One for All
Brian Salisbury talks about his new, post-Spill site, One of Us
At heart, we're all nerds. That's the thinking behind OneofUs.net, the newest geek-friendly website based out of Austin. But if you're expecting the traditional blindered view of fan culture as a constant tumble of comics and horror DVDs, think again. Site co-founder Brian Salisbury said, "It's a one-stop haven for anybody who has a niche passion."
Salisbury, a member of the Austin Film Critics Association, cut his journalistic teeth writing for a slew of local sites, but it was as co-host of Spill.com's Remote Viewing DVD review podcast that he really built his reputation. With its mixture of podcasts and animated reviews, Spill has a fearsomely loyal following from every color of the geek rainbow. Then, in May, its backers at Hollywood.com cut costs hard. That meant layoffs, and Salisbury was hit with a double whammy. He said, "I was in a unique position, because I was an employee of Spill and an employee of Hollywood. It's not like I was completely unemployed, but my two biggest gigs were gone."
He and his Remote Viewing co-host Christopher Lawrence Cox, aka Cyrus, had a shared epiphany. Salisbury said, "[Chris] came over one night right after the news came out, and we were dejected about everything. Then he mentioned that he had owned this domain for a long time, oneofus.net. It was just perfect, and we decided that it was high time that we did something on our own."
The new site launched on July 1 after frantic preparation (or, as Salisbury explained it, while they were on vacation in Middle Earth). The editorial thinking, Salibsury said, was "to cover as many facets of geek culture as possible. Cross the nerd streams, if you will." Like Spill, One of Us is stocked with a growing library of podcasts and videos. While there will be written articles, don't necessarily expect the multipage tomes that epitomized early film blogging. That's a consequence of the changing Internet audience. Salisbury said, "Larger written portions are getting more and more difficult for people to squeeze into their busy days. People are concerned with the things that they can consume immediately."
He admits that, since neither he nor Cox has run a site of this scale or technical intricacy before, the first few weeks have been "a trial by fire." However, along with Salisbury's friend-since-college Luke Mullen and a who's who of local writers and cultural opinion-shapers, they're already running a slate of regular shows. Salisbury said, "Today it looks better than it did when we launched, and every day it gets a little bit stronger." While DVD review podcast Digital Noise is clearly the direct spiritual successor to Remote Viewing, the purpose of One of Us is to experiment with formats that haven't traditionally found a home in the geekiverse. This week sees the launch of their own episodic radio drama, Infinite Variations, which Salisbury called "a Thirties era sci-fi comedy, except making references to geek culture now." Then there's Inside the Locker, the site's own sports show. He said, "There's a protective barrier in most people's minds between sports fans and geeks." That's a false divide. "Look at fantasy football or fantasy baseball. You make a decision on which player to add to your roster based on RBIs. How's that any different to saying, 'Oh, their initiative is really high'? I don't see a difference there."
Salisbury wants One of Us to become a new community of podcasters and listeners. He's already forming a network with fellow former Spillers Jason Murphy and Jeff Schuessler of gaming podcast Rage Select (www.rageselect.com), as well as the folks at the TV-and-tech savvy LoungeGeeks.com. Salisbury said, "There will be a point where, between those three sites, there's nothing that you can be into that we won't have an outlet for."
For more on the changing landscape of online media, see Dan Solomon's feature "Fluff and Stuff."