In March of 2013, I was sitting in the room of my apartment browsing Twitter when I saw someone tweet about a thing called The ForceCast. Intrigued, I clicked through to discover that it was a podcast from TheForce.Net (which had been one of my favorite websites for as long as I could remember). Up to this point, I had never listened to a podcast before. In fact, taking an hour or so of my time to listen to some random people I’ve never met nor could visually see talk about something was not an activity I thought I would enjoy. But out of curiosity, I started to listen…
…and then my laptop suddenly died. Apparently, it didn’t want me to start listening to podcasts anytime soon, especially the ForceCast. While I struggled with (unsuccessfully) getting my laptop back to life, listening to The ForceCast became an afterthought.
It wasn’t until later in the year that I finally took my “first step into a larger world” and listened to my very first episode of The ForceCast, featuring Erik Blythe and Eric Geller. Immediately, I was hooked. The chemistry between Erik and Eric was both insightful and entertaining, and I couldn’t get enough. In fact, I eventually went back and listened to every episode that was released since they took over from the previous hosts. Listening to the ForceCast quickly became a routine for me after class every Friday. When the Patreon page for the podcast was launched, I knew I had to show my dedication by becoming a $40 donor. This allowed me to record segments for the ForceCast, and also have private hangouts with Erik and Eric.
But more importantly, doing this helped me on a personal basis. I am naturally shy and introverted, and have also dealt with, at times, severe bouts of depression, primarily through 2013-2014 when I was in my final year of undergraduate studies. Being able to contribute to the ForceCast and talk about Star Wars allowed me to fight these insecurities. I looked forward to the end of the week when I could have my weekly dose of my favorite saga of all-time.
In the summer of 2014, I really wanted to get more involved in the Star Wars community, so I e-mailed Erik and asked if he knew if TFN had any openings. He got me in touch with Dustin Roberts, content manager of TFN, and before I knew it, I was brought on to the team to help post news, and I even developed my own niche by posting music-related news, reviews, and features. I was even able to get into contact with Kevin Kiner, composer of Star Wars Rebels, and interview him for the site and the ForceCast.
Everything reached an all-time high when I was lucky enough to travel to Star Wars Celebration in April 2015 in Anaheim, California. I was able to meet and hangout with the crew of TheForce.Net, Rebelscum.com, and the ForceCast Network. I got to do live podcasting in the Autograph Hall (which was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time). I met the cast of Star Wars Rebels including a long-time favorite of mine, Steve Blum. I got to talk to Mark Hamill and even get a selfie with him (after spending $100 for a picture a couple of hours earlier, but it was worth it!). It was an incredible experience and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
About a month after Celebration ended, I was invited to join the team at the ForceCast Network as Social Media Coordinator. I also occasionally filled in on the Echo Base and Outer Rim podcasts, and eventually was asked to become a full-time host on Echo Base. Both of these were and remain to be absolute honors, as I’ve been able to experience things that I never would have before, and I will always remain thankful.
And now, that part of my life is over, while a new one is beginning here at RandomChatter. I’m still doing Echo Base and have become very good friends with my fellow co-hosts. I’ve also become acquainted with a fantastic community of other Star Wars bloggers, podcasters, and fans, who consistently make me happy that I am a member of such a wonderful fandom.
Before closing, I would like to take a moment and thank some individuals who I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with during my time on the ForceCast.
- Erik: You have been incredibly supportive of me ever since I contacted you about joining TFN, and you’ve also been a brilliant co-host, a wonderful friend, and an honorable leader. I consider it a privilege to work with you and I thank you for bringing me along to RandomChatter.
- Lou: Our recordings on Echo Base as well as Outer Rim (and soon to be Crash Couch) are always a blast. I’m glad that you, Erik, and myself were able to hang out at Celebration which helped establish a solid friendship.
- Justin: You are one of my favorite people to talk to about Star Wars (and Muse as well), and I admire your dedication to this fandom greatly (even if you are an Imperial). Thank you for being such a positive inspiration.
- Megan/Paul/Saf/John: The four of you showed an enormous amount of passion in your time as hosts on the ForceCast. Some of the insights that you have about Star Wars is incredible, and your strive for diversity in not only the saga but also the fandom and community is heartwarming. I look forward to what the future holds for each of you.
- Eric: Though we never got to interact much in-person, I always enjoyed what you had to say on both the ForceCast and Rebels Roundtable. Thank you for being an inspiration to me in regards to journalism, and for helping show me the ropes with TFN. All the best to you.
- Spencer: Your insights into Star Wars and especially Rebels was always so fun to listen to, and made me want to go back and watch each episode again to pick up on the things you talked about. You are also a talented artist and I can’t wait until we can cross paths again.
- Jay & Chris W.: Your work on Jedi Journals is a highlight of Star Wars podcasting, and you deserve all the praise in the world for it. I’m glad that you’re able to continue with it.
- Kyle: Your passion for Star Wars as well as music is encouraging, and I hope that you use that passion to the best of your ability. Even though things with the ForceCast didn’t work out, I hope you can continue to use your strengths to the absolute fullest in your future. You’ll always have both my friendship and my support.
- Dustin & the TFN Crew: I’ve been a visitor to TFN for as long as I could remember, so thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to write and talk about Star Wars in a medium that I never thought possible. No matter what the future holds, I’m so happy that I can be a part of it.
To anyone I forgot, I apologize (it’s been a long weekend and it’s after 1am at the time of writing, so my mind is running on fumes). But if you were involved in the ForceCast in any way, both before and during my time with it, I thank you for welcoming me with open arms and treating me as a valued member of the team. And to everyone I’ve been able to meet and interact with on Twitter, all of you are awesome and have made my life so much better, and I’ll always appreciate that. Finally, to Jason & Jimmy, thank you for shaping the ForceCast into what it became, and I wish you all the best and continued success at Rebel Force Radio.
When it comes down to it, for all of this and so much more, I owe the ForceCast. Because without it, who knows where I’d be right now. I’m now a part of something that I only dreamed about in 2013. And I, along with the rest of the staff of RandomChatter, have so many opportunities that would otherwise be near-impossible if it wasn’t for our experience with the ForceCast. Yes, we had our ups and downs along the way, but this was a journey that was well worth taking, and is one that I will never forget for as long as I live.
Thank you for reading, and may the Force be with you. Always.