Women in Geek: Kat Miller

Women in Geek KM

 

I’m talking with Kat Miller the Creative and Marketing Director at MuggleNet today! I’m so excited to feature her on the blog and give a glimpse into the life of someone who gets to actually have a paying job that is dedicated to Harry Potter. Ah-mazing. Remember to go here to check out the other Women in Geek interviews I’ve done with Sarah Rodriguez, Christina Janke, Megan Gotch, Vicky Connolly, Tiffany Wangerin, Lindsay Cummings, and Marissa Reynolds. Now let’s chat with Kat!

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What do you do with MuggleNet, and what does that mean?

I am the Creative & Marketing Director, which means, well, I do a lot! Basically, it comes down to publicity, giveaways, media, and staff. I handle the majority of giveaways on the site, from setting them up, securing the prizes, executing the giveaway, and contacting the winners. I am the media contact for all of the major outlets. So, when a press release comes through from Bloomsbury, Pottermore, the Studio Tour, etc., they come to me. It’s my job to make sure that they are acted upon in an appropriate manner (we have the BEST news team on this planet, BTW). This also means that if there is a major public event, I will most likely be the one to attend and represent the site. We do try to spread the love between our volunteer staff, but we also need to be sure there is someone there who knows the parties attending, for maximum benefit. Speaking of our awesome volunteer staff, more often than not, I am the one who handles and sorts out issues not only amongst them, but with any issue they have with their jobs. I’ve hired or recruited all except about six people that are on staff now (out of around 45) with our Managing Editor Keith. So, really, it’s a very varied job – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job, but this does help to pay the bills! I am a photographer, graphic designer, and soon to be publicist (just landed my first few clients!). It’s a very exciting time in my life, and if you ask me this question in another 3 months, the answer will be very different I imagine.

How did you get started at MuggleNet? Were you a part of starting MuggleNet, or did you join in after it had been created? 

I got started with MuggleNet back in October of 2006 as a gallery coder, 7 years into the site’s life. My job was to update the gallery to the latest and greatest software. That’s it. It took around 10 minutes once a month. Easiest job I have ever had! From there, I took over small jobs on the site, and eventually ended up taking over and revitalizing Fan of the Week. That’s how most of the staff has moved up, small, odd jobs, wherever needed. Being a self starter is a big deal in a volunteer organization like this!

 Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

She’s not a geek, but my mother. She is the strongest, hardest working woman I have ever met, and I would not have the resolve, tenacity, or strength that I have today without her. Her struggles and bravery has taught me what is means to be a strong woman. I really respond to woman who are honest about who they are, what they like, and where they want to go. Life is WAY too short to be cagey, dishonest, or sheltered. I learned that young, and have my mother to thank for that. Also, Jennifer Lawrence because “Where’s the pizza?!”

 What is the best thing about working with MuggleNet?

There are so many amazing things, but I think my favorite is making people happy. We are in a unique position at MuggleNet. Having been around for so long and having a reputation as the World’s #1 Harry Potter Website allows us to do things that other sites don’t have the capacity to do. We recently gave away a package retailing over $1000, and that’s not even counting the intrinsic items like autographs. Nothing makes me happier than making someone else’s dream come true.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

I am the co-creator of MuggleNet’s global re-read podcast, Alohomora!. We are reading one chapter of the series every week, and taking Potter fans around the world on the journey with us. It has been an unparalleled experience. I’ve always been lucky to have friends to chat Potter with, but not everyone has that. Hearing from listeners that we are their friends, the light of their week, or the only people they have to discuss Potter with is so inspiring. Discussing new theories and crazy ideas is a highlight of my week, and I’ve never been happier to be a part of this fandom!

 You are now a full-grown adult working on creating original content within a community based on a series of children’s books. Why? What made Harry Potter so impactful for you that you’ve continued to be so incredibly active in the fandom?

