Continuing our 2017 yearbook.
June 2017 was a quieter month as I struggled once again to keep on top of everything I’d committed to. I made one good decision though: starting the watchalong podcasts with SHIROBAKO and special guest Miles.
In my ongoing quest to delegate more of the day-to-day workings to other people, I had in May enlisted Dee to do three hours of basic admin per week, focused on getting contributors from the AniFem inbox (where I was bottlenecking them) into an editor’s hands. This decision turned out to be a gamechanger.
Dee is organised, methodical, consistent, and highly process-driven—everything I’m not. What I find a chore and had been shouldering like a martyr (while also not doing a good job of it), Dee took on because the work genuinely satisfies her. So I had been keeping hold of certain tasks because I thought I was selflessly sparing my team from drudgery… while all the time they had been tearing their hair out watching me mismanage things they’d love to have control over.
The idea that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure should not be this startling to me. And yet.
Speaking of trash and treasure (sorry Vrai, but it is your brand), by this point I had handed the AniFemTalk posts over as well. Vrai is an efficient, reliable writer, and has done a great job keeping on top of this. I just had to adjust to them being a little more outspoken and colourful in their tone and language. I know Vrai had taken over by this point because the first Talk post uses the word “manbabies”, which I would never have used (but was not unfair, in context!). There was a period of time where I was going into these posts and softening Vrai’s voice to a level that made me less nervous. (Pro tip: this is not an ideal way to do things, and I would not have made that decision today.)
Vrai accommodated my paranoia and pearl-clutching very patiently, and eventually I realised that a) no pitchforks were headed our way, and b) if they were, we had a solid comment moderation policy set up to deal with them. I backed off, and they’ve been in charge of starting discussions ever since. With that decision, my only remaining responsibility was uploading the podcast to Soundcloud and posting the links on a Sunday.
This was also big turning point month for Chatty AF: our first watchalong. It’s an approach I had been vaguely thinking about for months, settled for the first time into a workable format: three participants, two who are new to a text and one expert who can offer extra context and the benefit of hindsight and wider fandom involvement in the discussion. These people watch six episodes separately, then come together to discuss what they saw and where they think it might go. We’ve deviated from this format a little over time, but that’s the core idea.
I particularly wanted this format to be for older anime and mixed bags, those shows that combine both the feminist-friendly and the feminist-unfriendly into a series that divides people who identify as feminist anime fans. We started with Shirobako, and invited the only possible choice of expert: Miles Thomas.
Miles and I (and Crunchyroll and AniFem) have been accused of shilling for each other so often that it’s a running joke at this point (as is our joint quest to destroy all anime through the medium of censorship; watch this space for more exciting details on that highly plausible theory). Crunchyroll gives Anime Feminist nothing, and Miles has given me general marketing advice when I’ve asked for it. There are few people in anime fandom who understand data-driven marketing as thoroughly as Miles does, and he’s happy to share his knowledge with anyone who asks.
He was also happy to be involved in our watchalong, and went above and beyond what I could have expected. We gave him a choice between appearing every week or only showing up for the final episode, and he chose to be in every episode. Now I can’t even imagine handling watchalongs any other way; Miles’s addition to the podcast made our discussions richer, and I’ll always try to run them this way as a result.
Read the rest of our 2017 Yearbook
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