We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Graham and Giles Hash and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle and Giles, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In the beginning, we just wanted to have fun. We were writers who met at a big conference in Denver, and we were all in the same writers’ group. Giles had always wanted to start a podcast because he wanted to have fun and do something unique in the entertainment world. Michelle didn’t even listen to podcasts, but she was up for a challenge and hanging out with her friends to talk deeply about writing. We didn’t even have a real business plan outside of recording discussions writers want to hear. In the first year of recording, we were able to be a part of Podcast Peak at Denver Pop Culture Con 2014, and things just took off from there. We started interviewing more authors, artists, and creative experts, and each year the question of “Should we keep going?” was met with a resounding, “Well, duh.” We actually self-supported the podcast for about three years, paying out of pocket for hosting, the website, our gear–everything. It wasn’t until 2017 that we sat back and really started to consider how we could make the podcast not just fun for us and our fans, but less of a financial strain on our personal pockets. We needed help to keep going, and our listeners had told us that whenever we were ready, they were ready to help. Here we are, almost four years later, and we’re asking ourselves again, “Should we keep going?” Well, duh.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We make podcasts for nerds. Our show is set up to fit perfectly in your commute. It’s lighthearted, honest, and family-friendly, so you can listen with your grown-up friends or your kids and everyone can get something out of it. Instead of asking the same canned questions you see in every other interview of an author, we let the conversation flow in an organic way. The result is a lot of laughter and camaraderie that our listeners can feel in every word. Hands down, the friends we have made over the last eight years represent our greatest pride…and surprise. We never imagined that starting with a tiny writing-focused podcast could evolve into something so much bigger. It hasn’t been easy. Learning to promote, learning the ins and outs of public speaking, even learning how to be artistic are all mountains we’ve had to climb. Relationships with our interviewees and “Going for the No” have been the building blocks of our success. Instead of assuming people like Terry Brooks, James Marsters, and Gail Carson Levine would say, “Nope,” we invited them to join us, and they did! Our reputation now precedes us: We welcome just about anyone and everyone, and while you’re with us, you’ll have fun. One of the things we’ve learned is that people will like you the best if you are fully yourself. A listener can hear “fake” through a mic! We also try to greet every interviewee as if we’re already friends. If nothing else, we want to give people a place to celebrate creativity. You don’t have to be an award-winning author or filmmaker to share your work with the world. You just need someone to love it as much as you do, and that’s what we make happen.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A week is the perfect amount of time to spread out a ton of great food and sights. We’d probably start our friends with breakfast on Monday at the Denver Biscuit Company on Tennyson. After chatting all the way through brunch, we’d to to Parisi for lunch and then walk over to Book Bar to browse and sip some wine. Dinner would be at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs, because the morning and afternoon would have been full of a lot of walking. Tuesday could be spent in Arvada, eating brunch at Schoolhouse in Olde Town Arvada, munching pastries at Rhinelander Bakery, and grabbing a beer at Odyssey Beerwerks. On Wednesday, we’ll take a day trip to Estes to drive through or hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can visit the Stanley Hotel and shop tons of cute boutiques. Thursday is a great day to make breakfast at home, go on a walk around Sloan’s Lake, and then have ramen from Uncle for dinner. If these friends have kids, they’ll love Children’s Museum. On Friday, we’d get coffee at Ziggy’s, hike at Red Rocks, and after cleaning up, have dinner and drinks at Avanti. Saturday and Sunday would be perfect to have some fun browsing at the Tattered Cover on Colfax, taking in a play at CU Boulder’s Shakespeare Festival, or visiting Denver Pop Culture Con. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Thank you to Patrick Hester who grabbed us by the podcast shoulders, shook us a bit, and then kicked us in the butt to help us realize just what we had created and how awesome it was. He has been a great mentor and friend. Thank you to author Aaron Michael Ritchey who sat between Giles and Michelle at a writers’ conference and said, “Hey, you guys write the same genre! You should start a critique group.” Thank you to Denver Pop Culture Con, which has been an awesome nerdy home for us all these years. We can’t even count the number of friends we’ve made moderating panels and presenting seminars in those hallowed halls. Thank you to our Patreon backers, who keep the podcasting lights on with their contributions. We wouldn’t have lasted this long without our fans–they’ve helped us sound better, speak better, and think better over the years. Thank you to everyone we’ve ever interviewed for saying, “Yes.” We have learned so much about being creative from our interviews, and we are so glad to have gotten to know you.
All photos property of Page 42 Productions, LLC, dba Beyond the Trope Podcast.