It’s hard for me to put my finger on why Potter has made such an impact on me. When I first started the series, back in 2000 (Goblet of Fire was my first midnight release), I had just graduated high school and was setting out on a new path. Most of my friends were going off to college, moving away, and I was staying at home to go to community college. I was perfectly happy with my decision, as back then, I wasn’t the independent person I am today. However, Harry allowed me to get out of my small world, to live a life that I didn’t yet know that I wanted. It sparked my imagination, presented ideas that were bolder and bigger than I could ever dream. I still find it funny that people continue to call them children’s books. The themes in Harry Potter aren’t children’s themes – they’re life themes. Bravery, Love, Friendship. These are traits that all people should strive to have and acquire. I’m thankful to have found Harry, and have grown into the loving, selfless, brave person that I am today, partially in thanks to him.

 Do you encounter any negativity in your fandom based on your gender?

None whatsoever. Potter fans, I’ve found, are among the most tolerant, caring, thoughtful individuals that I’ve ever met. Equality, FTW.

 There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, podcasting, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them? 

Don’t focus on your gender, or make it an excuse. When I started at MuggleNet, there was ONE other woman working for the site. The boys ran the show, but just I did my work, sent in my ideas, and kicked ass along the way. Gender isn’t what is going to get you recognized for being awesome – your work ethic, enthusiasm, and creativity will. So, do what you do, what you love, and never, ever stop. I have a card that was given to me at the college graduation. I never save cards, but I took the front of it and stuck it to my bulletin board. I’ve had it for 11 years now. It reads, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” – Maya Angelou. I look at that every. single. morning, and live my life by this philosophy.

 Have you gained friends since working with MuggleNet, or did you go into this already knowing the individuals you work with?

Some of my favorite people on this planet are friends that I have made through MuggleNet. They live all over the world, and I don’t get to see them often, but we make magic together quite literally every day. I’ve taken road trips with them, laughed (and cried) at all hours of the day, and danced the night away. These people are my family, and will always be a major part of my everyday. I’ve never felt more lucky to have people I care about so much in my life.


What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I think that sometimes people don’t understand exactly how much hard work has gone into getting to where I am today. They see my tweets or my Instagram photos from some great place, at a special event, or with a cast member and say, “OMG. I am so jealous. I want your job!” – but really, those moments are few and far between. Usually, it’s phone calls at 2AM, around 300 emails every day (90% of them are legit, too), and working around 50 hours a week – and that’s just for MuggleNet. I also have a full time job PLUS am self employed, go to school, and at some point have to eat, sleep, and exercise. My job may be fun and sometimes glamorous, but it’s hard – in the best, most challenging, fulfilling ways possible, but still, it’s hard. Blood, sweat, and enough tears to fill a swimming pool have gone into my years thus far at MuggleNet, but I would happily live it all over again, to end up right where I am today.

Thanks so much to Kat for taking the time to talk with us! Remember to check out the other Women in Geek interviews, and be sure to check out MuggleNet and Alohomora!  

Project-Nerd Guest Post: Blocktor Who!

I have a really exciting announcement! I’ve just signed on to be a news writer for the amazing nerdy website, Project-Nerd, and I am so excited!

http://project-nerd.com/

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Today, I’m over there talking about the announcement that came out yesterday from Microsoft, Mojang, and the BBC: Doctor Who skin packs are headed to Minecraft! I’m talking about it over at Project-Nerd, and I hope you’ll join me!

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…BBC, Microsoft, and Mojang have just announced that Xbox Minecraft players will soon be given access to Doctor Who skins. The plan is to continue releasing skin packs as time goes on. In the first pack, Minecrafters can look forward to seeing skins that will allow them to change their avatars to Capaldi’s newly-introduced Twelfth Doctor (we can debate if he is actually the twelfth later) as well as five other as-yet-unnamed Doctors, several well known companions, and some of the favorite villains from the show–yes, Daleks are included….read the rest over at Project-Nerd! 

 

Women in Geek: Tiffany Wangerin

Women in Geek TW

I’ve not been shy around here about my desire to cosplay, and I’ve also not been shy about my complete inability to do so. So I am so incredibly excited to be able to bring an actual, real, amazing cosplayer here to the site for my Women in Geek series, since, apparently, obtaining a red dress for a shoddy attempt at cosplay is too much for yours truly (I am still bitter about this). I met Tiffany at Denver Comic Con. Like Vicky, Tiffany was also on the Women in the Geek Industry panel that inspired this series. Tiffany, or Evil Mech Meru, is an AMAZING cosplayer, and and you should absolutely check out her facebook page to get to know her better (and check out her steampunk fairy–the wings are AMAZING). You can also shoot her an email at em2cosplay@gmail.com. So, without further ado, let’s get to chatting with Tiffany.

