Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who wears the frogpants?

These days podcasts are a dime a dozen in my experience. For every well produced, entertaining cast there are a bunch that sound unprofessional, do a bad job of holding listener interest, or are released too sporadically, leaving listeners never knowing when they're going to be able to download a new episode.

There is, however, a name in podcasting that has become synonymous with quality audio shows. That name is Scott Johnson. Scott got in on the podcasting game very early on, before the word 'podcast' even exhisted, with his first cast 'Extra Life Radio', which hit the web in 2005. The cast, taking its name from Scott's webcomic, Extra Life, featured Johnosn and fellow webcomic creators Brian Dunaway and Obsidian. ELR embraced all things geeky in a very funny, entertaining way. ELR was one of the first podcasts I ever listened too, and it was clear from the start the Scott was a charismatic, relatable host.

Scott has never looked back since his first foray into audio casts. In 2009 he launched his 'Frogpants' network, with a selection of different podcasts under the network banner, most of which he hosts and produces himself. Scott has attracted an army of fans over the years. It's hard not to like the guy. He is always very open, funny and relatable. You can't help but want to join in some of the conversations as you listen along. Scott even hosts a convention called 'Nerdtacular' once a year in his home town of Salt Lake City, Utah, celebrating all things Frogpants.

I recently did an interview with Scott via email. Here's what the elder statesman of podcasting and webcomics had to say...

Me: You were creating audio content very early on, before the term
'podcast' had even been coined. Was that just an experiment or did you
predict the popularity of podcasting before it hit?

Scott: Honestly, I had little idea of what it would become one day, but I was
certain that audio and video would be important technologies in the
near future, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of it. I have a
long time love of radio, and the internet suddenly provided a way for
me to experiment without having to own my own station. :)

Podcasting is still in it's relative infancy. Do you think it's going
to change or evolve in any way down the track, or is the format now
set in stone?

I think the method of delivery methods will continue to change and
evolve, but people will always enjoy audio content. We need to have
something in our heads when we jog and commute.

You've spent countless hours producing podcasts with a host of
internet personalities. Whats you're favourite or most memorable
recording moment?

I think it was my interview with Todd McFarlaine, of Marvel / Image /
comic book fame. He was a really cool dude, and I really loved
chatting with him. He's a bit of a legend in his own time.

You have always been very open with your listeners and readers in
terms of your views, opinions and your family life. Has there ever
been instances that made you regret being so forthcoming, or people
that have crossed a line?

Never. I think the key to building a strong mature community is being
open and honest about everything. Honestly, it's just the way I go
naturally, so it just happens that it worked out great, and now I'm a
big believer in it. Be who you are, and people will come. :)

Anyone that, like yourself, produces web content must inevitably
receive some criticism, sometimes in a 'not so friendly' way. Do the
demanding or 'trollish' critiques of your work ever bother you, or do
you just ignore them?

I was REALLY sensitive to this sort of thing in the early days. But
these days, I am sort of numb to it. I just ignore it, even though I
rarely remove stuff like that. If someone goes off on a blog comment
or on facebook or something, I typically let it stay and let it be
what it is. People can make up their own minds. But I don't really
have much of a problem with this. A pretty respectful bunch as it
turns out.

Do you think you will ever resurrect Extra Life Radio, or have casts
like The Morning Stream filled ELR's role on your network?

I think TMS has taken up the reigns from ELR in a very real way, and
probably better represents what I wanted ELR to be in the first place.
Will ELR ever come back? I never say never. :)

Your web comic is nearing it's ten year anniversary. Do you
still have the same passion you had for creating comics you had a
decade ago?

Actually, the 10 year mark is this coming June. And yeah, 10
years...holy crap. That time flew by. I had a baby that year, and
he's 10 now, so that shows you how crazy time passes. I LOVE comics,
and I love where my style has taken me over the years. Regret
nothing! And can't wait to create the next one!

Is there a possibility of a ten year Extra Life compilation book?

I have been meaning to do this forever. Thanks or the reminder!

Which piece of unrealistic frogpants related merchandise would you
love to see one day?

A Frogpants branded Mini Cooper. :)

Are there any forms of media you want to explore in the future aside
from webcomics and podcasting?

I would like to get into more video content. It's a lot more time
consuming, and I don't really have the face for it, but I have some
ideas that need massaging.

If you had an offer to turn one of your casts into a television or
traditional radio show would that interest you, or do you like working
exclusively on your own terms?

TMS for sure. I think it fits, and would be a blast in that format. :)

Lastly, some random speculation. What will be the game that finally
'kills' World of Warcraft? Which comic book character will get the
next big screen adaptation? Which classic video game series will
receive a current gen remake? What will Nintendo call their next home
console? What will be the next podcast to come from Frogpants be

RIFT. JLA. Jazz Jackrabbit. Wii2. RIFT...maybe. ;)

Thanks for your time.

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