EP327 – Feeding the blogging machine with Gleek.com

June 21, 2019

This week on WPwatercooler we’ll be talking with Jessica Scott and Erik Patterson and our own Steve Zehngut from Gleek.com.

WPwatercooler network is sponsored by ServerPress makers of DesktopServer. Be sure to check them out at https://www.serverpress.com


Episode Transcription

(00:09) this is Jason Tucker and this is WhP water-cooler and this is episode number 327 this particular episode is brought to you by desktop server makers of super pressed make sure you go to their website over at server press comm where you can find out all the cool stuff that they have going on over there and all the great utilities they have including WP site sync so feel free to go take a look at them over on their site also just so you know is this shows not only just a video but it’s also a podcast and if you want listening to us instead of
(00:39) looking at ugly mugs you can go over to de parkour calm slash subscribe and that’s where you can figure out how to subscribe to this so I resemble that remark as he takes his glasses loss let’s go around the room real quick and get everyone introduced let’s see here Jessica tell us about yourself um hello my name is Jessica Scott and I am a screenwriter by trade and most recently the co-founder co-editor and head writer of Glee calm a comedy satire website awesome good to have you on good to have
(01:15) you on Steve how about you tell us about yourself I am Steve’s I am the founder of Zeke interactive I run the OC WordPress meetup and I’m also a founder of I’m detecting a trend here let’s roll the dice okay Patterson I am also screenwriter I’m Jessica Jessica’s screenwriting partner and also a founder a co-founder of elite comm 6-3 brown hair now that’s all you need that’s how you how’s the walk you don’t say that work I do cost per helping you tell us about yourself oh hi I’m Jason
(02:06) Casper I have a face made for audio very clearly and ak8 Kurt autoloader just happy to be here talking about our WordPress news and and everything else talking about Gleek today Jason how about yourself I’m Jason Tucker you can find me over at Jason tech around Twitter my website is Jason talking about blog I do this show as well as another show called WP blab before you go take a look at that yesterday we talked to Corey Miller about separating your identity from your product which may be something we might
(02:39) want to talk about here on the show when you’re a writer your identity is product yeah that’s true Steven you start writing my friend with these two about everyone so I’ll change the author tag to Steve just say just Steve no last name like the share of comedy provide anything incredibly embarrassing we’ll just tag him as the author that’ll be our nom de plume yeah perfect so let’s talk a little bit about feeding the blogging machine is what we were kind of coming up with you know in this how do
(03:34) you how did you guys even come up with this idea of doing this site and yeah where’d you start with that it’s to take that one on yeah a great question honestly I’ve had this domain for a long long time right and I’ve wanted to do something with it so I went to Jessica and I said let’s take this domain and do something with it and and run with it from a creative standpoint that’s literally how it came to be let’s came to help it came to fruition and this is what she came up with that’s
(04:08) cool yeah yeah well he said he had this great name Gleek comm and that he had been sitting on it for a long time and wanting to do something with it and he knew he wanted to do something with comedy it wasn’t just kind of her he was a little more focused with that it wasn’t like hey let’s do something he said I’d love to do something that that you know was comedy based and so you know I got together with my partner Eric and we kind of were brainstorming about well what could this site be we were both you
(04:36) know there’s a lot of comedy on the Internet if you haven’t noticed and so we were looking for a way to kind of put our spin on it with our unique point of view and we could did kind of a deep dive into what the word Gleek means and the original original word like back in Shakespeare’s time meant to roast people to comedic ly roast people and so we thought well this is a really great approach to the site where we are kind of celebrating the weird things in life the people places and and odd pop pop
(05:10) culture things that we liked by Glee keying them that’s good I like that I yeah the whole the whole mouth spit Gleek part of it you have that kind of thing as well that’s a word balloon but it’s blue for a reason yes we are spitting forth comedy gems for you and you will get wet so yes yes so upside if you good you come the Internet the first video is how to do what you just described right all right let’s public me and it was it was many many years ago yeah like a Jolly Rancher [ __ ] and you
(05:58) put it in that that made it go like you could hit the teacher on the back of her head planning on Glee King Glee King yes so then we discovered that that would actually cause a rift in the space-time continuum to actually cause a rift yeah I think we’re ready yeah you can either go back in time and kill baby Hitler or you can Gleek leaking mm-hmm those are your choices dr.