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What do you do in geek culture?

 I am a Cosplayer under the name Evil Mech Meru Cosplay and I am also a host for the nerd themed podcast Anorak’s OASIS.

What does that mean?

Being a Cosplayer means that I design and create costumes based on works of pop culture, anime, video games, movies, etc. I attend conventions, so far based in Colorado only. I also love to teach others cosplay fabrication skills that I have learned and I often host crafting nights/workshops. Later this month I will be starting video tutorials cosplay projects people can do quickly and inexpensively. As far as the podcast goes, every week I sit on Skype with a few close nerdy friends and we discuss all things geek!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Cosplay does not currently pay my bills. I do commissions from time to time that help fund my cosplay passion. As far as my day job I am a part of the team that is working towards opening 8bit Video Game Bar & Grill here in Colorado Springs.

How did you get started in this?

 In 2011 I went to my first convention ever, Nan Desu Kan, and spent the entire time just in awe of all the costumes. I went home after that I decided I was going to make a cosplay of my own.

What got you interested in cosplay?

 I have always been artistic ever since I was young and loved to paint and do any kind of crafts. Once I found out about cosplay and people making their own costumes to go to conventions I was just completely hooked on the idea.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

Felicia Day, Yaya Han and Svetlana Quindt are 3 geeky ladies that I really admire. They are so amazingly hard working and just create incredible works. They have turned passions into careers and I find that completely inspiring.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance? How do you handle that?

 I don’t encounter very much negativity based on my gender in the cosplay world as it is currently populated largely by women but I have had people make mean comments on my appearance whether it be about my body size or the fact that I am cosplaying as a guy and some not liking that. I tend to not let it bother me too much. To be honest I have encountered way more positivity then anything else.

 What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

  I have always struggled with low self esteem and confidence issues so cosplay has really helped me feel better about myself and has allowed me a way to express myself and who I truly am. Through cosplay I have met some of the most amazing people and has opened the door to be a part of some great future projects.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, cosplay, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

 The best advice I can give anyone that wants to do anything is to just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. When it comes to cosplay, your skin color, height, weight, age, gender should never, ever be a factor. You can cosplay whatever you want! Follow your dreams, follow your passions and have fun. Seek out like minded people and create a support system. People that lift you up, not tear you down. I will say to that if there is anyone out there that needs a boost or has a questions I am always willing to help however I can.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

  A big misconception I think with cosplay is that we are all just hungry for attention or we make costumes and know nothing about the character, i.e. we are fake geek girls/guys. That is just not true. Yes all cosplayers love to get recognized for our hard work and artistry but rarely do we put so much blood, sweat, time and tears into our costumes just because we want to be adored. We do it because we are passionate about the characters we portray. We are passionate about creating things and expressing ourselves through wearable works of art.

Thanks again to Tiffany, and remember, if you haven’t already, check out my other Women in Geek posts with Vicky Connolly, Megan Gotch, Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds! 

Two Reasons I Think We’ve Already Seen Twelve on Doctor Who

The New Doctor is Almost Here!

With Peter Capaldi taking the reigns of The Doctor in just one short (long?) day, it seems charitable to offer showrunner Stephen Moffat a couple of options by which he can explain the prior appearance of Peter Capaldi on the show.   Many a Whovian are aware of Peter Capaldi’s role in “The Fires of Pompeii” as the Caecilius, the sculptor/merchant who purchased the TARDIS from under the Doctor’s nose (his own nose?). It must be explained!

Moffat, ever a man to play both sides, stated earlier this year “…audiences do understand that the same actor can play different parts.” But in another interview he also said “We are aware that Peter Capaldi’s played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact.”

