We want to apologize for the quality of the interview. There are a few spots where audio cuts out and then resumes or some spots where the audio is inaudible. Due to time constraints it isn't feasible for us to redo an interview and we don't often know of loss in quality until after the interview is done. Thanks for your understanding and enjoy this awesome interview.
Kouchkiller: Alright space junkies, today we have, with us of course, everybody knows his as Branflakes, and of course is Brandon, you said Brandon Felczer
Branflakes: Yea, so, yea, I go by Brandon on the forums, of course, my username is Branflakes, it's a nickname that stuck around forever. So I kind of, when I had to make an username when I came on board, I'm like that's going to be it. How you doing?
Kouchkiller: I'm doing fine brother, I know you are busier than a one armed paper hanger, so we'll try to make this short and quick and sweet, of course it's, like we do with, it's called, I've got a name segment and of course it's about you, not about STO, it's about you behind the screen, behind the scene and what goes on in your life, of course a little bit like coding who you are so, our first question will be is - I know you're out there in California - are you originally from California?
Branflakes: Yea, so, I was born actually in Torrance, California - which is in Los Angeles Country - Born in Torrance but I lived a couple places in the area - we lived in Palos Verdes for a couple years and then when my sister was born we moved to Redondo Beach and I lived there until the middle of 4th grade - and in 4th grade I moved to Orange County - my parents moved us there - it was like a brand new community in development - and that was back in 95' and I moved there and I went to school there until I left for college and then I went to San Diego - I almost stayed in Orange County - but I actually went to San Diego last minute because I could actually move out of the house, live on my own in a sense where I don't have to worry my parents being right there and if I stayed in Orange Country I would have been staying with them. So I went to San Diego, I lived there until I moved up here for the job on STO and that was November of 2012 so just over a year. I always saw myself moving up or I would have loved to live in Seattle cause I thought - man I keep moving south, I'm either going to have to go to Mexico to keep with the tradition of moving south or start going north. So, here I am and I love it up here. Of course I miss all my family and friends there, all down there, but I made some new ones up here and having a really great time.
Kouchkiller: Well good, alright so, pretty much your childhood was spent in the Orange County area.
Branflakes: Yea, I say, if someone says where are you from, I would definitely say South Orange County cause I definitely spent the most time there, so.
Kouchkiller: What was your childhood like growing up in Orange County?
Branflakes: It was great, Orange County - you know obviously at least South Orange County, it was very safe area, a little sheltered you know, if you ever seen, if you ever seen Orange County, that old TV show, it was like for teenagers back in the day. It is very similar to that. You're near the beach, so very beachy, there was a lot of snotty kids and things like that, I don't think that I was like that though. I kind of kept a level head, but very nice area, I would love to raise my kids there but I want to work on STO forever so I can't move down there; gotta stay up here, you know, so yea, really great, the schools were all blue ribbon schools, so really great, I was very fortunate.
Kouchkiller: Now do you have any brothers or sisters or anything?
Branflakes: I do. I have a younger sister, she's 3 years younger than me, she just was married, and she lives down in San Diego, she kind of followed my footsteps, she went to [Cut Off/Inaudible] - cause you know I got to see them maybe once or twice a year - but now that I'm up here I get to see them every couple weekends. She has two kids so I get to see both my nephews often and my brother is in Sacramento so that's not too far away so I definitely see him way more than when we didn't live up here so that's really cool.
Kouchkiller: Alright, now you were talking about, when, where, you would like to raise your kids - do you have any children yourself yet?
Branflakes: No, no kids, I would love to but [Inaudible]
Kouchkiller: I have two I can sell you, I'll ship them to you, UPS brother.
Branflakes: I do have a dog, her name's Kapree, and she's 5, I definitely consider her my daughter. She's very high maintenance - poor thing had a emergency procedure this past weekend - she's doing okay, but definitely baby her since there's no kids around - so she's great.
Kouchkiller: Most excellent! Alright now in school were you kind of the nerd, the wallflower, I mean nerds now-a-days rule the world so it's okay to be a nerd, I mean Bill Gates is the ultimate nerd, he rules the world, so - were you kind of the nerdy, the wallflower, or were you a social butterfly? Get out and had had your crowd run around?
Branflakes: You know, I was pretty social - but I also was, you know, [Inaudible], I didn't belong to any nerdy clubs - I think I wanted to deep down inside but you know my friends weren't into those kinds of things. We all loved video games and stuff but, no, I would say I was very social, I was very outgoing, you know, part of a lot different groups and things like that. High School was good, I had a really fun time, I had a great group of friends and always had a good time.
Kouchkiller: [coughs] Excuse me, did you have any kind of sports or anything you done or any kind of clubs you were in?