(06:37) domine first which is interesting because usually when usually when you’re working out the site the domain name is probably the last thing because you’re like okay we have a great idea but I have no idea what it’s going to be called and then your sightings of becoming Gleek dot limousine and you’re like oh cool so we have somebody I bet these nails is now squatting on Gleek limousine um yeah I know we kind of went about it backwards but I have I like 200 maybe 300 domains and I have a bunch of really odd ones and and this one just
(07:14) stuck it’s it’s kind of funny it’s catchy and yeah and I think it was kismet that it actually tied into what you wanted to do with the site yes what we’re what were some of those other domains that you could have used for those sites oh wow um I have yak box calm I’m and then I have a bunch of nonsense words like few words that wears it like you would appear in a comic book somewhere right you know in a word balloon so yeah nice well should be a website with just jokes that don’t work
(07:51) that go for me yeah oh yeah there we go we don’t like so like a 99% of what we write yeah what we can do is we could look at our analytics and the ones that didn’t hit we’ll just move them over to fumed I like it I mean we rebrand the content yeah that’s feeding the content machine right that is right yes um but since the topic is feeding the content machine ooh it’s just to talk about our publishing process a little bit since this is a wordpress podcast so we’re coming up with an idea look you know minute that’s
(08:31) where they I think we’ve we’ve had a lot of creative meetings as we’ve been building the website and and before we launched and so we for many many months have been making lists of like things that we want to roast things we want to Gleek and and now we have this like a massive massive list and we’ve written many of them many of them are now on the website many of them are waiting are in the you know are in the bank as we call it and then there’s a lot we have a very very long list of things that I occasionally
(09:04) will look at and think oh we need to write that one to get that one into the bank because it’s gonna be you know it’s it’s it’s time to put it on the sites and I mean we calendered the the from the point we launched which was about a month ago we calendared the entire year out in terms of everything that we would want to be writing about and where it would slot every week that we were going to have new material on the site which we have new posts every day on the site and then we also Sagan are those more
(09:36) evergreen content that it’s just going to work no matter what because you know some of the things like you know the post we have up today is you know who does Steven Spielberg hate more Nazis or dogs because he does a lot of movies where he kills a lot of Nazis but he also does a lot of movies where he oddly kills a lot of dogs so it’s debatable but that doesn’t that’s not necessarily tied to a particular month or a day or an event that’s something that could appear anytime on the site but we also
(10:03) chase the news cycle because when you’re doing topical satirical comedy a lot of times you’re looking at what’s actually trending and what’s going on in the news cycle so if we have something that we’ve slotted for future content but something happens in the news cycle that we’re desperately we want to talk about then obviously we write a blog post either for that day or you know within the next 24 hours to make sure that it’s up and and timely yeah a couple examples of that you know when when Ben Carson a few
(10:28) weeks ago made the comment about not knowing what our iou’s were and he thought that they were Oreo cookies we quickly wrote a post for that and got that up that day and then like another slightly different version of that is like we have we had slayed it on our calendar we gleek sporks because you know we’ll click anything that we think we could make my office boy yeah so we got a Gleek in the calendar for sporks that was going to publish in like a month and then Toy Story 4 comes out and there’s the main new character is a
(11:07) spork named for ki and so you know we talked and said let’s move that thing up we got to get the spork content out there this is we have our finger on the pulse of a good point about content being evergreen right so if you’ve got if you follow the Twitter feed one of the other things that that we’re doing is sort of retweeting things based on whatever national holiday it is whatever whatever [ __ ] national holiday it is for the bang right that can tie into like I’m blanking on which one we did
(11:43) recently the tied into a national holiday some of you can remind me well we gleet to post about we did a Gleek on one-night stands how we should reclaim the glory of one-night stands and we tied it to National martini day because you know go hand in hand yes and I think we tied in national bring your dog to work day with his bill Bergey hates dogs yeah just don’t bring your dog to the set of a Steven Spielberg movie because no no or don’t bring your Nazi either because you could go either way they’re actually
