Most people probably know Clare Kramer from her hard-hitting role as Glorificus (Glory), goddess of a hell dimension on the popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer or her turn in the cheerleader comedy film Bring it On. While she is proud of her work in those pieces, Kramer is proving to be quite the force behind the scenes in many enterprises, such as one of her biggest and newest, the website Geek Nation. In my conversation with Kramer, she spoke about this new endeavor, as well as what she waves her geek flag for.
Nick Winstead: Tell me about Geek Nation. How did this project come about?
Clare Kramer: Geek Nation is an online platform for all things entertainment. Blogs, editorials, video content, writing, podcasts, and the impetus behind it came about a year and a half ago. A group of artists got together and decided that we wanted to have a venue for ourselves and our projects that was outside of the studio system, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but going through the studios and networks, there’s such an arduous process to getting things on the air. I have so many friends that are artists, writers, directors and such and we wanted to create a space that would be a home for sponsoring that type of content quickly. You know what I mean?
NW: What was the process like of putting all this together?
CK: We secured the funding for it last year and took a year planning out Geek Nation. We decided on the name first and we loved the name because it was all encompassing. Being a geek is anything that you’re passionate about. Being a geek doesn’t mean that you just like Star Wars or Star Trek. If you love painting, then you’re a painting geek. If you love cooking, you’re a food geek, if you like Spider-Man then you’re obviously a Spider-Man geek. It’s just an umbrella term for someone who’s really passionate about something. The name is a great launching pad for us and for our site and what we’re about.
NW: The site is very interactive and I love how the various features on it function. It’s got an interesting range of content and material on it thus far.
CK: You know, we launched in June, and we just acquired a 5000 square foot sound stage, and that’s the home where we shoot our content, record our podcasts, and we have a full production facility. Basically we can take a concept from inception and take it all the way through to the product a consumer sees on our site.
NW: What sorts of things do you and Geek Nation have coming up? Where do you see this developing and going?
CK: We started rolling out our shows, and if you’ll notice now we’re showing the first season of a web series called Pretty. It’s a cross between Toddlers and Tiaras and…yeah, I don’t even know what else to compare it to! It’s just a great show. We’re going to be producing the fourth season here in a few weeks. In the meantime, we’re rolling out the first three seasons so that viewers can catch up before the new season starts. Another show called The Inn will star Emma Caufield, and it’s kinda going to be like American Horror Story for the web. You know, it’s going along the horror lines, and it involves an abandoned motel in a desolate town and a woman on a journey.
NW: Any other hints on the series’ direction?
CK: [laughs] I really can’t say too much more about it, because it seems like every nugget of information is important. You know, on a web series, the time is a lot shorter than on live tv or an hour long series, so every piece of info is key to the story. We will also have a show called Beer Geek Nation-
NW: Wait, beer, bear or beard?
CK: Definitely beer [laughs]. The guy who does this, Chris, is a scientist, and he basically breaks down the components of different beers just like someone would do with wine at a wine tasting. It’s a really great show, consumers like it, and most people like beer right? [laughs]
NW: You’re appealing to the masses!
CK: Exactly! Well it’s one of my favorites! We also have a show called Not Your Average Sports Show with Matt Willing. He retired from the NFL, and he’s been an actor. He’s been on a million things like Dexter for example, and he will be bringing former pro athletes on his show and talking about life after pro sports, their current passions and all those things. I could go on and on!
NW: Tell me something about your podcast 5 X 5, obviously a nod to the Buffy universe there.
CK: It’s my podcast with co-host Tory Mell. It’s an interactive, fan-based podcast and we’ll bring someone on and we’ll do an interview segment, then we’ll take questions from fans via Facebook and Twitter. We’ll have a technology expert come on and talk to us about current hot apps, gadgets, etc., and it’s just a lot of fun. We have other podcasts where we revisit old films, current film reviews, etc. We also have one of the few True Blood podcasts out there that is doing really well. Our team of bloggers is also really busy with content and we’ll be rolling out ten new shows. It’s definitely not a site that is singularly focused. I can’t think of anything out there to compare it to.
