While we were recording episode 331, I got an email. Mike and Brian (of course) were talking, so I clicked the Gmail tab in my browser. What I saw was a Kickstarter email that said “New Backer Alert”, which always makes me giddy. I saw the amount, which was $200. As soon as that number hit my eyes, my brain started working. It pulled up the last known amount, added the new donation, and sent a message to the rest of me. Hands shaking, I reached for my mouse and moved the cursor to the Kickstarter project’s tab. I clicked…and my eyes immediately went wide and my respiration stopped.
You can hear what happened next on Episode 331, because I left it in the episode. How could I not? Now the focus goes from “let’s be sure we can do this” to “let’s see how much stuff you guys can get”. Every donation now goes towards stretch goals. You guys get more stuff, and I get more time to focus on making this my job. Remember, the more money I get the more content I can create, and the more time I have to make this self-sufficient. So don’t stop yet! We’ve still got time to get as much as we can!
You know, after almost 7 years of podcasting, almost 6 months of planning, and almost a month of actual funding…this has been a long time coming. From the early years of not knowing how to do this (and let’s be honest, not having any interest in doing it) to the much more recent bouts with depression and setbacks from the Amazon Payments verification process, it’s been a hell of a ride. I started this podcast because I was losing touch with my dorks from college and saw it as a perfect way to keep in touch with them. Over the years we’ve become so much more than that. By getting together on the internet once a week to talk about Magic, we’re doing things we never would have expected. Sure we entertain people. Sometimes we offer up useful information. But sometimes, we do even more. I’ll let one of our listeners explain. This is from a Facebook post by Evan Pringle:
Let me tell you a story. It’s not a big story, or long and involved, but it’s mine and I ask your indulgence. I had a long break from Magic: the Gathering, like most players have. I never played consistently, but I definitely put it all on pause around 2000. The last packs I bought were on my honeymoon, teaching my wife how to play. After that, life got in the way, as it is wont to do. Years passed. We had two kids. We moved to a town with a game store. And the game sucked me back in, forever altering the way I mark the passage of time. I picked it back up somewhere during Rise of the Eldrazi, and I played my first Friday Night Magic with someone else’s deck. I was terrible, but the deck was good enough to win a couple games. Now, for the first time, I wanted to try to get good at playing Magic. I did this by playing more. Simple. Around that time, I started listening to podcasts because my job was long and boring and didn’t require access to my brain. It finally dawned on me one day to look for a podcast about Magic: the Gathering. I ran a search for “Magic Gathering podcast” and looked over the results. The first one on the list was The Mana Pool, so I gave it a try. What I heard was familiarity. The guys on the show reminded me of me and three of my longtime friends. It’s not like there’s a one-to-one comparison that works here; it’s more like the amalgamation of the guys on The Mana Pool approximates the amalgamation of me and my friends, and my group includes a guy that has never played Magic. The show itself is very casual, both in nature and format. I know the show has made a difference in how I approach Magic, even though I can’t point to specifics about why that is. The guys – Chewie, Mike, Brian and Dirk – know their stuff and they don’t take it as seriously as I’ve discovered some Magic players do. Oh, and the first episode I listened to introduced me to I Fight Dragons. Chewie had played a very brief bit of their song “Save World, Get Girl” and I was hooked. Seriously, they’re great; you should take a listen to them. Anyway, after listening to several episodes, I felt encouraged to look for other shows, particularly on the MTGcast network. I was quickly disappointed with many of them. It’s not that they didn’t have good information about the game. It’s more in the way the information was presented. I felt that I was perhaps spoiled by The Mana Pool. Ultimately, I did follow – and still follow – a few Magic podcasts. But my go-to is definitely The Mana Pool. And now, the man who started the show is trying to turn this passion of his into a viable career. His name is Jason, but everyone calls him Chewie. And he has already done a great deal for the Magic podcasting community. He runs two long-running podcasts (after taking the helm of Monday Night Magic a few years ago), and has contributed to many others. He volunteered much time and effort into the MTGcast network itself, helping many other podcast hopefuls find a voice in the community. Add to that the fact that he’s the content editor for the articles at CardShark.com and you’ve got a guy who has put his heart deeply into the Magic community. His Kickstarter campaign is nearing the end of its cycle. I personally have pledged as much as I feasibly can, though it isn’t much. I urge anyone who has any interest in Magic content to look over the campaign and consider donating to it. Do something for Chewie. Do something for yourself. Do something for the Magic community. https://www.kickstarter.com/
This is just one example of how what I do is SO MUCH GREATER than the sum of its parts. Over the years I’ve gotten emails from listeners saying that we keep them entertained at their crappy jobs, we keep them awake during long drives, we make them smile when few other things can, we motivate them to get back into or stay with Magic, we inspire them to do things they ordinarily never would.I’m not just stroking my own ego here. These are all things that I couldn’t have predicted with a shiny new crystal ball. And I love it. I love it so much that I want to do it on a larger scale.
I myself have been inspired to do this by one of my favorite YouTubers, Markiplier, who routinely uses his massive influence for good. Once I get established and turn doing what I love into a means of making a living, I fully intend to follow in his footsteps and point my audience towards charity, with regular livestreams devoted to doing just that.
So what was going to be a short thank-you about making the $10k target turned into this long and heartfelt post. Sorry about that, but it all just kind of poured out at once. Thank you all so much for backing the project, spreading the word, offering support, and generally believing in me. No matter what happens from this point forward, I want you all to know that I appreciate you. I am one of the luckiest guys alive to have fans like you, and I wouldn’t be where I am now (and truth be told, I probably wouldn’t be happy) without you out there listening and enjoying.