Branflakes: I did, I, lets see, well growing up I played baseball, so I played baseball all the way up to High School.
Kouchkiller: Braves, sorry I had to put that in there, Go Braves!
Branflakes: Alright, that's fine, and then in High School, I didn't try out for baseball, I don't know the reason why, but I actually got into track and field and I - it's really weird - I ran the 100 meter dash but only during practice, they wouldn't let me actually run it at the meets - and then I threw shot put, so, yea, that's what I did in High School for that, I also, I ran a club on campus - now that I remember that - it was called Safe Rides, we basically gave - it was a program that was Countywide, I was actually president for the whole County - where we gave rides to maybe people who were underage and, you know, were drinking, so we gave them a safe ride home, they would call in and then we would dispatch, you know, people, the high school students to go out. Cause you know it was a really good program, it's sad but unfortunately there was a lot of high school students that thing it's cool to be drinking underage and you know it's going to happen, might as well keep them off the streets. So it was a really cool program, I was really happy to be a part of it. Taught me a lot.
Kouchkiller: My hats off to you on that one. That's a really excellent program to have. Alright, I want to skip to here. So alright, so after high school what came next, I assume you went to college?
Branflakes: Yea so i went to San Diego State University - I studied International Business which is basically business with an emphasis on in a region in the world and on a language; I chose Western Europe and Spanish, so [speaking Spanish/inaudible] - and I - it's strange - I graduated - I walked with my class and everything but actually not received my diploma, and the one outstanding requirement is that I go overseas - specifically to Spain and complete a 5 week internship - well that's been hard, I haven't been able to do it since because I've been working and I just have not have had the chance but I actually worked with my school and let them know - hey my company that I work for now has a EU office in the Netherlands in Amsterdam and I said I can't get to Spain but you know if I could go over this, I'm sure it doesn't look good for you but you know I've been going to San Diego State for 10 years, even though I really haven't, I graduated, you know, years ago, but I just had that one outstanding requirement, but I'm sure it shows on your books - I told them all these reasons why and you know, their like "Yes, we'll approve that" so they actually approved me to do that and I'm actually to be going I believe in June. Yea, so you know it's funny to make the jump you know, when I look at my Major in International Business and video games but you know, when I was at university I was actually working [inaudible] so that was a really interesting gig and I didn't make the [cut off] to working here on Star Trek Online but I been playing Star Trek Online since beta so I've always been a fan and have a love and passion for Star Trek in general and really wanting to see myself become part of it and that's when I started - I was on my first Podcast which I didn't actually host, it was called The Neutral Zone - I was a co-host with some others and then after that Mark and I started Priority One and you know we interviewed some developers, I was happen to come up to the Northern California area and I stopped by Cryptic and and I got a tour and from the moment going there I just knew that was what I wanted to do. And Stormshade was the community manager at the time so I worked with him and kind of like a mentor to let him know, hey this is what i want to do someday and hes like "Alright that's great!" and he was a mentor, I started writing for Massively to get some writing experience and then about 7 months later in November the position opened up, I applied for it and here I am.
Kouchkiller: Now and what does a community manager – what do you do as a community manager what does that entails?
Branflakes: Sure yeah well it entails quite a lot. Community Manager is an interesting title for it since there is so much outside of community in terms – I think even myself when I was a player – I am still a player – but when I didn’t work here – I thought Stormshade was on the forum hanging out with us – you know and posting the news maybe but come to find that there is a lot more beyond that so my main roles I act more like a bridge, I bridge information between the development team, the publishing team here at perfect world and the players – you guys – so whether that is the news at the forums and things like that I do all our web content for our website as well as our social media Facebook twitter YouTube anything you see posted on there it has come from me [inaudible] or I have got someone to post it for me or what not. Of course I post all the news and the blog post and the devs write some of the blogs and those will be offered by them and I will post them up on the site. The screen shots and the wallpapers you see I have taken most of those and made most of those - obviously some of the wallpapers that are special where done by – like that recent Enterprise wallpaper was done by Thomas the Cat – some are more like I had the Jem’hadar heavy escort carrier on there that was for me and of course I participate in the forums and gather feedback send it to the developers. I run our community events and I do some in game weekly – I know that subspace radio promotes them. I do some on the forums some on the Foundry I schedule pretty much all our interviews here - you know - for instance this one (laughs) - I scheduled it. But you know some of the past all of the past interviews with Developers and our fan sites and podcasts and communities and radio stations I pretty much handle all those. I also work on Press releases when we have our major updates and things like that. And our Special projects here at Perfect World, Foundry Spotlight. I am also working on revamping the referral program and the Facebook connect program those are kinda still in the works but more information [inaudible]. I work with our design team to do all the launcher ads that you see anything art that you see on the launcher or on the web c-store. I also work with startrek.com host to promote STO and all our guest blogs you may have seen they post once a week news and blogs up. And then also new ideas and initiatives with the community like we have done PVP boot camp you have seen the RP round table most recently a post yesterday the Foundry Authors Academy and more beyond that so it is a lot of work but you know what every day is so fun and when I leave for the day it is like I can’t wait to get here for tomorrow.
