Hello Brave Adventurers!
This week’s interview is with the incredibly sweet, hilarious and all round good guy, Michael Howie of Other Bothers, who plays the oh so sweet Eggerton. I think Mike might be my new favourite person – he helped me to find my new favourite GIF at 1 in the morning.
Volonda: Hello! Welcome to this “very professional experience” that is being interviewed by me… I mean The Reckless Play Guild. For those who aren’t aware of you, let’s start off with who are you, what do you do and who do you play in End of Time and Other Bothers?
Mike: I am Mike! I am standing at the bank and I also play Eggerton on EOT. Sometimes I do dialogue edits too.
Volonda: Ooooh multitasker! I love me some multitaskers.
I also love me some origin stories. How on did you get involved with EOT? What made you go ‘Yes. Game. Yes. Podcast this.’ ?
Mike: It’s either multitasking or add. Could go with ways.
Short version: Sean asked me over a beer and I said ‘Kay.’
Volonda: So how did you get to know Sean? Also props if you can remember the beer.
Mike: Sean and I met randomly online several years ago through a dog group of some kind or another. About four years ago he came out from Toronto (where he and Eli were living at the time) to do my engagement photos with my then fiancee. We hit it off and were fast friends.
The big conversation with he and Eli about Other Bothers when it was an unnamed project was at Democracy over cauliflower wings. Sriricha. And I had the blue collar pale ale. Sean probably had something with hops that no human tongue can pronounce.
Volonda: Sounds very much like him! So now you had a game to play. Where did the gem that is Eggerton come from? Was there a particular inspiration behind the character?
Mike: Sean and Eli were talking about the irony and humour with ordinary bureaucratic types in a modern age being thrust back. I played with that a bit in my head, leaning on how ill prepared could someone be in character and skill. Eggerton was who he more or less started as, and the alternative was a janitorial person who protected bugs and “pests”.
They both were humourous and close enough to me in my head to be comfortable as. We had talked early on about empathy and I wanted to work that into the character.
Volonda: You say that they were close enough to you in your head, are there certain things that Eggerton and you, Mike, have in common?
Mike: Originally I’d say it was mostly the silly anxious stuff that is me. Outside of work I’m often goofy and enjoy looking for reasons to laugh.
I’ve lived my life with generalized anxiety disorder so channeling that was easy.
I think the combination of those two things was really the foundation when I started playing. Over time I’ve found myself expressing other things through the character: fear, hope, optimism, and elegantly crafted phallic humour.
Volonda: “Elegantly crafted phallic humour” made me laugh way harder than it should have
Now, obviously, I only have my google search worth’s of knowledge about you, so I feel very happy asking: is this your first roleplay character? If not, please tell us all about them.
Mike: It is not! I have played two half-orc barbarians (min maxed) in D&D campaigns, as well as many simplistic D&D characters. Right now I’m playing a Firbolg Wild Sorceror called Adfir who is all hippy like and simplistic in our ongoing home brew campaign.
I have prestidigitation as a cantrip but can’t say it so that’s always amusing.
Volonda: I feel your pain. I always have it, cause damn it’s useful, but hell if I can tell the DM it’s what I’m casting.
During Other Bothers, has there been a ‘Oh Sean, you clever/evil bastard’ moment for you?
Mike: Definitely the latter.
The kitchen scene still confuses me. I experienced it. I lived it. I still don’t understand what happened.
One of the things people can’t see, and I’d say it’s the only thing that happens live that I think would be entertaining to fans is the expressions on our faces sometimes. Sean will set something up, then just turn and look at one of us with a classic Sean smirk or “I’m waiting for you” look about him.
Volonda: But seeing all y’all faces with varying displays of emotion… and sitting back waiting for you to deal with the big, spiky ball of plot twist, is the BEST feeling.
Mike: Fun fact: there is very rarely any space between something happening and us dealing with it. At most it’s a moment where someone calls scene, we all bitch at Sean for 30 seconds, have a sip of tea, then get back into it.
Volonda: Outside of recording, did I read correctly that this Actual Play podcasting experience has left its mark… in the form of a tattoo?
Still healing from touchups. It’s about 2.5 inches square on my right forearm.
Volonda: Can I ask… what made you decide to get that?
Mike: Playing Eggerton has meant a lot to me. I’ve been able to express parts of myself that I struggled with in the past, and I feel that coming out in my personality at last, and I love that. The experience alone is worth remembering, and it’s a way of telling that story.
Volonda: That’s an awesome reason to get a tattoo.
Alright, I think we’re done with the Actual Play podcast bits… but that’s not the only podcasting your involved with. Apart from being a self confessed nerd, a be kind advocate, but you’re also a big animal fan.
Tell us all about how you got involved in Fur-Bearers!
Mike: I was a journalist for about 12 years. I covered mostly crime and local politics. I slowly started getting more involved with wildlife issues – I was reading how other people were reporting it and asking questions they weren’t (similar approach to how I covered crime: are they the expert? Are there more aspects of this story? Is there historic context? Look for motivation, etc.). It very quickly became something of a passion and I was writing more and more about wildlife and environmental issues. I had contacted The Fur-Bearers as a source for an article and got on with Lesley, the ED. Over time she’d ask me for some help with media-related stuff, and we kind of evolved together to the point where there would be a job there for me if I wanted it.
