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Russell E Welch Interview cover photo

053: Starting a TTRPG production company with Russell E Welch III of D20Tales

 

Today’s guest is Russell E Welch the III, the DM and CEO of D20Tales, a company putting on some very high quality D&D Actual Plays. They were formerly known as Spawn of Chaos and just rebranded very recently. Russell and I get really into the weeds on casting the shows, their production process, the impact of acting philosophies, rebranding, and a whole lot more. Rossell has some great stories, and it was a very enjoyable interview.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00 Content Warning
  • 00:00:29 Introduction & Updates
  • 00:02:40 Russell Introduction
  • 00:07:32 Theater stories
  • 00:14:55 How D20 Tales started
  • 00:20:55 The casting process
  • 00:32:00 Getting ready to record the first episode
  • 00:36:17 Post-production process
  • 00:49:00 Offering a premium subscription model
  • 00:54:35 Rebranding from Spawn of Chaos to D20Tales
  • 00:59:08 What has been the most challenging part?
  • 01:04:05 What has been the most rewarding part?
  • 01:06:12 Upcoming Projects
  • 01:07:13 Where can people find you?
  • 01:08:19 Wrap-up

Find Russell & D20Tales at:

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Transcript

Courtney:

Hello & Welcome to Episode 53 of Roll Play Grow, the podcast for tabletop entrepreneurs, creators, and fans. I am Courtney Stover of Lightheart Adventures, and in this podcast, we talk to the creators behind the brands in the tabletop roleplay gaming space about who they are and how they are turning their passion for gaming into a career.

Today’s guest is Russell E Welch the III, the DM and CEO of D20Tales, a company putting on some very high quality D&D Actual Plays. They were formerly known as Spawn of Chaos and just rebranded very recently. Russell and I get really into the weeds on casting the shows, their production process, the impact of acting philosophies, rebranding, and a whole lot more. Rossell has some great stories, and it was a very enjoyable interview.

If this is your first time tuning in to Roll Play Grow, hello! This podcast is a part of Lightheart Adventures, which is a small company I co-founded with my husband. We also do blogs, one-shots, and maps that you’ll find over on our website, lightheartadventures.com. This podcast updates weekly on Fridays, and I get to chat with so many amazing folks across a wide spectrum of industries within the TTRPG scene, so be sure to subscribe to Roll Play Grow on your favorite podcast player.

Another way you can support the show is by checking out our affiliate links, which we have compiled for you over at lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets. You’ll find information about some of our favorite dice, tea, coffee, podcasting equipment, email marketing service, and more. We only link to things that we personally use and enjoy, and you can grab yourself something awesome while helping support this show. Again, go to lightheartadventures.com/ourfavoritetrinkets to learn more.

This episode is a bit longer than usual, so I’ll wrap up the preamble now. Enjoy this conversation with Russell!

Courtney: 

I am so happy to now introduce you all at to Russell E Welch the III, the DM and CEO for D20 Tales. Hello, Russell. How are you today?

Russell: 

Greetings and salutations one and all. And thank you, Courtney, for having me on. It’s a pleasure and a blast. And I am as always having more fun than I’m supposed to.

Courtney: 

I mean, that’s just a great way to live life, so I see nothing wrong with that.

Russell: 

I mean, I don’t face the negative consequences of it, so yeah, I’m having a good time.

Courtney: 

Sounds great on this lovely Thursday evening that we are recording and, you know, it’s actually nice. You are in the same time zone as me and I don’t get that very often.

Russell: 

Actually, I pulled a sneaky one on you in-between the time that I booked this. And now I moved to Michigan. So. bing bang, boom. I flew the coop and fled LA and moved to Michigan.

Courtney: 

Okay. I have some questions.

Russell: 

Fair enough.

Courtney: 

What took you to Michigan?

Russell: 

For free real estate or not really, but cheaper real estate. It’s just cheaper to run the business and record and operate out of Michigan. And eventually I plan to go back to LA because the weather is nice and I love it. And it’s great. But I have family here and I have roots here and connections and the real estate is, did I mention the real estate it’s much cheaper and it’s much cheaper to, you know, run the business out of here. And the taxes are not California taxes, so Yeah. Basically, that’s the long and short of it.

Courtney: 

that’s fair. My in-laws are in Michigan because my husband is from a very, very small town in Michigan. So I have spent some time there. Yeah, it is much cheaper. Yes.

Russell: 

Yeah. The weather is also nice here for like three days out of the year.

Courtney: 

yeah. I did go to the UP once in August, so it was in the fifties in August, and I grew up in Florida originally, so that was weird, but I at least had been living in Chicago for a couple of years at that point. So I was kind of used to the cold, but yeah. I commend you for that move.

Russell: 

It was quite the Trek, packed everything in a car and drove across the countryside with a very fun and interesting secret companion that I will not disclose.

Courtney: 

Well, that’s just mean.

Russell: 

I know. Right. You’re welcome.

Courtney: 

So how long ago did you arrive?

Russell: 

I’ve been here for like not very long. I’ve just recently got here like a couple of weeks ago, two weeks ago or something.

Courtney: 

Okay.

Russell: 

I don’t know. I’m not super good at math. That’s why the team has an accountant. Paige is our accountant. She’s very good at math so that I don’t have to be good at math because I’m bad at it.

Courtney: 

I mean, that’s like the number one business tip though, is hire the people that can do the things that you either can’t do or just don’t want to.

Russell: 

Right. And then tell them that they can, so that they know they’re appreciated.

Courtney: 

Awesome. Well, Michigan aside, Russell. Tell us a little bit about who you are. We know that you live in Michigan now, but how you got into gaming.

Russell: 

How did I get into gaming? I don’t know that there was ever a time in which I wasn’t into gaming, but I have, so I have for, for reference I’m one of 10 and I have eight brothers. So one of nine boys, and so games were always a part of our childhood. Though those began with just running outside and hitting each other with sticks when mom wasn’t looking. Things like D&D and other tabletop games and all sorts of board games came as a result of that. Not so much video games, we did play some video games, but I always enjoyed the much more active, personally involved element of playing with something physical. And I also enjoyed the much more communal aspect of playing tabletop games and the type with other people. I do enjoy video games and I can play video games, but I just have a lot more fun having fun with other people who I like. That’s the big caveat. If I don’t know if I don’t like those people, then I’m having less fun, but I feel like that’s a pretty universally shared experience for most people. So as far as that, it just spiraled into obviously D&D where I found a triumvirate, totally gray, all of, all, many of the things that I love, which is storytelling and writing and performing, and also being in general, just a whack job, crazy Kakadu who does strange off the wall things and can create things and do create strange character voices. And nobody thinks you’re crazy, or they just accept that you’re crazy and that’s okay. Or even worse, or maybe better, depending on your opinion, they embrace that. You’re crazy and think that that makes you cool. And so that’s done wonders for my ego since early adolescent.

