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Interview with Veronica Belmont, Video/Podcast Host of Tekzilla and Qore

Veronica Belmont | Video/Podcast Host | Stated Magazine Interview


Veronica Belmont is a technology and “geek culture” video and podcast host based in San Francisco. She’s involved in a dizzying number of projects at any given time, first making her mark as a co-host of CNET’s Buzz Out Loud daily podcast before moving on to host Mahalo Daily, and then onto hosting duties for Qore on the Playstation Network and Tekzilla on Revision3. She’s a self-admitted “social networking junkie” with over 1.5 million Twitter followers (and counting). She speaks regularly at conferences and panels and advises for and gdgt (co-founded by her boyfriend, former Engadget editor Ryan Block). As if that weren’t enough, she also co-hosts The Sword and Laser podcast and shares her tastes on her fashion blog, The Lady Likes. stated was fortunate enough to catch Veronica during a rare moment of downtime.

stated: Thanks for joining us! You’ve had a long relationship with technology and gaming from an early age. Your parents worked in the industry and you grew up surrounded by it. What did you want to be when you grew up—did you end up where you expected to or has it been a surprise?

VERONICA BELMONT: I had no idea my job even existed back then! Growing up, I probably changed my mind about what I wanted to “be” every six months. I loved music though, and I went to college with big plans to be a sound engineer and work with bands in the studio. Fortunately, that training parlayed itself into an audio production internship at CNET after I graduated!

stated: Which do you enjoy more—working behind the scenes or in front of the camera?

VERONICA BELMONT: Though I would have never imagined it, I actually love being on camera… it’s taken some getting used to!

Veronica Belmont Demo Reel from Veronica Belmont on Vimeo.

stated: You certainly seem comfortable with it now. You started out at CNET as an intern before producing and eventually co-hosting Buzz Out Loud. Can you take us through how that big break came about?

VERONICA BELMONT: Like many good things in San Francisco, it all started with Craigslist. I had just moved out here (with no job, of course) and spent the first few months temping and job searching. I saw a posting for the internship on CL, and I thought my brain was going to explode. The thought of working for a company like CNET and getting to do audio work was basically a dream come true. The podcast had just started out as well, and my boss was the audio engineer. He left a few months later, and I offered to take his place. One thing led to another, and soon I was interjecting my own comments into the podcast… that’s the benefit of having control over the sound board and all the mics!

(Photo: The Bui Brothers)

stated: The Playstation Network, where you host the gaming segment, Qore, has had quite a time of it lately with the security breach and temporary shutdown. How has it affected you and your show?

VERONICA BELMONT: Yeah, it’s been pretty rough! But as of right now PSN is back online, so people are able to download the May episode. We’ve continued to shoot and put together new segments this whole time, so we’re on track with the show as usual. I was extremely anxious for the May episode to come out, since there’s a segment in it about my experience doing voiceover for the new Fallout: New Vegas DLC [downloadable content], “Old World Blues”. I’m voicing three characters, and it’s the first time I’ve ever done any voice acting for a video game. It was so much fun!

Qore on The Playstation Network

stated: Can’t wait to check it out! The number of projects you have going at once is staggering. You left Buzz Out Loud to host Mahalo Daily, and now co-host the successful Tekzilla show with fellow tech-head, Patrick Norton. How did you get involved and where do you see it going?

VERONICA BELMONT: I started Tekzilla and Qore at the same time (April of 2008), so that was a major shift for me career-wise. I knew Roger Chang (our producer on Tekzilla) from when he worked at Gamespot and I was at CNET. When he left to go work on DL.TV with Patrick and Robert Heron, he would occasionally ask me to come guest host. Eventually Roger and Patrick moved over to Revision3; when they needed a new co-host for the show, they asked me to come aboard! Tekzilla has been awesome, and I hope that we can continue growing. We have a lot of fun with the show, and the audience is really heavily involved and engaged with us.

stated: It certainly shows. You’ve been getting to do some cool stuff with the Cruze-arati promotional spots you host for Chevrolet. How did you get involved and how much input do you have into the format and content?
VERONICA BELMONT: We just wrapped up shooting the series last month, and it was an interesting experience. The content wasn’t out of left field for me at all; in fact, it felt like a lot like Mahalo Daily, just with the added “Oh, I got to this cool thing I’m showing you now by driving this Chevy Cruze” aspect. I got to help the producers come up with ideas, and if something didn’t feel right I’d veto it (that maybe happened once). I actually really respect that a big company like GM tried something new like this campaign.