Alas, the possibilities for an explanation (you’re welcome, Steven):

1. The Doctor is using the Chameleon Arch.

Like the Tenth Doctor and the Master, the Twelfth Doctor (13 if you count John Hurt) placed his essence within his Fob Watch for an urgent, presently unknown reason. The TARDIS then created his persona in Pompeii (c’mon TARDIS, do better). There could be a great story line here: why did the Doctor use the Arch, who he is hiding from, who his his companion, where is his companion? If a Chameleon Arch is the reason the Twelfth Doctor is in Pompeii, then surely he has a companion near by, right?. There seems to be one reasonable option: Caecilius’s family, Metella, Evelina and Quintas, played by Tracey Childs, Francesca Fowler and Francois Pandolfo, respectively, are actually The Doctor’s companions. There’s a history of the Doctor having multiple companions, most recently with the Ponds.

It makes reasonable sense that the companions assumed the role of the Doctor’s family in order to protect his true identity and keep a close watch on him. Unfortunately, the TARDIS disappeared until the Tenth Doctor showed up. The story around the companions influencing Donna Noble, who then influences the Tenth Doctor to save Caecilius and his family, is quite intriguing.

Not unlike John Smith’s (the Tenth Doctor’s persona) use of a journal to document what he believed were dreams but were actually memories trying to break through his mind, Caecilius felt a connection to the TARDIS and obtained it for study. Or did he…?

Though it’s probably completely unintended, I’d be remiss to not also point out the the interesting coincidence of season 8’s premiere date and the date of the Doctor’s arrival in Pompeii…

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<p>How freaking much of a coincidence is this????</p>
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2. Twelve traveled to Pompeii to see Donna Noble again.

A quick recap: Donna Noble touched the Tenth Doctor’s severed hand and imbued his knowledge, which she used to save the Earth (yay!) but the Doctor had to wipe her mind because the knowledge would overwhelm her and she would burn up (boo!). This also means she cannot see or remember anything related to the Doctor ever again. Donna does not know the Doctor as anyone but David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, however, so seeing Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth (Thirteenth?) Doctor should have no impact on her. Why the Doctor chose to see Donna in Pompeii near volcano day is a mystery, but the TARDIS often sends the Doctor to places he did not intend (see: every episode ever). The TARDIS herself has even admitted that though she doesn’t always take the Doctor where he intends to go, she does always take him where he needs to go. So maybe seeing Donna was the intent of the Doctor, but it could be possible something far more sinister is happening in Pompeii that requires the Twelfth Doctor’s attention–and the TARDIS knows it.

We’ve seem the Doctor interacting with himself in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”. The Bad Wolf (Rose) puts the War Doctor, Ten and Eleven in the same place and time while the War Doctor decides if destroying everyone involved in the Time War is the right call. The Eleventh Doctor forgot his role of tossing his fez through the vortex until the exact moment it came time to do so. His memory of the events as Ten and John Hurt are completely absent. In Pompeii, the story could be similar: only after Ten arrives does Twelve recognize his roll of purchasing the TARDIS (which brings Ten to him) so he, and his family of companions, can be saved.

In either scenarios that brings Twelve to Pompeii, it would seem that he manages to lose the TARDIS. The explanation of this could be quite fun. The TARDIS has a history of being stolen, disappearing, running off to safety. Take your pick. Recognizing the dire straights of the Twelfth Doctor, the TARDIS brings Ten to the rescue. You’ll recall Ten did not intend to be in Pompeii near volcano day but that’s where the TARDIS brought him. So, once again, who’s the real hero? Time. And. Relative. Dimension. In. Space.

Or, perhaps Moffat will ignore it altogether…just like Karen Gillan’s appearance in the Fires of Pompeii…

All of this just goes to show what we already know: the BBC has, like, 7 actors and they all just take turns doing the different shows.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday, August 23rd! Will you be watching?

Women in Geek: Vicky Connolly

Women in Geek VC

 

In today’s Women in Geek interview, I’m talking with Vicky Connolly! Vicky works at Escape Velocity Comics, and she’s actually one of the women on the Denver Comic Con panel that inspired this series. I’ve been interviewing women in a ton of different geeky lines of work, so if you’ve missed out on my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Megan Gotch, Christina Janke, or Marissa Reynolds go here to check them all out. Now here’s Vicky!

 

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What do you do in geek culture?

