Luke Arredondo (aka: TrumpetManLA), Original Administrator for Ghostbusters Wiki from March 10th to November 10, 2008. Luke Arredondo has been interviewed about his time at the wiki, answering many questions given by the Wiki contributors. (Interview Conducted by Matthew Jordan aka: Devilmanozzy.)
1. Before the wiki, what was your background in regards to the Ghostbusters Fandom? What elements were you most keen to share through the wiki project?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Prior to jumping in to the Ghostbusters wiki, I was really active on Facebook. I wound up starting the Ghostbusters group a couple of hours after FB allowed groups to be universal. Back in the stone ages, groups were limited to local networks. So if you went to, say, Columbia University, you could only be in groups with other people from Columbia, like the professors under the supervision of Dean Yeager. For some reason I got up early one summer day and saw that they changed the policy on groups, and realized “Wait...there are no groups with the simple group name that matches up with the movie names!” So I created Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. Both groups wound up having tens of thousands of members and were far and away the largest groups on FB at the time for each film. We had officers, people would post trivia, etc. It was a fun time. Also, obviously, I was a huge fanboy of the films my entire life, had a ton of the Kenner toys, etc.
2. When you and your brother had started working on Ghostbusters Wiki, had you guys worked on other wikis? What experiences did you bring to Ghostbusters Wiki, and did you carry any of that over to other wikis?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Both my brother Adam (who co-founded the GB wiki with me) had been editing the Smallville Wikia for a while before we saw the pretty much abandoned terrain of the GB wiki. I also had participated in some of the early stages of the Back to the Future wiki (Futurepedia). One thing I learned on the Smallville wiki was that you needed a lot of people to make a really good wiki. But even knowing that, we tried to do as much as we could with basically just the two of us for a while. Devilmanozzy came aboard early on and I can’t remember who else, but it was a small crew.
3. What was your personal mandate that drove you to work on the Ghostbusters Wiki as there were several fan-sites out there already at the time when you started?
LUKE ARREDONDO: I really liked the simple navigation and encyclopedic idea of the wikis. Even now, outside of the wiki world, I really love the dedication that goes into trying to come up with an authoritative, but contained, compendium of all things ____. For instance my daughter is starting American history this year as a second grader, right? I saw a set of 12 books at a bookstore that supposedly tell the whole story of American history up to 1998. I love that kind of stuff!
Also, I felt that I’d seen enough on some other wikis to know that what a GB wiki could do was create a resource for everyone who wanted to know more about the Characters in the film, the tiny little background stuff that often goes unnoticed, etc. There were plenty of sites around to support people who wanted to make their own props, cars, or even fan films (which were a big thing back then, and I watched many of them on divx downloads). But the idea of a comprehensive guide to all the film stuff (which was my primary interest) just struck me as “obviously this needs to be done! And I’m just the kind of nerd to kick it off.”
4. When you and your brother were working on the Wiki in 2008, was there a plan for it? Do you feel the wiki is fulfilling the plan?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Honestly we just had the goal of getting something off the ground. When we looked around at, say, the Smallville wiki, or the behemoth, Wookieepedia, we knew there was no way we’d get to that status. But you have to start from somewhere. And so we knew we could get the ball rolling enough that at some point, it’d start looking like we’d put more than $4,800 into it.
5. The Internet has changed a lot between 2008 and 2018. What was it like trying to make articles when there was little information online and only DVDs and fan sites to utilize? What sources did you use back then?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Actually, getting the images for any articles we needed was really the biggest challenge. My brother turned out to be a really good internet sleuth for those, though. But as far as the sources, we really just churned articles out from our memory. If I Really needed to check a line or something, we could go double check a script. But you have to remember, when we started messing around on the GB wiki, there wasn’t even an article for Venkman, Stantz, Zeddemore, or Spengler. So we were at such a basic level we just started spinning yarns about stuff we remembered from all our years of constantly watching and quoting the films.
6. Why did you move on from the wiki? Do you ever wish you had stayed with the project?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Really it was a series of things. I was actually in the seminary, studying to possibly become a Catholic priest, when I started getting involved with wikis. Now, seminary life keeps you busy enough, but I had no serious responsibilities other than studying and praying. So a lot of free time. After the summer of 2008 I was thinking more about maybe doing something else with my life and it didn’t take terribly long for me to get married (2009) and have a child (2011 was our first). Plus I was teaching at a high school and working on a master’s degree and well, the wiki just kind of faded away. I also think moving out of my house and not going back home for a few weeks every now and then added to it because while I was in the seminary, when I went home, my brother and I could collaborate on things to kill some time.
7. What Wiki article that you started are you the most proud of?
LUKE ARREDONDO: There’s no real way for me to pick a fair answer to that one. But I did glance around and see that my Ted and Annette Fleming article is still remarkably close to its original form from 10 years ago, and that made me smile. Even as a kid I’d wonder what it meant to have a business in receivership. And I still don’t know what it means. But I know Ted and Annette would know!
8. How did you use skills learned from working on the Wiki that you still use today?
LUKE ARREDONDO: This may be the funnest question to answer. My writing on wikis was my first foray (minus an embarrassing live journal from my freshman year in college) into any sort of public writing. I was never serious or even remotely interested in writing until I went to the seminary and had to study philosophy and write lots of papers and found that, somehow, I was good at it. I discovered some aptitude in academics, and then started writing outside of school for fun. As it would turn out, I’d later start a blog, write hundreds of posts, begin writing for some bigger blogs, and now I am a staff writer at Aleteia, a Catholic news/blog site. I get paid for writing. Not much, but some. Also, all that blogging led to a book contract in 2016, and my first book was published in May of last year. That led to some TV and radio appearances on EWTN (a Catholic station with affiliates all over the world). Now, I know enough philosophy to know I can’t say that the wiki writing led to my book contract, but all of the time writing and editing certainly helped me hone my craft. It also helped me learn two really important lessons about writing: 1. You can Always make something better if you put more time into it. 2. Eventually you have to be happy how it is. Let someone else come along later and tell you how to make it better, or let them do it. You can’t ever get a piece of writing perfect.
9. Best and worst experience you can remember when you editing at the Wiki?
LUKE ARREDONDO: The best experience I think was probably all the time me and my brother Adam spent talking about ideas and what we needed to do next. That was really a great time and shared hobby for those couple of years or whatever it wound up being.
10. What's your opinion on the Ghostbusters franchise as it continues on through comics and merchandise?
LUKE ARREDONDO: I’m really excited to see the new merchandise. I bought my daughter a set of toys recently and they were SO cool. She still wants a set of Kenner toys from the 80s, but I do let her play with my spare Ecto-1 I got from my best friend when I was 10. He was moving and didn’t want it! That was 23 years ago and I still have it! Also, I have to admit I never did see the new film. I would like to at some point, but going to the theaters is about impossible for me and my wife and I tend to spend our free time after the kids to go bed collecting spores, molds, and fungus. We don’t have much time for movies. Part of it’s where I am in life, and part of it’s my personality; I’d rather spend time playing a board game with my wife than make her watch a movie she doesn’t want to watch. She did, however, buy me an XBox back when the video game came out, and I LOVED that game. It was super fun. Playing online with others was cool too.
11. Anything else you'd like to note?
LUKE ARREDONDO: Just that I’m thrilled anyone even bothered to try and look me up to ask me about the wiki. It’s crazy to imagine that was all 10 years ago. I never imagined I’d be mostly done with a PhD, be married, and have three kids with a fourth on the way. Goes to show you that you never know what life will bring. I mean, try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously…..
Interview Conducted by Matthew Jordan (aka: Devilmanozzy).