by Victoria Irwin
On July 4thof this year, the Geek Dating Site, SoulGeek.comunveiled it’s newerest edition. With nearly 30,000 members and a plan to go international in 2014, Soul Geek boasts 20 married couples that met their spouses on the site. The brain behind SoulGeek.com is voice actor Dino Andrade. Andrade is best known for his work on video games, such as the Scarecrow on Batman: Arkham Asylum, as well as lending his voice to the 17 year-old version of William Shatner on $h*! My Dad Says. We caught up with Andrade at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles, California.
FBN:How did SoulGeek.com come about?
Andrade: It was in honor of Mary Kay Bergman. She was one of the top 5 women in all of animation. Good God, she did over 40 animated series, 30 animated features, over 400 radio commercials, television commercials; amazingly talented woman. She passsed away tragically in November of 1999. At the time of her passing the two of us had been married for ten years. She was my Geek. She was more than my wife, she was my best friend. Geekdom was something we revelled in. We had Starfleet uniforms, we collected animation cells, we collected comic books, we would go to conventions; we were best friends. So, I was a useless individual for about 5 years when of all people who came into my life was my high school sweetheart, whom I hadn’t seen in 26 years. She came into my life, mended a shattered heart and it was the two of us that decided to create this and it is built in Mary Kay’s memory.
(Andrade turns for a moment and smiles to a woman walking by with a stroller and a toddler) And that’s Casey, my gal, and my son Connor right there so life is a beautiful thing.
I have Conner not because my wife passed away, I have Connor because after she passed away I chose to embrace life.
FBN:What is your main goal? What do you really want to see happen with SoulGeek.com?
Andrade: What I’m really looking forward to is the first SoulGeek couple that no only that have gotten married (we’ve had 20 weddings), but they are having kids. There’s one thing to bring something good out of tragedy by bringing people together. It’s another to see new lives come from this. What I really wanted was for geeks to find each other. I don’t care what you’re into: Anime, Sci-Fi, Horor, Manga, conventions, cosplay, fan fic, fan art, film scores, collectibles, you know this is all stuff that we revel in and I want you to find your geek. Whether or not there’s a question of sexual orientation? I don’t care; I just want you to find your geek. Deep down inside I want to see those kids because, from the loss of life, I want to see new life from this. That’s really what I’m waiting for.
FBN: Is there a particular franchise or fandom on the site that you see the most of?
Andrade: It runs the gamut. The younger members are really into video gaming; that’s big. The older fans, it just runs everywhere from comic books to Star Trek to Star Wars, you name it. It really does run the gamut. That’s the thing about Soul Geek it’s not just for the young, hip and slick; it’s for everyone.
FBN: I know you said you’re going international. Is there a certain part of the US that you see the highest population coming from for the site?
Andrade: The two coasts; we get a lot from New York and a lot from Los Angeles. Here in LA we do local events that we’re not big enough to do in other areas. From Janary through September we do monthly Geek ladies nights. We hold those at Galaxy’s comic shop in the Valley and we do those bimonthly from January, and then we end it with a big Halloween bash So we just finished the 2013 season, but we start up again in January. We do a lot locally.
FBN: How was the celebration this year?
Andrade: It was so much fun! The winner of our costume contest was dressed like a TARDIS, which was neat. We have built such a wonderful following locally. We come together, we play games. I host all kinds of event games that bring people together. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old Gene Rayburn Matchgame. I do a geek version of that life, so there’s group participation to bring people together.
FBN: For Geek Girls Do you have any advice if they are looking for their partner in life?
Andrade: There’s a considerable amount of advice that’s on the site, but the #1 thing I would say is the same thing I would say to a guy: The two things that make a relationship last bar none are shared interests and shared values. That’s the thing. When you see these sitcoms where you’ve got the die-hard Conservative Republican who falls in love with the Die-hard Liberal Democrat and it makes for a fun sitcom, in real life that doesn’t really work. You need your shared values.
Where we’ve got a leg up is shared interests. Most dating sites write generic stuff like walks on the beach and I like to go out to dinner and it’s all very generic stuff. It’s also based on how much money you make and how hot am I on a scale of 1 to 10. We aren’t interested in any of that. We want to know are you into Star Wars? Are you into Star Trek? Do you like Firefly? Joss Whedon? Have you read the works of Ray Bradbury, Terry Prachett and Issac Asimov? Did you dig the Lord of the Rings films? It’s what about great works of imagination fires up your imagination, gets your blood going, makes you just want to jump up and scream “I’m a Geek and I’m proud of it.” The fact is, particularly because of video gaming, young people are being raised with fantasy entertainment from the age they can pick up a controller. Geekdom isn’t an odd ball thing anymore. We now drive the entertainment industry. The biggest movies, the biggest tv shows, the internet, we drive all of it. This is a time where Geekdom is glorious and where you can find someone to share in that glory. That’s really what it’s all about. My advice to a Geek Girl to a Geek Guy is Be Yourself. That’s the main thing. Be yourself. Put out there what it is you’re into. When you find the person who shares those values with you and you guys can revel in all of this? You’ve got it made.
SoulGeek.com is a secruity based dating site, much like Match.com or any of those sites. What that means is we avtually have a staff 24-7 who monitor for spammers, scammers, catfish all of these people that want to put up fake profiles that are their companies trying to sell something. None of that gets onto the site. Nothing on the site is automated. Human eyes approved everything, so it is a safe place to find someone. That’s very important to me that it be a very safe place. I’ve got a staff that is dedicated to that. It is a great great place to find, it’s a little corner of Geek Heaven and you’re not going to get spammed on there by someone who is trying to sell you crap. Or the Nigerian dude that’s going to try to get you to email him off the site and then hit you up for money. You won’t find any of that on SoulGeek.com.