Courtney: 

Did you ever take any theater class?

Russell: 

Yes. I took theater classes and I was involved in a lot of like the Shakespeare in the park type stuff. That was great. Played Hamlet and Macbeth and, and other parts. I actually won– a interesting side story for that in high school. At one point I won a lead role in a play, even though I, this seniors are always supposed to get the lead role because I went outside and I climbed up the fountain and I gave Hamlet’s soliloquy. And then I got noticed when they all came out of practice. And then I was like, that’s how it’s done, bitches.

Courtney: 

Oh, my God.

Russell: 

Just climb the fountain, give the soliloquy. And the thing about it that’s like that, that like sounds like super cool and bad-ass, but like the thing about it, that’s less cool. And bad-ass is that like because you’re waiting for like the director to come outside of the big double doors of the school building, and you’re standing out here and so like 12 different times somebody opens the door to the school and I launch into the middle of the soliloquy and it’s somebody else. And I’m just like committed. So I like finished the whole paragraph while they just like stare at me, walking sideways along, and then they walk out and then I stop and then wait again. And somebody pops out and it’s the wrong person. I’m like, no, I’m still committed. I’m going to finish this part of the soliloquy. And it took me like 12 attempts until he finally came out that I was like, I’m doing this.

Courtney: 

I wish I could see that. Especially that year did it like 12 times. That is amazing.

Russell: 

Well, a core part of my personal philosophy is that the people who win in life. And I mean, win in the sense of achieve their dreams based on their own personal priorities, because don’t let anybody else ever tell you what your personal priorities should be. But I firmly believes that the people who win the most in life who achieve their personal priorities are not the people who don’t fail, but the people who are the best at failing. And by that, I mean, they are the quickest and the fastest to get back up and learn a lesson from it.

Courtney: 

It reminds me of something that I’ve learned in previous roles that were a little more sales related. I was also, I have a little bit of a background in theater. And so just in audtions, is always aim for 10 Nos a week, or aim for, you know, X number of rejections, because that means that you’re going for it. And eventually you’re going to get a yes, you’re going to get the part.

Russell: 

Speaking of auditions and doing 10 a week and whatever. How do you think that doing a bunch of auditions like that affected your ego? And I don’t mean ego in like the sense of like vanity and personal pride, but just your relationship with your self image?

Courtney: 

Yeah. It’s interesting because I did eventually get to a point where I realized that I liked stage management. I kind of pivoted to that, but I’ve noticed over the years that there was a little bit of a defense that you had to build up on. You walk into the audition, you walk into the job interview, whatever it is acting as though you have already received it, that you are already the expert and it’s going to be great. And you walk out believing that you didn’t get it because it was just easier to believe that you were going to get rejected because then it wasn’t a surprise and you weren’t disappointed versus if you did get it, then that’s a happy surprise. So it’s a good defense mechanism to a point, but then it also can definitely become a little unhealthy. And so that’s something that has had to be a delicate balance. I’d say, is this kind of just weird mesh of having the confidence to be like, yeah, I’m totally awesome. I got this. And then also, but I don’t as a, I don’t know. I think it kind of makes all of us in theater, a little strange.

Russell: 

It definitely takes certain aspects of human acceptance and rejection and validation and accelerates them. It’s like, it’s like puts them on steroids, so to speak, like it just juices them up and makes them far more intense and concentrated a small period of time, which I think the entertainment industry in general does, which is probably a different, totally different conversation for another day, or maybe it’s a conversation today. But anyway, since I opened up Pandora’s box, I’ll just make a light reference of what I mean by that. But the whole like, acceptance or rejecting or like hating or the way people respond in mass, when you are in a space like this, when there is an audience, something that we as humans didn’t necessarily develop to be able to deal with because we’d developed under very different circumstances, but having a huge audience that all can collectively give someone feedback at the same time, whether that’s adoration or the opposite accelerates and amplifies the amount of emotions that someone goes to. And I think that it takes a very special type of person to be resilient to the immense amount of emotional turmoil and concentration of emotions that come with it. And then I think there are other, certain crazy individuals who live and thrive on it and that’s like their fuel and they kind of need to be almost on like the G-Force of emotional impact. I don’t even know if that’s necessarily the correct phrasing, but I’m committed to it and it works for me. But yeah, I think a lot of people, honestly, just, they just live for it. Oh, I’m actually one of those people. I live for it. Without it though, I’d be fine. Like it could all go away and my life could be very quiet and I could just sit in a quiet corner and read books and write books until I grew old and shriveled and grumpy. Well, maybe I’m grumpy already. But the rest of those things and be perfectly okay, but I love it. I love the amount of people you see. I love the amount of people you interact with. I love the opportunity that it gives to see the best and worst of people a lot, all the time constantly, and to see what people are capable of, to see the most talented and gifted and charismatic and kind and charming. And in many instances, not those things. People are all rolled into one in a concentrated area and the test that it puts on your character and your drive and in your enthusiasm and your mind, and your creativity is boundless and is a well that will reach as deep as you will let it.

Courtney: 

No, it’s so true. It has been a very long time since I was on a stage other than, you know, my kitchen table, DM-ing Curse of Strahd, but even now, like I remember, and I have never felt more alive than any time that I was on stage. And I, I mean, I do, I miss it. Like it’s, that chapter of my life is over. Now, I get my fix by DMing a seven hour Curse of Strahd dinner where I play seven NPCs at the same time and have a blast. So that’s how I get my fix. But.

Russell: 

Isn’t that basically a one woman show,

Courtney: 

Exactly. I guess there’s a couple other people at the table. Fine. They can have input, but yeah. Well, so let’s get back to D&D.

Russell: 

Right back to D&D.

Courtney: 

So, okay. You have a couple of shows? You have something that has previously been known as Spawn of Chaos, and is now known as D20 Tales. I want to dive into this, how did this start?