Kouchkiller: Alright well in real life there is more to work than just video games of course that is pretty much your world and what not what do you do what are your favourite hobbies you love to do when you get away from STO and cryptic and what not what do you like to get out and do what kind of hobbies do you have?
Branflakes: Well I do want to say I love still playing STO I play it every night. But aside- outside of STO I love movies, I love music, I am in to NetFlix a lot I am catching up on TV shows that everyone says you gotta watch this like most recently I started the Walking Dead I don’t know how I missed that series but I love it is awesome. As I mentioned I have got a dog so I am with her often with friends. I love to eat oh my gosh food is like the key to my heart. So I love going out to restaurants or cooking. (laughs) I love food.
Kouchkiller: What is your favourite food?
Branflakes: Chinese food.
Branflakes: Yeah. Chinese or Mexican food it is like a toss up, but I think Chinese food over Mexican food like if I had to pick one to be deserted on a desert island with I would pick Chinese food
Kouchkiller: Alright now do you have any future personal plans out in your world that you think that you can share with us I mean
Branflakes: I think eventually I would love to get my MBA my Masters in Business Administration just to have that I would love to do that. Another big hobby is that I love to travel so I want to see more of the world I have kind of a goal I want to see the seven natural world wonders I think that would be cool.
Kouchkiller: that would be cool.
Branflakes: I don’t think I have seen any of them. And then I want to – this sounds weird – but I want to go skydiving I know I could probably just go on a weekend but I think I need to build up some confidence in myself in it but I think it would be really cool to do. And go to space and join the federation (Both laugh)
Kouchkiller: Do you go to any of the Comic Con’s; I know you go to Las Vegas Do you attend any of them not so much as a vendor just you yourself go out and have a good time do you attend any of them on your own?
Branflakes: Erm I’d love to but if I am going and there is something Star Trek related I definitely make it part of work wise to meet players and talk to them. I’ve hmm I don’t think I have been to any conventions that weren’t Star Trek related or didn’t have some Star Trek part of it. Erm the last 3 years and I am definitely going this year it is amazing.
Kouchkiller: I think I might make my way up to Vegas this year – might.
Branflakes: It would be great I hope you do. It is one of those places where you have so much fun meet so many amazing people so
Kouchkiller: That is true. Well brother I believe that pretty much wraps it up I mean we have a light coating of who you are and I know you are busy and I appreciate your time and hitting this and anything else you want. Oh I know I promised one question about Season 8 – is there anything you can tell us about season 8?
Branflakes: Well I can’t tell you much but I can tell you that it is not called Season 8. It is WAY bigger than a season so more information on that soon. More information VERY soon depending on when this interview airs. Very big definitely not a season per-se
Kouchkiller: So this is a lot bigger than some season
Branflakes: Oh yeah it is going to be our biggest update we have ever done. You have seen that there is a countdown on the launcher. I will say that people who have said that that countdown doesn’t countdown to May you are right it does not count down to May it actually ends on March 21st which is a Thursday at 6am. So something is going to happen then. If you have listened to recent interviews you will kinda know what it probably is or if you have paid attention to the gaming industry you know what usually countdowns are for. Especially when it doesn’t match up to May, so that is exciting. We have got more teasers coming , there was a teaser update this past Friday by the time this airs there might be 1 or 2 more teaser updates with new images and things like that so hang on. Hang on to your seats it is going to be a real wild ride and I think the community is going to be really excited once we reveal everything. Personally like I wish I could spill the beans right now and as a player I am so excited I will say that.
Kouchkiller: Most excellent. Favourite Baseball team since you played baseball who is your favourite baseball team?
Branflakes: Oh man you know I think I am going to have to go my hometown
Kouchkiller: Oh damn
Branflakes: Of coursethe Dodgers
Kouchkiller: The Dodgers? (Both laugh) Excuse me for a second while I boo - BOO (both laughs)
Branflakes: yeah I have to go with those but thank you so much you know thanks to everyone at Subspace Radio and yourself you guys are a great asset to our community and erm and we love supporting you guys keep up the great work and I am more than happy to come on anytime
Kouchkiller: Well I appreciate and I appreciate your time and I will catch you loss and will let you get back to work and you can do your community manager thing. This has been I have got a name BranFlakes himself Brandon Felczer and I do appreciate it