Within every community, there are people that stand out. People who take the norm and stretch it, flip it, bounce it, turn it on it's head, and make people question their own ideas in collective confusion. Anyone can enter a community, but it takes the gifted among them to make it interesting.
That said, I am not sure my latest interviewee does that. Actually, I am not sure what he does. He is a factory of ideas, although he sometimes makes people wonder if the foreman is permanently out to lunch.
Of course, I have my biases. My latest interview is someone I have corresponded with for a few years. An e-migo*, if you will. I first discovered Brian Spaeth as a lot of bloggers did, when he was writing for the unique blog YAYSports! NBA. As his screenwriting career turned into a leading role in his first film, Who Shot Mamba?, Brian allowed me and several other bloggers to blog for him at YAYSports. There are several of you out there who discovered me through my time as a substitute Yay blogger. Without a doubt, it was one of my stepping stones towards world domination.
(e-migo (n): “Friends you don’t really know but keep up with via email and Internet social Web sites”. Made semi-popular by writer Joe Posnanski, 2009.)
Then sometime last year, Brian pulled the plug on YAYSports NBA and started blogging over at Mad Props To Baked Potatoes. There he started a writing career, using the blog to promote his two books, Prelude To A Super Airplane and Brad Radby’s Brad Radby (The Complete Filmography 1999-2023). And that's where we are today.
So to conclude my trilogy of interviews, I decided to send Brian a few questions to try and find out what makes him tick and what's next for one of the blogosphere's most creatively eccentric personalities.
The Serious Tip: Define yourself. What are you? Blogger? Screenwriter? Actor? Writer? Social media philosopher?
Brian Spaeth: Well, my Twitter profile says I’m an actor/screenwriter/producer, but probably not in that order.
I’d say I’m actually a screenwriter/producer/actor, would rather be an actor/producer/screenwriter, but would probably function best as a producer/actor/screenwriter.
I’m definitely not a social media philosopher – I talk a good game, but barely function within that world. I do blog, but I’ve never considered myself like a “blogger” as some sort of profession or pursuit. It’s just something I do. The success of my third blog, YAYsports!, was largely an accident, and not something I would or could ever try and replicate.
TST: So why are you more interesting than the other Brian Spaeths, or should I have interviewed them instead?
The one who makes bionic limbs is probably the one you should’ve gone for. I’m the most interesting Brian Spaeth largely because I have declared it so, and for no other reason.
My biggest pet peeve is when people pronounce “pictures” as “pitchers”. I think this is common in the South – apologies if I’ve insulted anyone you know. I used to pronounce “pillow” as “pellow” until a girlfriend pointed it out, and now I go probably too far with my pronunciation of the “i” sound.
TST: What's new with Brian Spaeth?
My new book, Brad Radby’s Brad Radby (The Complete Filmography 1999-2023). It ties into my first book, Prelude to a Super Airplane, and also ties into my third book. All the books tie into each other.
The Radby book is largely movie parodies, with an underlying narrative that is actually quite intricate. It’s also completely free to download, or to read online in blog format.
In my personal life, there’s nothing new, but I taught my nieces to say EASTER IN YOUR FACE whenever anyone mentions Easter, and also that everyone in Michigan is sad all the time. They just turned three, so if you ask them about Michigan, they say things like “nobody’s car starts there” or “they don’t have toys in Michigan” in really sad voices. It’s all very cute and hilarious.
TST: What came first: blogger or screenwriter? And do they complement each other in any way? Or are they completely different?
I was a screenwriter long before I had a blog. My first blog actually came about because of my screenwriting, but that’s not an interesting story at all.
I’d say the latter definitely informs and feeds the former. A blog gives me the ability to throw a bunch of stuff at a virtual wall and see what sticks. All my best original ideas in recent years have come from my blog – sometimes this is in a big way, other times it’s just a little thing that inspires something altogether different later on.
TST: Why do you think you are so popular on these Internets? Especially considering your coup de grace has been seen by fewer people than Gigli.
I’m not popular at all – this is a myth I perpetuate in order to make myself feel good. Like I said, the whole YAYsports! thing was an accident. I have no clue how to market myself online. It’s largely a mystery to me how certain things become popular and others don’t.
TST: So do you think other bloggers should take a leap into other forms of media? Or do you think what you have done is just not worth the trouble for other bloggers?
Sure, if they want to, and if they can.
I mean, I didn’t really “take a leap” from blogging to something else. I just kinda do what I do. If you’d told me in November that I’d have written two books by the end of March, with a third one half complete, I would’ve been like, “Huh?”
If people want advice on life, I’m probably the worst person on Earth to listen to. I’m completely erratic, emotionally juvenile, and stubbornly refuse to do anything in the form or fashion that’s established as traditional. The twist is that I’m completely self-aware about this, which is the only reason I’m considered eccentric, as opposed to insane.
Here’s the other twist – people who meet me in person often feel a need to express their surprise that I’m pretty much a normal person to be around.
Seriously though – this is an amazing time for people in creative pursuits, because you can cultivate and reach your audience directly. Do everything you can do, and do it well, and do it today.
TST: What are the last five movies you saw, in order of worst to best?
3) The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
2) Red Dawn
1) Slumdog Millionaire
TST: Who are your influences in screenwriting? Acting? Writing? Comedy?
I typically find I’m influenced more by material than people, but just totally random off the top of my head: Steve Martin, Bruce Willis, Airplane!, the Pixar films, Back to the Future, my dad and brother, Scheller Harrison, and my biggest influence is probably Marvel comic books of the late 1980s and early 90s.
TST: Have you ever received a Christmas card from (Cleveland Cavalier's Head Coach) Mike Brown? Would you accept one from him? Why or why not?
Yeah, I’ve come around on Mike Brown. He finally got an offensive coordinator this year, which is what I’d been saying he should do since the second week of his first season. Congrats to him and Ferry and Gilbert for sticking to it and finding a way that works.
TST: If LeBron James were the Prime Minister of the World, and he met with extraterrestrial beings from the planet Hartoonia who just happened to visit Earth in search of LeBron Fatheads, what would LeBron say?
“Thank you for these gifts. In return, I shall give you my greatest secret, and that is my inability to count out loud past the number forty-six. This is now your burden, and I am free. Welcome to Earf.”