One day I was blog hoping (going from blog to blog and reading) when I came across something for MousVent. My first thought.... What the heck is this MouseVent. So I posed the question to the twitterverse and got an answer from @mousevent itself. Below you will find my interview with Alan Hooper the creator of MouseVent!
Alan, please tell me about yourself, your website, and what brought sparked your interest in Disney.
My personal background and passion for Disney started about 20 years ago. Once I'd visited the parks in Florida around 1990. There was something inspiring about the environment / atmosphere. It wasn't necessarily about the rides, more about the entertainment. Combine this with the release of Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid and Aladdin. I was hooked. Several visits in close succession (thanks to nagging my parents) followed. We then fast forward to about 8 years ago, when I found lots of Disney websites. This took up a lot of my spare time, looking for the different websites. Back then they weren’t updated as much as they are now. So when you'd found one you had to find another to get different information.
I realized that there was potentially a gap in the market and create Disney-links.com a web directory based upon the concept of linking up the Disney community. When you create a website and it goes live, you can easily get disappointed when no one visits. So by creating a "hub" for people to visit to look for new and different websites there is more chance of your website being found. Disney-Links.com was created about 5 years ago. The idea of listing new / small website alongside the more established huge websites really appealed.
What is MouseVent?
MouseVent is the world's first Disney fan based Audio Advent Calendar. Traditionally with and advent calendar you open one door for each day of advent. Inside each door you would see a picture or a chocolate, depending on how rich you are!! This time when you open a virtual door on www.mousevent.com you will find an audio track. Each track will be between 5 - 10 minutes long and showcase a sample of each of our contributors. In the vast majority of cases, the track will be exclusive to MouseVent.
Where did the name MouseVent come from?
The name MouseVent came from the base idea of Advent. It soon became apparent, from feedback, that there wasn't that instant connection. Some listeners thought it was a new website full of people letting out steam about bad experiences. As in Venting about the mouse. I also knew from past experience that Disney don't really like you using their name in domain names.
Will each track be available after its original release date?
If you miss the release date do not worry. They will be available on the site well into next year. They will also be available on iTunes probably for much much longer.
5-10 minutes is a good chunk of time. Do you think Disney fans want to listen that long?
From my personal experience with Disney fan podcasts, 5 - 10 minutes isn't really a great deal of time. Most podcasts seem to run for about an hour. Without a doubt 24 hours of MouseVent listening would be too long. So short clips was definitely the way to go. Plus if you've gone to the effort of downloading a track you want it to be worthwhile.
Who was involved in the creation of MouseVent?
The initial concept was thought up by myself, but instead of being an open project it was to showcase just our own podcast. After 7 days of planning it became clear that we alone couldn't create 24 different days. So, to benefit everyone listening I felt it was only right that the full Disney community could get involved. At first I was concerned that no one would want to join up. As of today I could have filled 31 days
Wow 31 days. Would you consider doing a longer MouseVent next year if you got that many responses again?
After this year’s event is all boxed up and back in the attic, I'll contact everyone that took part and everyone that wanted to join in. Merge in the feedback and we'll see what happens. If this year is popular for all 24 days. Then we'll know interest didn't die off after the launch and the concept could be extended.
When was MouseVent created?
I created the concept towards the beginning of November. Before anything was publicly announced I contacted over 40 different potential contributors. A week later only 6 had responded, was it all going to be a waste of time!
It was always going to be a tall order to get everyone to write, create and submit their audio in what eventually turned out to be 2 weeks. After all, everyone else has other projects they are doing. Some contributors do 2 or 3 podcasts already.
Eventually 24 days had been allocated, which allowed me to publicly announce what was happening.
So with 2 weeks to publicize the project, we can only hope that our target audience gets to hear about us.
Who will be doing the daily podcasts?
Bob Jackson, Carol Stein, Chef Big Fat Panda, Destination Vinylmation, Disney Brit, Disney Tidbits, Eye on Orlando Radio Show, From Screen to Theme, Inside the Magic, Jim Korkis, KingdomTrips Radio, Magical Definition Podcast, Mouse Magic HD, MousekeFoodie, Pogo, The Mortis Matinee Podcast, The Season Pass Podcast, Those Darn Cats, Trapped on Vacation, WDW Fan Boys Podcast, WDW News Today, WEDway Radio, WindowtotheMagic, Your MouseCast
Were podcasters selected or did they volunteer? How did they become involved?
