A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl

From Comic Books to MMA to Anime: An Interview with Mark Halberg of The Fandom Effect Podcast

July 13, 2020 Megan O'Russell Season 1 Episode 34
A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl
From Comic Books to MMA to Anime: An Interview with Mark Halberg of The Fandom Effect Podcast
A Book and A Dream: An author’s adventure in writing, reading, and being an epic fangirl
From Comic Books to MMA to Anime: An Interview with Mark Halberg of The Fandom Effect Podcast
Jul 13, 2020 Season 1 Episode 34
Megan O'Russell

Need something to perk you up? Need to add a little joy into your life? From Doctor Who to anime, there are a ton of niches to lose yourself in. 

On this week's episode of A Book and A Dream, Megan O'Russell is joined by Mark Halberg from The Fandom Effect podcast. Straight from the guru's mouth, learn how to choose a new fandom to immerse yourself in and what helps transform a series from a distraction into an obsession.

Find Mark on








Apple Podcasts:




IHeart Radio:



[email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

Need something to perk you up? Need to add a little joy into your life? From Doctor Who to anime, there are a ton of niches to lose yourself in. 

On this week's episode of A Book and A Dream, Megan O'Russell is joined by Mark Halberg from The Fandom Effect podcast. Straight from the guru's mouth, learn how to choose a new fandom to immerse yourself in and what helps transform a series from a distraction into an obsession.

Find Mark on








Apple Podcasts:




IHeart Radio:



[email protected]

Megan: [00:00:03] I've been banned from choosing lawful good characters. Apparently, if you are lawful good, you're not supposed to torture people.


Mark: [00:00:08] It's somewhat frowned upon, but...


Megan: [00:00:12] So.


Announcement: [00:00:16] Welcome to A Book and A Dream with Megan O'Russell: an Author's Adventure in Writing, Reading, and Being an Epic Fangirl.


Megan: [00:00:29] Hello and welcome to A Book and A Dream. Today, I have Mark from The Fandom Effect with me to talk about what makes a superfan and how we can become obsessed with so many different enjoyable things. Thank you so much for coming on A Book and A Dream, Mark.


Mark: [00:00:46] Yeah, it's a pleasure to be here. I appreciate that you took the time.


Megan: [00:00:49] Of course. Now, I've listened to a few episodes of your podcast, and it seems like you are super immersed in the Comic-Con culture. Is that. Am I right? Am I misinterpreting that?


Mark: [00:01:02] Yeah, I have been all over all over the spectrum. Like, there's really not one kind of distinct fandom that I'm a fan of. I'm just way too all over the board, which is very expensive.


Megan: [00:01:14] That, you know, that that really is very it is pricey. Fandom can come with massive amounts of expenses, actually. Like you don't...you don't think about it when you fall in love with something. And then suddenly you have 60 t-shirts, and you're like, oh, I committed. I committed to this hardcore. Now, something that's super interesting to me is there are so many kinds of fandoms, like I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, huge fan of Harry Potter. And one thing that I find so interesting in books is how difficult it is for people to become a true superfan of a book series. Now, in all of your you're fan-ing, which book series have you connected to?


Mark: [00:02:01] So, it's changed throughout the years. I'm blanking on the first series as a kid when I was like eight or nine. There's like a long series of, I guess, pre-teen books of like animals that have like swords and different stuff. It's [clears throat], excuse me, it's very interesting. It's very weird. It's like a medieval fantasy world, but it's like rats and mice and dogs like or like the world and could run around and fight and be musketeers. It was obviously very [inaudible] for the time. But as I've gotten older, there's two distinct series that I got very attached to so much where I stopped reading one because they made such a huge change that I got really upset and I stopped reading it for a long time bomb. But The Runelords is a series by David.. David Farland, and I believe it's an eight book series. And after book four, they go with a drastic change for the other four. And I think I stopped reading for like two years because I got so upset about the change I was made. And I think other than that. The Drizzt series is like a Dungeons and Dragons, science fiction series it's... I think it's like 20 books now, and it's still going. So, yeah, it's very long books, but very good reads.


Megan: [00:03:17] You're actually like the third person this week who's recommended the Drizzt series to me. I actually got an email from a reader being like, "and by the way, you should read Drizzt. And I was like, Oh. Thank you.


Mark: [00:03:29] It's really... yeah it's really good.


