Interview

An In-Depth Chat with the Co-Founder of Old School Lane

Patricia Miranda is the co-founder of Old School Lane, a YouTube channel featuring analysis videos, top 10 lists, podcasts, interviews, live streams and much more. Between lively discussions of classic TV shows and movies, engaging, well-researched videos and compelling original works, Old School Lane has something for everyone. Read on to learn more about it from Patricia herself, and be sure to find Old School Lane updates on Facebook and Blogspot or by following Patricia on Twitter.

You co-founded Old School Lane with your best friend, Kevin, back in December 2011. How did the idea first come up, and what kind of topics did you know you wanted to cover from the start?

The idea of Old School Lane came from the fact that we were unemployed, called each other every day to comfort each other during our depressing lives, and looking back fondly on shows we grew up with. Old School Lane started out as simply talking about our favorite movies, TV shows, video games, toys, food, and cartoons from the past. Kevin was writing a script for a movie and I was figuring out what retrospective of a show, movie, or network I wanted to dedicate which was heavily influenced by Gametrailers video game retrospectives and Gexup’s Gaming in the 90’s. I then decided to do a Nickelodeon retrospective starting on June 2012 and concluding it during the summer hoping to do more diverse topics.

We started our blog on Tumblr back when it was used for blogging and sharing pictures. During that time, I wrote my top 10 Pee-wee Herman moments of 2011 after watching The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway. I never knew that in a million years that the next day, I received an email saying “Pee-wee himself Tweeted”. I thought that it was a joke, but when I checked Pee-wee’s Facebook and Twitter pages, it was there. I couldn’t believe it! For the next few months, I would cover an event that Pee-wee would be involved in, I interviewed Caseen Gaines, the author of Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and watched as much episodes of various Nickelodeon shows I could find online. Back then, finding 70’s and 80’s Nickelodeon shows were beyond difficult. There were only 10 videos of Pinwheel lasting for about 2 to 3 minutes. But now, there’s hours upon hours of it. It didn’t take me all summer, it lasted for 6 years until I decided to stop. I’ve always wanted to do it in a video format and wanted to start over from scratch. I hope to do it next year, but we’ll see.

How has your recording and video editing process changed over the years compared to when you began?

Recording audio has changed drastically over the years. It all started with an old desktop computer that I was given by an employment office to search for job. It was limited, bulky, and was located in my old apartment’s living room with a very high ceiling and a crappy $10 webcam/microphone. I used Audacity to record my audio and edited with it. Then used Windows Movie Maker to put it together. Then around 2013, I was given my sister’s hand me down laptop. Then around 2015, I bought a brand new laptop with my tax money and had gotten a Yeti Blue microphone for Christmas. Nowadays, I’m learning how to use Adobe Audition and Sony Vegas to better my video and audio quality. Listening to my earlier podcast episodes is nothing more than a cringe fest.

You collaborate with many other content creators and podcasters. One of your podcasts is with Arun Mehta called PixMix in which you two discuss a different Pixar movie each week. What’s been your favorite discussion so far?

My favorite PixMix episodes so far are the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, WALL-E, and The Incredibles.

This year, you finished discussing every episode of As Told by Ginger on your co-created podcast, We’re in Between, with the co-host of The Friday Night Nicktoons podcast, Casey Reed. What would you say are your favorite moments and proudest accomplishments for this particular podcast, and what do you find the most special about ATbG compared to any other Nicktoon?

Some of my favorite moments from We’re in Between have been when talking about an iconic moment from the series such as the “Hello Stranger” poem, when we had a special guest learning more about their experiences of working on the show, and the simple fact that we were giving more attention to a show that pretty much no one watched in 2000. I had loved the show since I was 14 years old and everyone I knew in high school got into Invader Zim, Futurama, or whatever was Adult Swim or Toonami at the time. I felt that it was a great show that broke a lot of grounds for a Nicktoon with story, character development, continuity, and wardrobe change and there was no one around that I could share that same opinion with. As Told by Ginger Month back in 2015 was my passionate love of spreading the word about As Told by Ginger while We’re in Between was giving more in depth on why I love it. Fans of the show seem to enjoy it and we even brought people who had never seen the show listening in every week. That means a lot when I get a comment saying “I got into As Told by Ginger because of you”.  A lot of people have told even me that their favorite moments is when I get angry, especially in the episode “Sibling Revile-ry” when I said the line “Seriously dude, the program is over. Piss off!” That’s pretty hilarious.