I work at a comic book store, Escape Velocity Comics, and I’m also working on starting up a website called ComicShopChick.com

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Working at Escape Velocity is my day job; the website is just something I’m doing for fun.

How did you get started in this?

I worked at a video game store first. The store had a comic book section, and I managed that. Working there didn’t really work out for me, so I quit. I ended up applying to Escape Velocity, and several  months after applying I got a call asking if I wanted to work for them.

What got you interested in this field?

I love sci-fi, so that’s always been something I’m drawn to. I also played lots of video games as a kid.

What is your ultimate goal with this? Go with the flow. start the blog, dream to work with Image Comics.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?  Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day, definitely. I also really love Gail Simone and how she’s always so in touch with people and issues.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance?

A lot of times customers will ask me stuff like, “Do you actually read comics or do you just work here?” Sometimes customers will flat-out ignore me and go to my co-workers, even the guys who just started, simply because he’s a guy. Most people just genuinely don’t understand how sexist they’re being. I really have a ton of supportive customers that just like to hang. I’ve also found that the energy you put off can also be helpful. I try to not make people feel dumb, and put out positive energy. People usually respond pretty well to that. Ultimately, people will be people, but you have to find the good parts.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

The people and conversations I have. If I was working in any other retail job, I’d just be another peon, but here I really feel like I matter. If you’re not there, it’s noticed. Escape Velocity is really a welcome and loving community.

What’s a big misconception about comic book stores? One of the biggest misconception I encounter is that people assuming comics are only for kids, and while we love kids, 90% of stuff in my store is not meant for kids. It’s a lot of collectibles and valuables.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

People skills! You need to be able to not always fire back when people says something you disagree with, and learn to get along with people. It’s a close knit crowd, so it’s all about people getting to know you. At the end of the day, people to like you. Networking is important, so stuff like attending cons is a huge thing. You also can’t care what other people think about you. Some people just aren’t going to like you, no matter what you do, and you just have to move on.

Since entering in this line of geeky work, have you met friends or found any new communities to be a part of?

Absolutely. I’ve gotten to know 50+ local artists and I had the opportunity to do that Women in the Geek Industry panel at Denver Comic Con. Really, my  whole community is made up of nerds!

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I have interests outside of nerdy things. I love comics, ironic tees, and all that but I also love stuff like learning about history and western civilizations, gangster novels, and trail running. I’ve got a lot of interests outside of nerdy stuff.

Any parting thoughts?

Nerds need to stick together! There are a lot of changes out there with the cosplay community and stuff, but there’s a reason we go to cons. We love the same stuff. Let’s stick up for each other and not get caught in the drama.

Marvel’s New Spider-Woman Cover Is Pretty Frustrating

You’ve probably seen it all over by now. Marvel released the image of one of the Spider-Woman #1 covers by Milo Manara. After Marvel shook up the comic book world by announcing Thor would become a woman, and that Captain America would now be a black man, seeing this new Spider-Woman cover has been pretty frustrating.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the cover:

Spider-Woman

Let’s just compare this to how we usually see Spider-Man portrayed:

After Marvel made so many awesome strides this summer, it’s really frustrating to see the comic giant publish a cover like this. Instead of portraying her as strong and super-human, like the Spider-Man drawing I’ve posted here, Spider-Woman’s highly sexualized and the most remarkable thing about her appears to be her perfectly sculpted ass…

Read the rest at Outright Geekery! 

New Destiny Trailer Released!

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of Bungie’s new game, Destiny, and they are trying to keep us all pumped by releasing a new trailer for the game. While the trailer looks amazing, I don’t think Bungie needs to worry about keeping people pumped up for this game. Most of us–even people like me who don’t yet have an Xbox One–got a taste  when they launched the Destiny Beta several weeks ago. I think everyone is pretty stoked about the game’s release on September 9th. Destiny certainly has the feel of the usual space-themed FPS, but it also has some innovative RPG elements to make it different from other space-themed video games like Halo (which is what I’m sure people will be comparing it to for some time)This game is certainly bringing something new and different to the world of FPS games.