Russell: 

Originally Paige and I, who’s One of our talent members and also wears many other hats in the production, including being our accountant and has Ben my constant partner in crime when it comes to crazy production, shenanigans and schemes and all sorts of other things in the past. She’s edited many of my novels that I’ve written. She’s just been a great friend and a pal, and we’ve known each other for over 10 years now, which makes me feel old. I’m not that old don’t rush me. I’ll get there. But her and I were working, producing a different podcast called The Struggle for Meaning, which was actually something that I started doing as a very near and dear to my heart, as a philosophy podcasts that brought people on and basically asked them, like, what are your struggles for meaning in life? How did you find meaning? Or if you didn’t find meaning, how are you coping and what are you doing? What is it like? And we just interviewed all kinds of people from all different backgrounds: religious, philosophical, personal with all manner of experiences. And the inspiration from that was actually because my own brother when he was 14 years old, committed suicide by hanging himself. And so some of the things that he left behind, including his suicide note gave me sort of the inspiration for this podcast, because. He obviously, and for many people who do make that choice feel incredibly alone, they feel like they don’t have the answers. They don’t know what direction to go in life. They don’t think anyone’s listening. They don’t think anyone’s can. And this isn’t universal, obviously. Everybody’s experience is unique, but for many of these people, their struggle for meaning is one that they can’t find. One that they lose. And so I wanted to provide an opportunity by showcasing the voices of many different people who have many, many different experiences in their struggle with meaning so that other people who’ve been through similar struggles could see there’s someone else like me out there. There’s someone else who hears, who experiences these things, who’s suffered what I’ve suffered, who’s hurt the way I’ve hurt and has walked the same path, and I’m not alone. And there is a path to what. And so we were producing that, that being said, the only the two of us got, it was incredibly difficult to sustain as a production with only two people considering we were relatively new. We learned a lot fast. There was a lot of like previous knowledge and experience that I had had in other forms of production. Didn’t directly translate to a podcast only version. And like I said, it did, I mean, everybody on the team that I currently have is there because they covered a lot of weaknesses that I don’t have. So her and I were evaluating really hardcore. If we could continue doing this and we’re like, no, we need to take a step back from this. I always plan to come back and reproduce that podcast because I think there is a place for it. And it’s in a very important part of the conversation, but we put a pin in it and we were struggling with, okay, what’s our next production? What’s something else we’re going to do? What’s the lessons we learned, the hard lessons we learned about what to do and what not to do and what we can take into something else. We were like, we have two options. We can either scale our production back considerably and do something far less ambitious, or we can scale up our production but create a team and build a team. And so we were tossing back and forth, all the different types of things we could do. And we were like, we could do a story podcast where we write it and act the characters, or we could do all kinds of other stuff. We could do an interview podcast that’s like less ambitious with like shorter episodes, like maybe about business or something. That’s like 10 minutes long instead of like two and a half hour long episodes. We were tossing all this stuff around until finally Paige was like, Russell. You like writing. You like acting. It’s like, why don’t you just do a D&D podcast? You’re like playing games too. Like you like playing D&D just take all these things you like and roll them into one and you also like running the company. And you like entrepreneurship and everything that comes with that and all the complications and the problem solving logistics, she was like, roll all that into one, put together a team and let’s make a D&D podcast. And I was just like, You are a genius, Paige, and I’m an idiot because I should have fucking thought of this way long ago. And I didn’t, for some reason, cause like we were literally, it’s just like playing D&D and we’re just like looking at it and Paige is like we should do a D&D podcast and I’m just like, oh yeah. But like immediately at that moment, I was just like, let me think about that. And then like I thought about it and then like a month later I was like, Paige, you’re a genius. And she’s like, I know, but you took forever to tell me that. And I was like, damn. Okay. Fair. So that’s how it began. And then we posted casting calls and we posted positioning for the thing. And we were just shocked and floored by the sheer outpouring of numbers of exceptionally talented individuals. Literally all over the globe in pretty much every single time zone you can fathom who just poured in wanting to be a part of this production. And then we had like a three-week hellscape, that was an absolute joy, but also super tough, like vetting all of these people and interviewing all of these people and building our team and then Bing bang, boom. It emerged. And from there, we were originally planning to do only one show, but the reason why we have two shows is because I found too many people who I loved too much who were too charming and talented, and I really desperately wanted to bring them on. And so at one point I was just Paige, I can’t choose. There’s so many nice people. I’d like them all. I want to keep all of them. And I can’t. And she’s like, well, you can’t, you only can keep this many. And I’m like, but get this. If we do two shows, we could take twice as many. And she’s like, that’s a crazy idea. And probably shouldn’t do that. And I was like, yeah, but you know, we’re going to do. And she’s like, yep, that’s what we’re going to do. And so that’s what we did.

Courtney: 

Okay. I do want to follow up on…Okay. There’s so many things I could follow up on, but what I’m going to follow up on is you said that you spent three weeks going through all of the people that applied and interviewing them and vetting them. what were you looking for? How did you decide?

Russell: 

Right. Well, some of the first things we did right off the bat, I believe the first question we asked and it was a bit of a shit test. But the first question we asked when someone jumped on the video call. We started with like 10 minute video calls and we were having them like all day from like break of Dawn till night for like the first week. It was crazy. Just like meeting all the people initially and then paring it down. The first question we asked was how do you feel about inclusion? Because we found, if we gave a question that was a little bit more like, played to one side of the fence or the other, then people would tell us what they think they want us to hear, because people really wanted to be part of a D&D podcast. They really wanted to be probably part of producing this show, or really, really wanted to be part of the talent enacting the show, like who doesn’t want to like live their aspirations of following the footsteps in place of things like Adventure Zone and Critical Role and D20 Tales. And so there’s a lot of incentive for people to tell us what we wanted to hear and to not what they truly felt. So we said, how do you feel about inclusion? Because, you know, that’s definitely a hot topic word that response and elicits strong opinions of which we got from pretty much everybody, there was a few people who were smart enough to play it a little more coy, but most people gave us really strong opinions off the bat, which was really helpful because that was the first question. That was a big, big, like yay or nay. It’s like playing Tinder and it’s like, yes, no, here we go. Okay, this specific interview is going to be a little shorter because it was extremely important that people had very strong, positive opinions about inclusion. And even if they weren’t super, well-informed, it wasn’t a prerequisite that they’re specifically well-informed with like modern terminology, but that they had a willingness to learn and an open mind and open heart about it. That was exceptionally important to us. I would say overall, the overwhelming positive forward momentum and direction of a lot of the internet community these days, it, we wanted to be a part of that. We didn’t want to be a hindrance to it, or just someone who sat on the fence and didn’t take an opinion, didn’t have a voice. We wanted to help. We didn’t want to like help by preaching it from the rooftops or anything like our pushing our opinion on anybody. But we wanted to in meaningful and subtle ways, be a contributing force towards that positivity and towards inclusion in general. And so, yeah, that was the first big vetting question. The next big thing that was extremely important in vetting people was, and here’s the thing like before we screened anybody for even what they were capable of as far as like, could they fill the roles of a job responsibility or were they a good D&D player, a good talent? Cause like part of what the really fun part of screening people for a D&D show is the part where you make everybody play D&D because this makes sense to me. But yeah, even before that, even before we screened anybody for what their talents are, we went through a very rigorous process to try to establish if we felt like they were a person of high, moral caliber who shared our vision and passion for being a person who is good and enjoyable and well, like just someone who you’d want to work with for years and years. And that was more important to us than anything else. And it was very important that we put that before that, because we didn’t want people’s experiences or backgrounds or expertise or skill with something in particular to hugely influence our interpretation of those things. We wanted to establish first how someone was. And so that was that stage of the process. Then the stage of the process after that was what their relevant skills are, getting them to play D&D seeing their chemistry off of each other and how good they are testing their other skill sets. And then we had multiple waves of auditions. I think it was like four waves that we went through. It might’ve been six, honestly, those weeks or two months or whatever it was, was really a blur kind of like all rolls together in my mind, What we wanted to establish is before anything, we wanted to be giving a platform to people who are wholesome and positive and have good moral character and just likable and who we want to get along with and work with for years.

