Podcast Spotlight: Blast Points Podcast

If you’re looking for a Star Wars podcast that deep dives into obscure and fascinating subjects, includes audio clips and impressions of George Lucas, and will update you on every move Klaud makes in his pre-The Rise of Skywalker press tour – you should be listening to Blast Points Podcast.

I sent the hosts of Blast Points, Jason and Gabe, a few questions over email and about the history and future of Blast Points.

What was your introduction to Star Wars?

Jason:  From what I’ve been told, my sister went to a Star Wars themed birthday party in late 1979 and got an R2-D2 figure there. She came back home and gave it to then three year old me. This R2 quickly became my favorite thing ever and not too long after that my mom took me and my sister to see Star Wars.  It was the first movie I ever saw and according to my mom, I didn’t move once.  

Gabe: Being pretty much the same age as Star Wars it feels like it has always been a part of my life.  My first toy was also an R2-D2 figure that I got before I was old enough to remember where it came from. Probably my biggest early Star Wars memory was seeing Return Of The Jedi in the theater.  That was what really hooked me on this whole crazy thing.

Who are some of your favorite characters and have those favorites changed over time?

Gabe: Luke has always been a favorite. I was never big into Han Solo as a kid, I always liked Chewie better.  Qui Gon is a favorite of mine from the prequels and I really love the Neimodians, especially Nute Gunray, there is just something about those goofy guys I can’t get enough of, and Count Dooku too.  Ashoka from Clone Wars and Rebels. The new films have so many great characters but Rey is the best to me. She is just an awesome addition to the saga and seeing her and Luke together in The Last Jedi is still the gift that keeps on giving.

Jason: As a kid I always liked Han Solo.  I carried his Topps trading card around in my back pocket with me everywhere I went.  And he and my other favorite, Indiana Jones were both played by the same actor so how could I not love him? As I got to be a teenager and in my twenties, I began to connect with Luke and Obi-Wan more. Who knows maybe I appreciated the deep force stuff more or something? With the prequels, I loved Qui-Gon with all of his next level Jedi-ness and nowadays I can’t get enough of Rey and her incredible, awesome role in the saga. And I love 2-1B a lot, but who doesn’t? AND I can’t wait to see KLAUD in action.

When did you make the decision to start your own Star Wars podcast? Had you been a part of other podcasts (either as a host or guest) before?

Jason: The first ideas of “doing something” started for me at Celebration Anaheim in 2015. The amazing energy of that weekend left me buzzing and feeling like I had to contribute and use my insane passion for Star Wars in some way.  Before that Celebration I had started listening to some Star Wars podcasts and was really noticing what I liked and didn’t like about some of them.  With the recommendation of my wife after I got back I decided to start a Star Wars podcast. I always knew if I had a Star Wars podcast I’d have to do it with Gabe as we’ve known each other since we were teenagers in college and our level of Star Wars intensity has always been weirdly equal. And he’s one of the funniest and smartest people I’ve ever known. So thankfully once Gabe agreed he’d do this crazy thing with me, we were ready to go!

Gabe: I remember Jason mentioning something about a podcast during Celebration but I wasn’t sure if he was serious. But after The Force Awakens came out and Star Wars fever got the best of us Jason asked me if I would do it with him. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect and hadn’t really listened to many podcasts before we started. But in the end, it made perfect sense. Jason and I share the same sense of humor and obsession with the strangest parts of Star Wars and we have been talking about Star Wars non-stop since we were in college together so this was really the next logical step. We pretty much have always been doing Blast Points the only thing different now is we are recording it so other people can share in on the fun.

How would you describe your podcast to someone who hasn’t heard of it yet? How is it different from other Star Wars podcasts?

Jason: If someone has never heard Blast Points, I would say that we tend to get deep on some obscure corners of Star Wars history and we giggle a lot and do a lot of silly voices.  We like to talk about the news and the big new cool stuff that everyone talks about, but we also like to dedicate a whole episode to the idea of what Aunt Beru’s voice sounds like in different foreign dubs. It’s the kind of Star Wars crazy we love and we’re just glad we’ve found a passionate and super cool group of listeners!

Gabe: Star Wars is and has always been weird and goofy so we try to embrace that spirit with the show. Sometimes that comes through in the topic or it might come through in how we present a topic. But really it’s just us highlighting the things we love about the Star Wars Universe, whether it’s on screen or in the real world.

Tell me about your first episode (or first few episodes) and how your podcast has changed since those first few episodes.

Jason: I wish I could remember those first episodes but I’m too afraid to go back and listen to them. I feel like the bare bones of the show was in there but we hadn’t quite found our confidence or our groove yet. It’s like the first season of a TV show. It’s all there but it’s still a little off. We were literally figuring out every aspect of doing a podcast as we went along. Once we started to know we could get really really weird, I feel like we started to click.