(12:21) more Nazis these days than dogs but bringing it back to your original question about feeding the content machine the other thing that we’re doing is creating a lot of memes around the content again keeping keeping the the content that we’ve already written fresh and evergreen by by by adding regular memes about the content we found a actually Eric found a site called we don’t even know how to pronounce it called in English flip with that’s how I say it I am G flip and that’s where we’ve been producing our memes right and
(12:59) so we’ve been using that to create the memes and post them on Twitter and Instagram but we didn’t realize image flip has its own community right and so we’re actually we’re huge we’re huge on image you’re huge we’re killing it on inch lip write that and $3 I’ll get ass cup of coffee at Starbucks but yeah um but yeah so we will post will creates anything on inch lip it ends up in our stream there and then other people respond to the means with memes it’s a mean conversation yeah
(13:34) it’s very fun but yeah it’s funny it’s funny that you found a place that you didn’t know as a social network and then you did it you’re like yes I’m all about the social network now we are accidentally in flip famous every time I go to make a new meme we have a bigger number next to our account name the likes or the stars of the faves I’m very young in hip and I know exactly where Jason will fully remember the little people when we make it big and the other thing we’re starting to experiment with
(14:12) is some video memes and so we’re playing with content samurai I don’t know if you’ve played with this Chris Lema recommended it a while back and we’ve been made yeah we actually just started creating some test content this week and it’s awesome it’s a lot of fun that’s a video creation then so it’s basically a so you know when you see those videos on like CNN they’ll do it they’ll do a video that’s just maybe images you see on cnn.com do like an image that either
(14:44) zooms in or zoomed out to put a little caption next to it and it’s it’s really just sort of like filler video for some of their stuff that they don’t have video for that’s what this site is it allows you to create those we’re just using it for our own purposes our sense of humor skews toward the weird and like we have bizarre sense of humor and I think the constant samurai somehow I feel like reads our brains and picks very amazingly odd video clips we plugged in the Donald Duck post since
(15:15) this is a family adjacent show we plugged in the by the way we did tie the Donald Duck day hash tag dog if you want to see what we’re talking about go to the site read the Donald Duck Post you’ll understand why I’m not saying it on the watercooler but we plug that that was the first post I plugged in the content Samurai and the stuff that it auto-generated for us is just genius it’s got this kind of samurai has some sort of an AI or machine learning engine in it where it goes and it finds videos and images
(15:50) related to the the words that you type in and what it came back with was just hysterical and actually yeah that’s something we could do is probably just just to just let content samurai go for it and and just publish some of the stuff that it creates we’d have to credit content samurai as a writer then because that’s true if we do add content samurai to write as a writer at least three out of the four of us will be killing it true I love that I love use it just like that weird kind of roulette type thing of let’s figure out what this
(16:31) thing’s gonna come up with and be able to use it so that’s fine so you guys have writing background as writing rating partners how did that even start up because I really want to see kind of how that works and then now you’re adding in technology to it of being able to use this as a you know on the website so we’re at what’s your beginnings well I got my start low 20ml years ago um writing for The X Files that was my first professional gig and I did a bunch of stuff in the kind of sci-fi horror
(17:07) genre space for a while and then I met Eric on the show we were work working on a show called night visions which was like a horror anthology show for Fox years and years and years ago and we were working in different capacities on the show but we kind of became friends and started hanging out and then ended up on another show together not as writing partners but again just working independently on another show and then yet a third show we ended up together we were just kind of going along together from show to show to show and
(17:39) that says two friends – then the third time yeah she’s best friends and riding partners yeah when that third show collapsed as shows often do we had we were supposed to go to Berlin for the pilot chute and the show literally collapsed like two weeks out like we lost all our air national financing we’re building sets they were casting it was but we still had plane tickets to Berlin via London so we decided well let’s go so we went to London with the goal of going to Berlin we never made it to Berlin we literally stayed in London