Courtney: 

I think that’s a really good and important step to weed out the people that would not make the kind of community that you want to be able to form. How much D&D were you playing? How many people made it past the first round that you started to do all of these, I guess the one shots with? Were you mixing and matching groups together, that work?

Russell: 

Oh yeah. I would say. Just about every single tier, we were shaving off something around 50 to 60% of people. Sometimes a little bit more, but usually around in that ratio and by, I think like the third round or so, there was like 40 people and we were doing like, we did like 10 different, like one, I ran the same, one shot, like 10 or 15. I think it was 12, like 12 days somewhere in there. You could probably ask Paige. She’d probably now, like I said, she’s the math counting person. I ran out of fingers after 10, so, you know, I can’t count. So I ran the same one shot a lot of times, like it was like a four to six hour, one shot for like all these different groups of people. A lot of times, because we were pairing people up, not just to see their skillsets. But at this stage we were trying to establish their chemistry with each other, to see who would make potential good cast mates with each other. And so a lot of D&D. I would say, unfortunately, a lot of the people who audition and a lot of people who we screened through the process probably didn’t get to play very much D&D or didn’t get to play as much D&D as they deserved, there could have shown off all of their talents. That being said, poor Paige and I were a little too overwhelmed with the volume to truly give. And that’s one of the unfortunate side effects of it is that it definitely took a toll on me personally, to get to know so many people. Get to know their hopes, their dreams, their passions, and what they want in life and how much it means to them. And then have to stare at their name on the list and say, no.

Courtney: 

Yeah, that is a lot. That is a lot of people. That is a lot of repetitions of the same, one-shot. That’s a lot to just handle and deal with. And it’s, it’s interesting, like I’ve heard of others having like a casting process where they try to reach out to different people, but like, this is honestly kind of a first for me to hear about how just overwhelming, that sounds and how exhausting that must’ve been.

Russell: 

Yeah, we definitely set ourselves up for it because we posted the casting calls in groups from countries all over the world and time zones from all over the world, because we were trying to get a lot of, like, we were trying to get a lot of diversity. That being said, unfortunately, when it comes to like English speaking, D&D players who are active in the community, we were struggling to get a lot of different, like diverse minorities to audition. I think it was something like, well, over 90% of everybody who auditioned was just white males, which, you know, nothing against white males. I happen to be one of them. But it would have been nice to have more opportunities to, because we did try with like the postings to have a lot more diversity. And that’s something that I would like to revisit at some point in the future. I’m never going to, I am never going to place anyone on the show just to check a box because I wouldn’t want this for myself to be the person who sits there and asks, am I just here because I fulfill a quota in not because I deserve it and these other people deserve it? Which is a really hard thing to put on somebody who’s already like a, a minority where things are tough for like, they should know that they deserve it. And I really want to be able to give that to some people, but I don’t know. I think that at some point in the future, we’ll just have to do another casting call where we have a lot more reach that we can spread that opportunity out more and hopefully get better results. But as far as like, what I’ve always wanted to do is I’ve always wanted to essentially make people’s dreams come true. That’s always been something exceptionally important to me is to make people’s dreams come true. And so that was a huge part of this and a huge, exciting thing is being able to select people and then seeing their eyes light up and knowing that their life could change forever as a result of this. But also the, the thing about it, that’s really hard is all the people who you have to reject as a result, all the people who don’t make the cut. And also not that I like, like I said before, I needed to fill a quota, but it was frustrating because of like all of the effort that I went into initially. And I think this is probably why the space in general is hurting for inclusivity and why the question is because after like all the steps we took still, like the overwhelming majority of everyone we got and really the options we had were just a bunch of white males, which really made it stand out to me of like, yes, like this space, the space should be for everybody, but obviously something is happening here where people don’t feel welcome. And people should feel welcome and then putting all this effort and then putting together a cast and then looking at my cast and being like this cast reflects to some degree and it’s nothing against them and they’re wonderful people and I love them. But to some degree, this cast reflects the space as it is, and not as it should be. And I don’t know, I’m still sorting out and maybe these, aren’t the type of things that I should say publicly. But as a general rule, I always tend to say more than I should and not less than I should, but the, the type of things that I think about a lot. And I ask myself the question of, am I doing right? Am I doing this right? Should I be doing this differently? And I don’t know. I don’t know. And if somebody else knows better, let me know. I’m down hear it.

Courtney: 

Yeah. So you went through the difficult process of choosing your cast. What happened then? How did you get ready for the very first episode?

