Tiffany Smith (photo credit: @tiffanystweets)

TIFFANY SMITH

► But that’s all other people’s work. Let’s talk more about yours. You mentioned that you are very positive and optimistic about your career, but did it surprise you that DC accepted you so willingly into their ranks after you had already worked for Marvel? It is, after all, one of the big pop culture rivalries – like Pepsi vs Coca Cola, Nintendo vs Sega, Star Trek vs Star Wars…
They definitely knew that I wasn’t just a fan of DC. They knew that I had worked for Marvel, of course, doing red carpet events, like for Iron Man and Avengers. But they knew that I am a comic book fan in general. I even did a YouTube show, Stacked, which was all about comic books and which will eventually come back, by the way. I’m simply a fan of good stories and of being told a story in a cool and interesting way. I think DC understood that the fact that I am a fan of other things as well doesn’t take away from my love for DC. They just saw a true comic book fan. And if you look at the writers and artists – many of them have worked for both companies as well. So that was never a problem.

► Did you have to pass a DC trivia test before you could become the host of DC All Access, though?
(laughs) They did actually ask me a few questions back then, yes. There was a regular casting, of course, as you’d have for any job like this, but we also did some trivia. I’m trying to remember any of the questions now, but that was a while ago. I think there was, ‘Can you give us different names for Batman?’ I can’t think of any others right now. But they did ask me what comic book shop I go to each week and why I love going to a local shop instead of ordering online. A couple of weeks later I found out that the producer had stopped by the shop and had talked to the owner, to see if I really went there and to get some more info on me.

► Wait a second. They really did that? They comic dealer stalked you?
They absolutely did, and I understand why. This industry has such a strong fandom, and there is such a rich history. You can’t just hire someone for a show like this if the fans could easily tell that this person isn’t a real fan. They had to make sure they get the real deal.

► So why do you like going to a brick and mortar store. I understand it – I would never order a comic book online, I always get my superhero fix from my store of choice – I’m just wondering about your reasons for it.
I have to be honest – it has changed a bit for me lately because I am reading so much now. I’m trying to read every single book DC puts out. I’ve said it in the past: The comic books are multiplying like rabbits in my apartment. I am much more willing to read comics on my iPad now, simply for practical reasons. I also travel a lot, so it’s much more convenient to have my reading list on the iPad. But it’s still only the next best thing for me to picking up the actual book. I always prefer having the physical book. But why I love going to the store? It’s the experience. I go there and talk to the owner for half an hour. It’s like the barman at your favourite bar. And you get to talk to other comic book fans. There is also something to be said about walking into the shop, seeing all the different covers and picking something up I otherwise wouldn’t have. It can even be because I see someone else picking a book up and then checking it out. That’s the awesome thing about having a local shop to go to. I also text Judd, the owner, all the time and ask him to put something on my list or to ask if there is anything I missed that week that he thinks I would like because he knows my taste.

Tiffany Smith (photo credit: <a href="https://instagram.com/tiffanystweets/">@tiffanystweets</a>)
photo credit: @tiffanystweets

► You have mentioned Schmoes Know, but we haven’t even mentioned Far, Far Away yet, your own podcast. I’m always curious about the differences between the more traditional work and the things people create on their own. Do you see differences in that regard?
Well, working with DC, there is definitely stuff that has to go through different channels before we can talk about it or before we can gain access to certain people. For Far, Far Away Kristian and I pretty much just show up and start talking. If we happen to have a connection to someone who is connected to the Star Wars universe, like a writer or a voiceover actor, we just pull them in. There is nobody we have to look to for approval. The middleman gets cut out when we do our own thing. On the other hand, we have way more access through DC than we have on our own. And it was the same with Marvel. Doing the red carpet, I had a great spot where I would get every single actor because it was a Marvel event. That would be different if I would be there for my own channel. The same can be said about Fandango. At Comic-Con, I got to interview Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson before anyone else got to chat with them. The access is so much better. For DC we got to go up to the Arrow set and hang out with the stunt coordinators or talk to Stephen Amell between takes. You don’t get that access unless you’re part of the family.

► What does that mean for you on balance?
I’d say that the positives on both sides definitely outweigh the respective negatives – if there even are any. I’m very lucky that I get to talk about things that I love anyway. You also have to look at it that way: Stacked I was doing on my own account, so if there was a comic I didn’t like, I just wouldn’t review it. I have no interest in tearing people down. One of the reasons for that is that no one sets out to create something awful. No film director says, ‘Let’s make a terrible movie’, and no comic book writer says, ‘Let’s create an awful storyline’. So I always try to see the best in whatever product I’m talking about.

► I personally think it is a perfectly valid approach. Nevertheless, it does open you up to criticism or at least questions like ‘How do we know something is really great when you talk positively about everything?’…
That’s true, but the answer is very simple. Of course not everything appeals to me. And there are two important points to make here. One, just because something doesn’t appeal to me doesn’t mean it has to be bad. It could just be down to taste. So I have a choice of how I talk about it. And two, I can just refrain from mentioning the things that I really don’t like, rather than tear them apart. As a listener or viewer, you just have to understand that basic premise. It’s the difference between offering selected recommendations, as I do, and trying to give a rated list of everything.

► How about the difference between the video work and the audio only – do you have a definite preference there?
It’s definitely cool when you get to roll out of bed and can start to do something. Or I could go from the gym straight into a podcast. I mean, I generally try not to be a sweaty, gross pig, but you can do a podcast in your pyjamas or however you are comfortable. (laughs) That’s a definite benefit to podcasting, but you also miss out on some stuff. You have to be aware that people can’t see you, so a facial expression – and I am very prone to intense facial expressions – or pointing at something in the room doesn’t translate to audio. That applies to everyone who does a podcast versus a video show. To me personally, I really love coming up with the different outfits for DC All Access, like picking a really cool Wonder Woman shirt or stuff from Black Milk, a company that has really cool DC properties. I definitely like doing that. Also, I’m a girl and I’m not gonna lie: I like having my hair and makeup done. (laughs)

► I want to end this on a bit of a tricky, maybe even unfair question. And, unlike at the top of the interview, I won’t suggest the answer. If you had the choice between adding to DC All Access by also making an official DC podcast – an audio-only long form like Far, Far Away – and doing an official All-Access-like video show in YouTube for Star Wars, what would you pick?
Since you admitted that it’s an unfair question, I’ll give you an unfair answer: I could do it all. (laughs) Working with DC for the YouTube show, I obviously could do a DC podcast as well. When Blair was still my co-host, we actually discussed that. We haven’t done it yet, but there is always potential for it. Similarly for Far, Far Away – we have discussed going to video with it. The great thing about getting to work in this industry is that you never know where it’s going to end up or what form something will take down the road. So I don’t have to choose. Did I mention that I am a very positive person and very optimistic about the things that could happen? (laughs) :x:

This interview first appeared in issue no.2 of XCENTS.

photo credit featured image: @tiffanystweets

Interview by Ewan McGee.

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