We had the good fortune of connecting with Abadonne Kilbride, IV and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abadonne, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I have lots of favorite quotes, but I think the one that I repeat to myself most often is one from A Series of Unfortunate Events: “Do the scary thing first, and then be scared.”
What I love about this quote is that it isn’t toxically positive: it doesn’t try to dismiss fear or uncertainty, nor does it try to mask them – it acknowledges that the Thing you’re doing is full of risk and therefore frightening, but asks you to put your fear on the back burner and act in the moment rather than watch it pass you by. As someone who has had stage fright their entire life, went to performing arts school and did everything in their power not to be perceived and is now a weekly livestreamer (for better or for worse), the impetus of my success in my industry has been acting first and being afraid later. 9 times out of 10, there was nothing at all to be afraid of but there was a huge amount to be gained from a single moment of bravery.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I run the Exquisite Corpse Presents channel on Twitch – it’s a home for unusual tabletop roleplaying games inspired by the collaborative Surrealist game from the 1800s in which each player contributes a component of a work of art one by one until at last you have a complete piece stitched together from spare parts like Frankenstein’s Monster. We center stories told by and about individuals that are queer, of color, disabled, neurodivergent, or otherwise marginalized.
Our flagship show has been Say a Prayer for California: Sister Cities, which is a Dungeons and Dragons game that exists in a world and setting I’ve spent the last 11 years building from scratch as part of a series of (as of yet unreleased) novels – we took the mechanics of DnD and kept them, but stripped out the magic and substituted it with technology for a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk adventure that questions the importance of art in our daily lives. I’ve gotten to include bits and pieces of every piece of art or fiction that’s ever had an impact on me and share them with others as a result, which is still exciting after 14 shows. I think the thing I’m most proud of is that in the 6 months my channel has been operating I’ve secured a full roster of players and guest players, taught myself to edit and produce and run livestreams, stretched myself to make interesting graphics that tie into our little universe, and embraced Twitter as my primary social media marketing platform. I didn’t know how to do any of that when I started, but again – do the scary thing first and then be scared.
It wasn’t easy to get here – my work-life balance is extremely skewed because aside from a full-time overnight job I not only work behind the scenes, I run each show as a storyteller every week and because the story changes in real time with the actions of our players, I create about 3 hours of story, setting, and background for every session. I edit all the episodes, design all the graphics, run the social media account, reach out to potential guests and get them outfitted to play, run my live streams, and am also lucky enough to be a player in other games. I schedule meticulously and work on content where and whenever I can, most often from my iPhone in between other activities. I’ve learned networking is the beating heart of any endeavor, and it really is the easiest thing in the world if you can just be yourself and treat people the way you’d like to be treated. You’re going to get it wrong more than once, and what really matters is how you rectify your mistakes. The most important lesson I learned along the way, ultimately the one that’s responsible for me branching out on my own, is that friendship doesn’t automatically imply a healthy working relationship: sometimes the only way to succeed is to find new blood and, if necessary, start over again and again until you get it right. Don’t be afraid to start again.
I want the world to know that every single thing at Exquisite Corpse Presents has been done with an excess of love. I may not be perfect, and I definitely don’t always get it right, but I love what I do – I love telling stories, I love finding ways to make graphics and lore tie into stories, I love the community I’ve been welcomed into, and I love the people who put their time into playing on the channel every week for making the dream of sharing my internal world with people come true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I grew up in San Diego and I can promise you that even when Comic Con isn’t in town, there’s no shortage of things to do:
North Park was my favorite area of town when I lived there – it’s half sleepy suburb and half exciting night life. You can go axe throwing with your friends, attend the Farmer’s Market every week, go to dozens of unusual thrift stores and boutiques on University Avenue, shop for books on Adams Avenue, or visit any of the wildly unique bars in the area. My favorite was and is Polite Provisions, a Victorian themed bar with real gaslights, coins inlaid in the floor in resin, an attached restaurant that serves fast food, and incredibly strong but well balanced drinks. It’s my go-to any time I’m in town or want to entertain someone. If that’s not quite your style there’s also Kindred, a beautiful little goth bar tucked away at the edge of the neighborhood that’s very cozy (and very easy to miss). The food’s great, too – there are luchador themed restaurants with actual wrestling rings inside, restaurants that only serve desert, ethically sourced vegan restaurants, and even a few traditional pho and boba places peppered into the area!
Pacific and Ocean Beach are also wonderful areas (though I’m biased because I grew up in PB): sleepy little beach towns with clean beaches and a relaxed culture that seems to move a little slower than everywhere else with great authentic Mexican food and the smell of salt air everywhere you go.
Downtown is comparatively much faster in pace and a little rowdy even in Comic Con’s off season, but has some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to: Born and Raised is part of the same family as the aforementioned Polite Provisions, as is False Idol, a speakeasy tiki bar inside of Craft & Commerce (a gastropub that serves seasonal food and craft cocktails). You’ve got Thai food, you’ve got vegan food, you’ve got breweries, you’ve got patisseries, you name it, and it’s all within about a 10-block radius.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my mother and sister! I was lucky enough to be born with two built-in best friends, and they’ve been as raucous a cheering section as any stadium filled with people. My sister was part of my very first TTRPG stream and acts as support behind the scenes while my mother has learned a whole slew of new tricks including dice making, using an entirely new platform, and the basic structure of tabletops just to support me in my endeavors to the best of their knowledge and ability. They listen to me spitball ideas (sometimes for hours) and provide their own when writer’s block inevitably strikes. They even watch all of my shows! There were plenty of times that I wanted to quit because it was difficult or stressful or expensive, and without them I would have a very long time ago. There’s nothing more important as a creator than having people that believe in and support you with their whole hearts.
Other: I also have a Ko.Fi page for additional lore and audience interaction with the channel’s shows! https://ko.fi.com/cadavreexquise