Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The TNT Show

Getting behind the camera of the geeky news talk webshow.

Posted By on October 19, 2016, 1:52 PM

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Geekdom in general is thriving in Utah. So of course when you have a thriving culture, there's going to be a lot of content created in that pool of interest. One of the latest additions is The TNT Show, which examines geek culture and news both locally and abroad. But the show also features interviews with artists, live performances and other bits on their YouTube channel. This Friday, the show will be returning to Watchtower Cafe for their next Loot Pinata event accompanying the evening art show. Today, we chat with the hosts about the program. (All pictures provided courtesy of The TNT Show.)

Andrea Petersen & The Rev
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Gavin: Hey Rev and Andrea! First thing, tell us a bit about yourselves.

I’m the brains. She’s the brawn—you should see this girl’s guns!

Andrea: Stop it!

Rev: Actually, that’s not true. She’s the brains and the brawn! I’m just here to eat craft services.

Andrea: I’m a Utah transplant from Texas, by way of Boston, New York and, most recently, Miami. I love the big city, but I also love the mountains, so I am a bit smitten with the hiking and of course the skiing. I am a local filmmaker, and that can mean producing, shooting, editing, writing or acting both in stage and film.

Rev: And when she’s not doing that, she’s bench pressing small buildings.

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What got each of you into pop culture growing up?

North Korean brainwashing. Just kidding! Honestly, it was seeing Star Wars with my parents. I remember wanting to be able to jump through the screen into that universe so badly it hurt. So yeah, Star Wars.  And North Korean brainwashing.

Andrea: I was actually a bit of a nerd. I grew up doing very nerdy things, like band and space camp and AP classes. I wasn't quite into pop culture until probably college, when my roommates introduced me to Friends and The Real World. The other thing that turned me on to pop culture was the fact that I have a background in journalism, and for a while there I just felt life was too serious and too depressing, and trust me, I think it is very important that we have that news covered, and that us as Americans are up-to-date on the happenings in the world. But I think there are some people who can really dig into that, and then there is me. I need a little more joy and fun in my life, so I actually got more interested in what people would call "feature" journalism. I love doing stories on art, music, culture and entertainment. I think there are many different ways to look at pop culture, but I see it through the arts, and I feel very strongly that when Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favor of the war effort, he simply asked, "Then what are we fighting for?"

What are you each currently geeking out on these days?

Andrea: I've had a couple different things that have caught my eye. I'm not gonna lie, I definitely jumped on the Pokémon Go craze, and am still pretty involved in it. In fact, Rev and I were just in San Francisco at their Comic Con, and we both had work to do, so we set up shop in the morning at a cafe, but may have allowed ourselves to be distracted by all the lures and new Pokémon in the Bay Area. Not sure how much work we actually got done. I loved the moments where Rev would just randomly grab my phone and disappear for a few minutes because a Wartortle showed up just down the street. I'm also geeking out on Brandon Sanderson, the local fantasy writer.

Rev: OMFG, I worship the ground that man walks on.

Andrea: I feel like most of you Utahns know him, but he is new to me, and I just can't get enough. I just finished the Mistborn Trilogy, I finished Steelheart in less than 48 hours, and have now moved on to the Stormlight Archive (that one is taking me a little bit longer, but if you know the books, you know why). And this is gonna be a funny phrase, but I am currently geeking out on old side scroller video games—call me a hipster. I'm okay with that. I'm totally reacquainting myself with all the Megamens and Super Mario Bros. It's been fun going old school, because I feel like there is so much childhood nostalgia attached to those games, that sometimes I like disappearing from being "an adult" for a little while.

Rev: To actually answer the question, I’m geeking out on people geeking out, which is to say people doing what they are passionate about. That’s one of my favorite things about the show is that we get to talk to people about their favorite things and why they love them. People are so diverse and interesting. I enjoy learning why people love the things they love.

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When did the two of you first meet each other and become friends?

Rev and I actually met through a local filmmaker, Duane Andersen.

Rev: Go, Duane!

Andrea: I needed a producer for a web series—

Rev: Ahem, “Award Winning” web-series! She never plugs that herself.

Andrea: Well, I don’t like to brag.

Rev: So I have to do it for her. Your bill is in the mail.

Andrea: So I was working on this web-series, and Duane said he wasn't sure if Rev could help me or not, but that he'd be a great connection. The funny thing is, Rev really couldn't help me as a producer.

Rev: I’m a “Let’s try this crazy idea” person, not really a “Here is how to get the money” type.

Andrea: Yeah, so Rev was working on his own fun web series, and wanted to see if I would get involved. People say I like to be "busy," which I hate that word; I think it comes with a negative connotation. What I like to do is "live" and be a part of life, and that being said, even though I was completely taken over by my own web series, I figured why the heck not throw on another project.

Rev: Andrea doesn’t know how to sit down.

Andrea: Being a writer, actor, and journalism junkie, I figured doing a geeky Daily Show-inspired web series would be right up my alley.

How did the idea for The TNT Show come about?

Late nights and caffeine. Two of the original hosts are good friends of mine, and I always enjoyed listening to them talk about stuff, particularly comics and movies. My background is film production, and one day we had a "peanut butter/chocolate AHA!" moment. Why aren’t we recording this?! We started with this concept of a Pardon The Interruption type show, but focusing on geek culture. It only took us six years, but we finally said, “No, for reals! Let’s do this!” and set up a studio in my friend's basement. Then those friends got busy with real life and weren’t able to meet up regularly. I wanted to keep going, and since I was the only one that was always around with a camera, I sort of inherited the mantle.

