Everybody gather together this month at Sub-Cultured! Next featured in our “Meet the Staff” series is Kimmie Britt, co-foundress of our little corner of the internet. Find out how to not talk to her at parties and exactly what it takes to run a multi-media pop culture site.
KD: Ok, Kimleesi, let’s have it: Who the hell are you at Sub-Cultured anyway? You have a business card for us?
KB: Well, Kimleesi is fine for all intents and purposes, but I suppose I should clarify that my name is actually Kimmie Britt. Someone wife me up so I can change my stupid name already. I am a co-founder, as well as an editor, and general April Ludgate of Sub Cultured. Khaleesi of the Great Sass Sea. Titles, titles.
KD: I’ve been contributing to the site for years now, just short of “from the beginning.” The development from day one to now would probably surprise a lot of readers and certainly would impress anyone trying to create their own website. What are you most proud of about the growth of the website?
KB: Looking back, it’s pretty hilarious how different we were in the beginning. This whole shebang actually started because of a Star Wars message board, if you can believe it. A different website was looking for contributors and my friend (and eventual co-founder) Leia passed it along to me, as we were friends in the forums but not in real life – even though we lived in the same town. We worked fine with their team and met our deadlines as assigned until the Smallville finale came up. The editor of that outlet wanted to take the finale for himself because it was a hot topic, despite having no frame of reference for Smallville, as he’d never seen an episode of the show. I protested that as I had been watching faithfully for years, I more qualified to pen the review, which was shot down really quick. I closed my mouth and watched as his review was posted, and as you can guess, was horrendous. So I did the mature thing. Commented on his article that I disagreed, grabbed popcorn, and waited. I didn’t anticipate the gross overreaction, but it led me to call the editor out on his bullshit and lack of fact checking and decide that I had no interest in being a part of a team that wasn’t allowed to have opinions. Leia agreed, and we both bailed. While we were attending Dallas Comic Con, we decided that with our different skills combined, it wouldn’t be difficult to create a concept where we could share our opinions and any team or reader didn’t have to worry about being silenced. We surpassed the other site well within the first six months and have been growing ever since. But from where we first started? It’s so different.
KD: What’s the most challenging part of running Sub-cultured?
KB: Learning the difference between busy vs being lazy. There’s not as fine of a line you’d think if you’re being honest. Don’t make excuses for yourself. If you’re going to school or working a 50 hour week and balancing hobbies, that’s fair, you’re busy. But if you’re watching Netflix or dicking around instead of doing that thing you committed to, you’re being lazy. I think it’s the Type A in me that is always trying to represent herself well, because I always ask, “Am I putting 100% of my effort into this task? How will this thing come across?” If I’m not giving it my all, it’s being lazy, and it will show in the end product. There is also the team aspect, because part of working with a team is learning how others works, and I’ve been very isolated from that for a long time, so it has been a learning process. But the most challenging? Learning that not everyone works to the same standard and checking my disappointment.
KD: What’s the most fun?
KB: Is it horrible that this is the question I keep coming back to because I’m not sure how to answer it? It’s a balancing act, so the fun things that I get to do have a lot of work behind the scenes, and that’s how it should be. Obviously if you’re viewing the end result from the outside, that is the most fun. I think the best part are the interesting and talented people that I am extremely privileged to call my friends. The people that I have met through interviews, the meaningful connections that I’ve made, the project collaborations. Hearing from people I admire that they enjoy my work is very humbling and pushes me to keep going. Learning from people who are so dedicated to what they do and being inspired to work harder every time. Am I being too vague? A few examples include having a private interview with Stan Lee, giggling like schoolgirls with Ashley Eckstein, and spending my first ever trip to E3 in the company of Guinness World Records title holder Kat Gunn. I think those have been some of my favorite trips and experiences.
KD: What do you look for in a contributor?
KB: You will most likely disagree, but don’t feel like I’m too demanding or that my standards are too high. I like people with a great voice and interesting things to say. But the most important quality to me is finding someone who can back up all the talk with action. It’s all well and good to shout your resume from the rooftops, but if you’re not actually executing, they’re simply words. And words are wind.
