Interview with Steampunk’d Producer, Jenn Duncan

This week we are talking with Jenn Duncan, one of the producers of Steampunk’d, from GSN, the Game Show Network. Steampunk’d is the first steampunk reality show to be broadcast on cable television.


For full disclosure, I was the steampunk consultant for Pink Sneakers in the development phase of this project and met Jenn a few months before the production phase started.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Jenn, thanks for joining us this week.

Jenn Duncan: Thank you, Kevin.


AA: What an amazing project for everyone to be involved with! Before we talk about Steampunk’d specifically, please share a bit about your background and other projects you’ve worked on.

JD: This really has been an amazing project, and one I’m very proud of. I am excited on this one to get back to my competition show roots. I began in reality in 2002, when I was casting for Survivor and The Amazing Race. Being a writer, I made my way into the story side of The Amazing Race and did five seasons of that show before moving on to other hits like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and Shear Genius. I’ve also run a lot of Docu Series like “Welcome to Sweetie Pies,” “My Five Wives,” and most recently, “Becoming Us” on ABCFamily. Getting back to the world of a competition series has been on my to-do list for 2015, and so Steampunk’d came at the perfect time!


AA: Many viewers will be familiar with those shows. How did working on them prepare you for working on Steampunk’d?

JD: Every show is inherently different, and I learn more and more on each one. I would say, however, that the constant that I tend to see in my work and the one thing I am drawn to is STORY. I am very interested in how people handle conflict and how people grow and learn in the face of conflict. Whether I am following someone’s life in a docu series style show, or pitting people against one another for a prize victory in a competition, I have to remember that those cast members face very personal CHALLENGES. And it’s difficult on them. I always work to put myself in their shoes and I try and validate their experience. By doing that, we can work together to tell their individual story of their journey. When that is done well, somewhere in a living room on a couch, an audience member sees that story play out on screen and relates to it and says, “That’s just like me.” I think working on as many shows as I have worked on has made me hone that skill and I am proud of it.


AA: Empathy like that is always a good skill to have, and I can see how it would help tell a story more clearly. What were some of the similarities and differences between those other projects and Steampunk’d?

JD: Steampunk’d is a competition show through and through. But it’s also a show about artists and these people are serious about their craft. We aren’t just playing a game here. We are putting true talent in a ring and duking it out. In this way, the show reminds me very much of Shear Genius, a show I did years ago about high end hairstylists, where we eliminated someone each week, and picked a “top stylist” by the end. In both circumstances, the artists never took a challenge lightly. They were out for blood.


AA: With money and prestige on the line, not to mention potential opportunities, it’s pretty understandable that people would be competitive and definitely need to bring their “A” game. How did you come to be involved with Steampunk’d as a producer?

JD: It’s funny, I had two separate sources come to me about the show within a day’s time. The network had reached out to my agent, and he suggested this was right up my ally, and then a friend had told the production company that I’d be a perfect fit. I guess somewhere someone was looking out for me! J


AA: That’s a good network of people! What were your initial thoughts about the concept and what steampunk was?

JD: I had a vague concept of what steampunk was, but not as well versed as I now am! I actually like metallic jewelry and watches with exposed gears and leather, so I had some personal items that the Makers later pointed out to me were a little “steampunk.” I guess I was cool before I knew I was. LOL As for the show concept, I immediately loved it. Who doesn’t love a group of artists battling it out?


We’ll break here in our chat with Jenn

Join us next time as she talks about the production phase for the show.

Also, check out Jenn’s exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.


Published in: on September 30, 2015 at 7:42 pm  Comments (3)  
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Crimson Peak Sneak Peek


Hey Readers!

Have you heard about the new movie, Crimson Peak?


Following tragedy, a young woman marries a seductive strange and is brought to his home on a snow covered mountain. Haunting secrets abound, lurking between and behind darkness and mystery.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam.


The trailer can be watched here


There are three US screenings coming up, in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles. If you are in each city, interested in wearing your steampunk finest, and enjoying special show time activities, leave your name and email address in a moderated comment below, or email me directly at,  and you could be selected for a pair of tickets for one of those screenings.


If you do go, arrive early as seating is first come, first served, and the theater is likely to be completely full.


San Francisco, California

October 1, 2015

AMC Van Ness

1000 Van Ness Ave


New York City, New York

October 7, 2015

AMC Loew’s 34th St

312 West 34th St

Hosted by Aurelio Voltaire


Los Angeles (Hollywood), California

October 8, 2015

TCL Chinese 6

6925 Hollywood Blvd

Hosted by Juliette Landau


Good luck and enjoy the movie!