I selected the podcasters that I have listened to over the past year. My thoughts being that if I enjoyed these, hopefully others would too. So, out went the emails. While I was waiting for the responses, I also contacted Jim Korkis, Carols Stein and Bob Jackson. Hoping to try and get another direction in the project. They all agreed. As soon as all 24 days were allocated, unfortunately more people came forward and wanted to get involved. It could quite easily have turned into a 31 day event.
Who are Jim Korkis, Carols Stein and Bob Jackson? How are they involved with Disney?
The majority of contributors were podcasters, which you may have heard of. I wanted to add a different Dimension to the event, by adding in other Disney related people. Jim Korkis is a Disney Historian and Author of "The Vault of Walt". He's worked in the parks and spoken to many Disney names you'd recognize. Recently he's been a regular guest on WDW Radio telling the stories about how the parks are what they are.
Carol Stein is a musician and singer. I first heard her playing / supporting the onstage comedians at the Comedy Warehouse in Pleasure Island. When that was closed down she was relocated. Now here permanent position is resident entertainer at the UK pavilion in Epcot.
Bob Jackson has quite a following and is probably better known as YeHaa Bob. He plays piano and sings in the River Roost bar at Port Orleans Riverside Resort at Walt Disney World. His Show is a very energetic 5 hours. We went to see him this summer and believe me this guy doesn't even pause for breath!!!
So in reality these three have the most official connection to Disney.
What does each day of the podcast represent?
MouseVent was created to celebrate the enjoyment of Disney and related projects. With the collection of people involved, as the days go by listeners will find new information and projects that they may want to follow after the event.
Who is the intended audience for MouseVent? Is it children, adults, the whole family?
I have always tried to aim all my projects at a family friendly environment. There are enough problems for parents to worry about. Disney related stuff shouldn't be one of those.
What does MouseVent have to do with Disney and the Disney community?
This year there is no official affiliation or endorsement with Disney. There are a few reasons for this. Why should Disney actually look at this project when it has no track history? If they responded to every fan project, they’d get nothing done. Apart from a few hopeful emails to some people involved I didn't push the issue. Plus with only a few weeks’ notice there was other stuff to do.
What are you hoping to give to the Disney community?
If everything falls into place and the plan works properly. MouseVent should become an annual event. There is no real outline for how this will develop, but an annual project would be nice. The thought of different groups within the fan community, coming together to create one presentation really appeals to me, particularly at this time of year. There is no competition, or elitism, everyone involved is at the same level.
Is MouseVent only about Christmas or is it more non secular?
I'm from the UK, where political correctness sometimes goes too far. In my home town we don't have Christmas lights, we have Winter decorations. Although MouseVent falls on top of the same period as advent, the intentions behind it is not to be based upon the Christian festival. The project doesn't really really tie down to any religion, but instead focuses on sharing the enjoyment of Disney.
Does that mean the Jewish members of the Disney community could listen in and enjoy?
MouseVent is about the celebration of Disney entertainment. It will not isolate any religion. So far the submissions that have come in doesn't talk about any bible / religious scripture. Saying that There is mention of Santa Claus. I'm not entirely sure where Santa fits into the Christmas Story. As in I don’t think he is mentioned in the bible, but has become hand in hand with Christmas.
Is the connection to the Christmas advent calendar necessary?
The only connection to the advent calendar that needed to be used was getting across the idea of every day there is a secret gift behind a door. In the short period of time that MouseVent was developed, finding a basis that was recognized already really helps.
When does MouseVent start?
MouseVent starts on the 1st of December and continues everyday until the 24th. Each and everyday a new audio clip will be released.
Can you give us a hint to what we might get each day?
In a lot of cases I don't honestly know what will be released from some contributors. Some contributors are producing a shorter version of their podcast, some are doing something completely different. Bob Jackson (aka YeHaa Bob) has donated some music. Jim Korkis has recorded with me an exclusive unheard story about Walt Disney. Without giving too much away I think that's as much as I can say.
What do you hope for the future of MouseVent?
Fingers crossed we will have a popular FREE project this year. Next year, I would like to get some sort of official contribution from Disney in some form.
How can people find out more or get involved?
We have a website www.mousevent.com which is where the main event will happen. There is also a Twitter account, search for @MouseVent with daily tweets. Finally you can also subscribe on iTunes for the event.
Thank you Alan!