Megan: [00:03:30] I've only played Dungeons and Dragons like three times. So it's it's all like a very new world to me. I have a problem with being lawful good. I've been banned from choosing lawful good characters. Apparently, if you are lawful good, you're not supposed to torture people.


Mark: [00:03:46] It's somewhat frowned upon, but...


Megan: [00:03:49] So. Yeah. We have rules in place of what I'm allowed to choose to be. Now, because tormenting goblins is not a thing that we do. So in these series that you have found yourself becoming super involved in, what, what has drawn you? Because as as an author and as a reader, on the author side, figuring out what creates a superfan is not only super important as a business model, but also, you know, as someone who wants to be a storyteller and wants to keep their people involved. And as a reader, it's hard to pinpoint what makes you connect on such a deep level to a series and what helps you find other people in that fandom. So what have you found to be the the biggest factors in creating that emotional response?


Mark: [00:04:43] So I think when it comes to books and fans in general, there's only gonna be different things that are going to resonate with different people. But when it comes to me and, you know, when I read it in books, it's the subtle changes. And then, like, as you're reading the book series, know, you're reading it, you're enjoying it. And then also, unlike Bam, you get hit with this, you know, someone dies or there's like a drastic change or a kingdom is destroyed or something like that.


Mark: [00:05:09] And then it's it forces you to go back and rethink about the first few books that you've read. You start seeing, like all these little clues that the author had given to that this was going to happen or this could potentially happen. And it's it's something where when something happens that you can think back to previous chapters or a previous book and realize that when those hints were all there and you're like, oh, crap. Like, I, I didn't I, I completely blew past me. And I think that's when you really appreciate, like, the actual writing that goes into it.


Megan: [00:05:41] So this is out of your genre, I'm assuming. I don't want to make assumptions about what you read, but I've previously chatted on this podcast with the woman who runs the Marissa Meyer fanpod, basically. It's a Prince Kai Fan Pod. So it's a Lunar Chronicles. And I was talking with her and I did not know the series. I had been, like, totally against reading the series, because it had a high heel on the cover of the first book. And I was like, women who, like, kick butt don't do it wearing high heels. That's why Black Panther is such a good movie, because she takes off her heels before she kicks people in the face, you know, practical.


Megan: [00:06:17] And in her podcast, she just she dissects each chapter, like down to the minutia. And that's one of the things that she talks about, too, is the Easter eggs, the little hidden gems.


Megan: [00:06:30] And I'm like, I've been a huge, obviously, Harry Potter nut job since, you know, I was not even old enough to drive a car.


Megan: [00:06:40] So very, very long time at this point.


Megan: [00:06:43] And that is one of the things that is so cool about the Harry Potter fandom is like people will start picking apart, like, when's the first time you saw this? Like, how does this happen? And that's very cool that it it it expands beyond the book fandom. It's... It's not just the people who cling to their bookshelves that live for the Easter egg moments now because, you know, you do have fandoms that expon...expand beyond the written word, which is so mind blowing to me because I have such a book person. What are some of the coolest experiences you've had as a fan and as a podcaster?


Mark: [00:07:26] So, yeah, it's been very interesting. You know, and one of the reasons why The Fandom Effect name even came to be is, you know, whenever you have certain friends, you know, like oh, they're a football guy or other sports guy or they're this. But, you know, I've been so vastly over the map, you know, I've done MMA for multiple years. I've done like different trainings. I've I've been all over the place. And...


Megan: [00:07:46] You really like loving things, don't you? Like, you're really into just loving these different genres and things to do.


Mark: [00:07:54] I've learned to at least try something, depending on what it is, umm at least once, uh, like, Doctor Who is something that for the longest time. And I do want to make sure I answer your question, but you mentioned Doctor Who earlier, and I refuse to watch for the longest time. I even though it fit in what you would consider my wheelhouse. I just was like, I don't know, like British TV. Like, I really don't. I see. It sounds like it's up my alley. I don't know. So for years and years and years refused to watch it. And then I found that a friend I went over to his apartment college and he was like, I'm putting it on if you don't like it, but we're gonna drink it and put it on. If you don't like this episode, I'll never bring it up again. And he put on season one The Weeping Angels


Megan: [00:08:35] [Gasp] Oh, it's so good...


Mark: [00:08:36] Episode and...


Megan: [00:08:37] It's so good.


Mark: [00:08:38] Yeah. So he played it and he was like, all right, what are you thinking? I'm like. So what was episode one. And he was like, yeah, that's what I thought. And then he put it on and well there you go. Umm...