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What was the process like in getting everything set up and getting others involved?

Arduous! But rewarding. Juggling the schedules of a handful of busy working adults is like herding cats, only more rewarding, because you can kick the adults and the ASPCA won’t care about it. Okay, that was a dumb answer—the caffeine is really kicking in now.

Andrea: Focus!

Rev: Basically the entire thing is just an excuse to hang out with cool people. I really enjoy the creative process, especially when you get to bat ideas around with super-inventive and talented people. Very little gets me as stoked as a good volley of ideas bouncing off of each other. I truly appreciate the time that people are giving to the project; it means a ton.

What was it like when you first launched and started creating videos?

Rev: Fortunately, I enjoy putting the project together. Because that was the only “reward” at first. I spend an average of about 30 hours a week putting each episode together. Which is a lot of work for a show no one was watching! I was so busy finishing an episode that by the time I was done it was time to start the next one. So I didn’t do any advertising. At all.

Andrea: Worst social media person ever!

Rev: But Andrea’s here now, making sure that’s changing, which is great. We spent most of our first year getting rave reviews from only my mom. Actually, the most flattering thing so far was when I was filming interviews at Blizzcon last year and a girl there recognized The TNT Show t-shirt I was wearing and was like, “I know you guys! OMG, you’re that guy!” And she totally fan-girled out. So I guess at least one person besides my mom was watching.

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How do you decide on the subject matter and news you feel like talking about?

Well I think as far as deciding what subject to talk about, it really depends on what is in the news currently or what either of us find interesting. We have often sat down and literally typed into google "Geek News" to get inspired. We definitely like to hit on the big current topics but at the same time its fun to find the unique stories that people may not have heard about. I think that is ultimately what we are hoping to do is open the door for more geek talk whether that be about the science & technology or the next crazy hollywood comic book movie.

Rev: See? She’s much more legit than I am. For me, it’s usually "OMG we’re shooting tomorrow and I haven’t written a @#$% thing! Uh, what can I brain-barf last minute?" I eat a ton of cold cereal, there’s usually a box or two sitting on my desk, so we end up making a lot of fun of cold cereal. Go figure.

What made you decide to do the show in seasons rather than keeping it a continuous thing?

That goes back to the PTI-style format. We decided we wanted to run it loosely as a game show and draft people onto teams to give out prizes. The concept of a sport-type format led to the idea of seasons and championship rounds. That idea is still changing/evolving as we go along.

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What's been your favorite episodes so far?

It is so hard to choose. I will have to say one of my favorite episodes is, of course, the one that features me as a crazy person and the web series You Again that I produced. Actually, I am just kidding.

Rev: You’re a crazy person in all of them.

Andrea: It is hard to pick, but what I love most about the way Rev has the episodes set up, we play games and have fun with our guests and interview segments, such as playing chubby bunny with the guys from Watchtower Cafe, or the Cheetos stacking game with my co-star from You Again.

Rev: Shout out to Zach!

Andrea: Or a high kick competition with local artist Kat Martin.

Rev: That was not a competition. She DESTROYED me. That woman can KICK!

Andrea: Talking head interviews are interesting, but I really love interacting with our guests and truly getting to know them.

Rev: We’ve had a lot of fun, but the one I keep coming back to is the episode talking about Marvel revealing that Captain America is a Hydra agent.

Andrea: You picked that one because you were the only one in it!

Rev: That’s what you get for being busy that day! The reason I love it is because I think it has the most soul of any of our episodes so far. There was a lot of stink about that issue, some real heated arguments in the community and even death threats against the writer. We got silly with it but we (we meaning myself and Greg and Taylor at Black Cat Comics, who host the comics segment of the show) also got really honest about the issue too. It’s one of the most heartfelt episodes we’ve done anyhow, and the silly/earnest feel makes it stand out to me.

Do you have any plans to expand the content beyond what you're doing now, like a podcast or live show?

Absolutely. We’ve actually started doing the game show segments live on a regular basis with Geek Hangout Utah at Watchtower Cafe. We bring in local talent to guest host. We had the girls from Hello Sweetie! Podcast last time, they were a riot. We’re going to be holding the show bi-monthly. The next one is Oct. 21—come and get your metric booty-load of free swag and enjoy a tasty beverage! We are also talking with different people outside of the Utah community as well about taking the show on tour to different cons across the country. So that’s exciting. I would love to be a con-man!

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How has it been working with other people and entities to create new content?

I love it! Andrea and the other people we interact with think of so many ideas that I would never in a million years come up with on my own. I absolutely treasure outside input. One of my goals with the show is to have most of the topics and questions be viewer generated.

What else would you like to do with the channel and the website down the road?

I used to work in film production, got a bit burned out and took a break with a “real job.” Worst decision I ever made. Money isn’t everything, but I would love to get this thing to be self-supporting enough that all of us could do it full time. Just imagine the mischief we could generate then!

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What can we expect from both of you and the show over the rest of 2016?

I think Andrea will wear out another pair of shoes running around being busy! We’re going to continue building The TNT Round Live event and we have some sweet interviews lined up with some fantastic people, including TheTonus from Hand Over The Hero, Kat Martin from Altered Landscapes, and the guys from the Quest Givers among many others. Maybe we might even get to do an interview with a certain Gavin Sheehan if we’re lucky, ahem. We’re going to continue giving out fantabulous prizes, including original artwork, tickets to The TNT Show screening of Rogue One opening weekend and other great stuff. Basically, we’re going to play as hard as we can and this is a standing invitation to everyone out there to come and play with us!

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