The Comedy Duo Behind The Hit D&D Podcast "What's Your Damage"

Elliott Rose
Sadie Blake
March 13, 2018 - "The only thing you can control is the joy you take in the actual production of the show"
Since 2017

►Tell us about you and your podcast

I'm Elliott Rose. My partner for the podcast is Sadie Blake. We have three other co-hosts (players as we do a D&D podcast) whose names are Parker, Ryan, and Chris.

Sadie and I met as stand-ups in the Seattle comedy scene. We both had a mutual dream that we gave up on around the same time (solo live comedy) but we worked together on a satirical NPR podcast called Local Look. And now we do What's Your Damage.

Surprisingly a lot of our listeners come from the Midwest. Outside of WA state (our base) Middle America seems to be a fan of D&D. They're indoor folks, our kind of folks. We also have a fairly tech saavy audience from what we've gathered thus far.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

Why podcasting? Because it's one of the most intimiate mediums out there. You actively choose to spend your hour or however long with whichever show, and the hosts. There's that great meme of a boy sitting next to an ad featuring three adult women smiling and laughing and he's doing the same and it reads "What it's like listening to a Podcast." That's exactly it! The intimacy you form with "your" shows is remarkable.

Sadie's and my initial goals for podcasting was just to do another creative endeavor together. Like I mentioned previously we'd worked on a satirical NPR show called "Local Look" and we just kind of fell in love with doing podcasting as well as listening to them.

We started our podcast in November of last year. Sadie's handling all the audio work and she wanted a couple months buffer to get a stockpile of episodes on launch. Brilliant move on her part. We went live January 1st (should make it really easy to remember our anniversary episodes).


►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We release episodes weekly. We were looking at various Actual Play D&D podcasts, trying to get a sense of how often to release. Famously up until recently The Adventure Zone released biweekly. However, since we have none of the recognition of The McElroy Brothers we decided we needed to be more top of mind for listeners and went weekly.

Thankfully, since we don't have to be topical (as we're a D&D podcast) we simply have one long recording session that generally gives us two episodes. Since we had a pre-launch buffer, we're quite a bit ahead.

Sadie does about ten hours of audio work per episode which, I haven't any idea how she can listen to any of our voices that much. Since she's doing the toughest stuff, I handle the promotions, social network, and outreach for the pod.

And yes, Sadie and I fund this podcast ourselves, thank goodness we're both in our thirties and have relatively good jobs.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

We make zero monies from podcasting! Of course we'd like to eventually make some sort of money from this because it would show that we're producing a high enough quality show that people take notice but the main takeaway is patience.

You have to have a good show to bring people in. You have to have a consistent show to build trust in your audience. You have to have a great show to have people share your show.

As for the benefits of doing the show, we have fan artwork! People see a meme and think of our characters! And at base, we just get at least two nights a month where we're playing a really fun game of Dungeons and Dragons.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

We have five separate mics. A Shure KSM32 mic (used by TAL and Serial) for me since I'm the DM and I do an enormous amount of talking as I set up the world and play every character that isn't a playable character.

Also we have a Behringer B-1, a Rode NT1, and a few MXL 770s. The player characters go into Sadie's mixer which then plugs into our Zoom H6. The DM goes directly into the H6. For editing Sadie uses ProTools.

Most of the pre-show preparation is on the DM as I'm the one who has to figure out where the players left off, what the motivations for the NPCs in the world are, also, how to try and build two climaxes into three-to-four hours of recording so we have good endpoints during the edit for two separate shows.

Thankfully, we all record together at my house so we don't need to bring Skype or what have you into it.


►How do you market your show?

We've recently started experimenting with ads on the Overcast app. The results are too early to have any sort of concrete or definitive answer but it's promising in the early stages. Also, Spotify is surprising us with the number of listens they generate.

Mostly it's been word-of-mouth. We haven't found Facebook to be too great of a listener lead generator. Twiter however, there seems to be some very good interaction that leads to clicks.


►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

Trust the process. You will not be great at podcasting your first couple of episodes. Even though Sadie and I had worked on "Local Look" for such a long time nefore starting "What's Your Damage?" we had to re-learn so much because it's a wildly different show from our previous one.

Be joyful in the process because you can't account for how many people find you, how many people like you, how many times you're shared or what have you. The only thing you can control is the joy you take in the actual production of the show. Hopefully you'll have a million listeners and people will be banging down your door to give you sponsorships but if not, enjoy the process of creation.

Also, one of the best ways to think about any creative venture comes from Ira Glass (naturally).


►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

Updated: a year ago