The nice thing about the FPS/RPG blend, is that you can customize your character (race, features, gender, etc). While there are several FPS games out there, Halo being one of them, where you can play multiplayer as a female, there are far fewer that offer a female option for the campaign. So while games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are making waves for adding it’s first female into the game’s story, it’s cool that Destiny is allowing players to go through the entire game with whatever character they best identify. Of course, if you don’t want to go male or female, there are also some alien races you can choose to use–tons of options.

Besides the unique blend of FPS/RPG gameplay, the game is also stunning. In the trailer (which you can see below), we get a closer look at the planet Venus. The planet is colorful and gorgeous, and from the looks of the trailer and what we experienced in the beta, gamers will have a pretty expansive and intricate universe to explore. If you missed out on the beta, you can go to the Destiny Youtube page to see some of their earlier trailers to get a picture of what waits for us in Destiny.

So…are you guys ready for September 9?!

J.K. Rowling Needs to Write More Harry Potter-Related Stories

In early July, J.K. Rowling published a short story to Pottermore. It was written from the perspective of journalist Rita Skeeter, chronicling Harry Potter and friends at the Quidditch World Cup. It was brief, it raised more questions than it answered, but ultimately, the reaction of the Harry Potter fandom was unanimous:

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Today on Pottermore, Rowling released more original content on Celestina Warbeck, aka The Singing Sorceress. Warbeck’s known for her hit song, “You Stole My Cauldron, But You Can’t Have My Heart”, which you can listen to on Pottermore. The excerpt on Celestina is fantastic and great, but really all it’s doing is making me wish there were more novels about the wizarding world of Harry Potter waiting for me to read for the first time. Even though Deathly Hallows ended beautifully, I just wish that it wasn’t truly the end… I just…

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I’ve heard lots of different things from the Rowling camp. I’ve heard that she doesn’t want to write any more novels about Harry Potter. I’ve heard that she totally would should the right idea strike her. I’ve heard she’s actively writing a new Harry Potter book (okay, so maybe it’s usually only around the blogosphere and only around April Fools…). While I’m thrilled to see what adventures await us with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, I have a few other ways that I’d love to see Rowling continue to create in our favorite wizarding world…

Read the rest on Nerdophiles!

Women in Geek: Megan Gotch

Women in Geek (2)

 

 

I’m a part of a great Google+ group called Female Geek Bloggers, and through that group I was able to meet the amazing Megan Gotch, aka The Nerdy Girlie. Megan’s a great geek blogger, and her top-notch SDCC coverage can almost make it better for those who couldn’t be there…almost.  Check out Megan’s interview, and if you’ve missed my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds, go here!

What do you do in geek culture?

I am a geek girl blogger. In 2012 I created The Nerdy Girlie blog!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job. I would love for my blog to pay the bills, as of yet it does not. I guess that could be a good thing, because I do it out of LOVE not necessity!

How did you get started in this?

I began my blog The Nerdy Girlie after my 4th San Diego Comic Con in 2012. I started off as wanting to help fellow con-­goers and now have made some lasting relationships that I am so happy to have.

What got you interested in this field?

I have always loved writing, from an early age. It was SDCC that helped me figure out WHAT I wanted and loved to write about!

Do you have a big goal for The Nerdy Girlie?

I really don’t have any BIG goals for my site, other than to continue to help and bring people together. As long as I am happy doing it, I will keep doing it!

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

When I first started my blog some of my influences were Being Geek Chic and Girl Gone Geek. As I began to grow and develop my own site, I began to find MANY awesome geek girls out there and that is why I began the Female Geek Bloggers G+ Community. I wanted to bring all the lovely nerdy sites together in one place where we could grow and learn from each other!

Do you find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman? How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

I’ve been super lucky to have only support from the readers of my blog. I love what I’m doing and I am so happy that just one person would want to read it.

What is the best thing about working in your area of geekery?

The best thing of working in the world of geek is the relationships you make with other nerds. This past San Diego Comic Con I spent the majority of my time talking with friends and building our relationships. It is so fun to nerd out with people who understand!

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

What I find meaningful about what I do is that people comment on my blog, come up to me at cons and tell me that some thing I wrote helped them. I love what I’m doing and am so happy to be of help to anyone!