Megan: [00:08:49] My problem, like we're going on a, a bender here.


Megan: [00:08:52] But my problem with Doctor Who is, and either this is a spoiler for you or you don't care or you know, you know, because they do change doctors.


Megan: [00:09:02] It's a thing. I have a problem when I know it's the Doctor's last episode. I can't make myself watch it. I haven't watched Peter Capaldi's last episode yet, because I know I'm going to be a shattered mess and I just... I'm not emotionally prepared. Like, I watched the last episode of Matt Smith.


Megan: [00:09:24] I was in cast housing in Alaska, I guess, and I was sitting on a couch, sobbing hysterically because I knew it was my last episode with Matt Smith and like people were coming out of their rooms to check on me. They thought like my mother had died because I was sobbing.


Mark: [00:09:42] [Laughing]


Megan: [00:09:42] And so I can't continue with the series because I can't like I can't move past it. It's so hard.


Mark: [00:09:48] I understand. It's that disassociation you get. You get so engrossed with it when you know it's coming. You just kind of like almost want to, like, zone out from the show you've been a fan of for so long.


Megan: [00:10:01] It would almost be better if I didn't know it was their last episode. But, you know, it is. I like to make myself press play.


Mark: [00:10:08] I know exactly where you're coming from. Actually a very long way of answering your question. Umm...I, I've been yeah. I've had different experiences doing different things. Just being a fan in general. Going to conventions. I've been uh, I've been able to meet voice actors. I've been a fan of celebrities. I, like, volunteered at a Con, and I worked with Rob Schneider. Spoiler. He's a huge he's a huge dick. You can bleep, you can bleep it if you need to. But yeah, I worked for him for a day and I've ruined Rob Schneider for multiple friends. But who knows? I don't know. Maybe it was a bad day. I don't know. But for podcasting, I would say the podcast before. But The Fandom Effect's only about a month and a half old. But I actually just recently did an interview that will actually air probably after this is released, but, where I interviewed a current Funimation voice actor who's worked on a couple of different animes. And I'm actually a huge fan of and he's a new lead in a new anime. And I just got to sit down and talk to this person with confirmation about, you know, how do be a voice actor?


Mark: [00:11:19] Like, what's it like recording in a recording studio? Stuff like that. And now, you know, have a contact who's willing to say, well, well, if you find someone at Funimation that I've worked with and you want to try to interview them, like, I'll do what I can to help you out. And so that just happened three days ago and, you know, was huge.


Megan: [00:11:39] That's amazing. Now, I think... So, the Comic-Con circuit is like, and any conference is really... I am like a quasi-introvert, like not really an introvert, but not like a crowd person. So conferences are terrifying to me. And I've like had my books and conferences, but I've never gone to said conference because I don't want to be in a room with that many people. And I know the same is... Can be said for a lot of readers.


Megan: [00:12:08] And what would you recommend for people trying to find their community? What what parts of the fandom have you found most welcoming? And how can you locate where you're going to find a really healthy place to just revel in the joy of this thing that you love?


Mark: [00:12:29] Yeah. So I think the thing you always be aware of is that there's always gonna be a bad apple in every fandom. I've experienced numerous things, but it's you know, conventions have a very tight community, you know, very welcoming.


Mark: [00:12:42] So if you are interested in that area of conventions, you know, whether it's cosplay or just meeting, you want to actually meet the people that are being paid to be at the convention or, you know, whether it's the events or something like that. It's, you know, just trying. You know, I've talked to random people online that I have never seen or talked to in some of them where it was just you were friends for that half an hour you were in line. And some have been friends six years later. So I wouldn't say there's one fandom over another that I would say like, oh, go into this. Go into that. Because, you know, when you're getting into a new fandom, you're gonna want to, like, dip your toe in the water. I would never advise, like, jumping all in, because, as I've said, fandoms are very expensive. You don't want to spend a lot of money on something and then realize that you don't enjoy it. So start out simple. You know, buy a subscription to Crunchyroll, Funimation. It's like five bucks a month. And just try watching a random anime, subscribe to the DC Universe app and read some of the older comics they have up in some of the original content they have.


