Welcome back for part two of our chat with James Neathery, 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.
Part one can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: Viewers of the show know that you were eliminated in the third episode, but let’s start at the very beginning of the process. How did you first hear about the show and the opportunity to actually be on it?
James Neathery: I saw a post in Steampunk Revolution on Facebook and decided what the hell, it couldn’t hurt to try.
AA: What was your interest or motivation to be on the show?
JN: I figured it was win-win. If I won, hey, 100k bucks and bragging rights. If I lost, I still won, because I got to meet some awesome makers and gain useful new skills. Plus, it would help more of the wider world see what SP is all about.
AA: Pop Magnet was the casting company chosen by Pink Sneakers, the production company, to find candidates for the show. What can you share with us about the interview process that you went through with them?
JN: Their interview process is very, very thorough and I feel like they picked great contestants for the show.
AA: The final part of the selection process was a sample challenge to steampunk a common everyday item. What was your item and what did you do with it?
JN: I went easy mode and grabbed the wrist watch, haha. I figured we only had 6 hours and not a broad range of tools and supplies so I should stick to familiar territory. I turned it into a bracer and added color changing leds and a toggle switch. It was pretty cool, given the limited time and resources. I was proud of it, and I think it impressed the judges.
AA: I recall thinking it was one of the objects I wanted to take home, and it was definitely someone that one would see worn at a steampunk convention. Once you were selected in the final ten to appear on the show, what preparations did you have to make before you left for Los Angeles? What were you leaving behind or had to put on hold while you were away for filming?
JN: Oh man, I was so lucky, my wife was super supportive of me going, and she really held the fort down while I was gone. I couldn’t tell my boss much but he was totally ok with getting my shifts covered despite me not having but a couple weeks vacation. I’ve never before been at a job that would put up with this kind of stuff and keep someone on. I also had to contact clients and tell them I had to put their commissions on hold until I was back in town. Obviously I couldn’t tell them why but they were cool about it too.
AA: Kudos to your boss! Great supportive people like that are priceless. Without giving spoilers, what interesting things might viewers see in the episodes you were in?
JN: Without saying too much, I learned a lot of new skills and made stuff I’ve never attempted before.
AA: What are some factors that you had in common with the other contestants or set you apart?
JN: I honestly feel like I had the most versatility. I learned and adapted techniques and ideas much more, I feel, than the other contestants. I also feel like I was very much a peacekeeper between some of the contestants, trying to smooth things over, which is something I am rather good at.
AA: What were some challenges for you personally during the filming?
JN: Definitely being away from my family. My wife in particular is awesome at letting me know, objectively, if something is good or not. I’m also not used to time constraints. Quality takes time!
We’ll break one last time in our chat with James.
Join us for the conclusion as he shares more about his time on the show.
Also, check out his exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.
Follow the latest news about the show on the Steampunk’d website.