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

My advice would be just make sure that you love what you do. If you have a passion for it, it won’t feel like a job!

What is the coolest thing you’ve experienced since starting The Nerdy Girlie?

I’ve gotten to do a lot of neat things before and after the blog began. All involve discovering nerds who love the same things that I do. I have made a lot of lasting relationships that mean so much to me.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

Blogging is a lot of alone time! So when I go to conventions it is so nice to be able to TALK to people. I love it and if you ever see me at a con I am always happy to talk nerd with anyone!

Be sure to check out The Nerdy Girlie, as well as my other Women in Geek posts–and stay tuned here to see what woman in geek I feature next! 

Women in Geek: Marissa Reynolds

Women in Geek MR

 

In my latest Women in Geek interview, I’m going to be talking to Marissa Reynolds from Hogwart’s Radio, MuggleNet’s Entertainment Harry Potter Podcast. I’ve had the privilege of working with Marissa through the transcription team at Hogwart’s Radio, and I’m thrilled to have her here on the blog! If you haven’t seen my first three Women in Geek interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, and Christina Janke, you can find them all right here.

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What do you do with Hogwart’s Radio, and what does that mean?
I am a host (which means I get to be part of the recorded discussion) and I run the transcribing team. Transcribers type out the shows into a readable format so that people who cannot listen to the show for one reason or the other have the option of reading it. I also do other odds and ends on the website like keep the shows page up to date, run The Chosen One page (our version of Fan of the Month), and help out with whatever else is needed. At one point Terrance (the webmaster) and I basically rebuilt the entire site and my job was uploading all of our content including over 120 episodes and a few transcripts.

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?
I wish I was getting paid for this!! Only because I truly love working with something Harry Potter and would gladly go it as a career. However, I do not get paid anything except experience and happiness. I actually work at the University of Arkansas as a Teaching Assistant while I am working on my Ph.D. in chemistry.

How did you get started in this?
Social media to the rescue!! Jennifer Porsche is a host on the show and she used to run the transcript team. She tweeted about needing some transcribers for the team. I simply replied to the tweet with an email about wanting to help out. That was in 2011.

What got you interested in this?
I have been a fan of HP since 2000, however it took me a long time to realize there was an entire online fandom to connect with. I didn’t know may people who liked Harry Potter and actually didn’t know much about fandom websites or anything. I honestly didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the computer when I was younger (having dial-up was mostly to blame). When I was in high school (around 2007-2008) is when I really discovered MuggleNet. Shocking, I know. I was very late to the game, but I was there. I began listening to MuggleCast and that eventually led to listening to Hogwarts Radio and now here I am.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?
Would you call Evanna Lynch a geek? I love her for sure. She’s so free and open with herself and is so passionate about what she loves. I also look up to people like Melissa Anelli and Kat Miller. They have found a way to make what they love (Harry Potter interestingly enough) into a career. Turning your passion into a career instead of simply being passionate about your career are two different levels of incredible.

What is the best thing about working with Hogwart’s Radio?
The word opportunity sums up all the “best” things about HR. The opportunity to meet all the people I have met, to learn about how to run a website and how social media can be used, and to discuss something I love with others who are as passionate about it as I am. Before, I could count on one hand people who I could truly and deeply discuss HP with. My theories, my questions, my pet peeves. Now I have the forum to discuss these things with people from all over the world, except I actually get to be part of the live discussion.

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?
The People. I consider the other hosts to be my friends. Of course I talk to them during our recordings, but we have also been known to stay on Skype for a few hours just talking about random things. I talk to some of the other hosts on a daily basis about HP, other fandoms, work, and just life in general. I almost always have a text conversation open with Jeanna or Terrance. I’ve had great talks with Kat, Jennifer, Andy, Kristen, and other hosts though social media platforms and some through texts. And there is also the transcript team. I have met some truly fascinating people from all over the world that I would have never had the pleasure of meeting without the podcast. When I first started as a transcriber I got to be very good friends with four other girls who are literally from completely different places. We have helped each other through some tough times and have also been there for joyous moments in each others lives. We’ve celebrated graduations, birthdays, holidays, and I even got their warm wishes through text message on my wedding day. I would have never met any of these people without Hogwarts Radio and my life would be drastically different.

