace Podblast just released their fourteenth 30-minute episode and it was, as usual, excellent. Their format is simple: each show has a central Star Wars-ian theme, sometimes topical or sometimes it’s about WHATEVER THEY FEEL LIKE, and it’s only about thirty minutes long, which, if you’re like me, is wonderful. I’m currently subscribed to fourteen podcasts, a majority of which are Star Wars, and having one that provides such excellent content, but only takes a single work commute to finish almost makes me weep with joy.
Shelby and Bryan are great hosts. They create an atmosphere that’s extremely casual, almost like they invited you over to hang out for 30 minutes to talk about Star Wars, but it’s still informative. They’re genuinely curious when they have a guest on the show and always take a thoughtful backseat, guiding the guest with questions that stimulate the conversation. I love their rapport and I love how they never seem to take themselves too seriously. Basically, they’re lovable, thoughtful, insightful goofballs.
And they’re obviously really passionate about Star Wars.
Anyway – enough from me. Shelby and Bryan were kind enough recently to sit down and answer some questions about their podcast and Star Wars in general. I’m sure you guys will enjoy reading it as much as I did.
ASWC: We’ll start with an easy one – why did you guys want to make a podcast? Why did you choose Star Wars as your subject?
SHELBY: I actually didn’t choose Star Wars originally. I listen to a lot of non-Star Wars podcasts, well, I used to before we started PodBlasting. I came up with a concept last year and tried to get a solo podcast off the ground but it really was just too much work for one person. Bryan later brought up that he wanted to start a Star Wars podcast. At first, I was reluctant because I only recently became a fan, but agreed because I thought it would be manageable between the two of us and would be a fun project to do together.
BRYAN: It was an idea I’d been kicking around in my head for quite a while, and one day I was grumbling, like I do about a great many things, about how long Star Wars podcasts were and came up with the idea to do a short-form version that would be easy to take in in one sitting. I asked Shelby if she’d be my female, non-fanboy voice of reason, so to speak, and the rest is history.
ASWC: How do you guys go about planning a show? Do you have an outline of what you’re going to talk about in advance or do you guys kind of just go with what’s topical or interesting to you at any given moment?
BRYAN: Yes. Next question. No, what I usually do is, once we’ve picked the topic is come up with five questions or prompts to keep the conversation going. I figure if we get five minutes from each then we have at least a 25-minute show. As far as the topics, though, we generally come up with those together.
SHELBY: Yea, we actually often go on late night brainstorming walks to come up with ideas for episodes. It often stems from general Star Wars conversation we have together about our thoughts and theories. There are a lot of podcasts who cover “current events” or Star Wars news like specific releases of figures and whatnot, so we only cover the big stuff like trailers and celebration or whatever we feel deserves the space in our short format.
ASWC: Did you have a specific intention or Palpatine-eqsue goal when you started out making Hyperspace Podblast?
SHELBY: UNLIMITED POWER. Just kidding. We only wanted to have fun.
BRYAN: Yeah, basically everything I do be it a blog, podcast, whatever, I’m doing for myself, first and foremost, and if other people like it or engage with us because of it, then that’s just yummy icing on the cake.
ASWC: What’s your favorite aspect of the current culture that surrounds Star Wars? Does it impact how you handle making your show?
BRYAN: How huge it is, honestly. How there’s room for so many different thoughts and ideas. Just look at how many blogs, podcasts, etc. exist for Star Wars, it’s pretty incredible. As far as making an impact on the show, though, I’d say “meh.”
SHELBY: I love that Star Wars is this huge sandbox that enables fans to participate and even create. I find that the current culture and fandom supports and inspires creativity and it’s beyond cool to see what comes out of that. I would say that concept in particular influences our podcast in terms of guests and topics as we enjoy featuring people doing something different and exciting, or discuss intriguing fan theories.
ASWC: What was the first Star Wars movie you saw in theaters? Do you have a specific memory tied to that experience?
SHELBY: Because I was late to the game, my first Star Wars theater experience was The Force Awakens. What sticks out in my mind is how incredibly huge the release night was. The ease of conversation between us and people who we were in line with was incredible and created a tremendous build up to actually seeing the film.
BRYAN: The first one that really sticks out for me is Episode I. It was so huge because it was the first iteration of “Star Wars is back!” It was also when I was really getting into internet discussions and Star Wars, so I was all over the forums (that’s what you did back in the day) talking about what I thought was going to happen, mostly related to Darth Maul. I went with like half a dozen friends, some of whom had already seen it because they were slackers and didn’t have a summer job like I did…but, yeah, Episode I, good times.
