Friday, May 25, 2007

Farewell Clips & Quips...

It's odd and strange and a little sad and a little exciting that Clips & Quips is coming to an end. I had a lot of fun with the show; met a lot of interesting people and got access to a lot of places and opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to experience. And when I say interesting people, I don't necessarily mean the "celebrities" I've interviewed, (in fact, some of them were pretty boring). From the always accommodating publicists at International House of Press and Falco, to the contact people at JetBlue, Ramada, and Thrifty, (who made our Sundance trip possible), to our pals at Furilla, Pass the Pigs, and Kazoobie Kazoos, (who made sure we always had plenty of fun toys to give people). Clips & Quips was only a success thanks to these and other people who believed in our show and helped us out in many ways.

Clips & Quips started as an answer to the frustration that Evan and I had over the lack of student programming on college tv stations across the country. We had worked together on On the Cusp, a weekly late-night talk show that aired on NYU TV for three seasons, and during that time created a show that not only occasionally entertained, but also started a dialogue between NYU students and created a little community of viewers on the often isolated NYU "campus." We wanted to take what we learned from that experience and go national with a show that incorporated student ideas and content, provided entertaining segments, and brought college students across the country together... or something like that. The show launched in January 2005 at a dozen or so schools with an episode chock-full of student filmmakers and musicians and interviews with Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Tara Reid, and others. By the beginning of the second season the next fall, we were airing at over forty schools and scoring awesome interviews with the likes of George Clooney, Keira Knightely, Pierce Brosnan, and others. People were really starting to hear about us and we were developing a serious web presence with upwards of 100,000 hits per month. We covered the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, and interviewed a slew of fascinating filmmakers, writers, and actors. It seemed like good things were happening, but we still had a big problem- we weren't making a profit. I like to think of myself as a creative person, but I'm the first to admit that I'm not quite as effective when it comes to making things profitable. I sent out tons of proposals and made many phone calls, but I couldn't find someone to provide the show with a budget. Working on the show was so much fun though, that I figured as long as we kept on creating a fun product that money would follow.

As we started the third season, we toned down the affiliate front, (because self-distributing a national show was taking a lot of time and getting expensive), and concentrated on the weekly web show. I contacted many new potential sponsors, and although there were some promising leads, in the end nothing solidified. It soon became clear that unless some funds suddenly appeared this would be the last season of the show. We wanted to go out with a bang though, and we covered some more LA junkets, (thanks to Evan's persistence), and covered another action-packed Sundance Film Festival. We even had some reunions when I interviewed Rainn Wilson and Ryan Gosling for the second time and Paul Rudd for the third and fourth time.

Clips & Quips changed quite a bit from the initial idea that Evan and I came up with, but I think we stayed true to the spirit of our mission. And what is that spirit exactly? I'm not exactly sure. But I always tried to treat my interviews as conversations, and interact with the interviewees as I would with any other person. I think if you watch the interviews we get at junkets versus what the "other shows" get, you'll find that our interviews are more honest, less "canned," more casual, sometimes more awkward, but always more genuine. I never really knew if viewers noticed this, but thanks to youtube comments and emails it's clear that people do notice the difference. Sometimes they don't like it, like jlisashaw on youtube who commented:
"you have no control of the subject or the interview," but then there are others like ummxduhh, who commented on a Rupert Grint interview: "Rupert seems so much more comfortable in this then he does in other interviews." And Chopin65 posted: "Its amazing how stars come off as just regular folk when you talk to them in the way you do." Then a few hours ago, I got another email from Deniz, a viewer in Germany, who wrote, "This kind of interview is really needed and unique. Keep doing it like that!" So at least some people get it- right?

But I think the end of Clips & Quips comes at exactly the right time. If I had to attend another NY press junket, I think I might throw-up in the impeccably clean Regency Hotel bathroom. Yes, junkets are a great way to gain access to actors whom I otherwise would not have the opportunity to interview, but they're also a great way to make you feel like cattle. You're stuck in a room, (where there's often not even enough room for everyone to sit), waiting at least an hour for a four minute slot, (five minutes if you're really lucky), with a person who often feels as trapped as you do. It's the worst possible situation for an interview, yet that's where most of them are happening. I don't know if I have a solution or any helpful suggestion to fix the junket situation, but I'm just glad I'm getting out before they cut the interview time down to three minutes.

It's weird to think that I've interviewed literally hundreds of authors, actors, musicians, comedians, filmmakers, chocolatiers, toy inventors, and other interesting individuals. And although most of them probably wouldn't remember me, I think I remember most of them. Clips & Quips has been an incredible learning experience, and I have a feeling that the groundwork and friends we've made through the show will keep playing a role in my life.

So what happens to the blog now? I'm not really sure... I'll be pretty busy this summer, so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post and I'm not sure what I'd post about. Any ideas? Write in and let me know.

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