WCC011: James D’Amato

WCC011: James D’Amato

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James D’Amato is the host of the ONE SHOT Podcast, co-founder of the ONE SHOT Network, and half of Paracosm press.


Show Notes:

  • James views his creative work as using tabletop roleplaying as a storytelling medium.
  • It’s harder to build an audience than it was 5 years ago, but the podcasting buy-in is lower. Marketing is one of the primary challenges.
  • James learned about and fell in love with RPGs in college.
  • James practiced stand-up comedy in high-school.
  • Other comedians just seemed like sad tired old men, and that didn’t look like it led to a good place.
  • He took an improv class and saw that the instructors didn’t seem unhappy.
  • He moved to Chicago to improve improv, and was introduced to Earwolf’s “Improv for Humans.”
  • He and his friend Alex decided to create a show of their own
  • Podcasting doesn’t require passing through a rigid system to book gigs, and allowed them to set their own schedule.
  • They created the Overshare, which was picked up by Peaches and Hot Sauce
  • Patrick O’Rourke approached James and asked him to create an Actual Play RPG podcast.
  • James saw that most Actual Play shows were DnD focused, when gaming is so much broader.
  • They came up with a format that allowed them to tour different game systems with a rotating cast of guests.
  • Their focus on a broader game base and high caliber performances helped them take off quickly.
  • Starting now would be more difficult as podcast quality has generally risen over the years.
  • Everyone has their own path into how they do what they do, and directly following someone else’s path isn’t effective, but if you look to the successes of a lot of people, you can figure out how to make “you” work.
  • One of the big factors in One Shot’s success was Pat O’Rourke’s focus on quality equipment.
  • If you’re dong an Actual Play podcast, have a microphone for each player to have a competitive footing. James recommends the Yeti Blue Pro. It offers both USB and XLR line options, and is thus upgradeable.
  • The free software Audacity is a perfectly adequate piece of software for every level of podcasting.
  • James believes that Twitch is the future of entertainment along with Netflix and HBO.
  • The successful production companies cater to narrow niches.
  • Podcasting is radio on demand, Twitch is the equivalent of live television. Twitch is where the money is going to be.
  • Time is their biggest limitation; One Shot Podcast is a full time job, but Twitch is also a full time gig.
  • You will soon see RPGs designed to operate within what opportunities Twitch provides.
  • James’s new project is the Dungeon Dome, his first attempt to really take advantage of the medium. It’s a PvP gladiator game, and he’s running a kickstarter to fund it.
  • The story arises from the procedural stories generated by the interactions between the characters.
  • Spectators will be able to impact the matches.
  • Backers will have greater influence. They can create items and events that are featured in matches.
  • High level donors will be able to co-create characters that will exist within the context of the game space.
  • The key is that they are offering engagement rather than exclusivity.
  • After Dungeon Dome’s first season of 15 episodes, James will focus on game design and new narrative projects.
  • The bulk of One Shot’s income comes through Patreon
  • Patreon is not a place to build an audience, it is a place to monetize the audience you already have. You need to have the actionable audience.
  • This audience is going to be 5-10% of your total fans for podcasts, less than 1% for less engaging art forms.
  • Give yourself the time to grow before deciding if you’re a success or failure.
  • Podcasts are higher engagement than other media. You spend an hour or so a week with the hosts in your ear. This creates an intensely intimate investment.
  • You are acting on this good will. You don’t need to treat it like a product, or a kickstarter. You are giving the people who think of you as a friend the opportunity to contribute to your existence.
  • Don’t let Patreon pressure you to the point where your life suffers.
  • Successful milestones focus on how your life will improve, rather than potential future projects.
  • Have faith in yourself as an artist, and never break yourself on a project. If something requires you to destroy your life, it’s probably not worth it.

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