Gabe: It was a learning experience definitely. I think it took us a while to get the format down and the focus that the newer episodes have, but the tone and the way Jason and I interact with each other was there from the start. You can tell that we really are friends and have known each other for so long. I think people respond to and can tell when there is a genuine friendship.

How do you decide what the subject of your podcast is going to be? Do you know what you’ll be talking about months out ahead or do you decide more in the moment?

Gabe: We try and mix things up from week to week to keep things interesting. Planning ahead at least a few weeks helps with that but there are always weeks where some surprise thing happens and we end up changing everything around at the last minute.

Jason: We have a massive list on a Google Keep app that we share that has episodes usually planned out months in advance. But often one of us will come up with an idea that really inspires us and things get shuffled around. Having stuff planned like that is good for us as it keeps us from getting burned out with research heavy episodes every week and mixing up the types of shows and topics every week.

Blast Points is a podcast that is a unique combo of being heavily researched and completely ridiculous. (I mean that last part as a compliment) I’m assuming the funny parts of Blast Points comes to you guys naturally (although I am curious if you are as funny in real life as you are on the podcast) but back to the first part … Where do you go to research for your podcast episodes? How far in advance does this happen? Blast Points regularly uses unique audio clips from a variety of sources – most of which I doubt many of your listeners have heard before? Where do you find them?

Jason: Thanks! Are we funny in real life? I know at Celebrations everyone is just always shocked how we’re both over six feet tall. (Shaved Wookiees is a term used a lot). How do we research? Between Gabe and I, we have a massive collection of Star Wars reference books. Usually when we need info on a subject, one of us has something. I have every back issue of Star Wars Insider magazine which helps a lot and Rinzler’s making of books are invaluable tools.  

Usually the research starts for an episode once the previous week’s episode is finished. So the research process is usually two or three days. A lot of those audio clips are just stuff I’ve watched or heard before and I dig around online until I find it somewhere. And it gives me the chance to listen to tons and tons of George Lucas interviews!

Gabe: We are pretty much the same in real life as we are on the show, so if the show makes you laugh there is a good chance we would make you laugh in person.

As far as research Jason is the Dr. Jones of the show, whenever I feel like I have a good handle on a topic Jason always finds the real buried treasures, usually in the form of a George Lucas interview that fits in perfectly with what we are talking about that week.

Do you have favorite parts or least favorite parts of producing a podcast?

Gabe: I don’t think we would still be doing the show if we weren’t having as much fun as we are making it. We live in different states now (Jason is in Michigan and I’m in Illinois ) so having an excuse to talk to Jason every week is great and we end up talking about all sorts of nonsense for an hour before we actually get around to recording. The fact that other people are enjoying the show so much just makes it all the more worth it.

Jason: I honestly don’t have any least favorite parts. I know a lot of people dislike editing but I love it and the whole process of bringing an episode together. I think my favorite things though are that I get to talk to my friend Gabe every week and that we’ve got so many great listeners out there. We’ve met so many cool people at Celebrations who’ve told us how much the show means to them, where and how they listen and everyone we met was smiling when they talked to us. That’s the best feeling ever.

For new listeners can you recommend three episodes that would give people an idea of what the podcast is like?

Episode 161 : The Legend of Rick McCallum.  

Legendary prequel producer Rick McCallum has been a mythic figure for us for decades and we’ve talked about doing a tribute episode for a long time.  I was nervous that we wouldn’t do his legend justice but I feel like we really did. 

Episode 135 : Kirk Thatcher’s Adventures in Return of the Jedi.

So we did a Return of the Jedi month last August and we reached out to our friend Tom Spina asking if he’d like to be involved.  He said that the person we needed to talk to was former ILMer Kirk Thatcher and we were thrilled. Kirk talked almost non-stop and every single story he told was incredible and was something we had never heard before ever. There’s one in there about George Lucas and Wendy’s hamburgers that I still can’t believe was actually in the episode. I don’t listen to our old episodes too much but I love listening to that one.

Episode 76 : The CommTech Chip Episode.  

This one was a real turning point as we knew we could dedicate a whole episode to just listening to and laughing at those “talking” figure stands from The Phantom Menace toy line. I just remember really laughing a lot while recording and knowing that now that we got away with that we could get really insane and start doing things like an audio drama of the Wookiee Storybook and stuff.

Honorable mention to episode 112 which was all about the rarely talked about and huge influence of Marcia Lucas on the saga. She doesn’t get enough credit ever and I was happy to get an episode out all about her.

What podcast episode have you received the most positive feedback about? I’m curious if you knew that one would be a winner or if it surprised you that this episode was a hit with listeners.

