We had the good fortune of connecting with Hanako M. Ricks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hanako M., can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The coronavirus pandemic was instrumental in helping me to get over my negative thoughts (I struggled with imposter syndrome a lot) and really think about my passion for talking all things geek, and embracing my knowledge and talent and applying that to the growing field of podcasting. I have been a convention panelist at Dragon Con since 2010, and a podcast guest and co-host since 2008. I am excited for any opportunity to talk about fandom and pop culture. However, when Covid-19 hit and shut down most of the world, fan conventions were canceled and as such, that took away my opportunities to talk about the things I love (TV show, film, fandom culture). The podcast I was associated with also went into a semi-shutdown mode, and I found myself without an outlet for my voice. Friends of mine have been encouraging me to start my own podcast for years, and I always pushed it off, but the pandemic provided a perfect opportunity for me to spread my wings and start my own show.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a self-proclaimed professional geek, I always look for opportunities to talk about the things that I love and are passionate about, especially with friends or other like-minded people. My love for all things fandom (defined by Urban Dictionary as “a cult of sleep-deprived people who obsess over one or multiple comics, books, tv shows, movies, video games, etc.”) has grown exponentially in the last 15 years or so, especially since the world seems to have caught on that being a geek or “nerdy” is the “in” thing to do now. Nerds have always gotten a bad rep and lots of disrespect, and it is so satisfying to see that now WE are the “cool” kids in the room. I love it. Starting and having my podcast is my way of participating and contributing to my love of fandom. I’ve also been speaking on panels at fan conventions for the past 11 years, and that also helps me connect to the geek/nerd community.
The pandemic created a huge opportunity for me (and others like me) to add our voices to the mix and connect with others who may also have been missing that human connection and opportunity to talk about the things they love. Running a podcast is not as easy as people think; it’s long days and nights prepping, recording, and editing to make sure that your voice doesn’t get swallowed up in this vast market out there. It’s making sure you have great chemistry with the people you chat with so that people have a reason to *want* to listen to your show. It’s marketing and promotion and finding ways to stand out amongst the crowd. If you don’t already have a built-in following, it takes time to build your brand. You have to make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons or else it will burn you out. My team and I – we do this because we *love* to talk geek speak. We love being able to offer our unique perspectives to the conversation surrounding entertainment media and pop culture. Most of all, we are all friends having the same conversations we would have with each other in our normal, every day lives – and I think our listeners can hear our friendship and camaraderie and passion, and that’s what they connect to, and what keeps them coming back.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I know it sounds cliche’ to hear, but Atlanta is such a melting pot of everything that you can find something in every part of the metro area that fits any type of interest! I live on the south side of the city below the airport, and one of the things my friends and I love to do is eat! There are so many great restaurants in Atlanta, but the Main Street area of College Park near the airport has a lot of wonderful, smaller restaurants that have a great atmosphere and great food. For my geeky friends, visiting some of the locales for TV shows and movies that have been filmed here in Atlanta is always fun. If you are a Walking Dead fan (like me), a visit to Senoia is a *must*. And of course, any best friend of mine would definitely visit Atlanta during Labor Day weekend to be a part of the Dragon Con scene. It is *the* thing to do to prove your geek cred!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Work isn’t really work when you like the people you are working with and having fun while doing it. When I decided to start this podcast, I knew I wanted a great team to work with. Podcasting, for me, is all about conversation and chemistry – you can’t have one without the other. The four other people who are a part of FHP: Anthony Liggins, Michael Collins, Lorrie Thomas, and Kacey Frierson-Nixon – these are people who I was friends with in real life before I started this show. We constantly had conversations with each other about TV shows, movies, genre shows/books, etc. and when I decided to do this podcast, I knew that each of them would be great collaborators. One of the highest compliments we receive for the show is that people love the chemistry we have and how well we play off of each other during our discussions and reviews.
Other: Support the Fandom Hybrid Podcast here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/fandomhybrid