Interview with James Introcaso from DSPN
- What does Don’t Split the Podcast Network do in the RPG world?
James – DSPN is a network of actual play podcasts (like Venture Maidens, Dames and Dragons, and DSPN Presents) and RPG interview and advice podcasts (like Table Top Babble, DM’s Deep Dive, Behold Her, and the NewbieDM Minicast). We also have a comedy, drama, fantasy, radioplay podcast called Have Spellbook, Will Travel and a podcast about video games called Game O’Clock.
- How has the RPG community changed in the last 5 years and how has DSPN adapted to this?
James – DSPN has only be around for a year and four months, but Rudy Basso, my business partner and co-owner, and I started podcasting with The Tome Show in December of 2013. The podcast market has exploded since that time. I hear about a new podcast, usually an actual play, at least every other day. While there were plenty of actual plays around back in 2013, the number has grown exponentially thanks to shows like Critical Role and the Adventure Zone.
I think you’ll continue to see actual plays dominate the market, but I also think there’s plenty of room for informational shows like Table Top Babble and scripted entertainment shows like Have Spellbook. Sometimes people want a little variety among their d20 rolls.
- Have you worked in partnership with other RPG groups before and would you do so again?
James – We work with RPG groups all the time. We love to work with other podcasts and networks to share people in our actual play podcasts. Crossovers are great! We also highlight our favorite creators in our informational shows and give creators a chance to show off new work with DSPN Presents. We really want to help the RPG market grow and help designers, podcasters, and other members of the community get the word out about awesome stuff.
- What is the hardest lesson or situation DPSN has dealt with in the past?
James – The hardest lesson we’ve had so far is that podcasting is a lot of work. For every hour a listener hears of a podcast, there’s been at least another four hours of work that goes into editing, production, posting, promoting, and preproduction of the podcast… and that’s when everything goes right! There’s a lot that can go wrong, some of which is out of your control. My advice to anyone getting into this is budget more time than you need to work on a podcast and always record a backup.
- Have you found different parts of the RPG community easier or harder to deal with?
James – The RPG community has always been very kind to us. Sure there’s the occasional exception, but it’s usually a lone wolf. When the community has criticism, they present it in a way that is constructive and we listen. Our podcasts aren’t good to us or anyone else if no one is listening, so we take feedback seriously (which isn’t to say we implement it all, but we consider it all). The podcast community in particular is wonderful about cross promotion, supporting each other’s work, and celebrating victories.
- What is DSPN strengths? why should people choose your products/services?
James – DSPN’s big strengths are storytelling and diversity. Our most popular shows are Dames & Dragons and Venture Maidens which are both deserving of all the praise they get. Have Spellbook is pure storytelling. But even our informational and advice podcasts are really stories at their core. I tear up when I listen to the stories on Behold Her. I laugh at Enrique and Mike’s tales on NewbieDM and DM’s Deep Dive. Rudy and Alex get me to play new video games by sharing their takes on Game O’Clock.
I get designers to share great wisdom through experience on Table Top Babble. Our diversity is strong among our shows, but we’re going to keep pushing it an expanding on our individual shows. Table Top Babble needs to get more episodes that aren’t just straight white dudes. I’m growing that, but I can do better.
- Do you see the RPG community at large changing in the next 5-10 years?
James – I think the internet has given a voice to a lot of creators that wouldn’t have one otherwise. The only way to get noticed 10 years ago was to be published by someone, publish on your own, or to be loud on a forum. Now there’s many ways to get your name and your creations out there and I think that’s only going to continue to expand our hobby.
More people than ever before played D&D and bought books last year. That’s a great thing for all RPGs. Watch Monster of the Week explode as they play it on The Adventure Zone. My prediction is more people in the hobby through D&D and more people playing games that aren’t D&D thanks for podcasts, Twitch streams, and whatever comes next.
- Do you see DSPN growing, changing direction or maintaining the status quo for the future?
James – We’ve had steady growth ever since we started. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon with how hard all our creators work. Rudy and I believe in every show on the network and we love to see more audience members coming to us every month. Expect new shows, new ideas, and new awesome coming from the network soon.
- How can people best get in touch with DPSN?
James – The best way to reach us is through our website dontsplitthepodcastnetwork.com or on Twitter @DontSplitThePod
If you like Actual Play, checkout DSPN presents, so far 5th ed Dungeons & Dragons, Star Trek, Murders & Acquisitions, Dusk City Outlaws, Edge of the Empire and Shadow of the Demon Lord.