OTW Guest Post: pod together

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Interviews by Fans
Title: OTW Guest Post: pod together
Interviewer: Claudia Rebaza
Interviewee: pod together (klb and Paraka)
Date(s): February 21, 2019
Medium: online
External Links: OTW Guest Post: OTW Guest Post: pod together; Wayback link; archive link
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

OTW Guest Post: pod together is a 2019 interview done as part of a series. See OTW Guest Post.

Some Topics Discussed

Some Excerpts

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

klb: I always had a tendency to feel fannish about various canons (getting really invested, always wanting more and wanting to spend a lot of time talking and thinking about the characters and worlds), and sometime in high school that tendency led me to the X-Files fanfiction website Gossamer Project. I couldn’t believe how amazing fanfiction was—I never wanted to stop reading it!

paraka: I also tended to feel fannish about things before officially ~discovering~ fandom in university when my roommate introduced me to Queer as Folk (US) and vids. It was the first time I had regular access to high speed internet and the time to browse and found myself obsessed with fanvids, then later fanfic, then later still podfic.

How did pod_together start?

klb: It was a really exciting time in podfic fandom. Tons of fannish energy and a sense that anything we wanted to create was possible. There was also a lot of talk about the way writing and podfic interacted. Podfic was being seen as just a “format shift” in many places, rather than as an artform of its own, largely because the text always came first and could always stand independent of the audio performance. I think my initial main goal was to shake things up by facilitating a collection of fanworks where audio wasn’t an afterthought but an integral part of the creative process. And I do think that it helped to change the conversation. It also, across the years, has opened up new possibilities for what fanworks can be. When the words and audio are planned together from the start, there’s a lot that can be done that’s exciting –like immersive in-universe fake podcasts and radio shows!

paraka: At the time I had already been running a couple of challenges and I always felt pretty blatant about my motivations: I’d see something happening in podfic fandom that I’d either like to encourage or encourage in a different direction, then I’d create a community that would affect that change. Most of my communities were pretty single focused: pod_together turned out to be the one with the most goals.

As klb said, I wanted to create a place that encouraged podficcers to experiment and play with the boundaries of our art form. I also wanted a platform that put podficcers on a more equal creative footing with fic writers, and which encouraged consumers to give podfic a try, which led me to pushing for streaming of all podfics in the challenge.

How did you hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?

klb: I can’t remember when I first heard about the OTW, but I see its role as protectors of fandom. I remember when there were some issues with Mediafire issuing takedown requests to podficcers because they thought the podfic was a copyrighted work (like if it shared a title with a song, which many fics do!) And I remember the OTW legal team jumped in to help out me and other podficcers with the best way to deal with that situation and fight back against the takedown. And it worked! That’s my strongest memory of interacting with the OTW.

paraka: I was around for astolat’s[1] original own-the-damned-servers post and followed the progress of the organization from then on, sometimes more closely than others.

As for its role, I mostly think of the OTW as the services it provides, from AO3, Open Doors, to Fanlore, legal advice/advocacy to the academic work it does.

The OTW is a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I’ll always remember how the OTW, and the AO3 team specifically, helped us get pod_together working. We’ve run pod_together on AO3 every year we’ve run it, but that first year we didn’t decide to use AO3 until we were already well into the challenge. At the time getting an invite code was more of a hassle than it is now, but when I contacted Support I was given enough codes to get all our participants an account. I was also determined to have streaming podfic with each project, which required an embedded flash player. The AO3 team worked with me to get the flash player we were using (this was before AO3 hosted its own dew player options) whitelisted so they’d work. Actually, if I’m remembering correctly, they did a last minute code push the day of reveals so it would work for us. That felt so above and beyond to me.


  1. ^ This was not Astolat but Cesperanza.