(Photo: The Bui Brothers)

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stated: It’s a smart idea. Moving on to a project that’s presumably a labor of love, you and former BOL compatriot Tom Merritt, co-host and produce The Sword & Laser podcast covering sci-fi and fantasy literature. How did that start?

VERONICA BELMONT: We started brainstorming the idea for Sword & Laser in 2007, I believe. We wanted to start a book club and a podcast, and we both love SFF [sci-fi/fantasy], so it seemed like a natural progression. It’s probably the project that gives me the most personal satisfaction, honestly. We have a great time doing the show, and the audience is so incredibly vocal and inspiring. That’s the fun part about doing such a niche podcast… the fans know what they’re talking about to an unbelievable degree, and they constantly school us. Every September we have a live episode recorded at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, and I look forward to it more than any other conference or event that I go to all year. It’s a very tight-knit community.

stated: That’s fantastic. Another side project that appears to be close to your heart is your fashion blog, The Lady Likes. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it started? Do you see fashion media as an area into which you might expand your on-camera work?

VERONICA BELMONT: I felt like I needed an outlet for my girlie side. While my Twitter account is my own personal business and I can write what I want, I’m aware that a large segment of that readership is male and/or probably uninterested in the hot new Cynthia Vincent wedges that just came out. I just wanted a way to share that side of me, unabashedly. And in fact, I am working on a new video project with a startup that will combine my love of fashion and technology in some interesting ways. The first few videos we’ve shot are more tech-related, but there will be more fashion-oriented ones that we’re in the process of planning now.

(Photo: John Lee)

stated: We’ll look for them! Speaking of girlie things, you and Ryan Block are quite the power couple (yes, we said it). He co-founded gdgt (where you serve as Media Producer) and is former editor of Engadget. Do you find it difficult to balance your busy careers and personal lives? How do you “unplug”?

VERONICA BELMONT: I’m not sure if we ever “unplug.” Even when we’re on vacation we still bring laptops or iPads (at least). But that’s part of what makes us work so well, I think. We don’t judge each other for feeling the need to check email on vacation or wanting to play Portal 2 for six hours on a Saturday. But we get out! We love trying new restaurants, and we recently started hiking on the weekends as well. It’s nice to be with someone who really gets what I do and what I’m about, and vice-versa.

stated: You mentioned playing video games together, and a lot of great titles have come out lately—Portal 2 (as you mentioned) and L.A. Noire, to name a few. What are you playing these days?

VERONICA BELMONT: I just beat the Portal 2 single-player campaign, and now I’m working on L.A. Noire! So, you actually hit the nail on the head there. Previous to that I was working Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I’ve played World of Warcraft for almost 6 years now, but I’ve been on a hiatus for the past 5 months or so. It hasn’t been drawing me in the same way it used to, and now I just feel like I’m too far behind my guild mates (I’m at level 83). It’s been fun to actually complete some games for once!

Photoshoot with The Bui Brothers

stated: Completely understood! You have a truly impressive twitter following and handle, simply @Veronica. How did you swing that—were you one of the first 25 users or something?!

VERONICA BELMONT: I joined Twitter in October of 2006, and @Veronica was actually available. I’m user #10,350. It’s been a big part of my life.

stated: It’s become so much more mainstream now, but you were obviously ahead of the curve. Do you have a favorite internet meme? “Charlie Bit My Finger”? “Double Rainbow”, perhaps?

VERONICA BELMONT: Oh man… how do you choose? Ryan and I are very big on troll face. We have the Rage Face iPhone app and we send them to each other all the time over SMS instead of writing. You can convey a lot of emotions through rage faces. Otherwise, I’m a big Maru fan.

stated: What are you listening to and reading these days?

VERONICA BELMONT: I just finished up reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, and we’re about to start reading The Hunger Games for Sword & Laser. I’ve been listening to the new Cut Copy and Two Door Cinema Club albums; I like upbeat music when I’m working on the computer. I’m a big Rdio fan, so I’ve been discovering a lot of new music that way.

stated: Great stuff. Any favorite blogs you’re frequenting?

VERONICA BELMONT: The Fashionista is one of my favorites, The Wertzone for all my science fiction and fantasy news, and BuzzFeed for everything else!

stated: Any other upcoming projects you’re excited about?

VERONICA BELMONT: A couple of things in the pipeline, but right now I’m just trying to take things one day at a time!

stated: Sounds like a plan! Thanks for joining us.

(Photo: The Bui Brothers)



Visit Veronica at:

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