Mark: [00:13:46] So find things like that. If you're like, you know, like yourself, if you're kind of like an introvert and going out to experience a fandom might be a little bit overwhelming. Try finding a virtual fandom. I know a lot of these apps have forums and contests and stuff like that. And so you can start there and talk to people about a show that you found that you're interested in or something like that. And just kind of, like, slowly build up from there and then if something's there enough, it might have its own convention and you can just kind of morph into, you know, one thing, do another thing and then slowly just expand out. And, you know, I've always told everyone, you know, find that show. It's like for me with Doctor Who that a friend's always been bugging you about. Watch an episode. You know, we all have an hour to spare. And I've had drastic life changes from just finding something new that I could be invested in.


Megan: [00:14:38] Now, here's a question that I did not send you or prepare you for. It seems like in your answers for everything that you have become a true, like, superfan of diving deep into, there has already been an established place to deep dive into. So the places to subscribe. The Easter eggs, the backwaters, the list. Have you ever come in on the ground level of a fandom where there's really not that material available yet?


Mark: [00:15:07] Whoo... That's a tough one. Umm. I don't know. You know, growing up, getting into, you know, anime wasn't as big growing up as it is today. There wasn't, you know, it was on different TV channels or stuff late at night. But it wasn't really, like there was no Web sites that had anime on it. Funimation and Crunchyroll weren't really a thing. The convention scene didn't really have much of an anime aspect to it. So, I mean, obviously it existed vastly well before I was born. There was obviously animes in the 60s and 70s, but I'd say that would probably be the only, I guess, thing that I had to kind of go into a little blind growing up because I didn't have a lot of friends that were as into it. My parents had zero idea what it was. My brother, my sister had zero idea what it was. I was the only person in the family that would sit down to watch the majority of this. So, you know, doing research or finding things on a website was mainly just random Google searches. But, you know, for the rest of it, it's mainly just I would find something that I would like and then realize like, oh, look at that. There's all these things connected to it.


Mark: [00:16:18] And then I would kind of start diving into it now for anime, since you did kind of get it and at least it seems on the American front with Anna Mae. How did it feel when it started expanding to all of these other people?


Megan: [00:16:35] Did it feel like you were at the center of a community or did it feel like these people were like getting resources that you had never had? It wasn't fair that easy? Or what was that experience like for you?


Mark: [00:16:48] So it's different now, so I kind of have two viewpoints on it, one before... Pre-kid and one after-kid. So pre-kid, it was, you know, when you were seeing, like bigger conventions, when I discovered the convention scene in general was like, you know. Jesus, where was where was the knowledge that these conventions were a thing? You know, when I was 14, 15 and could have met all these people that, you know, I've been going to all these things, you know, growing up, there were some conventions that were going on for a while, but I didn't have friends that went to them. So I did not know they were a thing. So discovering conventions were an actual thing was like, wait a minute, you mean I can go somewhere and cosplay and like, meet these people I've seen on TV and, you know, get really cool artwork and things of that nature. And it's a weird feeling because you, you feel like cheated, but the same way you're like, yay! Like it's finally time where I can, like, experience more stuff. Post-kid, I'm just happy about it because it's much easier to introduce my son to different things than it was for me growing up. You know, growing up, if there was a show that I was interested in or that I heard about. Well, if it wasn't on a TV channel we had or if I didn't know of a website to use it. I didn't watch it. It wasn't something I could actually do. But now with Netflix and Hulu and so many different things, you know, there's an anime I'm a huge fan of called one piece and it's like [inaudible] pirates and stuff. And Netflix just put up the first four seasons of it and I've been watching this since I was 15.


Mark: [00:18:24] So it's been going on for like fifteen years and it's probably not going to end for about another five. It's the longest running anime in history.


Megan: [00:18:31] Yeah, that's that's a lot.


Mark: [00:18:34] Yeah. So like with Doctor Who, when this anime ends. If any of the main characters die, I will cry like massive amounts of tears because I've been watching it for 15 years. That's why I cry during Endgame. I've been watching every Marvel movie since the first one. And I got invested.


Megan: [00:18:48] Yeah, I was a wreck man. It was...


Megan: [00:18:49] Yeah, yeah. It was tough. It was tough. But he's now watching it with me from, you know, the st... I think it started in like I think ninety-nine or however long ago it was now and now we're watching like an episode or two a day together. And he's, he knows the characters now. He's getting super interested in it. I mean, he's only two and a half. So there's a limit to what he actually knows what's going on. But but that side of it's really great in making those amazing memories, because those are the memories that I think back to different fans, whether it's books or different things. And now I can I see the flip side of it with with a kid. So I'm happy for the ease of certain things.