(18:14) for like almost a month and we’re just hanging out in pubs and coffee shops and various locations around London I was rewriting a feature Eric was working on a play which is what his original background was as a playwright and we kind of brainstormed an idea for a TV show that was called out there which was basically a gay wonder years and we thought this is a really fun idea for a single-camera half-hour show we should come back and try to do something with it we came back we pitched it we sold it unfortunately ultimately it didn’t go to
(18:41) series but that was kind of the genesis of our partnership and that was oh god 17 years ago yeah and so we’ve been you know writing partners for 17 years and have written really kind of every genre you could imagine we’ve written kids movies we written romantic comedies we have a horror movie that’s in development right now with Zachary Quinto and his production company we wrote for several years on this TV show called Aurel Stein Stein’s haunting our that was like it was basically a Twilight Zone for kids and and we just
(19:21) kind of we hop around we refused to let people pigeonhole us and we hop around from genre to genre the genre and when Steve brought the Gleek name to Jessica and then Jessica came to me really like you know we love writing comedy and we don’t always have the opportunity to write as much comedy as we want to and this seemed like the perfect chance an opportunity to one really explore that comedy side of ourselves and to do something that we’ve totally ours that like we control because often as screenwriters you’re waiting on
(20:00) producers to get this funding and you’re waiting on this to happen and this to line up and and this was something that we could just let’s make this and do this and put it out there so I think that got us really excited that’s cool cuz I the reason why I brought that up is is when when when the group here on water cooler is trying to come up with an idea we started throwing stuff back and forth out each other and it was quick for us to jump on you know you know the do one of these episodes because the fact that we’ve we’ve had
(20:32) some history where we’ve kind of you know goofed around after you know word camps and meetups and and all that fun stuff and it was like it was super easy for us just gonna jump in and be like yeah we can do a show together and so for you know kind of looking at the way that you guys are approaching this it’s like you can you almost know what the other person is gonna say before you pitch the idea right you’re just like so Jessica what do you think about this and she’s like yeah yeah yeah and then the
(20:58) same back to Eric right and so yeah it’s all good like how do you filter that then cuz you didn’t wind up with just everything would be up on the website and so obviously eventually everything will be on the website we’re not gonna filter but it’s really weird Eric and I have a have an incredibly similar sense of humor and that’s why we work really well as screenwriters because not only is it a sense of humor but just a sensibility about how we think about character how we think about story and
(21:28) when we work as screenwriters we will we will come up with an idea for a screenplay or a TV show or what have you we will break the story meaning we will figure out what the beats of the story are and who the characters are and you know what their arc is and then we will kind of build out the outline for the story but then literally we will split the story in half so if we have something with 80 scenes I’ll write 40 and Eric will write 40 and then we’ll Frankenstein stitch it together and then look at what we’ve done and it’s
(21:55) remarkably seamless yeah I forget we can’t tell like did I write that line did Eric write that line did I did I do the scene it’s like our sensibility about how to approach it you very similar and that translated into you know with Gleek in terms of writing the comedy our senses of humor are almost identical and I trust that whatever Eric brings to me and says hey I want to Gleek this I wanted like that but I’m gonna be like oh my god I can’t wait to hear your point of view on it hopefully he feels the same way about
(22:23) what I’m bringing to the table Steve we don’t really care what Steve brings to the table so really he doesn’t count but um that’s true of all things yes but no Steve actually will literally text us and be like oh my god yeah like this we need to click that and throw some jokes out and I’ll be like all right those are good those are going in the chris evans one was with Steve’s idea then write 3000 that’s all I’m funny thing also is that like because our sense of humor is all really aligned
(22:57) and I think you all three give us our sense of humors aligned but then also wind like the Jessica and I each have very different interests as well and so like I’ll come up with a list of things that I want to Gleek and she’ll come up with a list of things she wants to Glee and they they never overlap it’s like oh these all really complement each other you don’t repeat each other it’s remarkable like neither one of us have come up with the same thing and so it’s really great for feeding the content