ASWC: If Disney/Lucasfilm hired you tomorrow, what is the one job you’d want to have or project you’d want to be a part of? Director of the next movie? Make-up artist? Theme park ride design? Intergalactic radio DJ’s?
SHELBY: I would absolutely love to do just about anything related to fan engagement. Specifically, I think I’d like to be a stage host for Celebrations and something similar in the off-season. I’m all about the link between our universe and a galaxy far, far away.
BRYAN: I would want to be the Emperor – THE EMPEROR OF STAR WARS! Just kidding. I’d want to have some position dealing with storytelling, probably a seat on the story group, or some such thing. Then I could do things like hire the fine gentlemen from ASWC to make whatever Star Wars stories I wanted…*evil laughter*
ASWC: In addition to your regular podcast, you’ve also started to release a second podcast series called Blastcast: Rapid Fire Fandom Fridays where fans of the show can be interviewed about the fandoms outside of Star Wars they’re interested in. What was the thought process behind creating this podcast? What would you guys want to be interviewed about if you were guests on your own show?
SHELBY: Blastcasts, in general, are kind of our way of releasing non-episodic things like urgent responses to Star Wars news and now RFFF. Rapid Fire Fandom Fridays came about because a friend of the podcast (@JediFisch) wanted to talk about our mutual interest in Bob’s Burgers, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into the PodBlast. I stewed on it for a little while trying to think about how we could tie it back to Star Wars to keep “on brand”. Finally, I came up with a brief show format featuring multiple fans and fun headcanon questions about their topic of choice and Star Wars crossovers. We’re always looking for people to come on and interview for the project. It’s super laid back, we provide the questions before hand, and enables fans of all intensities to engage in really neat ways. Our current goal is to come out with a volume of RFFF once a month.
BRYAN: Yup. RFFF was literally all her idea and it’s really cool.
SHELBY: Anyway, I am on the verge of begging someone to do RFFF with Adventure Time, so that’d be my choice. I see so many crazy parallels between the show and Star Wars, from Finn’s different arms to Ice King/Simon’s corrupted mind.
BRYAN: Right now I’d have to say Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is my next fandom up. I got really stoked on the trailer for the upcoming movie, so I’ve started reading the books again and it’s just such a great world – and Stephen King is a really good writer, so win/win.
ASWC: There’s a lot of hype around The Last Jedi, but what’s the one aspect of the movie that you’re excited about that doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of attention?
BRYAN: The Knights of Ren. And I guess I don’t even know if they’re going to feature any more than the did in TFA, but I want them to. I want to know what they are, who they are, is it an old organization that Snoke or Kylo brought back, like the Ordu Aspectu from the comics, or is it something new that Kylo made up because he need a new identity and couldn’t call himself Darth because the Sith were destroyed…so, yeah, hopefully, there is some massive intel on the Knights of Ren.
SHELBY: Rose. I guess she isn’t getting much attention because there is so little information out there about her character, but I have a feeling she is going to be a fan instant favorite. Any time Star Wars features a “nobody” they most definitely are somebody. Plus, I think Kelly Marie Tran is going to be the Mark Hamill of our time in terms of being so engaged with fans.
ASWC: We like to spread good will here at ASWC. Are there any other Star Wars fan projects that you love out there?
SHELBY: Our biggest supporters, and now friends, are typically creators themselves, that’s how the community seems to work. We give them a lot of shoutouts, but it most definitely is never enough. There are really too many to list here without inevitably leaving someone out, so I’ll just list our most recent guest, Anthony, from Starguments (@StargumentHM), an Actual Play RPG podcast using the Star Wars Fantasy Flight System.
BRYAN: I definitely second that, and I’d add an upcoming guest, the Imperial Talker himself, Mr. Jeff Cagle (@ImperialTalker). He’s doing a monthly Star Wars Haiku post on his blog that’s pretty killer, and he has a bunch of other thoughtful posts on there as well.
ASWC: What’s the one feeling/idea/thought that you want your audience to take away from listening to your show?
BRYAN: I want them to laugh a lot, but also maybe think about something they’d never considered before.
SHELBY: My goal is for the audience to feel that Star Wars is accessible and made for everyone. I just hope that people get that vibe that fandom is what you make it to be and that you can be fun and serious at the same time.
…And there you have it. You can find Hyperspace Podblast on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, and almost any other podcasting app you prefer (I’ve provided a link below to help get you started). You can follow them on Twitter or Instagram @Hyperspace_pod or at their individual accounts @shelbb8 (Shelby) or @blivengo (Bryan). If you do like the show, make sure to write a review on whatever podcasting service you prefer (or all of them) and let all your friends and enemies know too!
Thanks for reading.
24 days until A Star Wars Comic #6
195 days until Star Wars: The Last Jedi
7 days until the next blog post