On May 1, 2011, Dawn uploaded the pilot episode of the soon to be well-loved podcast, Anime Nostalgia. 9 years and 80+ episodes later, the podcast has become a beacon for pre-2000’s anime fans (old and new) to enjoy. We got the opportunity to chat with Dawn about how she got started doing a one-person podcast show, what her typical workday looks like, who inspires her, and her thoughts on the anime industry.
One word that best describes how you work:
Why would you say that?
I’m probably my own harshest critic, so I’m always taking way more time than I should to do everything! And since I’m a one-person operation, that means doing all my own research, notes, scheduling, recording, editing… like I said, everything! It can be hard but having total control over everything I make does have its advantages.
How did you come up with your podcast’s name?
Honestly, it was just the first thing I came up with that sounded like a good broad descriptor of what I was doing! If I could go back in time, though, I’d probably try harder to come up with something more snappy and clever. Oh, well!
What is your overall goal for your podcast?
Originally it was to just talk about older stuff that I liked and to practice recording myself so I could get better at “public” speaking. But as the podcast grew and evolved with me, I realized that what was super satisfying for me was to share things I loved and to pass on a sort of oral history of what fandom was like when I was first getting into anime that’s considered “old” and “classic” by today’s standards. So hopefully listeners both young and old can get something out of it: younger anime fans can learn about fandom history and cool old anime to check out, and older fans can reminisce with me and maybe even learn some stuff, too. Heck, I learn new things all the time when I’m researching for the podcast!
What got you into making a podcast about older anime?
Originally, it was in part because I wasn’t really finding much in newer anime that I liked at the time, and there was a STAGGERING amount of podcasts that only talked about the newest, hottest thing. So I basically came to the idea of “what if I just… made the podcast I WISH I could listen to?” and gave it a try! It was a little rough at first since I was learning as I went, and honestly, I’m still learning! But that was part of the fun, I think.
What do you do besides the podcast?
I kinda do a little of everything! I write, I do some voice-over work on occasion, I like making art and crafty stuff… I basically like making things!
What’s your workspace setup like?
I wish I had a more “professional” set up, but it’s really just a desktop PC with a mic in my tiny living room.
What software/hardware do you use?
For recording audio, I use Audacity (it’s free, it’s super easy to use, and it works great!). My mic is a Samson C01U USB studio condenser mic with a stand and pop screen I got YEARS ago, but it still works like a champ. In recent years, I also started to use a program called The Levelator to even out audio recordings (which is also free and very simple to use!)
What is your typical workday like for you?
A typical podcasting day kinda goes like:
- Wake up & eat a quick breakfast.
- Immediately do any last-minute researching and note-taking.
- Make sure my notes are in order and add any last-minute listener questions I may have gotten.
- Possibly forget to eat lunch before racing to do any important work or chores needed unrelated to podcasting.
- Set up a dinner to eat later after podcasting (something in the crockpot is ideal because then it cooks while I’m working and then I have hot food waiting for me after I’m done! That’s a tip for you fellow podcasters out there.).
- Test audio equipment and recording connections and make sure everything’s plugged in and working.
- Talk with podcast guests for a while.
- Actually record the podcast.
- Talk a little more before logging off and eating dinner.
- Pass the heck out and get excited to edit audio later!
Of course, this is a Perfect Case Scenario. Things don’t always work out this well, unfortunately.
What is one thing that people don’t know about you?
People seem surprised when they learn I’m a big horror fan! If I didn’t start a podcast about anime/manga/fandom, I might have eventually made a horror-focused one.
Who are three people in your line of work that influence you?
Trish Ledoux, one of the first women I ever found writing about anime & manga back in the days of Animerica magazine. She was an editor, translator, and writer at Viz for years, and I always admired that she had her own distinct, creative voice. I always hoped I could achieve that someday.
Helen McCarthy, probably the second woman I discovered writing about anime and fandom back in the day! She’s worked on so much over the years and has been a cornerstone of UK fandom for pretty much as long as I can remember. I finally got to meet her at a con a few years back and she was just as warm and knowledgeable as she feels in her writing. I hope that I, too, can create just as welcoming of a space to fans in all that I create as she has.
This last one is a bit painful to write, but I’m also so incredibly grateful to the late Zac Bertschy. I didn’t start following ANNcast until much later than probably everyone around me, but not only was he an exceptional podcaster & writer, he gave me my first paid writing job and convinced me that yes: I COULD write and that I WAS half-way decent at it. His advice and encouragement on my podcast & writing is something I’ll always cherish. I don’t think I could ever touch the lives of as many people as he did, but if I can help anyone even half as much as he helped the anime community as a whole, I’d consider that an incredible accomplishment.
What is something you struggle with when working on your podcast (promoting, editing, etc) and how do you overcome it?
There are some days when I just feel like if I have to listen to even 1 more second of my own recorded voice, I will scream. And there are some days when I just do NOT feel like spending hours editing audio, period. But once I convince myself to actually sit down and do the work, it’s always so rewarding. I try to get people on my podcast who are very passionate about the topic I want to discuss, which leads to infectious enthusiasm, and that makes everything worth it. I always hope that comes through in the final product.