From writers to producers to directors to storyboard artists to voice actors, you’ve interviewed people on all different levels of animation production. What do you personally find the most interesting about the TV production process that you’ve learned from people who work in the industry?

What I find interesting is that a pitch to a possible TV show is not going to be the same in the final product. The art style, animation, voice actors, and writing style could drastically change or alter. Working on a show can be a blast and even life changing, but at the same time, it can be time consuming, grueling, and even confrontational if you’re working with someone who doesn’t see eye to eye on what you’re creating. Since you’re so focused on your job, you won’t know how much of an impact it has on people unless you go to a convention or see comments on social media. But that’s also a double edge sword. People who watch your shows are your biggest fans and your biggest critics. It can be hard to please them. Just remember that a job is a job and there’s something you hate about the show, remember that there’s someone else behind that decision and everyone involved shouldn’t get the full blame.

You’ve also interviewed many creators of various Nickelodeon shows such as Paul Germain (Rugrats), Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), Joe Murray (Rocko’s Modern Life), Mitch Schauer (The Angry Beavers) and Emily Kapnek (As Told by Ginger). Are there any dream guests you’re still hoping to someday interview?

Absolutely. From the very beginning, we’ve wanted to have Andre “Black Nerd” Meadows for an episode of Turtle Talk or Casual Chats. However, due to his super busy schedule, those plans fell through. I would love to get another chance. Other people that I did get a hold of were Danny Cooksey, Bob Camp, Micah Wright, EG Daily, Tress MacNeille, and Lindsey Felton. Again, they were busy and it fell through. The people I would love to interview who works or formally worked on Nickelodeon are Kirk Fogg, Chris Viscardi, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Koneizko, Jim Lang, Guy Moon, Charles Brissette, EG Daily, Scott A. Stone, David G. Stanley, Vanessa Coffey, Geraldine Laybourne, Mary Harrington, Rob Renzetti, and many more. There’s plenty of people I would like to interview from the Internet: TheJWittz & Renae Collects, The Completionist, SomeCallMeJohnny, PeanutButterGamer, Norman the Gaming Historian, Eric Lappe from Let’s Get, Ashly Burch, the guys behind TeamFourStar, LittleKuriboh, and many more. Then there are voice actors such as Billy West, Jennifer Hale, Grey Griffin, Tara Strong, Veronica Taylor, Dan Green, Maile Flanigan, Jim Cummings, Stephanie Sheh, Amanda Miller, Kate Higgins, Steve Blum, Kevin Conroy, Dee Bradley Baker, Mae Whitman, Zelda Williams, and many more. Too many to count.

You produce several different video series, one of which is From Pilot to Final Product. Some of the show pilots you’ve covered include Rugrats, Invader ZIM, As Told by Ginger, and The Adventures of Pete & Pete. What intrigues you the most when comparing pilots to their respective series?

What intrigues me about looking back at pilots is how far they came from their series follow ups. After watching the original As Told by Ginger pilot for the first time a few years ago, I couldn’t believe how different it was. It was unrecognizable to me. I then saw Derek Alexander’s video series called Getting Super Nerdy comparing the demos of Resident Evil 4 and Final Fantasy VII and how different they were from their final video game products. That got me to do From Pilot to Final Product. I would watch the TV show first and then watch the pilot and jot down whatever differences I would find. It would be a surreal experience to see how they pitched the show originally with a limited budget and actors that didn’t get a full grasp on the show’s concept. Sometimes the styles change or the actors get replaced. Since then, I try to look at other pilots from other TV shows that are so different, it’s jarring. Pilots like the Hey Arnold one was a huge request, but because it’s similar to an episode the writers wrote later on (24 Hours to Live), I had to think of a creative way to do it that wasn’t a 3 minute video saying “The Hey Arnold pilot and this episode are similar and have little to no differences”. That’s where the idea of “The Origins of Arnold” video stemmed from when I researched the history of the character and quickly mentioned about the pilot.

As for upcoming pilots, yes, I still have to get The Wild & Crazy Kids Pilot done. I’ve also been requested to do Jimmy Neutron, but I’ll probably do The History of Jimmy Neutron talking about its origins of the character back when he was called Johnny Quasar. I also want to break out of Nickelodeon pilots and maybe cover a pilot from The Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. But we’ll see.

Can you tease any other shows you plan to cover down the line?