KD: Can you talk a bit about your home office? I’ve seen it and it’s a content producer’s dream. How important is that space to you for your projects? How have you set it up?
KB: If you could only see the list inside of my head of all the things I need before it is complete in my mind! I’m still slowly building up my little mini studio as I learn new things and have the money (which is rarely lolol), and I’ve made it as transportable as possible, considering that I live a somewhat nomadic life. I’m generally moving again before I’ve really had a chance to get settled. Having a space that is my own is extremely important for me. I can work anywhere, mind you – I’m actually crafting this interview from a recliner in a bar, which probably says more about me than I intended. I have my office set up in four parts. The first is my computer desk, which is covered with a mix of pop culture figurines, condenser mics, audio interfaces, headphones, and wires. Wires literally everywhere. I do most of my writing, recording, and editing from that area. There have been 12 hour stretches where I have been so deeply involved in working that I haven’t moved from my computer chair. The second area is my main filming area, with my camera rig, a large screen, a plethora of lights, and a teleprompter that I built myself. Teleprompters are a lost art, man. If connecting with your audience is a goal, then you can’t do it by reading a script on a screen or taped up over your camera, it just wont work. The rest of the room is broken down into a more “casual” filming area, instruments and musical equipment, cosplay storage, books, and a makeup table. Every obsession I have is housed in my office. I’d say it’s on the cusp of being an intermediate setup and has most of the aspects that I want for now – aside from soundproofing, which is hella expensive.
KD: You’re a (lovable… sometimes… don’t fire me) perfectionist type. How do you know when you’ve produced something that is ready to go live?
KB: I always laugh when people call me a perfectionist, because I never noticed that I was until it was pointed out to me. Multiple times. I guess I just have a standard that I work to, which is that I won’t put out anything less than my best at the time – which means that if I’m not happy with it, it doesn’t go up. You’d laugh to see how many half finished projects I have hanging out in the bowels of my computer because I had to stop, admit to myself that I wasn’t prepared to execute it yet, and re strategize my time to include learning what I didn’t yet know. And don’t get me started on how frustrated I get when I don’t execute to the best of my ability or try do something I only know in theory. If I can’t execute the first time with only the theory, I become kind of a mini monster. But if you’re asking me if this is a problem or hinders me in any way? Then I would say no. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to double and triple check that you aren’t putting half assed or lazy content out. If a news anchor didn’t wear make up under those bright lights or a guitarist didn’t make sure his instrument was in tune while setting up, they wouldn’t perform, and that’s the philosophy I apply. I don’t want to read, listen to, or watch an inferior product, so why would random person give me leeway that I wouldn’t even give myself? It’s good to have a high standard, that means there’s less to pick apart and you represent yourself to the best of your ability.
KD: Let’s expose ourselves a second. Discuss how you and I first “met”.
KB: I mean, I’ve hit the point of no return by mentioning that I participated in Star Wars forums. Every day. A few times a day. Sometimes I didn’t put on pants, but that is neither here nor there. So it’s a natural assumption that I found a few people on those forums who weren’t actually idiots, and you were one of them! If I had known what I was getting into when I first joined that Star Wars forum…
KB: Is that a real question? I generally never shut up about him. Luke Skywalker is the main character of Star Wars, yes, but that is ALSO the name of my 120 lb Rottweiler / German Shepherd mix, who is honestly so big that he may as well be a person. Some people say that their dog is their best friend, but my dog is my family. The first thing I did when I moved out on my own, almost before buying furniture, was head to the local animal shelter. Luke had arrived at the shelter not even an hour before I got there, he was the first dog I saw, and I was the first person to see him. He was just the dopiest looking puppy, with these expressive eyebrows and the lankiest legs he had no control over. He looked like Bambi when he takes his first wobbly steps and I was done, I didn’t need to look any more. Of all of the decisions I’ve made in my life, adopting this dog is hands down top three.
KD: To swerve a bit, because it’s of a particular importance to me, talk to us about the Game of Theories webseries? What about A Song of Ice and Fire merited a whole web series, and what did you learn from producing it?
