I recently interviewed Co-Founder and Marketing Manager for Hunters Books, Ivan Barron Van Norman -- who also was a reality show finalist on last season's "King of the Nerds." Ivan Van Norman is an entrepreneur and emerging geek icon from the wilderness that is Nerd Culture. A graduate of Chapman University, he has been an active performer and leader through many enterprises ranging from Film/TV spotlights to his 8 years performing as Frank N Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He has served as Game Designer/Marketing Manager for Hunters Books, a Role Playing publisher which has been in business for the last 4 years with their popular and award winning Zombie Survival RPG "Outbreak: Undead". Ivan is also starring in a new web series titled "Saving Throw," which features a new view on how to teach and participate in role playing games. He enjoys Sugar Gliders, Performing with Fire, and Dragons. I bumped into Ivan at Gen Con and was excited to check in with him post-reality television.
Ivan Barron Van Norman (IBVN): Well it's not much of a secret. I had the first half of the map routed out in my head, but took a wrong turn early in the race. In the second part of the map, in order to avoid it happening again. I stopped to make sure I was going the right way, and that's when Celeste managed to catch up and pass me.
MT: Do you have any insight into the next crop of future contestants?
IBVN: I have no idea who they are! I only got to see a few of the chosen from the 'people's nerd' competition. They all seemed like really great nerds!
MT: Did your appearance on the show help bolster sales of your games?
IBVN: It didn't hurt =D. We did see quite a bit of "Your Zombie Survival Plan Will Fail" T-shirts floating around the convention this year though. That is always fun to see.
MT: Would you consider participating in any other reality shows? Would you do anything differently?
IBVN: I don't really think so, I'm not one to try to make my mark as a 'professional reality TV personality'. I like being Ivan, and that seems like a good plan for the moment.
MT: It's pretty clear that you were one of the most tactically nimble and charismatic participants -- what skills as a game designer did you bring to the show? Do role-players have an advantage in these situations?
IBVN: I certainly felt the advantage during the cosplay challenge. I was really excited to come up with fun and unique world in which to have our team portray. I felt the more I treated the competition as a 'game' and less as a 'life changing event in my life' the more calm, secure, communicative, and nimble I felt. It's weird how easy things are when you are just there to have fun isn't it?
See the list for the rest of the interview.
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