Russell: 

Oh, well, we got ready for the very first episode by- we worked out, we were working out like people’s tech, we didn’t want it to be a limiting factor if people didn’t have tech. So we didn’t choose people based on whether or not they had like the green screens or the backgrounds of the microphones we needed. So like we, we left it up to people. We had like sat them down and were like, look, if you want to own your equipment, here’s the parameters of equipment that we’re expecting. And that we’ll need, if you don’t want to own the equipment, here’s a form saying that, that we own the equipment. And we’ll buy you and send you whatever equipment you needed, then when you’re done. And if you leave the show, you just send it back and we’ll use it for the next person. We had a mixture of that. Some people were like, this is a small indie production with just about no budget and y’all are fucking crazy. So I’m going to buy my equipment to help out. And some people were like, I already have equipment. Yay. And some people were like, no, please I need the equipment. And so it was just, it was, it was all over the place, but we got people, it meant they needed. And it was nice to be able to offer people those options if they needed it, but you know, if they wanted it, they could have it on their own. And then from there we sat down and recorded our session zero, which will never air and never see the light of day because it was, let’s just say we had fun and we’ll leave it at that. Unsurprisingly, we were not ready to film an airable episode: production problems, the logistics of also the show, and there’s also a really steep learning curve to the way we film episodes because specifically, what I was trying to go for– and this is no shade against any shows out there. There’s a ton of fantastic, wonderful shows out there, like Critical Role that are like four hours long or sometimes even longer. And with like all of the like table talk and rules looking up and like falafeling around in them. And that’s great, but here’s the thing: I will never be able to do or put together a show that will do what Critical Role does as well as Critical Role nor would I even attempt to. So I was like, I’m not going to try to beat them at their own game because they will kick my fucking ass. So I was like, I will do the opposite. We’re going to edit our episodes. We’re going to cut out all the stuff. We’re going to keep the story moving. We’re going to ensure that every single episode has some form of a satisfying narrative arc or as close as we can get to it. This is D&D after all and shit happens and we get off track and that combat will move along quickly and we won’t get bogged down into it for episodes and episodes, and we’ll cut out the rules lawyering, and we’ll cut out a lot of the table talk and we’ll cut out a lot of the extra stuff and we’ll add music and sound effects and it will feel much more cinematic. Like the actual sitting down and playing of the game is a lot more like what you would traditionally think of as a normal play in game, but the end result and what we end up with is far more cinematic and streamlined. And obviously that’s not for everybody. And some people like all of those other things. That being said, those people are probably watching many of the dozens of shows out there that do that excellently, and I’m not trying to compete with all of them because they’re great.

Courtney: 

Honestly, I am someone that tends to prefer the shorter, more edited shows. So when I realized that your episodes were under two hours. Yeah, I was very happy and I’m able to catch up a lot faster than a four hour show that I will

Russell: 

We’re right now, we work really hard to try to keep the average episode length between an hour and 20 and an hour and a half. With our recent episodes that we’ve been releasing, we’ve been pushing harder to keep them between an hour and an hour and 15, but with future seasons, I think the Goldilocks zone that eventually like to be in is 15 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes is where I’d like to be for episodes.

Courtney: 

So obviously a ton of post production work goes into this to get it edited down. But on this show, I love to get into the weeds of the processes. So walk me through the beginning of the campaign or the new, like a new story arc on it, just the preparation that you put into it, getting into the actual recording of it, and then what happens in post.

Russell: 

Right. Before we even played, this is one of the things that I’m really proud of for this show is the amount of work that we put into building the world and the characters. Obviously in a normal D&D campaign, like you talk back and forth with the DM, you give them some ideas of what your background is. They write some stuff, you write some stuff. It’s, it’s entirely up to the two of you, whether one of you writes 90% or all of it. And that’s usually how it goes, is somebody does 90% of the writing. And it’s usually one player at the table that does 90% of the writing. And then the DM does 90% of the writing or all of the writing for the other characters that being said for this, it was far more of a collaborative experience where we’re just like, we’re not looking for you to play just a traditional, by the book, something that’s been done before. We had a series of character meetings where first, before I even let them pick a race or class at all, I was like, before you can pick a race or a class here is a 40 page document about like the basics of the world and like the politics and all the different countries that gave him a breakdown of all the different places. And then I gave them a several hour long recorded video of basically a lecture about all the basics of the world and the lore. And I was like, here’s all the different countries. Here’s all the different backgrounds. Here’s a bunch of stuff that everybody knows about the world. Listen to it. And then pick the place where you’re from. Pick three options that resonate with you and then pick three different character design templates that resonate with you that could ideally mix and match. Some could be incredibly specific to like this character design comes from this country, but they picked a variety. And then we sat down and we worked out with them and we mixed and we matched and they ended up with a place that they understood, that they liked, that they wanted to know the lore of that they cared about. And then we worked out their personal history. We worked out what they were doing, who they are, and everything about their class. We worked out their obviously to traumas because D&D players are nothing without their trauma. The thing that really, and I’ve said this a lot before, and I’ll keep saying it, that I think makes the show interesting and unique. And that I really, really like is that I lied my fucking ass off to all of my players in the character creation process. And that was really important. Why they got the basics of the world and then picked their place first is because then everything I told them after that was probably a lie in some way, shape or form, because they came from this country. And this country has specific background, specific religious beliefs, specific ideologies and specific feelings about other countries and nations. And so I told them all of the things that they would be taught if they grew up in that place. And so something that a lot of people have pointed out in our show is like, how good the players are at arguing with each other, having barks at one another, or like having like inter party conflict that feels natural and not like the players are fighting, but the characters are fighting. And like it’s truly deep and meaningful on all sorts of things, like even episode one, you can see it happening right off the bat where they’re ideologically like challenging each other and challenging each other about their backgrounds and challenging each other about the countries that they’re from and their perception of the world and all of these things. Because that’s what makes interpersonal relationship interesting and layered is when you go home to your family at Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that or whatever holiday you celebrate, or if you go home to your family at all, or if you go to like a, a group of friends or wherever, whatever kind of people or collective you hang out with, the fact is, is wherever you go, the likelihood that you agree with everybody there about everything is astronomically low. And the thing that I think is kind of pseudo realistic about a lot of D&D campaigns, is how that there’s just a couple of big ticket items that characters tend to disagree on. And everything else is just an assumed given or not even assumed. And doesn’t bring up it doesn’t come up in it. Those are the types of things that I think make for interesting, layered characters that interesting layered stories can evolve from is having those characters who when somebody says something about their personal philosophy or in, just in general, says something or does something that they would think is perfectly benign, another character has strong feelings or opinions about it. And there are many moments in the show where I don’t even talk as a DM for like a half hour because I just sit there and I let the players just go at it. And they have a grand ass time, like going for the fucking juggler and taking each other down a peg and also building each other up because they have an understanding of the world based on the character that they are players understanding of the world and they bring those dynamics exceptionally well. And they’ve remembered those things that they’ve been told exceptionally well and bring them into the episodes and it breathes life into them in ways that I think are very unique to us.

Courtney: 

I think that’s so clever. I think that’s such a good way to introduce that conflict and you’re right. The conflict that was just there, like right from the get go, even though they’re in the middle of doing all of this fighting, there’s also arguing with each other about whatever things. It did. It felt really real.

Russell: 

Right. They didn’t even realize I was do, he didn’t at first until they got into an episode and they were like, oh! You’re a dick Russell. And I was like, yes, you’re welcome.