KB: I’ve learned that I am actually Jon Snow, because I know nothing. A Song Of Ice and Fire is so interesting to me. It’s like Ben Wyatt says in Parks and Recreation: “It’s not just for fantasy enthusiasts, they’re telling human stories in a fantasy world.” Is that only my second Parks reference? I’m surprised there aren’t more. Nothing is black and white, everything is connected if you pay attention, and holy shit is the devil in the details. Every time I come back to a Game of Theories script, it includes hours of fact checking and I always find something new that I didn’t catch the first few times around. It’s fun to connect with like minded fans who are just as enthralled with this text as I am, but unfortunately there are bad points about creating a webseries as well.
For example, when we put out our Rickon episode, commenters were very quick to point out that Shireen Baratheon was now dead in the HBO show’s canon. However, we explicitly state that our information comes straight from the texts of A Song of Ice And Fire rather than HBO’s Game of Thrones, and additionally, our Rickon episode was uploaded before that particular HBO episode aired and killed off Shireen’s character. Readers don’t actually know yet if this deviation in the show is canon, as it has not been written in any book. Making Game of Theories is one of my more time consuming hobbies. Between hours of script writing, fact checking, filming, editing, and waiting for voice actors, on top of having 50+ hours of my week sucked away in work, dedicated time to Sub Cultured, AND being a dog mom and a person who would like a modicum of free time every now and then to actually, you know, ENJOY life. It’s a lot for one person, and people need to be more understanding of that. Don’t be demanding of content or condescending towards content creators who don’t put out things as fast as you want them. Be appreciative that you have free content to watch that I made in my spare time because I am as big of a fan of this as you are.
KD: Ok so you’re bored at a party, how do you make it through the appropriate amount of time before you can leave gracefully?
KB: Simple, don’t go to parties. I actually manage to talk myself out of going out in public quite a bit. It’s a pretty useful skill if you’re interested in saving money! Honestly, I’m a super people watcher, but just mention dogs or books and I’m yours for the night.
KD: Let’s talk cosplay, what’s your favorite character to dress as and what are you plotting for upcoming conventions?
KB: Damn. Okay, so real talk – 2015 was very hectic for me as far as my personal life, which meant that I decided to take a hiatus from conventions and cosplay for the year. Going to a convention for fun and going on behalf of Sub Cultured are two extremely different things. 2016 looks like it will be a little different this time around, and I am excited to see friends from across the US – because thats what cons are, they’re a reunion with all the friends you wish lived closer. My cosplay list is entirely too long, as it’s been backed up over the last year as new media comes out. My priorities for 2016 are Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, And of course a new rendition of Daenerys Targaryen. She will never be off my list because she is my main boo, khaleesi bae, shekh ma shieraki anni. On my To Do list for 2016 is interview Jason Momoa, because I missed him this year. That is definitely a plot which will probably see me carried off in handcuffs. I should probably set aside bail money in advance.
KD: Ok, finally: what’s coming up for you and Sub-Cultured? Dream baby, dream.
KB: You’re giving me clearance to dream? Shit. Well, SC wise, I mentioned that I took a year off from attending conventions, so getting my shit together by January is going to be top priority in time for convention season. First and foremost is a redesign of the entire site, followed by our first podcast episode just in time for the Star Wars release in December. We have some content to solidify before January, such as Let’s Plays, Unboxings, and a secret. Anticipation, eh? I’d like to finish season one of Game of Theories, as it follows House Stark, by the new year and kick things off right with a huge Game of Thrones giveaway. Personally, I have a few solo projects that I want to start, as well as streaming and more cosplay. I miss playing music, so I would like to incorporate that into my everyday routine, but getting back into it takes more time than I’m willing to invest. I’d like to be more fluent in the instruments I do know how to play and additionally learn more, with drums being my priority. There honestly aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with my constantly moving brain, so I am always scheduling, prioritizing, and reworking. I should probably add some yoga in there too as a way to de-stress. Can I just dream in my sleep? I’m sure I don’t do enough of that.
That’s it from Kimmie for this Meet the Staff, and I’m next!