(23:27) machine because we know like we’re we’re always just gonna have different things that we want to talk about even if we’re approaching it from the same sense of humor or the same for comedy voice is feeding the content machine for for a website is very similar to feeding the content machine for a TV show you know a movie is once the movies done it’s done but for a TV show when you’re thinking about a TV show you have to think about well how am I gonna tell story in season 1 and how am I gonna tell story in
(23:59) season 5 and hopefully how am I gonna tell story in season 10 so you have to be really serious about what the engine is that drives the story when you’re conceiving of the show and in the same way that’s how we approached Glee core in a similar way that’s how we approached quick the idea is so simple of comedic we roasting something of celebrating something that you like through comedy that that it’s the engine can go forever like that what you can always celebrate something kinetically that you’re
(24:27) interested in or that you find funny or some weird quirk of pop culture or something that you just read about and I think it’s also interesting that we’re I don’t think the well is ever gonna completely go dry and one of the things that we think is really important for writing comedies we don’t like to punch down we always like to you know work there’s a lot of negative comedy out there and a lot of negative satire we like to approach it from even if we’re poking fun at something we’re doing it
(24:57) in a celebratory way we’re saying like we find this goofy or weird or off but we actually kind of like it too so where everything we’re doing is you know hopefully in a positive thing even if we’re kind of nitpicking at things or poking holes in the logic of something it’s still we’re like but hey you know let’s celebrate it let’s click the hell out of it yeah we’re never gonna click something that we hates right which is why we have an entire category dedicated to hauling us absolutely talking about
(25:26) the well not running dry yeah I have a whole post on Kevin Klein’s but that’s gonna be on next week that’s just right in the hollow notes wheelhouse Jason going back to technology just for one second the everything and we’re doing everything on wordpress that is our betters our content management system but with a site like this some of things that I have to think about are things that I’ve only advised clients about in the past right I’ve think about where this content ends up right where it
(26:09) ultimately gets viewed right so we’ve got our website which is one thing but we’re also now we’re publishing to Google amp all right we’re going to Apple news right we’re you know we’re looking at you know the different spokes of the wheel where people are going to be able to access our content right one thing Eric’s in charge of is is the social media stuff so you know we we think about you know how is this going to be perceived on Instagram and Facebook and and and Twitter right and so all of these places do
(26:39) matter right and and I’ve only in the past ever had to think about the the technology side right I can make this stuff work right but I don’t know what what the yeah I’ve never really the think about what the voices of our are of all of these different networks right I’ve advised all my clients in the past of what this is and frankly I’ve just been faking it till I make it now I’m actually gonna do it or at least help with it so so you know all those things uh all those things factored in
(27:07) as a stronger person as well Steve [Laughter] social media I just want to point out the dark handle on all of the social medias is a tweet poke fun we we poke fun as our tagline we tried to get at gleek and it is being you know come on the air by an old Gleek fan a Glee fan the gleefully yes fans of the TV show who haven’t tweeted in many many years but so we embraced because we poke fun is our tagline and so that’s we also want to be known by that so all of our social medias okay so we do we do now control the subreddit gleek right yes
(27:54) that’s true we we don’t know what’s do with it Freight we’ve got new have no idea what’s doing it but we control it yeah well just just make sure you you you figure out what you’re gonna do on reddit because reddit said read it to an interesting beast oh yeah it is I’ve been a lurker for many many years at night all right well what do we do here exactly about wraps it up for today I want to say thank you very much for all you folks were coming on the show today I really appreciate it you go over
(28:29) to our website at Dave parkour calm you can click on the links over there to subscribe and good also put this with all the show notes so you have links to all the different things we’ll be talking about today all the time you get me sued right now y’all later you have a good one bye-bye

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