Courtney: 

So we talked about a lot of the preparation that went into the episode, and then when you’re recording, it’s kind of like a normal session. So how long are your actual play sessions in comparison to being that try to be like hour, 15, hour, 30 minute target.

Russell: 

Right. So the talent has gotten exceptionally better at this throughout. Like we started with, I think our first episode recording episode one, the actual recording session for that was six hours long. Which edited down to, I think it’s like an hour and 40 minutes or an hour and a half or something. The first episode, something in that range. We’ve got it down to now where we average a two hour recording time for, what’s going to be about an hour and 15 minute episode, and we’re still getting a little bit better. That being said, there’s a lot less to shave off. The cast has matured in that area a lot because they’ve gotten a lot better at taking turns in combat, a lot better at communicating and moving through scenes. There’s we’ve, we’ve had a lot of practice sessions and they’ve started to grasp more and more of the concept of okay. Normally in D&D like this conversation that you’d had with somebody, you can get it across. You can have this conversation for 20 minutes, and that’s super cool. And that’s super great. And if maybe we were doing a four hour episode, then that would be super fine as well, but in a hour and 15 minute episode, if they want the things that are important to them to make the final cut. Then they choose their words more carefully and more wisely and move through the scene. And so they’ve just gotten better and better at communicating more with less time and moving along and also picking up on the cues that I give for when they move through a scene. That being said, I’ve also gotten just better at, you know I mean, in my personal home games, I’m not a very pushy DM, and I’ll let a party just sit in an area for weeks. Like if they’re having a good time, I’m not going to make them move. They can sit and rot in the dungeon for a month. If they’re having a good time rotting in that dungeon, then they can write in a dungeon and play their feelings about rotting in the dungeon, and talking about being hungry and rats, gnawing their legs off and, you know, whatever it is like good for them. If they’re having a good time, then I’m having a good time. And that’s what we’re working with. But for something like this, where you’re specifically trying to give the audience as satisfying story arc in each episode, as much as you can, they understand that we’ll record until we get there and then we’ll cut out what doesn’t get us there and what doesn’t help. And so that they’d just gotten a lot better at it. A lot better at communicating and also just understanding each other better

Courtney: 

Yeah. I mean, that’s definitely impressive to go from six hours to about two hours and still have episodes of the same length. I can tell, definitely been a lot of improvement. So let’s talk about post. Once you are done recording.

Russell: 

Right.

Courtney: 

What happens? How long does it take?

Russell: 

Yeah, that’s a great question. What happens? Everything and the kitchen sink and what does it take to get it there? Insert internal screaming. Eh, I have to give it to our media department. They work their asses off every fucking week to get those episodes out because our episodes are hard. We cut a lot from the episodes. We have a lot of characters. And when you take anywhere from like five to seven people, in some instances like three people, but even three people, it’s a lot, you you’re taking people’s audio taking people’s video, they have green screens. You have to chroma key that you have to cut down everything. You have to line in, sync all the stuff up, and then you have to do it in a way that tells a narrative story. And then we add the backgrounds and then we add the music and we add the sound effects. And then we add VFX. And all of that and then put it together. And there’s also like battle maps and stuff like that that were like we, we, we have a battle map recording that we record. And then they have to cut that in there too and put it in there and graphics and sometimes maps and other things that end up in the episode, character art live HP that like adjusts when they take damage, which part of the VFX all of that has to go into it. And all of that has to be done in a week.

Courtney: 

So you’re recording a week ahead of time.

Russell: 

We’re not recording a week ahead of time, but episodes have to come out every week. So we have to stay on top of that every week, but we’re not necessarily releasing, there have been moments where we have been releasing the episode that comes out that week. That is a hell, but for the poor editors, but yeah typically going through season one Herald’s we were filming and we were a couple of weeks ahead of filming a well releasing episodes. There was a lot that we started off several months ahead, but because we were learning and there was a steep learning curve and there was a lot of stuff happening. We lost that time gap and we got pretty close and then were struggling for a while in there. Emissaries of the Ancients season one that came out, we were doing, we had streamlined a lot more things. We had pretty much had almost the entire season recorded before we started releasing any. And we had some episodes, a handful of episodes edited going into Herald’s season two, which will be coming out soon because Emissary season one is wrapping. My goal is to have the entire season recorded and half the season edited before we release any episodes. And then four seasons after that, the goal is going to be, to have the entire season recorded and edited before we release any episodes, which is very ambitious. And we’ll probably have to take a break for a while to build up that buffer, but the team deserves the break and it’ll do wonders for their psychology not having that pressure.

Courtney: 

Oh, yeah. My show is a lot more simple than yours is, and even I, like, I need the buffer I’ve learned. I just, I need it. It is so much better when I have several weeks out ahead of time. I can imagine that it is exponentially more important for a massive production like yours, so that I think will be pretty cool to be able to have an entire season just done and ready.

Russell: 

The thing about the production too. And yeah, it’s truly a massive production with a pretty big team because we’re pushing 20 members of our team is how much we truly accomplish on what is essentially almost no budget at all. Just sheer gumption and force of will and like chew gum and stick it on it and push it together, type like duct tape and slap it and say time to go and turn the keys and hope it runs. It’s the, the sweat equity and the creativity and problem solving from the entire team to make it work and to get it together every week and do it on a shoestring budget is pretty incredible and impressive. And they are great.

Courtney: 

So talk to me about your premium subscription model. So actually I guess for the sake of our listeners, that may not be familiar with it, can you just give us a high level, look at what that is? And then I want to dive into some questions around it.

Russell: 