Yes, there’s a new series that I’ve wanted to do for many years called Heroic Gem or Junk where I cover a superhero movie or TV series that’s been forgotten or overlooked and discuss about whether they deserve more praise or they were obscure for a reason. I had Wolverine & the X-Men as my premiere episode, but watching it 3 times, I felt that I missed something so I put it on the side for later and will cover something else. Hopefully it’ll come out soon.

Then there’s another series I want to debut called Influential Marvel. It’s not about Marvel, it’s about looking back on an influential movie, TV show, video game, or anime and talk about why they were so influential to our pop culture and how did it shape our media to what it is today.

There are some unfinished projects like The Carmen Sandiego Retrospective and a few more videos for Hey Arnold Month. Can’t go into details on those. Sorry.

You’ve created many great analysis videos such as “The History of Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie,” “What Makes As Told by Ginger a Groundbreaking, Yet Overlooked Nicktoon?” and “Is Disney’s Doug Really That Bad?” It undoubtedly varies depending on the content, but how long does it typically take for you to produce these types of videos?

A very long time. Takes weeks or months to watch the show again, jot down notes, do online research, and make a chart on what I want to cover and what really isn’t worth talking about.

With over 100 episodes of Old School Lane Casual Chats, what are some of the highlights for you over the past six years so far?

So many, not from me, but from everyone I’ve had on the show, special guest or otherwise. Whenever it’s a topic that they’re knowledgeable on, then I say my piece and let my co-hosts go crazy. Anytime we bring up something hilarious, it’s always a highlight. Some of them include: Kevin and I talking about the strange and hilarious moments in Crayon: Shin-chan, Martin, Jockerlee, Tom, and I talking about the unnecessary Home Alone sequels, the amazing moments in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the surreal moments from Pete & Pete, and of course all the amazing guests I’ve interviewed. I already did a list of my favorite podcast episodes a year and a half ago if you’re interested in checking it out.

As you know, we’re living in an era of reboot culture. What are your thoughts on reboots, and are there any shows you’d want to see rebooted someday?

Yes, to be fair, I’m just as burned out on reboots and remakes and would love to see something original come into the mix. However, I understand the importance of them since a brand new generation is introduced to them and may even want to check out the original for curiosity’s sake. There’s also the fact that some of the shows don’t hold up very well or were never completed the first time. A show I would love to see come back is The Pirates of Dark Water. Such a great story and interesting premise that never got to conclude. It needs a remake.

You discuss a wide variety of TV shows, movies, video games and more, but what is it about Nickelodeon content in particular that resonates with you?

What Nickelodeon resonates to me was that it was a channel for kids done by people who wanted to give kids a safe haven from life such as school, homework, and chores. The shows were unique, funny, heartwarming, and felt genuine. Shows like Clarissa, Pete & Pete, and All That made me wish I was in that world interacting with them. All the Nicktoons were colorful and creative. The 90’s were an influential decade for Nickelodeon and for TV in general and I was fortunate to have grown up from its early roots to its eventual demise later on. But now I think that a new generation of kids are enjoying the programs of today such as The Loud House and I’m happy for them.

In March, you released an original Manic Expression Podcast Play titled Reflection. Can you talk a little bit about your inspiration for the story and your writing process?

Sure. I’ve had the story of Reflection on my mind for years, but I went through years of writer’s block. So I put it on the side. Then, during my depressive state, I somehow got my creative thoughts flowing again and started writing it. It went through a lot of changes. It was going to be set in the 80’s and Jo and Josie were going to sing “Run with Us” by Lisa Lougheed together. But I scrapped it and instead set in the late 90’s where Josie had a love for music. The inspiration for the story was about love and forgiveness, which I was going through at the time letting go of my past of all my painful memories through therapy. Josie was based mostly on me with my love for music, cooking, history, and being terrible at math. Melanie was based on my younger cousins who were young and didn’t experience a tough life like the previous generations. Judy was a character who was a symbol of someone who sacrificed so much to care for her family and did anything she could to be free, but at the cost of making her family miserable. She sort of became her mother in a sense of being absent from her family’s lives and being closed to sharing her past experiences. Luke was based on Kevin: the optimistic boy who pulled Josie from the dark shadows of her family’s life and saw a bit of bright hope. My mother was another symbol of someone who went too far into focusing on the negatives of their past and never letting go of it. I did throw a few quotes that my mother used to tell me as a kid such as “Grades like this belong to people who work in fast food restaurants for $5 an hour”. But my mom is nowhere near as angry as Jo’s mother is.