Do you ever deal with imposter syndrome? If so, do you have any advice?
Oh, constantly! It can be a struggle, sometimes even daily, especially in a community full of people doing amazing things. It’s hard not to fall into the trap of comparison. I have to remind myself that everyone brings something unique to the table, even me. Even on days when I feel like everything I make is garbage. Sometimes just finishing something is good enough, even if it’s not perfect. Even if I don’t put out as much work as other people. We all have our own way of doing things. I just have to remind myself to just… keep doing things the best way I can, and to try to keep improving. I know that sounds kinda vague and jumbled, but really, it just helps to keep working on stuff and putting it out into the world.
If you didn’t become a podcaster, what were your plans?
Before podcasting became my main hobby, I was actually trying to do more voice-acting! I still do some stuff from time to time, but mostly for small projects or boring things that no one would care about. I think the biggest thing I did was get an audition for the role of Bee in Bee & Puppycat, which was exciting, but obviously didn’t pan out. Still, I think if I didn’t fall in love with podcasting, I might have pursued that a little harder.
Do you have any goals you’re wanting to strive for?
I think like most podcasters, I’m always striving to improve in some way or another. I don’t think I’ve ever had a podcast episode where I thought “Yes, that was perfect in every possible way!”, though I dunno if that’s even possible. But yeah, never stop learning and trying to grow is something I try to keep in mind. Other than that, I’ve been contemplating trying to record a live episode online (like on Twitch or something maybe), but I’m still trying to figure out when I would and what the topic would be about!
Retro_Deluxe: As someone who has her toe in the water, how great is the demand for vintage anime / manga now, as compared to the last few years?
There’s always been a want for older things, even when I was younger, but I think now we’re at a time when licensing things that felt ridiculously out of reach don’t feel like dreams, y’know? I mean, for years fans joked that Legend of the Galactic Heroes would NEVER see the light of day in the US and now you can not only stream it legally, but the original novels are available, too?! And so many things on Blu-ray in high definition. It’s really great how accessible all these things are now, and affordable. Even just in the past 10 years, SO many things have become way more available and it constantly blows my mind.
LumRanmaYasha: How do you feel about the recent trend of older anime / manga series receiving new anime adaptations?
It’s a mixed bag, for sure, but if it gets more fresh eyes on some cool older franchises, I’m all for it! Like, the new anime adaptations of Fruits Basket, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures, and Ushio & Tora are just fantastic–in Ushio & Tora’s case, the new anime blows away the original, in my opinion. I know that’s not always the case, but just like when Hollywood makes a remake of an old property, it doesn’t erase the cool thing that it’s remaking. So hopefully people do check out the originals whenever they can.
LumRanmaYasha: Have you ever discovered an older series you may have missed before because of a newer adaptation?
Kaiji comes to mind, actually! I’d never heard of the manga before, but when the anime adaptation came out & so many people I know were raving about it, I had to try it out. And of course, I REALLY enjoyed it! I’m so glad Denpa is putting out the manga now.
Sam: Where do you see anime fandom as a whole heading in 5-10 years?
I really have no idea! Social media has made elements of fandom evolve in ways I never could have predicted, and I think it’ll continue to thanks to the ever-changing internet and how we use it–especially now, during the pandemic when we’re actively changing how we do a lot of things. I’ll be curious to see what sticks and what doesn’t.
Sam: How awesome is JoJo?
Grant: You’re a fan of a bunch of different series and dig older stuff especially, but of all the things you ended up becoming a fan of, what caught you the most by surprise?
I guess keeping this to anime/manga related things, finding sports anime as a teen was something that still makes me laugh because no one would ever mistake me for a hardcore sports enthusiast or anything. (For the record, I DO enjoy watching baseball and soccer on occasion, but I don’t actively follow either very closely.) But there are SO many good sports titles out there that I will gush about whenever they’re brought up (Slam Dunk and Yawara! being the two big ones, probably). Real sports? Yeah, they’re pretty good… but someone mentions “sports anime” and suddenly I’m like “yes?? Hi, I’m listening??”, haha!
A Few Featured Anime Nostalgia Episodes:
- Podcast Episode 57: An Oral History of Anime Penpaling
- Podcast Episode 61: The Mystery of Miami Mike: Solved
- Podcast Episode 75: Creative Conversations: DJ Kirkland
- Podcast Episode 84: Cels & Cel Collecting
In the “Hi, I’m…” series, we sit down with fantastic folks who influence the world of Japanese culture, from AniTubers to experts & industry celebs. We’ll present a new interview with insight on their daily life, their thoughts on the Japanese Culture industry, and tips for those wanting to debut in the same field as them.
Have someone you want to see featured or questions you think we should ask? Send us an email: YattaTachi[at]gmail.com.
Editor Note: This interview was edited slightly for grammatical errors.