R.I.P. This Just In…
Five years ago, I registered thisjustinfromgencon.com. It expired last month, and I got the notification that it was deleted from the registry today.
Five years, man. I feel like that’s worth a few words, an obituary of sorts. This Just In… From Gen Con! was the brainchild of Paul Tevis, who in 2008 more or less said to me “Hey, Ryan, do you want to do this thing? I’ll organize it, we’ll co-host, and you’ll produce.” Such a casual question for what was one of the more hectic gigs I’ve had.
We did two “live” shows each day of Gen Con, at 11am and at 5pm, which meant that we had a room where people could show up if they knew the show was going on, and after that I would take the recording, process it, and put it live.
Here’s what my schedule every day shook out:
- 10:00 – start wandering the exhibitor call to find something to talk about
- 10:30 – make sure the guests for the 11am show remember we have a show today and are ready for it
- 10:50 – wait outside the room for the guests
- 11:00 – initial sound check, briefing the guests about the format, prompting them to think about answers questions like what they’ve seen or what they’re looking forward to seeing
- 11:10 – start recording
- 11:30 – hopefully done recording at this point; thank the guests and head to hotel room
- 12:30 – if I’m lucky, the episode is up by now
- 1:30 – if I’m not lucky, the episode might by up by now
- Get lunch, wander around, socialize, and find something to talk about for the next show
- 4:30 – make sure the guests for the 5pm show remember we have a show today and are ready for it
- 4:50 – wait outside the room for the guests
- 5:00 – initial sound check, briefing the guests about the format, prompting them to think about answers questions like what they’ve seen or what they’re looking forward to seeing
- 5:10 – start recording
- 5:30 – hopefully done recording at this point; thank the guests and head to hotel room
- 6:30 – if I’m lucky, the episode is up by now
- 7:30 – if I’m not lucky, the episode might by up by now
- Hope that I actually got to make my dinner plans that day, or get dinner if not. So whatever the night life called out for that evening.
And that doesn’t count the one or two pre-show episodes and post-show wrap-up with Kenneth Hite that we’d do.
The first year, it was Tevis & I. The next year, he ceded the whole thing to me. I went through, got a sponsor, rounded up guests, and decided rather than having one co-host, I would get individual guest co-hosts from the podcast community. That ended up being like having three guests, and it put all of the workload on me.
The third year, 2010, was also the year that I was co-running the IPR booth and the year that Dresden came out. So, I needed a co-host who could do my job of production. I talked with Kevin Weiser about it, and he came on board, but it didn’t turn out to be a good fit — turns out that I had built up a surprising number of skills relating to running This Just In that couldn’t be transferred quickly. So I needed up doing most of the audio production.
Also, I can’t tell you how often we fought to get wifi to work for us. Around half the time, I’d just pay for that day’s Internet in my hotel room. I mostly tried not to, because that $10 would also pay for 1.3 coffees.
You know how some people talk a lot about sound, and it sounds like they’re complaining, but when you say “Man, why did you bother with it?” the answer is “Are you kidding? I loved it!”
It was a lot of work. And I loved it. I really, really did.
But I also recognized that it was time for me to do what Tevis did, and pass the torch. I intended to pass it to Weiser, but after seeing what I had to deal with, he didn’t want to be the show runner. The next year, I reached out to Daniel Perez about taking the show from me; he and Rich Rogers teamed up, and brought the fourth year of This Just In.
The torch was passed. I was a guest on one episode that year, and listed as the Executive Producer. That was the year that they started crowdfunding the show — something I toyed with in the previous year, before Sandstorm Productions bought the sponsorship.
The next year, Perez wasn’t at Gen Con. Rich turned TJI into a huge group endeavor, enlisting the Yellow Menace podcast and Clyde from Theory From the Closet.
A couple months after Gen Con, Rich lamented to me about the work of TJI. He had burned out, much as I did — the show takes a lot out of you, especially if you do it multiple years.
However, Rich didn’t want the show to end with him. The thing I told Rich, which is what Paul Tevis has told to me: it’s okay for things to end. Things end so new things can begin. And that it’s better to end on a good note than a bad one.
We never did find someone to run the sixth year of This Just In… From Gen Con!, but that’s okay. The show had five years, a bunch of fans, helped make fantastic connections, and was a joy to do.
Here are to memories of something that ended, and to whatever exciting things will begin.
I’d like to thank the following, and I know I’m going to leave out some names: Paul Tevis for starting this thing, Kenneth Hite & Darren Watts for the traditional (and often drunken) ending, Kevin Weiser for helping out that one year, Ed Healy for his assistance here and there, Don Dehm for being the podcast liaison in the early years, and Dan Yarrington later. Daniel Perez and Rich Rogers holding the torch, and Rich Rogers again for going far beyond what I expected (and I already had high expectations of him). Peter Adkison, of course, for Gen Con. And the fans to world over.
P.S. And hey, maybe someone will register the domain and pick it up. All things are possible.