After months of writing came the casting. The very first person I casted for a role in the story was Emmi Walsh as Josie. From the very beginning, I wanted to have her in my podcast play so she ended playing my younger self. I also wanted to have Megan as Judy, James as the older Luke, and Jim as the younger Luke. Then came Melanie. In Manic Expression, we didn’t have a lot of female content creators, but I had known Jashykins for years although she had never been in a podcast play before. Neither did T-Kun as Ms. McNeil and that was an even bigger gamble since she’s a blogger and I’ve never heard her voice until casting her for the play. They turned out great. As for Patrick, I’ve known him and his brother Tim for years and casted him as the male dancer. He’s had larger roles in other podcast plays. The editing took a ton of work. In the past, I’ve had other people edit my podcast plays, but I decided to take on the challenge and do it myself. It’s not hard, but it’s tedious and long. But the payoff was worth it. As for the music, I’ve known Les and Ichabod on Manic Expression and have gotten permission to use their music. Their music is the bread and butter on most of the Manic Expression plays. Max Weiner is the son of Marc Weiner from Weinerville and I’ve known about his music for a while. So I asked him and he approved of it as long as I signed a contract. As for Leandra Rizzo, who guest starred on As Told by Ginger thanks to The Make a Wish Foundation, I asked permission and she said yes. I listened to all their songs and pin pointed what scene the song belonged to. Anything else, I got online from various sources.

Do you plan on creating more original works in the future?

I’d love to. I have a lot of ideas, including a story I’ve worked on since high school called Journey of an Offbeat. It’s essentially based on my life and experiences growing up as a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome in the 90’s. However, I really want to make an online animated series. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but it’s a dream I would love to see come true.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself since launching Old School Lane?

I was always a nerdy and lonely person growing up. I never had too many friends and pretty much everyone picked on me and called me names. When starting Old School Lane and sharing my thoughts on movies, TV shows, video games, etc., I never thought that there would be people who shared the same thoughts as well. I felt like I was part of a community and we could band together without any worries of hate, rejection, or fear. I know that in this cybernetic world, technology has pretty much done everything for us and a lot of people are fearful of it. I have to thank that for giving me friends, colleagues, and followers I thought I would never get. I have built a lot of confidence in myself and I learned to be okay with myself. I’m not perfect, but I’ve come a long way since I first started. I hope I can continue to learn and grow.

How do you see Old School Lane continuing to grow in the years ahead?

Well, I hope in the future I can get at least 10,000 subscribers on the Old School Lane YouTube account, but seeing how the algorithm has been lately, it’s going to be a bigger challenge.

What’s your biggest hope for Old School Lane’s legacy?

That people take something away from it: whether it be starting their own channel or watching the shows or movies I covered, or even just enjoying the ride. In this vast online world, I’m only a drop in the ocean. But as long as someone found something positive in a blog, podcast, or video I did, then I’ll be happy.

Before we conclude, I’d love to ask you a few scenario questions for fun. Let’s start off with this one: You can only watch one Nickelodeon show and one Cartoon Network show for the rest of your life. Which two shows do you choose?

Oh wow, that’s rough. Let’s see: if I had to choose a Nickelodeon show to watch forever, it would be Hey Arnold or Avatar: The Last Airbender. For Cartoon Network, it would be The Powerpuff Girls or Samurai Jack.

You’re throwing a slumber party! Which five female characters do you invite?

Let’s see: Ginger Foutley, Helga Pataki, Samus Arun from Metroid, Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh, and Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon.

Who’d be the worse character from any show to babysit?

Probably Angelica from Rugrats or Mackenzie from Rocket Power. Both of them are spoiled brats who could manipulate me to do something awful or would’ve had temper tantrums so bad that I would have to call a SWAT team to calm them down.

If you could live in any fictional universe, which one would you choose and why?

Hey Arnold’s. Since it takes place in a city similar to Brooklyn where I was born and raised half my life, I would fit in really well. Plus, being neighbors to Arnold and the gang would be awesome.

Which TV character(s) would you say you identify with the most?

That’s tough. Possibly a three way tie between Ginger, Ami from Sailor Moon, and Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh. 

Finally, describe Old School Lane using a quote from one of your favorite characters.

Snoopy from Peanuts once said: “Good writing takes hard work”.

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