Megan: [00:19:30] It is. It is so. Cool. I'm gonna go with the word cool to watch the next generation get interested in things that you've experienced. I have a two and a four year old... Wait, no. Jeez. They're four and six.


Mark: [00:19:48] Oh! Oh yeah, they're growing up on this podcast.


Megan: [00:19:50] Yeah, it's... Yeah, aged quickly, but they're they're four and six. And so, watching them start to read books that I read when I was little.


Megan: [00:20:00] Like even handing over the books to them, I'm like, but you're not going to, like, drool on it. And like, we understand there's like no crayons allowed in the room with us. And so there is like a certain part of me that's very like don't destroy this thing that I love. But at the same time, it's like but also you had better like this because in 10 years we're gonna talk about it and this is gonna be a thing. So, like, get on board now, kid, because you are reading every Madeleine L'Engle book and all of Narnia, whether you like it or not, because I'm your aunt and I get to say so. I mean, not really, but I like to pretend I do. I'm like the only aunt. So what else are they gonna do, you know? Yeah. Like you're not going to get Christmas presents from anyone else, kid. Like, you gotta do what I say.


Mark: [00:20:41] Yeah, take what you can get.


Megan: [00:20:42] Yeah. So. So. If you were going to point people to a fandom like we have a bunch of readers who love books. Books are hard. Books are so hard to find a fandom of and I don't know if it's because there's so many or if it's because books are like inhabited by introverts. But unless it's like Harry Potter, Marissa Meyer or Twilight, like, you kind of get a little screwed there. So if they wanted to dive into a fandom. Other than downloading the apps. Where would you say is the best place to start? Is there a specific website, a specific genre? Like what is a great entry point into the epic fandom world?


Mark: [00:21:30] So, honestly, comic books is a really good way to start. And so, honestly, look, Google what your nearest comic book shop is and just go, because a lot of these places have books in, like, different things from all over.


Mark: [00:21:48] A lot of things from like third parties. So, it's not all just like the you know, I know some people like I don't want to read something that's super mainstream and Marvel and DC. Well, a lot of these places have like books from third party publishers or independent... Independent people and things like that.


Mark: [00:22:03] So that's honestly a great and cheaper way to go because a cheap comic is like four bucks and a book is like fifteen. And so it's a great way to start. You know, if if you're into reading and, you know, different book series, you know, going, I don't know. See if you find a cover that interests you. You know, if you grew up reading about a certain superhero, you grew up watching one. No, all. Most. The vast majority. These things have books tied to them. So that's honestly a great way to start just go to the nearest... and because they have, like all these things from the past, you know, they'll have like like old school, like 80s toys and, you know, like just really cool things. I've brought I bring my son not anymore with everything going on. But I used to bring him to comic book shop and he would pick out a comic himself. So I'd show him different things and he would pick a cover. And then he started learning all these different people based on just picking up random books. And so if you're kind of looking to branch out that, that would be my advice, because it's it's cheaper.


Mark: [00:23:04] You get to kind of see more of the local area, you know, where you wherever you are. And there's so many other things tied to tied to that, you know, whether it's cosplay, TV show is all that stuff, all that's tied into a comic book shop, because a lot of these places will have TVs. And I know the one that I go to where I'm in Wisconsin, he's always playing old Doctor Who...


Megan: [00:23:23] Nice.


Mark: [00:23:23] In the shop. So whenever I go, I usually just chill for a few minutes and I just I wind up watching some Doctor Who. But a lot of these guys too, are people that have have different backstories of movies like the guy I went to in Michigan, used to direct horror movies and knew all these people who directed like old school, like "Hobo with a Shotgun" and really just crappier sci fi movies and so, I mean, you just never know. Like, a lot of these guys have really cool backstories and they can fill you in on different things to try and look into.


Megan: [00:23:55] Okay. So I'm gonna start tying into the final four questions because these these two match really well. So if you could choose one comic book, not necessarily the comic book, but character storyline to recommend for people as a starting point, which would you choose who?


Mark: [00:24:17] I don't know, because it's going to depend on what... on what you like, because Red Hood and Green Lantern are some of my favorite heroes to read on. But it's a you know, it's for a selective audience. You know, you might hate that aspect of it. So I know we've, we've mentioned books, so I honestly, I would actually just recommend The Runelords series to everyone.