Right. So for our premium subscription on our website, the way that works is because we’re releasing shows for free on YouTube, which is all well and great, except for the fact that we’re doing all this work to release shows for free on YouTube. So yeah. We have a website obviously, and on our website, that’s where we release bonus content. One of the big things we release on there is we release short stories about the world. We release behind the scenes content. And we also release another show called Spawn of Chaos: After Dark which we’ll probably have to rebrand to D20 Tales After Dark or something like that. But after dark is because we cut out all of the table talk and all of like the behind the scenes stuff from the actual episodes, we have another show where the cast sits down or the crew sits down and watches the episode and talks about what it was like filming, insights into their characters and the decisions that they made, just goofy things that they were doing at the time. You get all the insider stuff in a window into the personality and character of a lot of the cast and crew that you don’t as much get in the episodes because the episodes are a lot more of how you’d think of a TV show. Like you don’t really see the actors not acting like you do, obviously in this cause it’s D&D and they get out of character and stuff happens and we have laughs and aside moments, but overwhelmingly the story is moving along at all times at a breakneck pace. And so we have After Dark and we have some other things like that on there for people who want to support the show and also get other content. We’re also planning though, ambitious. I know, cause we’re not doing enough, but we’re planning to do another series that’s like a bunch of like small mini series called Mindless and Mad. Basically the loose idea here is that there is a universe that a bunch of gods got together to create, and they all disagreed about how the universe should be run. And they ended up in a custody battle over it, and a prime diety had to step in and split custody. And so they all take turns being deities. And So the whole place is an absolute fucking mess and a dumpster fire, which means that we can like circulate in a bunch of other DM, a bunch of DMS to basically play a diety and run a mini series in it and change up the rules. And it’s almost like better if people don’t quite get the lore and other things right, because it plays into that because it’s a mess and they’ll disagree about how to run the, run the world and do stuff. And so that’s another show. And then we have another show as well called the Maghera Chronicles and some other mini series that are coming to premium on our website as well. I really appreciate anybody who’s willing to support the show and it helps a lot, like it literally keeps the lights on because yes, that’s where we’re at. But I don’t want people to feel like they’re just giving us charity. Not because I have anything against charity, but because I think there are so many people in the world who deserve charity more than I do, more than we do. So it’s really important to me that for that, for a premium model on the website that people feel like they are getting value out of what they are paying for. So that’s why we’re working on producing other shows and we’ll be releasing them there is so that people will be getting something they’re paying for it because I don’t want people to feel like, oh, I’m supporting this creator out of charity, so I don’t have to give charity somewhere else because their charity belongs with somebody who truly needs it. And that’s not me.

Courtney: 

When did you start offering the premium model? Like, was that from the very beginning or did you wait a little while? How did that come to be?

Russell: 

We had it at the very beginning. We built it right at the beginning because we have the team to do it in the website. And Brad’s a wiz at coding. So you just code it all and it’s like, it’s done. And I’m like, wow, that was fast. There’s like a week. So we just, we had it, we haven’t pushed it very heavy. We’ve mentioned it a couple of places at a couple of different times, but we haven’t really pushed it yet. And I don’t plan to push it until we have a couple more shows up there until I feel like what people would be paying for it, which is only a couple of dollars a month, but what people would be paying for it, they’re really getting a value for that. And when I feel that that value is right and fair, or honestly more than what they’re paying for, then make much of a more concerted effort to push it. But right now our concentration is really on growing the show and engaging with our community and fostering a good, strong, healthy community, which is something I’m incredibly proud of is how little drama and nonsense we’ve had in our community and how wholesome and supportive and interactive and engaged our community is not just with us, but also with each other.

Courtney: 

That is really important and rewarding to have a group of not only the people that you’re working with, but also the fans like that just really appreciate what you’re doing and can be supportive for everyone. I am curious about the transition from Spawn of Chaos to D20 Tales. So I think as of the time that this airs you’ll have just completed this transition.

Russell: 

I can’t see the future, but hopefully. That’s the idea. That’s the plan. if not, this will be very confusing for some people and I apologize.

Courtney: 

Tell me about the decision to rebrand and what has been involved in making the switch happen.

Russell: 

Right. So what is involved is mostly a lot of like paperwork and filing new IPs and registering that with like departments of the government and in all of the, those really exciting things. But on the other end of it, as far as what inspired the decision and where it came from, I originally called the show Spawn of Chaos. And so like, that was the flagship name we were operating under. And then at some point, Brad, our resident marketing Wiz, came to me and bonked me on the head metaphorically with a clipboard over a discord chat and was like, Hey, Russell, I know you’re like, edgy boy, like Spawn of Chaos name, but it’s not cutting it for search engine optimization and Googling and results and can turn people off because it’s a little bit like too niche and edgy, and it needs to be a little bit more, broader and inclusive. And also, you need a name that people will want to sponsor the show. So we can, we can make money because we’ll be broke if nobody wants to be associated with our brand, because we’re all too dark and edgy, so you need to lighten up there and do something else. And I was like, I don’t want to do that, wah, and I whined about it he kept like bringing me. He did research and he did like poll testing online. He’s like, these names are performing better. People like these names more. People don’t like this name as much. And like, I kept looking at it and being like, it’s already this and I like it. But then I was finally like, fine. Okay, Brad. And then he was like, yay. And then he was like, let’s make it D20 Tales, because that’s fun and light and relatable and family friendly. And I’m just like, okay, well let’s not go all full set on that because let’s be real. Our content is not family friendly. Like eventually we do fully plan to release family-friendly content, but we still have like a dark fantasy. It’s not like heavy and like horrible, but we definitely touch on some heavy topics and we don’t shy away from the heavy emotional moments. And I would say we’re definitely in the PG 13, right?

Courtney: 

Having just started episode four. Yeah. I hear that. that was a heavy one to do like a couple of hours before I got on with you.

Russell: 

You also love a little light seasoning, sprinkle of Eldritch horror, because who doesn’t like a little bit of that, just to spice things up.

Courtney: 

So Brad, I feel like you are being both thanked and call it out right now. So there you go. That’s cool. It’s really interesting though, that he was able to get all of that market research and really dedicated that much time and effort into figuring out what would be a good name, even if it isn’t quite as edgy as you may have liked

Russell: 

He kept coming back at me with more data and I was staring at it like internally, just thinking you’re making a lot of sense for somebody I don’t want to agree with.

Courtney: 

Ugh, Brad.

Russell: 

Why you gotta be so right all the time.

Courtney: 

When did this whole process start? I don’t know that I got a timeline.

Russell: 

Yeah, so it started, it’s like been seven or eight months now. Wow. My life is flying away from me. It’s been an insane rollercoaster ride, and this has been a lot of incredible people on it who have helped immensely. I could just sit here and like name them all, but like, it’s just like go through 20 plus people is probably going to be like a 10 minute segment of the show.

Courtney: 

So seven, eight months since having the idea to start?

Russell: 

We posted the first casting call and then the chaos ensued, and then we had like four filing paperwork and interviewing everybody and doing all that stuff before that actually Paige and I, we did like almost six months of like market research and a lot of other fun stuff. The really fun, exciting stuff was, is we would literally like pull up on the big screen TV, like episodes of a bunch of different D&D shows. And we’d just sit down with like our clipboards and our notebooks and our pens. And we’d just like take notes and watch a bunch of different shows and like compare and then like, decide what do we think is working? What do we think is good? What do we think isn’t good? What do we want to steal for our business? I mean, what do we want to try inspiration from, for our business model?

Courtney: 

I mean, that’s how you do it. That’s great. So over the past, if I do math, that’d be around a year and a half or so, what would you say has been some of the most challenging parts of this whole journey?

