On your “journeys” surfing the web, have you ever came across something that is just to good to be true? no?!
Well i have. And it’s called theactionroom.com.
Its the brainchild of Tony Wolfness and Producer Mike and it was born in 2007. 2 friends decided to produce a podcast for the geek community and the rest is history! Two guys, one microphone and bucket loads of laughter, a recipe for success without a doubt. But is it?
Long have we had podcasts that utilize that same technique but the results have not been that great. Kevin Smith’s Smodcast is probably the best known podcast in that situation, and in my opinion one of the best of its kind. theactionroom.com is definitely aiming for the top spots.
In this interview with the gang we try to understand just what makes them “tick”, what makes them record a new show every Monday & Friday!
THE ACTION ROOM – Geek Culture Radio!
WOLVERINEPT: How did you guys meet?
TONY: About 9 years ago, I met Brandon Graham (writer/artist of the amazing comic book KING CITY from Image Comics) randomly in a coffee shop in NYC. We became friends and a while later, Brandon envited me to a party, where i met Mike.
PRODUCER MIKE: In 2006 I was looking for someone to play Howard Stern in a short film of mine that I was going to submit to the Howard Stern Film Festival. I thought that tall skinny guy I had met at Brandon’s party might be perfect. I met with Tony and cast him. He did an amazing job, but unfortunately we couldn’t enter the short because it was a non-union contest and Tony is in SAG. You can check out the film, called “Howard and Robin’s First (and Only) Date” here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Plm-Q0ShVM
WPT: The idea for The Action Room, can you explain how that came to be?
TONY: Producer Mike came to me and said he wanted to do a podcast – this was back during the first major geek/comics podcast boom; we figured we could contribute and bring our own unique voices to that world. We’re both fans of radio and wanted to give it a try. We started with our first interview ever – I spoke with Dana Snyder, the voice of Master Shake of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He was terrific, and he started our tradition of getting IDs from celebrities. That video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K63r8wUXdow
TONY: Also, I distinctly remember an instant messaging session where we were brainstorming names for our radio show. We went through about 12 names and none of them felt right. Producer Mike came up with “The Action Room” and it was like a bolt of lightning hit me – I said “THAT’S IT! That’s our name.” We designed the logo together; I loosely based the layout on the The Empire Strikes Back logo, and we picked the font to be like the G.I. Joe cartoon font (this was years before the big G.I. Joe revival).
WPT: How long have you guys been doing The Action Room?
TONY: We started it several years ago, and after a hiatus, we rebooted The Action Room in early 2010. We also did 3 half-hour TV episodes for an OnDemand Cable Channel for a now-defunct network called Illusion TV – it was sort of our version of “Mad TV” or “SNL.” We’re proud of those shows, and they were shown nationwide. But we don’t think many people saw the show in general.
WPT: So its just you 2? Is there anyone in the background?
PRODUCER MIKE: Originally I wanted to be in the background actually and just chime in from time to time, but as it developed I started to talk more and Tony labeled me Producer Mike. Eventually, when our co-hosts didn’t ultimately work out, it became just the two of us. Go ahead, Tony…
TONY: [sings] Juuuust the two of us…You and I.
PRODUCER MIKE: Anyway we are currently looking for a female geek co-host in NYC, so if you’re interested contact us at email@example.com
WPT:In a world were everyone as an opinion, how do you think you stand out from the crowd?
PRODUCER MIKE: I feel like we definitely offer more content than any other podcast, but the main focus has always been our personalities as hosts. Since radio is such an intimate medium, people wont keep listening if they don’t like you and I think our audience comes back week after week because we are just as entertaining when its just Tony and I talking as much as when we are interviewing a celebrity or doing a comedy bit.
TONY: We work hard on the show, practically every day of the week, to bring something unique to the show, since we know there are countless podcasts out there. We do comedy sketches (both radio and video) and bring our improv comedy background to the show as hosts. Producer Mike comes up with some great concepts, like having the lovely Helen of www.helentoons.com do Jewel-esque acoustic guitar medleys of 80s cartoon theme songs. We figure if we have an idea that makes us truly laugh in our endless conversations about the geek world, our audience will enjoy it too. As with so many creative things, you want to do the show that you would like to hear. Writer Brian Michael Bendis always talks about this: create the entertainment that you would think is really cool.
TONY: Producer Mike is such a skilled editor and director (and of course, “producer”) that he brings a higher level of production values, sound quality and such than we’ve seen in most podcasts. In addition to being total geeks, we’ve also both been professional illustrators & actors, and we share similar musical sensibilities as well.
WPT: What do you think about the debate over 3-D? And what are your thoughts on AVATAR, by the way?
PRODUCER MIKE: We hate 3-D. [laughs]
TONY: [laughs] Weeellll, a more accurate way to phrase it might be that we feel 3-D should be saved for movies that really warrant it: big spectacle/visual effects movies like AVATAR (which we thought was entertaining) or shlocky, goofy 70s-esque movies like the upcoming PIRHANA 3-D. We DON’T think 3D should become the end-all and be-all, standard default for every Hollywood film. Hopefully Hollywood will come around and stop the shark-like frenzy that “everything has to be in 3-D!” Plus, 3-D has resulted in not only higher 3-D movie tickets, but regular non-3-D movies costing a lot more too. What happened there?!
WPT: What genre of movies are you more excited about these days?
TONY: We’re psyched for the new wave of Marvel movies – seeing how they deal with the magic and mythology of THOR (and the AVENGERS in 2012!). THE EXPENDABLES! Christopher Nolan’s 3rd and final Batman movie. Also looking forward to CAPTAIN AMERICA! Also, the upcoming wave of kitsch movies like MACHETE and PIRHANA 3-D that recall the glory days of the 70s, a la GRINDHOUSE.
WPT: Any plans for the future?
PRODUCER MIKE: Originally, the plan was to get the show on radio, but in the last few years terrestrial radio has pretty much died; satellite radio is struggling and will probably end if Howard Stern leaves Sirius at the end of the year. Since all media is moving to the internet and podcasts are getting bigger audiences, we decided to stay online and focus long term on growing an audience and maybe one day making money from it. Honestly though, we enjoy just doing the show for fun right now. It keeps us active and connected to the geek world.
TONY: Some big publishing/media corporation will give us lots of money to do The Action Room full-time. Also, we could do a movie, like The Lonely Island guys did with MacGRUBER. And taking over the world. Yep.
WPT: Any words for the fans?
TONY: Keep listening and we hope you enjoy what we come up with. We love bringing the show to the growing legions of ACTION FANS!
Thanks for having us, ComicBooked.com! We love your site.
PRODUCER MIKE: What he said.
You can listen to the show here! www.theactionroom.com
Thanks to Tony and Producer Mike for taking the time to do this interview! Cheers guys!