NW: It’s really great, and I’ve impressed with the variety you have. It’s very specialized for fans. Speaking of that umbrella term of geek, are there things that you yourself are a geek for personally? What were you a geek of before acting and before you got involved so much in the sci-fi-
CK: You mean before I got the role on Buffy [laugh]?
NW: Sure! [laugh]
CK: I’m obsessed with entertainment. I am a classic film and TV geek. I love watching old movies, and I love TV shows especially. That’s what I relate to. Even when I was a teenager I loved it.
NW: What sort of things that are out there now in film and TV are you drawn to? What catches your interest specifically?
CK: Oh gosh, I really love The Walking Dead, the comics and the series. I’m so excited for the third season. I love everything that HBO does. From Girls to Newsroom, I just think they are hitting the mark, oh, Boardwalk Empire as well! I’ll watch anything. I give everything equal opportunity. There is a LOT on my Tivo [laughs]. I watch a lot of things online as well. I’m catching up with Homeland right now. The list goes on and on.
NW: With that TV piece in mind, I actually got to see you at the Buffy Panel at Comic-Con in San Diego.
CK: Oh really! What did you think?
NW: I thought it was great. Very interesting and entertaining. Everyone on the panel and the audience seemed to really enjoy themselves and each other. Has that been great for you, being associated with a show that means so much to so many people? Obviously there will be Buffy fans that follow you to Geek Nation and you’ve had guests on that are part of the Buffy universe. What is your take on your place in all of this?
CK: You know, it was such a gift when I got the role on Buffy. I learned a lot while I was filming. I learned a lot from Sarah Michelle Gellar. She is a consummate professional and I learned a lot from being around her. Buffy was one of my first jobs as an actress. I was able to act as a sponge and absorb all the knowledge there, and the knowledge of Joss. I worked with some great writers. After the show ended, it has continued to have legs in terms of a fan base, and I’m so grateful to those people because it’s enabled me to travel the world, to meet people, and go to such great places. I’ve met so many people who were so passionate about it and that’s just wonderful to be a part of.
NW: You have this travel schedule and that following, for sure. How are you balancing all of this now that Geek Nation is taking off? You have some other roles coming up and other projects, a family. How do you usually keep yourself sane during all of this activity?
CK: Here’s the thing [laughs] I have three little ones, a four month old, a two year old and a four year old. I have Megaspider coming out in a few months, I have a book coming out and I have Geek Nation. I believe as a woman you can have it all and I think I’m proof of that [laugh]. I don’t get much sleep, but I’m all about being in the moment. If I’m at work, I’m at work. If I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. There’s a way to achieve it all and I’ve been figuring that out for the past ten years
NW: When I was doing research for this interview I was continually finding out about how active you are in so many areas with charity work, acting, producing, writing, family and so forth.
CK: I try to volunteer once a month at my daughter’s preschool too. I treasure that time, as it goes far too quickly.
NW: What else is on the horizon for you? What can our readers expect to see coming their way from you in the near future?
CK: I have Megaspider coming out, and I also have a movie called The Dead Ones and that should be coming out this fall as well. I’m working on writing a script that I’m hoping to get into production for next year. Other than that I’m focusing on 5 X 5 a lot. I really want to get a wide audience with that. I just really think I enjoy doing radio. That’s essentially what a podcast is is radio. It’s so fun, and there’s something really fun about the quick banter and having to articulate everything through your voice. It’s so different from film and television acting. In that just a facial movement or a gesture can communicate an emotion. With radio, you have got to verbalize everything and get it out there. Very different than film.
There is a lot more to be learned about Clare, Geek Nation, and the other aspects of her life and career. To check out Geek Nation for yourself, click here! To follow Clare and her various goings on, follow her on Twitter @ClareKramer . You won’t be disappointed!