Russell: 

I think the most challenging part of this whole journey has been when I am faced with decisions where I have to make hard choices that I know are going to upset people, that I know are going to frustrate people, that I know are going to make some people feel betrayed. And I know that there is no instance, even for people that are really important to me and matter a lot who I really want to keep happy and really deserve to get what they want, aren’t going to get what they want, because there’s a lot of people and they often have conflicting interests and viewpoints and that’s okay. And that’s normal. That’s perfectly normal and that’s an acceptable part of life. But the difficult part about steering that ship is. You always know every turn you take that there is going to be an onslaught of criticism that comes from that and onslaught of judgment and the judgment from the outside. The people who I don’t know is fine. That’s okay. Water off a Duck’s back like that just happens. That’s in irrevocable part of just living on the internet. We should just all expect it. It comes with the territory, but for the people who mean a lot to you, who you’ve invested a lot in, who’ve put their trust and faith in you and who are on that boat. When you run into those Rocky waters and they have conflicting opinions and ideas about how stuff had been done, it gets really, it can be really rough to know that even if these people are, are going to be nice about it, because like, they’re not going to be like a pain in my ass. Well, that’s some of the Brad can be a pain in my ass call Brad out. You know, I’m a pain in everybody else’s ass though. So, you know, but that’s like my job, but anyway yeah, it’s, it’s really tough when, you know, even when they’re really nice about it, that they distinctly want and think different things and you can’t give all of them what they want and you can’t make all of them happy and you have to make tough choices. That’s the one really hard part about it. The other really hard part about it. I would say of the three hardest things. The second hardest thing about it is always having. Anywhere from like 40 to 180% more than you could possibly do in a day to get done. And then always feeling like you’re not doing enough and you’re letting people down and it would be better and you would be doing more right by the people who are doing so much to help your dream and help their dreams if you could do more, but you’re not doing enough. And always having to make the tough calls of what you choose to do and what you choose not to Do because you can’t do everything. And there’s always more to do, but truly the hardest thing of the three hardest things to do about all of this is: as much as I love building up people’s dreams and giving them an opportunity to do what they love is all the people you have to say no to all the time. And you know, they’re good people and, you know, honestly, So many of them deserve it and they’ve worked so hard for it and they want it so desperately and it could change their life and make it better. And you can’t give it to everybody. And you have to tell people no, all the time.

Courtney: 

Do you have anything that you do to kind of reset after you go through a time where you’ve had to say no a lot?

Russell: 

Honestly, and maybe this sounds like toxic behavior, but honestly, I don’t think that I have had a moment really, since this has all started to do that. So maybe I’ll get back to you when I figure that out.

Courtney: 

Fair enough. Take a breather. You deserve it.

Russell: 

To be fair though, like, I don’t want to make it all seem like doom and gloom. Like, I fucking love what I do. I wake up in the morning and I fucking bound out of bed. Like, the Energizer bunny. It brings me passion. It brings me life. I love the people that I work with. I love what I’m doing. Every day brings new, exciting challenges that helped me stretch and grow and expand, and also bring me closer to all of the other amazing people around me and help me meet new and crazy other people to partner with and work with. And people like you that are an absolute blast and a joy. And yeah, I fucking love it and I am by no means like some sad overworked a startup CEO I, I am living a dream life and I am exceptionally grateful every single day, overwhelming for all of the things that I have and all of the people around me who make it possible because I cannot do this alone and I do not do this alone.

Courtney: 

Well, to be honest, you maybe just answered the follow-up question that I was going to say, because I also don’t like it to be all doom and gloom. So I was gonna say, what do you think has been the most rewarding parts? I feel like you touched on a lot of it. If there is anything more that you would want to say to that, you can.

Russell: 

Yes. The most rewarding part by far in a way has been the relationships that I have made. Because, well, some of the relationships have been Rocky. There have been ups and downs. And there are always rough patches in pretty much any relationship. The people who have had my back since the beginning, the people who’ve been there for me and the people who are new, who are like on the production, who are giving it, their all, are some of them the most amazing and incredible people that I have ever met in my life. And some of them will be lifelong friends and they are the type of people who I know would always have my back and have put their full faith and trust in me and work their fucking asses off. It’s just a joy to see every single day, them getting to light up a little bit more, doing something that they passionately love, that fulfills them and getting closer and closer to a dream that I know they’ve spent their life chasing and that I can be in some way a part of that and witness it happen is what I do it all for I do also do it because I enjoy telling the story to the audience and crafting it. And like I love seeing them enjoy and immerse themselves in it too. But I don’t get as much of a front row seat to that. Maybe if I did it, it would probably mean even more to me. And maybe when I can like go to conventions and meet people in person that will also be a huge thing for me. I really, really, really couldn’t ask for something better than to be able to help truly amazing, inspiring, hardworking people. Get a little bit closer to their dreams.

Courtney: 

I love it. That’s so special. Well, as we are winding down, are there any upcoming projects that we haven’t talked about that you’re excited about and can talk about?

Russell: 

I definitely wormed most of them in there. For sure. There’s another big surprise one coming, but I don’t know that I’m at liberty to disclose any details about it because we’re currently under NDA. Well, we are working out the contract, but it’s possible that a certain D&D show near you might be, you know, doing a live show somewhere sometime soon. So if you want details on that, then, you know, just keep an eye out, keep your ear to the ground or nose to the grindstone. That’s probably the wrong expression, but you get the point. Yeah.

Courtney: 

that sounds incredibly painful, but you know what? I like it, it’s a new saying now.

Russell: 

Grandfather said it all the time and every time I’m just like, why would you do that?

Courtney: 

Yeah. Mm. ow. Okay. Well, if people want to put their nose to the grindstone, where should they go? Where can they find you?

Russell: 

I mean D20 Tails on YouTube or D20 Tales Twitter I have a personal Twitter that I’m probably supposed to plug, but I can’t remember just like R underscore E underscored w underscore and then the Roman numeral three or III. Because my name is Russell Eugene Welsh, the third, and that’s fucking cool. And I dig it. And so I make it my username on everything, because if you did, you would too.

Courtney: 

True facts. Russell, this has been such a great conversation. Thank you for coming on. I thank you for going long with me and just getting really in to all of the weeds and just sharing your incredible story. This has been a really great conversation.

Russell: 

Absolutely. I really appreciate your patience with my meanderings and falafelings and your very point. I was gonna say pointed questions, but that sounds like the wrong thing. Your good questions. I can tell that there’s meaning behind the things you’re asking and saying, and it’s made it easy to give good answers.

Courtney: 

Thank you for saying that.

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