As the podcast scene in Utah continues to grow, we're seeing more standup comedians branch out and take their own shows into areas that some would say have already been claimed. Take for example Christoper James, who with his podcasting partner Quinci Staker, have created their own movie discussion show called In Movie Nerds We Trust
. A solid two hours of taking a guest's favorite film and dissecting it down to the core of what makes it good or bad, making fun of it and praising parts of it along the way. Today we chat with the hosts about forming the show and gaining a quick following. (All pictures courtesy of the podcast.
Christopher James & Quinci Staker
IMNWT on Facebook
Gavin: Hey guys, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
I am a local standup comedian and movie nerd. I do stand up all over Utah at places such as Mo’s Diner, Wiseguys Open Mic, Split Sides Comedy at Sandy Station and more. I have been a movie nerd for as long as I can remember. I have always loved talking movies and recommending them to people.
I was born and raised here in Salt Lake City (and spent a few years in Vernal), and was pretty much born with a love of film. I was about three years old when I told my parents that I wanted to be an actor when I grew up and that ambition has never faded since then. I participated in the drama club all throughout school and started doing films when I was eighteen. I've done mostly short films in and around the valley, most recently and a guest stint on the TV/Web series Day Zero
Gavin: When did each of you take a bigger interest in films and what were some of your favorites growing up?
I started taking a big interest in film at an early age. I would always use my allowance to go see a movie at the theaters or buy them. I also gave acting a shot when I was in junior high but then learned that I really enjoyed writing more than acting. I greatly enjoyed a lot of different types of movies growing up. I had an odd taste for movies as a kid. Liking movies such as High Fidelity
and Nightmare on Elm St.
to name a few. I have always loved the classics like Ghostbusters
”, Drop Dead Fred
any John Hughes movies. Back To The Future
, Star Wars
, Indiana Jones, Pulp Fiction
, and some classic Bill Murray comedies.
I really can't remember a time when I haven't loved movies! The films I remember watching the most growing up were Willow
, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
, Robin Hood: Men in Tights
and Back to the Future
Gavin: What was it like for you each discovering your tastes over the years and refining what you enjoy watching?
I have always been willing to give any movie a shot...
or High School Musical
. Discovering a great movie for the first time is still the same as when I was a kid. There is a magic to a movie when it gets you sucked in and the world around disappears. Over the years
my tastes and range stayed the same but also have grown a lot from the classic comedies to more witty comedies like Woody Allen films. There are
still a ton of movies that I enjoyed growing up that will still make me laugh now. I love anything with a good plot whether it is a comedy, drama, action or horror movie.
It was really interesting and a lot of fun. When I was younger, I really loved more light-hearted films, but as I got into my teens I got really into Quentin Tarantino and that led me into watching more obscure, some might say, weird films, like those of David Lynch and David Cronenberg. And then I found a little film called Trainspotting
and that film was really what solidified my drive to be a filmmaker.
Gavin: When did the two of you meet each other and become friends?
We actually a few years ago at a failed attempt to make a movie of my own. She auditioned for it and once the film didn’t get made, we lost touch after that. Fast forward five years and I am setting up auditions for a female co-host for the podcast. When she rocked the audition, we talked afterwards
and realized we had met each other before. From there we have enjoyed ten awesome episodes and it has been a blast. I couldn’t imagine doing the podcast without her.
Gavin: How did the idea of starting a movie podcast come about?
I have always been a fan of movies and podcasts. The idea for In Movie Nerds We Trust
came about a year and a half ago. I had always decided each week I would choose a theme and watch movies based on that. I would post it on Facebook and have a lot of friends post hilarious comments about the movies. From there it grew into the idea of wanting to do it in the realm of a podcast, so from there I thought about the format and how we would want to do the podcast. After that
it came the process of learning how to do a podcast & what I needed to invest into it. I got really lucky when Quinci decided to co host
the podcast with me. I am continuously impressed with what she brings to the show.
Gavin: What was it like gathering up the equipment and making your own kind of studio space for it?