As is the case with much traditional media, my paper was being amalgamated with another (go corporate journalism) and was offered to keep my job (at that time Managing Editor) or take a buyout. I took the buyout, bought myself equipment like a laptop, podcasting gear, and so on, and made the leap to work in the non-profit world.
My Little Brother (Big Brothers program) was asking me about work last night, because I was tired and had to do more after I dropped him off. He asked if I enjoy it, and the short answer is: I enjoy the tasks (writing, building communication materials, researching, doing the podcast, etc.), and I enjoy the work in that I feel like I’m helping the animals by telling their stories.
Volonda: That’s a big leap from working for The Man to working for a non profit. Wow. just wow. It’s great to use those journalistic skills into something that you clearly became more passionate about.
My Little Brother/Big Brother? What’s that all about?
Mike: Big Brothers Big Sisters. Not a think in the UK? https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/
Volonda: Apparently we do (thank god for Google), I’ve just never actually met anyone who actually does something like this (or at least told me about it).
What made you start down the mentoring route?! That’s a big commitment and an amazing thing to do.
Mike: I wanted to make a difference locally. BBBS is chronically short on volunteers of varying types, so I went to one of their info sessions. It seemed like something I could be good at and enjoy. And it’s been a wonderful experience for the last three-ish years. My Little and I hang out, play laser tag, go geocaching, he’s gotten into birding so we do photos and searching and have started a website for him.
I highly recommend it!
Volonda: That’s very, very cool.
Well I had planned a beautiful segue talking about Fur-Bearers and Defender Radio Podcast, but you totally threw me with this amazing piece of information about you!
So, podcasting, not just Actual Plays, but you also host Defender Radio Podcast, tell is about how/why/what that’s all about!
Mike: Segues are best when abrupt.
Defender Radio was something of an experiment when it started. I wanted to keep doing interviews – something I really enjoyed about being a journalist, but I wasn’t sure on how to do a format for it. This was around 2013/14. I had always been told I had a radio voice and had considered doing broadcast (instead of print) journalism in college. So I kind of took a leap. The format has changed over the years, and I’ve grown far, far more comfortable and confident with it. Improv has helped with that. I love that I get to reach out to people and say, “Hey, I thought this was interesting, c’mere and let me ask you questions about it for a bit.”
I mostly focus on wildlife-related things, frequently research papers and their authors or policy and advocates.
Volonda: Boy do I feel out of my depth :D! Pro-Journalist turned Pro-Podcaster
Well, I’ll finish my list of prepared questions prior to the Reckless Play being unleashed:
What’s in on your recommended Netflix or Podcast or equivalent? What’s in your ears or in front of your eyes that you want to share?
Mike: Brooklyn Nine Nine is comfort food for me. I rewatch/have it on constantly. Any standup comedy. I watch/listen to as much of it as I can get into my brain.
Podcasts: Magic Tavern, Ologies, Mission To Zyxx, upcoming Civilized podcast. Conan O’Brien and Dax Shepherd podcasts, too, but typically only for specific interviews.
Also TV is traditional SciFi. All the treks. X-files. SG1. Good ensemble comedy like Parks and Rec and 30 Rock.
Volonda: Solid choices (I’m VERY partial to SG-1 too). So, time to unleash the hordes!
Well this one I asked already…
Kessi Riliniki: He has the deepest voice of the cast, yet he plays the sweetest, most naive character. What inspired this choice of character?
Volonda: … so moving on…
Emmelin Lyngstad: What kind of plans do you have for Eggerton? What is his backstory?
Mike: As we use improv for most of our storytelling I have no real plans for Eggerton, nor have I fully explored his backstory.
But I do want to let Eggerton be more expressive about emotions overall – not just anxiety.
Volonda: I feel like this question is exceptionally important.
Mottel Zirkind: When will you read your character sheet?
Mike: Oh, he knows: when the petition reaches the appropriate level.
Russ More: Would you rather be able to teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?
Mike: Teleport anywhere because then I could go into people’s minds. Or, like, into their office when they’re not there so I could read their emails. Or just for funsies. There are many times I’ve not gone to the kitchen for chips because it’s too far away.
Amy More: What’s it like working with Sean Howard? I wonder just because things went a little sideways last time we were together…LOL
Mike: It’s terrifying and lovely.
In our sessions we have no idea what will happen next, and Sean is just creative enough to be an evil genius.
Sean is one of my best friends, though, so there’s a trust. He manipulates that all the time in game and causes me to weep silently in the corner of my dark room at night. But it’s there.
Volonda: We got through this.
We did it!
Thank you so much for being an awesome and interesting interviewee!
Mike: We are Victorious!
If you’re ready to start your adventurers with the awesome crew of The End of Time and Other Bothers , then check out (https://apple.co/2E0PseM/)
And if you wanna get involved with the Reckless Play Guild and ask questions of the next interviewee, then, follow this link to the Facebook group!