From their press release, here's their bio:
Veronica Belmont is a technology and gaming-centric video host who works on a variety of projects including Tekzilla (a weekly tech-help and how-to show on Revision3.com) and Game On! On the TwiT Network.
Tom Merritt anchors the daily tech news show Tech News Today on the TwiT network as well as hosting special live news coverage and other events. In the past he has hosted the daily Buzz Out Loud podcast and a weekly how-to show called The Real Deal.
The executive producers for Sword & Laser are Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible, Eureka), Kim Evey (The Guild, Dragon Age: Redemption) and Sheri Bryant (Rock Jocks).
Without further ado:
Hi Tom and Veronica! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. Since you're avid fans of science fiction and fantasy, to start things off, what culture (books, games, TV) are you currently consuming, aside from your current Book Pick?
Tom: I'm a devoted fan of Game of Thrones on HBO, as well as Fringe, Being Human and Mad Men. I just finished reading Empire State by Adam Christopher and was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Year Zero by Rob Reid. Currently I'm making my way through Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. When it comes to gaming, I haven’t had too much time, but I do pop into Warcraft at least once a week.
Veronica: Right now I'm really digging into some PC games that I've put off for a while, including Age of Empires Online and Civilization 5. They've both been out for a while, but I've had a craving lately for some strategy games. In the TV realm, Game of Thrones is huge for me, but I'm also really into Archer, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. When it comes to reading I’m in the process of finishing our latest pick for my other book club (Vaginal Fantasy) called The Iron Duke.
The elephant in the room is, of course, how did Sword & Laser become part of Geek & Sundry? Were there any initial reservations about moving to a video format?
Veronica: Felicia asked me last summer if this was something we'd like to work on and I jumped at the chance! I think we always had it in the backs of our minds that we'd bring S&L to video eventually, since both Tom and I spend our day jobs in front of the camera we really needed the right opportunity to make it work. Sword & Laser needed the right kind of home and Geek & Sundry is a perfect fit for us. Personally, I'm so excited just too even watch the other shows on the network! They're all great and unique.
Tom: Since both Veronica and I do lots of video, it wasn't much of a concern at all. The big challenges have been running the production ourselves rather than for a big network. Geek & Sundry have been incredibly helpful in that regard. I was very comfortable with joining Geek & Sundry because they are enthusiastic about the content as much as we are.
Sword & Laser is approaching its 100th episode and you've pretty much got the podcast format hammered down. One pet peeve of mine with some video productions is that they don't require the video aspect, and could easily have remained an audio production. What changes are you incorporating into the show to maximize the medium?
Tom: We have a dragon and a bar! Sure you could *hear* the dragon on an audio podcast, but when you see our dragon you'll understand why that just isn't enough. We're also including video messages from people so video actually allows us to show it to our audience. Also, book trailers are another cool trend we can take better advantage of in video.
Veronica: Definitely the ability to play video messages and actually show what we're talking about... whether that's an amazing book cover, casting choices for the next season of Game of Thrones, or concept art for the next big science fiction blockbuster. Plus, yeah.... dragon.
What are some of the challenges in running a video production? How far off is your lead time?
Tom: We shoot on Tuesday and post the episode on Friday, compared to most news properties I've worked for that's luxury. Also, we don't have a huge staff, so booking, writing, wrangling rights issues, gathering things to show and coming up with the rundown falls on us. It's a lot of work, but writing the first episode was one of the most fun things I've done in a long time.
Veronica: It's all a challenge! It's by far the biggest production I've done without walking into a pre-existing set and studio situation. The set was built from the ground up, and we're still figuring out a lot about how the show will work and look. That's part of the fun, but it can also be a little stressful!
Can you give us a hint of what's in store in the future?
Tom: We have dragons, thrones and Aliens with copyright issues.
Veronica: We're having some great interviews coming up, including with the author of our current book pick, Lev Grossman. We've also got plans for contests and live shows in the near future!
You have a very active Goodreads forum. How does it factor when it comes to interacting with your subscribers and deciding on the content for the show?
Tom: It's essential. We don't put everything to a vote, but we do put some of our book choices to a vote. More importantly it helps us be a part of the hive mind. I have a much better sense of likes and dislikes thanks to Goodreads, plus the people in there are so damned clever! They are, as a collective, smarter than either of the hosts of this little show could ever be.
Veronica: We have a feedback section that is pulled right from the forums, and we also take viewer and listener questions for the interviews. If they want to hear from a certain author, we want to know!
Who's a guest that you haven't featured yet that you'd like to interview on the show?
Tom: George R. R. Martin has to be at the top of our list with Neil Gaiman coming in a close second.
Veronica: What Tom said!
Any other projects you want to plug?
Tom: Well swordandlaser.com of course. Also, I’ve started an audio show with Scott Johnson called Autopilot which reviews pilot episodes of classic TV shows (www.autopilotshow.com)
Veronica: I also host Tekzilla on Revision3.com!