PodUK Conference, Birmingham, UK

Last Friday, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. After providing artwork for the NoSleep Podcast for four years now, the day had finally come: I finally got to meet some of my lovely coworkers. Last Friday, my partner and I boarded a plan and set off on our merry way to Birmingham, UK, to attend the PodUK conference.

PodUK is, as the name might suggest, a conference centered around podcasting and those who do it, focused, not surprisingly, around the British podcasting scene.

Early on Saturday morning, we arrived (a little grumpy after having to switch out the morning coffee for the customary tea) at Millenium Point (the venue for this event).
While we were still busy getting our bearings, we were already set upon by Erika Sanderon and David Ault with impetuous hugs and warm welcomes.
I was especially happy to meet these two because (apart from being awesome, genuinely warm, and friendly people) they were the exact two voice actors who lend their voices to Minnie and the nameless protagonist, the characters of Word & Color, the first story I wrote for the podcast.

The PodUK staff honored us with a table we could spread out on, so Erika and I started decorating it with our merchandise.
It’s amazing how much professional artwork and graphic design the podcast has accumulated over the years. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a genuine twinge of pride for being part of this project when I saw it all laid out.

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As soon as we had set up, the visitors started trickling in, and we had countless amazing interactions with the podcast’s fans, who - I have to say - are a very pleasant bunch.
In addition to our morning crew, I also had the honor of meeting voice actors James Cleveland and Brian Mansi, as well as the authors Henry Galley, Meghan Tuten and Gemma Amore.

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Some more Highlights

The day had so many great moments that writing them all out in detail would surely be out of scope for this little article, so I present them to you in list form:

  • I attended a lovely coaching session with Robin from Coaching for Geeks in which we, as a group, talked about the challenges we faced in our creative endeavors and gave each other tips as to how to overcome them
  • I had the pleasure of attending a live performance by the folks from Wooden Overcoats. If you’re into bone dry, morbid, British humor, you owe it to yourself to check out one of their episodes. I was laughing my proverbial ass off
  • NoSleep hosted a Meet’n’Greet during which I talked to countless fans about working for the podcast, my art process, and all things NoSleep.
    Furthermore, I also had the genuine pleasure to meet Alasdair Stuart, founder of the Escape Artists podcast network. I’ve been a fan of his work ever since I contributed to PseudoPod as a voice-over artist way, WAY back in the day

Last, but not least, the convention ended with a live performance by the NoSleep people. Erika, David, and James performed “Eternally Yours”, a story by Elias Witherow, which was set in the same Black Farm universe as the notorious “Feed the Pig” and “Escape the Black Farm”.

After being a fan of the podcast for so long, seeing them perform live was quite the experience. The video of the performance is not out yet by the time I write this, but you should definitely keep your eyes peeled.

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So sad to say goodbye

After the convention ended, we joined the NoSleep folks for a pint at the pub, before we said our sad farewells. The day had left me exhausted in body but rejuvenated in spirit. I left with a heart full of friendship and a head filled to the brim with exciting new art ideas.

I think it was really important to spend this day with people who are as passionate about bringing the fruit of their creativity to life as I am. In the grind of our daily lives, it’s really easy to lose your focus or lack the energy to pursue our creative endeavors, especially after all of life's little responsibilities keep pulling you off-track.
Spending time with people who still manage was genuinely inspiring to me.

I sincerely hope this was not the last convention I attended with these friends and I can’t wait to see all of them again.

Stay weird, folks.