This month's Industry Insights comes from California based Sean Molloy - host of international gaming podcast, Alpha Zone.
1. How did you first get into the industry?
It all happened by chance really. I always have loved games and coming out of secondary school I wanted to do something more involved with them. I set up my own blog where I could have a space to really take deep dives into what I was playing and enjoying at the time. This was before gaming became part of the zeitgeist of our culture, it was very much a fringe hobby and being able to talk about a passion openly was very rewarding. I ran that for a few years and eventually was headhunted by a startup website and everything took off from there. I moved from long form features to shorter previews and once podcasting became popular, I went independent and the rest is history.
2. Can you describe a typical work day?
My usual morning consists of getting a large coffee or tea and going through my work email to see if anything “breaking” has come in. My normal contacts around the industry are instrumental in me being successful with news or anything going on. After that, I’ll usually begin editing any work that’s been sitting around for the YouTube channel or the podcast. The Alpha Zone is now going to start experimenting with Twitch streams, so during the past few weeks I’ve hosted a few crowd plays or interactions. On show days, I’ll spend the majority of the day prepping notes and gathering stories for recording.
3. What motivates you?
I love looking around the industry and seeing all of the different teams that have gone independent but are still making incredible content. The four guys at 'Kinda Funny' broke off from the biggest gaming website in the world and have never lost their creativity or their drive to please the fans. They work hard to create incredible content. In a similar light, Danny O’Dwyer just started NoClip. He’s making original video game documentaries that are just incredible. Jeez... an incredibly long winded answer to really explain how bravery, innovation and hard work really gets me out of bed in the morning!
4. How do you integrate social media into your daily role?
Social Media is always in the background throughout the day. Whether it’s checking Twitter to see what’s going on in the news or to interact with fans of the show. We frequently turn to Facebook to receive question from listeners to incorporate into new episodes. Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of tinkering with our Instagram page, the site is a really fun method to deliver quick blurbs about what’s going on, recording times, news, or recently when we were at the Playstation Experience in Anaheim, giving followers a glimpse into the show was something really cool.
5. What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Careers are funny because we’re all still in it so I really don’t have the retrospective on mine yet but what I will say is that the first time I ever was like, “whoa, I’m in the industry…” was my first E3. Having your name on badges and meeting your idols on the show floor was one of those magical moments for someone who never dreamed they could be there. Also, I just played Knack 2 with Mark Cerny, which was pretty surreal.
6. Have you any advice for people thinking of entering the industry?
Be open minded and eager to learn new things. Don’t just write, don’t just host video…learn how to do a bit of everything. Being a “jack of all trades” can really help you get your foot in the door. Practice your craft every day.
7. Is there anyone that influenced you to take this career path?
He might not know it, but if I ever get to sit down with Peer Schneider at IGN, I’m going to tell him what an incredible influence he’s been. He carved out a niche in the internet for us gamers and never looked back. He’s constantly innovating the site to meet the changing environment. I owe that man a beer, or many.
8. Where do you hope to see yourself / your business in 5 years?
I’d love to move our show to a crowdfunded site (Patreon/Fig) to focus all of our efforts into it and really expand at a much faster rate. Doing so would allow us to really toy with different content to see what works and what doesn’t. After all, even though we love what we do, the satisfaction from listeners and viewers is the real reason we’re here.
9. What is your pet peeve about working in the industry?
THE SECRETS! While exciting to understand that so many things are happening behind the scenes, the amount of conjecture and leaking details is sometimes really aggravating. Occasionally, this has a link to a game reveal that’s way too early which begins a vicious cycle of even more rumor and speculation.
10. What do you do to relax and unwind after a long days work?
Even though 90% of the day is revolving around games, there isn’t anything better than pouring a drink, sitting back in a comfortable chair and pressing that power button on the Playstation. The only thing better is playing ball with my golden retriever.
You can listen to Sean in any of their Alpha Zone podcasts here.