It took a lot of research and talking to friends who have their own podcasts as to what was the best stuff to use. I got a lot of great advice from Chris Holifield, host of the I Am Salt Lake
podcast, Chip & Jay who host The Chip & Jay Show
, and Charity O’Haodagain, one of the hosts on the Hello Sweetie Podcast
on how to get started. In the end, it was getting each item piece by piece until we had it all. We kind of made a makeshift studio from my apartment living room and it’s pretty relaxed.
Gavin: Did you do any test episodes before hand, and what was it like trying it out before starting?
We did a test recording for Quinci when she auditioned. We talked about Death to Smoochy
”, considering I knew I wanted it in the first episode. I was really impressed with the way Quinci flowed with the conversation and held her own. I was so impressed with her in fact I knew right then I had found a great co-host.
Gavin: What was the initial launch of the show like for you and what was the listener response?
The first episode was a learning experience but a lot of fun for me. We had a great first episode theme and discovered our catch phrase that we still use on every episode when we get distracted. “Back to the Movie” has been a fun way to reel the conversation back to the movies we are talking about after all the joking around we do. I was pretty excited to see the response from the first episode. By the time we got set up for the second episode, we had over 120 likes on our Facebook page.
Gavin: What made you decide to go with guests right off the bat?
Having a variety of different guests coming on was something I wanted to do when setting up the format for the podcast. I always thought that the format would have three people total. With us co-hosting with a guest on each week, it really has. We have done one episode with just the two of us (Episode #6, “Franchise Failures”) and that was a blast. We ended up both getting caught up doing Bane voice from the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. It showed that we can still have fun on our own & still maintain the flow of the podcast. We have had a great line of guests, including Dustin Hagen, Steffan Reed, Rachel Jensen, Chris Holifield, Sahna Foley, Aaron Orlovitz, Burgess Coffield and Melissa Merlot.
Gavin: What's the process for you in creating an episode, from choosing the films to the conversation?
When we have a potential guest in mind we have them send us a list of 20 movies or more. From there we look through what would flow together, choose three movies & make a great theme from it. The best part of that large of a list is that we can have the guest on again sometime later in the podcast. Since the movies are some of the guests favorites, the conversation just flows organically. We talk a bit about the synopsis, what each of us love about the films and get off topic a bit when joking around about the movie or other things.
Gavin: Do you find the episode relies more on the film chosen or on the guest themselves and their feelings toward it?
It's really a good combination of all those. We think it also depends on how much passion they have for the film, be it a good movie or a bad one. The films that the guest chooses and how much they enjoy it really makes anyone listening want to check that film out for themselves. Everyone loves talking about their favorite movies and what they love about them. Like any good podcast having a fun guest can really the whole thing that much more enjoyable. Both Quinci and I are both very fortunate to know a lot of amazingly talent people that each guest will make for a fun episode.
Gavin: Considering some of the other film-discussion podcasts that are in SLC, what would you say best separates you from them?
Really it’s our podcast format, doing a theme with three movies to suggest each week. It’s unique. I have listened to some of the great local podcasts and others on film discussion, but have never seen one that does what we do. We have a great balance of comedy and movie nerd fandom that really brings out the movie nerd in anyone who listens.
Gavin: What do you hope to achieve with the show over the next year or so?
Like any podcast we really hope to get an even bigger audience the more that the podcast goes on. I know we would love to get some celebrity guests on and hear their favorite movies.
Gavin: What can we expect from both of you and the show over the rest of 2015?
You can expect to see more of me doing comedy all around SLC. As for the podcast, we have a lot of awesome stuff planned. We are planning some live recording events. We hope to do some live recordings at the next Salt Lake Comic Con and other venues. We have some really awesome guests and themes lined up for the next few months. We are doing a 10th episode with the awesome Nicholas Don Smith for S Is For Suspense
and releasing it the same night, Friday the 13th.
I hope that we will get more exposure, a wider audience, more guests; and I hope that the podcast will help us both grow more in our other ambitions, Christopher in his stand-up comedy and me in my acting. You can find our podcast on iTunes
at and on Stitcher
. You can like our page on Facebook
and find us on Twitter