You are now a full-grown adult working on creating original content within a community based on a series of children’s books. Why? What made Harry Potter have such an impact on you that you’ve continued to be so incredibly active in the fandom?
They stories may be written for children, but the lessons and morals the stories teach are used every day of our entire lives. For me personally, I was the same age as Harry and everyone while I was reading them and seeing the movies. I was the same age as this scarred, messy-haired, bespectacled orphan who was fighting his entire life for the things he believed in. He was passionate about seeing good overcome evil, about making sure the people he loved were happy and safe, about doing the right thing. All this while trying to pass his potions class and win the Quidditch Cup. If Harry can get through school with all the worries and problems he faced, then why can’t I? His story was an inspiration then and still is now.

Another reason I think we all still find things to talk about is because J.K. Rowling is an inspiration herself. She struggled so much in her life before her success and happiness came with Harry. She was passionate about writing and that is obviously evident in her stories. She makes us think deeply about the world around us. She makes us question everything until we find either the answer or another question. We exercise our imaginations and our creativity by analyzing her work. There’s a lot to it, so it will take us years to sift through it all. Our different opinions will keep up going after that. Especially when there is no right answer which is normally the case.

Do you encounter any negativity in your fandom based on your gender?
With this fandom, no I don’t thing so. The Harry Potter fandom is so open and welcoming. They are sort of like the Backstreet Boys. We don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love Harry Potter. Now, from outsiders there is a little discrimination. When people hear that I podcast and work on a website, I get some condescending reactions. However, my gender still isn’t the man focus with loving Harry Potter. The place where I truly encounter sexism is in my job. When I was in college I always got the question (as everyone does) about what my major was. People expected me to say teacher or nurse or English or something along those lines. When they learned that I was a Chemistry major I got one of two general answers: 1) Oh! You must be a genius! (Not true. I just truly enjoy chemistry and I understand it because I am passionate about learning it and I really like math. If you made me be a history major, a political science major, or even a biology major, I wouldn’t have made it.) and 2) Oh! You don’t meet a lot of women in science. (That is ridiculous. Just look here for 10 major scientific achievements by women. People just expect women to gravitate to the more nurturing or house-wife type of career. Not that these aren’t great careers to follow as a woman, man, or monkey for that matter. It just wasn’t for me.)

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, podcasting, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?
Find your foothold. You don’t have to make it big your first time out like JKR did. Take whatever opportunity you can to get your foot into the door with something you love and keep looking for the next opportunity. HR doesn’t pay me any kind of money, but through it I have made connections I never would have without it. Experience is sometimes just as good (if not better) than a monetary compensation. A lot of life is who you know, not what you know. Try to meet as many people as possible and learn from them. Grow your network of people and your skill set to something you can compete with in the bigger world.

Have you gained friends since working with Hogwart’s Radio, or did you go into this already knowing the individuals you work with?

I knew NO ONE at first. I jumped into this completely blind and just went with it. It’s been 3 years now and I would have to take off my shoes and use my toes to count the number of friends I have gained. I may also need to borrow someone else’s fingers.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?
Well first, it might be nice for people to actually know what a podcast is so I could stop explaining it! Haha! But, on a serious note, I wish people knew that I am just a lucky fan. Not quite lucky enough to have met any big name actors yet, but lucky enough to have the connection I do to the biggest Harry Potter fansite in the world. I used to have the misconception that you have to wait to be asked, wait to be noticed, to get involved with something like this. That is completely wrong. You have to ask. You may get a no at first (or maybe even a couple of no’s) but someone somewhere will give you a yes and you have to take it and run. I jumped at an open invitation for the transcriber team. Sometime Terrance would ask us to help with different things on the site. I took every opportunity I could. Eventually I became friends with Terrance. Because of that and because of my loyalty to the site I was there when he needed someone to help rebuild the site. After that I was asked to guest host and then eventually became a regular host. After that I was asking for the new assignments such as the transcript team, access to change things on the site, run The Chosen One. But, it all started with that foothold in the transcript team. Something simple, something humble, got me to where I am now.