Jason: We still hear about and have people quoting our Rogue One episode a lot!! And that was episode 54! People have really responded to our Captain Canady Day episode (130) a lot, the recent Jar Jar Renaissance episode, our episode on the early screenplay draft of Phantom Menace and the newest Palpatime one. We sometimes know that an episode with a very obscure subject may not “break out” but sometimes those are the ones we’re most proud that we put out there. I think the big and lasting response to Canady Day was a surprise as we weren’t sure if others fell in love with Captain Canady quite like we did.

Gabe: I feel like we never know which episodes are going to catch on with people. We might think we know but we always seem to be wrong.  But I think that just tells us we are doing the right thing and putting out shows that make us happy and make us laugh.

Who are a few people you’d love to have on your show as a guest in the future?

Jason:  oh man…. Ben Burtt, Doug Chiang, Marcia Lucas, John Knoll..

Gabe: Kathleen Kennedy, Rick McCallum, the voice of Sebulba, the real Watto, Dave Filoni, the Hamburgler..

Jason: Mayor McCheese, Matt Sharp from Weezer, Geddy Lee, Lobot, GA-97, the guy that played Leon in Midnight Madness, Daisy Ridley..

Gabe:  Meco, Rian Johnson, Ace Frehley, BJ Hughes, George Lucas, IG-88 and Adam Driver.

What kind of equipment do you use for recording Blast Points? Any overall tips for new podcasters?

Jason: I have no clue what microphones we use but I know that they were not expensive and we got them on Amazon.  We record on zencastr and I edit on GarageBand.  Tips for new podcasters? Just be yourself. Don’t read from a script and don’t make it just about what kind of perks you’re hoping to get back one day. Do it because you love the subject matter. Listen to lots of podcasts and not just Star Wars ones. Pay attention to what you like and what you don’t. Make the podcast you’d like to hear, make it unique and don’t be afraid to put in the work to make it the best it can be.

Gabe: Since podcasts ultimately end up compressed to mp3 and unless you are recording in a perfectly isolated audio booth I wouldn’t go too crazy with microphones. I think we both have CAD u37 USB condenser mics which are about $60 on Amazon.  But don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money to get started. There is so much available to start that won’t cost you anything.  If you have a couple of cellphones and a free subscription to zencaster you already have all you need to make a good sounding podcast. For editing, if you aren’t on a Mac and have access to Garage Band Audacity is a great audio editing program that is very powerful and free to download. In the end, what you are saying is more important than how you record it, so get that sorted out before you start spending money on gear.

What are some of your favorite Star Wars focused podcasts?

Gabe: We love Skytalkers, Talking Bay 94, Scavenger’s Hoard..

Jason: Skywalking Through Neverland, Fantha Tracks, and so many others…

Tell me about your previous Celebration experiences? Highlights? Lowlights? Will you be in Anaheim next year? Going for the podcast stage? How about other upcoming conventions?

Jason: We LOVE Celebration. We have purchased 4 day passes for Anaheim 2020 and that will be our 6th Celebration.  There are so many highlights from the TFA panel to the 40th anniversary panel, McCallum showing the Yoda fight from AOTC, the TROS trailer at the Star Wars show stage… but again I think the greatest thing is that we see so many friends and lately just meeting listeners. It’s the coolest feeling knowing these goofy conversations we have in our basements on Thursday nights make folks so happy.  We love it.

Gabe: Celebration is the best and we can’t wait to go back to Anaheim. It’s hard to decide on what we are most excited for, seeing the panels and Star Wars surprises or getting to hang out with old friends and meeting new fans.

We will try to for the podcast stage again!  Will we get on this time? Who knows but we’re always just happy to be celebrating the love at Celebration

What are you the most excited to see or read in the Star Wars universe coming up in the next year?

Gabe: I think Rise of Skywalker is the thing we’re looking forward to most.  We loved Last Jedi and we literally can not wait to see how J.J. wraps up not only this trilogy but the saga as a whole.

Jason: I think we’re equally terrified and excited for that one. And The Mandalorian looks just awesome! I love that each episode has its own unique director and I hope that gives each one its own flavor. Beyond that, I know we can’t wait to see where it all goes next on the big screen. What are those Game of Thrones goofballs doing and what’s Rian got planned?? Very exciting.

How can people who want to listen to your podcast find it and help support it?

We are on Apple podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, google podcasts and just about everywhere podcasts are!  You can find links to just about everything Blast Points at our website!

And we have an awesome Patreon where we have monthly bonus episodes, movie commentaries and more!!

Follow us on Twitter at @blast_points or just search Blast Points Podcast on Facebook, Instagram or Patreon.

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