Megan: [00:24:37] Ok.


Mark: [00:24:37] By [inaudible]. So it's a really an amazing series, very different concept. Can you can take things, you can take attributes from peop... Some other people and give them to yourself. So it's like the rich people could be like, well you're really poor so I'm going to pay you a bunch of money and I'm going to take the strength that you have. I'm going to give it to me. So now I have the strength of two people and I'll just take care of you for the rest of your life. And so it's it's very like that's the base concept for the world, is that people just take the things they want from other people, like, oh, you can see really good. Okay, I'll take I'll take that. You know, you're going to be blind, but I'll take that, you know, I'll pay you for it. But it doesn't, it goes into a lot of different stuff and it's very, you know, obviously fantasy-esque, but it's it's a little bit older, probably from like mid 2000s. But to me, it's an amazing book series. So I would I would actually recommend for a book series. I'd go with that for comics. I would just say go with what you think looks interesting, you know, research people's backstories and just find something that you think inspires you and then just check it out.


Megan: [00:25:46] Great. Now for the Final Four questions, if you could recommend just one book, which would you choose?


Mark: [00:25:55] So these are these are it's tough.


Megan: [00:25:59] I know, that's why I have to ask them because everyone goes, ARGH!


Mark: [00:26:01] Yeah, I'm going to go with The Hobbit. I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan, OK? And so for, like, the one book, The Hobbit as a intro to that book series in general. It's a shorter book, too, I think it's only like 200 pages or so, so it's not a long book compared to a lot of other ones. But I will read The Hobbit book over and over again. That or Ready Player One. [Inaudible] movie. So it's a full movie and is a really good like 80s pop culture. Like what will the world look like if all of humanity, which is done virtually.


Megan: [00:26:40] So yeah, I so I read Ready player one. Which is hysterical because I know nothing about video games. I've played like two video games in my life.


Megan: [00:26:51] And even though I did not know any of these video games that they were speaking of, I did not recognize the name or what the point of that was. I would still say it's excellent for uh non-video game people because I had no idea what like Gallactica, or Galica, or whatever it is is. I don't know what that is, but it was a great book. So if you're not a videogame person, so you've been putting off reading it, I agree with Ready Player One, even though I don't know videogames, it is still excellent. So for the next question, what song can you count on to pump you up?


Mark: [00:27:33] So having done like training and stuff like that and days where you're going on like, you know, five, six mile runs because you've got to get cardio up, that's how it is. I hate it so much. There's always like certain songs that you kind of like would go to is like your running song or like the you're about to get punched in the face and you need to kind of get the adrenaline pumping so it doesn't hurt as much. And so one of my all time favorite bands is, is Seether and they have a song "Rise Above This" that was written when the lead singer's brother committed suicide. And so he wrote "Rise Above This" as a tribute to his brother. And it's a really cool music video. But in the song is pretty much just around the concept of, yeah, there's going to be a lot of stuff that's going to keep kicking you down, but you just need to keep rising above this. And it's a very alternative rock. So it's very, you know, guitar riffs and stuff like that, which is, you know, if that's not your kind of music, you might not like it. But the message itself, like, is just really profound. And I've always kind of gone back to that song is like I well, I'm having a bad day or I'm in and I'm in an off mood. I'm going to play this song and I'm just going to, like, get my head right.


Megan: [00:28:47] That sounds amazing. I'll have to check that song out now. What would you want the tagline for your life to be?


Mark: [00:28:55] So it's obviously changed since I've had a kid. So I'm going to go with that because that's obviously the tagline that's going to matter more now with having to make sure that this little thing doesn't, you know, die. Big responsibility, man. Yeah. Yeah, it is. So honestly, it's going to be very, very short. Just always keep pushing. You know, I, I've had a lot of things in the past that, you know, you kind of see mistakes and you kind of have to re-evaluate all these different things, especially now after having a kid. And just kind of you get that mindset of risk. You know, you just gotta keep pushing. Right. Today was a bad day or this thing isn't going well. Well, I'm going to keep learning this. You know, I'm gonna keep doing this. I'm gonna do something today that, you know, I am supposed to do. I'm not just gonna sit around doing nothing. So that's that's to me is, you know, just keep pushing no matter what it is.