Published in: on September 29, 2015 at 8:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interview with maker Karianne Gottschalk, part 3

Welcome back to our chat with Karianne Gottschalk, who was one of the ten contestants on Steampunk’d, from GSN, the Game Show Network. Steampunk’d is the first steampunk reality show to be broadcast on cable television.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.


Airship Ambassador: What were some challenges for you personally during the filming? (design, construction, being away from family, etc)

Karianne Gottschalk: The time we had to set up a design. That sucked. When they sent us off into designing our room, the judges came by in only an hour to see what we were going to do. I like taking time in preparation to my designs, so there it wasn’t just a piece… But an entire room, with several pieces, props, story.. Etc. IN ONLY ONE HOUR!! Sometimes we got lucky and we were given an hour and a half.

I was also having a hard time being away from my pirate(boyfriend) and friends when I was gone. Not just because I missed them terribly, but I admittedly needed their support. I have a hard time still on the anniversary of loosing my mother.. Not only was I there during that time but I was also there when her birthday passed both those events are only a few days apart. That shit pulls on my heart strings and I could’ve used a hug… Or a shot of whiskey


AA: When people watch Steampunk’d, what would you like for them to take away from the show and what was created that they could apply to their own work?

KG: Just remember we’re all makers. We all (well most) love steampunk and are a part of this community. It was our lives before and will continue to be a part of our lives here after. We all have something to offer, and if someone is inspired by our work and can’t tell how or why we did something, please ask!! We all Iove to hear your questions and would love to show you or teach you anything.


AA: How was it coming home and getting back to your regular schedule and life?

KG: Wonderful! Lol. I love my life, even though it’s not where I need it to be at the moment, I still love what I do everyday. I make steampunk art and teach leather classes. This is my life, what I did out there I do at home.. Without any of the drama that ensues when your on a reality TV show and I’m surrounded by an amazing collection of people.

I do miss the hell out of everyone there. Cast and crew! I wish I can take just about all of them home with me 🙂


AA: What suggestions do you have for people who are thinking of applying for a possible season 2?

KG: Have fun. It really is a ton of fun. The show focuses on the drama, but there was barely any of that. I made some life long friends and have met amazing people in and out of the show. And have learned a ton and have been more inspired than I ever was! We’re being ridiculed pretty hard in some places on the interwebs, but I don’t care. It was all worth it to meet the people I have grown to really care about and put me on the path I need to be.


AA: Now that the show has aired, what comes next for you?


Teaching people the things I know and making art for a living. This is the focus I want in life. I want to teach, grow, and inspire……. While permanently traveling in my little tiny house ^_^


AA: Looking beyond steampunk, what other interests fill your time?

KG: That’s it. Steampunk is a part of everything for me.  For example, I’m an ice hockey goalie in a men’s league.. All my gear and jerseys are steampunk inspired hahaha.

I even have a steampunk belly dancing outfit.  Everything else is focused on steampunk art.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

KG: it’s a challenge sometimes to bring my hobbies into the world of steampunk.. I’m always up for a good challenge 😉


AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?

KG: I do everything I want to do. I figure out time and sacrifice other things when I want to learn something. I’m a very determined person. At the moment I’m learning how to fire breath and am making a fire whip.


AA: What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?

KG: I reallllly enjoy renaissance festivals ^_^


AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

KG: Everyone. Just about every human has something to offer, you can learn from them, grow from them, they can sometimes show that you inspired them and in turn that is a huge inspiration for me.


AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?

KG: This is probably the hardest question I have ever been asked. I don’t know which event has the most positive impact. There have been so many that have been so important.. Yet another topic I could write a book on.

But my greatest challenge, definitely after mom passing away. A ton of stuff happened at that time, I lost my home, car, both jobs, couldn’t attend school..everything.  I then gave up everything else I had. I had no passion in life. Hockey, art, steampunk, conventions, etc. it was my life and I had absolutely no drive to ever get it back. It took a lot of soul searching and positive inspirational people in my life to help me find my light again. These past two years have been a huge turn around. My life is back, I’m happy, and I have my art and my community back in my life. My art hasn’t made 100% comeback yet, but I’m getting pretty damn close!


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers?

KG: Keep creating, keep learning, go toward your passion, live for your passion, we have one life..NOW BE AWESOME AND LIVE THE SHIT OUT OF IT!


Great words to live by, in all that we do! Thanks, Karianne, for joining us in this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!


Keep up to date with Karianne‘s latest work on her DeviantArt page.

Also, check out her exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.

Published in: on September 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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