Sunday, November 15, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Interviews

Hey guys, thanks for sticking around.

It's been a year since Adam and I started up this little adventure with the help of TRPA and one of the things I honestly get asked more then anything else (with the exception of "That's really the name of your show?") is how I manage to snag the interviews we've done.

The simple answer is... I ask.

Of course a little more goes into then that but it's more or less the truth. I email or I call someone, ask their people or in some cases them for an interview, sometimes they say yes, sometimes they say no and sometimes I get no reply.

But in the spirit of DVD commentaries and the extras on DVD's I love so much, I figured I'd go through our year of interviews and give you the inside scoop on the bigger ones. Some of you out there might find this useful or at the very least interesting.

Alan Cross
The interview with Alan was a bit of time in the making. It more less started on Feb 10 of 2009 where I wrote a simple fan letter and mentioned I would love to be on the new Explore Music tv show. To my surprise, they had me on and it was an amazing experience (speaking of which, Alan and Nathalia if you happen to be reading...can I come on the show again?) and afterwards I inquired about Alan doing an interview for our show.

So a couple emails back and forth and it was agreed that Alan would be more then happy to let us talk to him. Then it was working out time.

That took a while.

The one thing I can stress beyond the "it's okay to ask" part of getting an interview is have patience. If you happen to score a good one there is a very good chance it will be a while until you do it. Be patient and wait, don't complain or moan about it, trust me when you get there, if it's an interview you really want, the wait will be worth it.

Anyways between our schedule, work schedules, Alan going to Asia for a few weeks and his work schedule (which involved at bare minimum a radio show a day, another one that aired weekly and a weekly tv show), it was about two months later when Adam and I had a chance to sit down with him.

And even that took a bit but for a good reason.

As soona s we entered the office, Alan got a call for a job refrence. It was for a former employee who Alan respected and felt deserved one. In no way were we going to fault him on that especially in today's work climate.

Besides, how long could it take?

The guy on the other end was reading off a script and it took quiet a while. And while Alan was in obvious pain trying to get through this, he felt that this former employee was worth it and kudos to Alan for not just hanging up.

The interview itself was (or at least my take on it) was a little different for Alan. That's mainly due to Adam.

If you listen to our interviews, I tend to be the straight interviewer and Adam tends to say "eh fuck it, I'll ask or say whatever.". Which is great because it does help turn what could be a normal interview on it's side a little. In this case a lot of the interview became more like a discussion then an interview because of this and I think it turned out better for it.

Or at anyrate we didn't piss him off too much because he still answers my emails on a regular basis and Explore Music still posts my articles.

Joe Quesada

So far we've got two of Brent's rules for interviews.
Rule 1) Ask
Rule 2) Be patient

And now we get to the third rule.

Rule 3) Always be nice to contacts, you never know when it can be useful.

Case in point, Joe Quesada.

Joe has known of me since the mid 90's when he and Jimmy Palmiotti took over a slew of Marvel books under the Marvel Knights imprint. He and Jimmy had a message board for their comic company Event Comics. Fun fact, another member of that board? Ben Templesmith, artist on 30 Days of Night (among many other things). The Event board was pretty interactive, especially in regards to the creators posting and responding to emails. Joe was nothing but helpful with advice. We also used to occasionally shoot emails about music back and forth.

Eventually Joe ended up being Editor in Chief at Marvel but he still responds to emails.

So I guess it was April or May I discovered he was going to be at Fan Expo so I sent him an email via his personal address (which to this day surprises me still works) seeing if he'd do it. He said sure but it had to go threw the convention people at marvel that schedule these things. He forwarded my email on to two other guys at Marvel and then negotiations began.

To the outside world, it must seem like “How busy can this comic book guy really be?”

The truth of the matter is incredibly.

Joe is the second face of Marvel Comics (the first being Stan Lee). Joe is the guy who does media rounds, interviews, dvd extras, etc for Marvel. He's been on The Colbert Report at least twice.

So when at a convention like this Joe has to fit in interviews, signings, business (as we all found out later, the Monday after that weekend, the Disney deal was announced) and this particular convention, a little bit of vacation with the wife and daughter.

So initially what started as a possible thirty minute interview at our make shift studio turned into 15-20 mins at Marvel's booth. I in no way fault marvel or Joe for this, it's just one of those things that happens.

Max Brooks

I'd like to say there is an awesome story behind this one but the truth of the matter is, there isn't. I had emailed Max's book publisher, they never got back to me. When we got to the show, we talked to the guy at Avatar's booth, he told us to show up at a time (along with every other interviewer who asked), we showed up, Max was awesome.

Jason Agnew

Now Agnew is another case of “Remember me?”. Best part to start at is the beginning. Jason is the long time co-host of Live Audio Wrestling (currently on Hardcore Sports via Sirius Satellite Radio) and as we all know I'm a big wrestling and mma fan. I have been writing in and calling into The Law for years. I never use a fake name and surprisingly my last name is slightly unique. Bite Tv also has a podcast called Bite Radio which is kind of a behind the scenes podcast. I became a fan of that and Jason has been nice enough to occasionally read my plugs on air. Flash forward a few years later and I am a guest on Explore Music. One of the producers is Jason Agnew. Jason was surprised that I was who he thought I was. We ended up adding each other to facebook, etc, etc. May comes around and Jason needs an anime expert for The Surf for Anime North.

Who else would I volunteer?

So Adam got the gig, went on tv and a keep sending in the occasional email in to The Law and Bite Radio.

Jason is a rather busy guy. Most of the shows on Bite involve him in some way shape or form. So when I never really thought we could get him to do the one year anniversary show. I floated a general message to him and the rest of the guys at Bite Radio about it and never really heard back.

We get to the week before the show and I have two guests drop out. This occasionally happens due to scheduling conflicts or just plain bad luck. Being desperate and having nothing to lose, I reached out to Jason again and begged for anyone from Bite to come down. I believe I used the phrase “I'd take a monkey as long as he's media ready and can talk for fifteen minutes.”

Jason one uped me and said he would come down and do it. To which I was grateful as I knew 1) Agnew is media ready. I prompt him and he will talk. 2) Jason's got kind of an interesting rep with the nerds in the Ontario area. Due in part to his show The Conventioneers, Jason's kind of a polarizing subject. Some of us (myself included) love the show and the fact that he and Matt Chin take a bit of the piss out of the nerd culture. Others would like nothing more then something rather heavy and medieval fall on him.

This makes for a good interview and hopefully when you guys get to hear it, you will enjoy.

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