Megan: [00:29:45] I, I think that's great. And that's great even for people who don't have, you know, tiny humans counting on them to stay alive. It's it's been a really rough year for everybody. And I think we have to just, you know, remember that there there is a light and we just have to keep shoving our way towards it. And, you know, we're gonna get there eventually. It's gonna happen cause it's got to. I refuse, I refuse to accept anything else. So what is the most inspirational thing anyone has ever said to you?


Mark: [00:30:18] So when you when you sent this question, I was... I kind of sat for a little bit and was trying to think, and this is going to seem like an odd answer, it's going to seem more insulting than it is inspiring. And it's, it took me a long time to realize what he was actually saying. But I'd be a professor in college for an Intro to Law class when I was going into business, you had to take like a basic law class. And I ended up doing well at the end. But in the beginning I was like getting like CS on everything or to what I did. And I was talking to him one day, and he goes, he goes, all right, I'm gonna speak very candidly with you because we had had a pretty good relationship at this point as much as a, you know, student professor can have. And he was like, I know your kind of type because you've been smart your whole life. So you've barely tried. You get you got mediocre grades in high school. You're you're getting mediocre grades in classes you should easily be able to ace. And it's because you've been naturally smarter at most things. So you just have never tried. And he's like, eventually it's gonna catch up with you.


Mark: [00:31:18] And if you can if you can realize this in advance and you can start being proactively trying, he's like, there's no limit to what you'll be able to do if you expand upon your natural preparedness and smartness. Which I think that's a word. But.


Megan: [00:31:33] Close enough. Close enough.


Megan: [00:31:33] And it took a long time, like embarrassingly way too long for the lesson to really sink in. You know, I heard it at the time was like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. And then still like four years and didn't really put a lot of effort into some things. And finally, with kids and other life events, finally like that lesson sunk in of like, yeah, he was right. Like, I can't just sit on my hands anymore and just kind of do everything day to day. And that's why for the past, you know, five months everyday I've been teaching myself, whether it's Photoshop, illustrator, video editing, audio editing. Every day I'm doing something, even if it's just for forty-five minutes, I'm reading something, watching some video, even if it's a 10-minute YouTube video. And that's the only thing I do that day. That's ten minutes more than I would have done, you know, the year before.


Megan: [00:32:24] That's amazing.


Megan: [00:32:25] And I think it's so true that sometimes the things that inspire you most, it sounds like. Particularly inspiring at the time.


Megan: [00:32:35] I think the most inspiring things someone's ever said to me, and it was like, so I do musical theater is like my day job, which is weird.


Megan: [00:32:44] Umm, but.


Megan: [00:32:46] I was a part of a horrible show that was going really, really badly. And our producer walked in after a tech run where like everything had gone wrong. Short of, like, the building catching on fire, we had covered all the bases of things going badly. And the producer walked into the rehearsal and said, well, kids, we got through the effer (we'll edit for podcast purposes) and walked back out. And strangely, that's the most inspiring thing I've ever heard anyone say. Like what? The world's crumbling around us.


Megan: [00:33:16] But well, kids, we got through the effer, and, you know, it's sometimes it's like things like that that really help.


Megan: [00:33:23] And I think that is a very important thing to remember, especially, you know, crazy mad times like this where it's not always at the top, where you get the inspiration.


Megan: [00:33:36] Sometimes it's right before your fall or at the very bottom, where you get those words that you just need now or need 10 years from now to help you get through something. And it's OK to not be on the top in this moment in time. It's, it's OK. We're gonna make it. Just hold on with your teeth and and we will get through the other side.


Megan: [00:33:59] So where can people find you? Your podcast. All of those wonderful things.


Mark: [00:34:06] Yeah, so we try to keep everything pretty simple. Facebook, Twitter. You just go @fandomeffect. You'll find you'll find me both on there for the podcast if you can think of a podcasting platform. I'm on there.


Mark: [00:34:19] Umm Apple, uh Google, Iheart, Pandora's being, is getting up. Castbox. I mean, really, anywhere you can think of, it's on there. So you guys can always also, if you ever curious, you can shoot me a question through Facebook or [email protected] Usually pretty responsive to most emails. So any questions? If you're curious about something, I'd be happy to give any recommendations.


Megan: [00:34:45] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast to talk about being an epic fan of so many things. And hopefully people will get brave and go outside of their comfort zone and find something new to fall in love with because, you know, we can all use that.


Megan: [00:35:01] So thank you so much for coming on to chat.


Mark: [00:35:02] Yeah, it was my pleasure.