Bubbawheat back again with another edition of Interview with a LAMBpyre. I wanted to showcase some of the Lamb members and what better way than to ask them a few questions about themselves and their sites. I’m starting out by going through some of this year’s Lammy winners and hope to bring back some less active Lambs in the future. This week I’m talking with Ryan of The Matinee which won this year’s Lammy for best podcast.
Bubbawheat: First off, can you tell me a little bit about you, your site, and how you started blogging?
Ryan: I’m not sure how much there is to tell about myself. I’ve loved the movies since I was a kid, and loved to write for almost as long. I first took a shining to blogging in 2004, when I first started documenting my rather ordinary day-to-day. When my wife Lindsay suggested trying to broaden my readership, I realized that the best way to do that was to focus my subject matter. So in 2007, The Dark of The Matinee was born. Over time that site brought me a small but loyal readership, and it eventually afforded me the chance to talk with actors and filmmakers as a member of the press. With the hopes of being taken a tad more seriously, I decided to up my game a bit last year. That led me to The Matinee.
BW: For what is essentially a solo blog, you seem to make a great effort to include as many other bloggers as possible, can you tell me why that’s important for your site?
R: A lot of reasons. For starters, I crave conversation. I might spend 1000 words explaining my position, but I’m more interested in what my readers think – especially when they disagree. What’s more is that by getting other to speak up, I learn how opinions vary through various age groups…from different regions of the world. I end up learning more about the subject matter, my readers, and sometimes myself.
Beyond that, I believe in community. If you think about your hometown, true community doesn’t just come from chitchatting at the lunch counter, it comes from being invited into someone’s home…and inviting them into yours. You open your doors to one another and come away with a wide array of gifts.
That line of thinking got me to where I am, and it will be what takes me to wherever I go next.
BW: What made you decide to start your Lammy-winning podcast The Matineecast?
R: Ricky Gervais. In the summer of 2009, after tearing through two whole seasons of “Extras” in mere days, I learned that he was doing a podcast with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. It was my first exposure to the medium, and I loved the idea of having conversations in public (I love to talk, which might come through on my show). Around the same time, I heard the crew at LAMB launch the LAMBcast and apply the medium directly to movies. A few months later, when the tools and opportunity presented themselves, I decided to give it a go.
BW: Who was your favorite guest you’ve had on your podcast?
R: I could never pick just one. I think my episodes with Lindsay have a lot of value since they illustrate the joy I get from being married to a fellow movie nerd. I got to sit down with Walter Murch, a man who worked on APOCALYPSE NOW, THE GODFATHER, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, and THE CONVERSATION. The episodes I record with my local friends get a little extra something since I have them in my home and we’re sitting face to face (I’m a firm believer that the best results come when everyone is in the same room).
I will say this: There is a certain something special that happens when my guest is also a podcaster. There’s an ease at the mic, an added energy, and a certain band of thieves mentality that I sense every time.
BW: Have you ever had any failed episodes that never made it to podcast, for whatever reason?
R: By and large, no. I put a lot of planning into every episode, if for no other reason than out of respect for my guests’ time. So besides courtesies like asking guests well in advance and catering to their schedule, I make sure everything on my end is in order to create a welcome environment. Sure sometimes the resulting audio hasn’t been completely pristine, but it’s always been audible. The closest I cam was back in January when a guest’s notebook fried on them mere minutes into the show. Luckily I was able to get someone else to fill in and get everything ready in time.
That aside, I’ve been quite lucky.
BW: And what do you think it is about your podcast that connected with your colleagues in the Lamb to win this year’s Lammy?
R: I have no. f-ing. clue.
I don’t say that to be obtuse, or to play up phoney humility. I honestly haven’t the foggiest idea what listeners like in my show (perhaps that’s a question better asked to them). I’m not the smartest podcaster out there, my voice isn’t exactly “silky smooth”, and lord knows I’m far from the funniest. What people have found in my show is something I can’t put my finger on.
Earlier this year, I listened to another podcaster talk about his habit, and he likened podcasts to different versions of the same song. Take a song like “Hallelujah”…some people like the Leonard Cohen, some people like Rufus Wainwright’s, some people like Jeff Buckley’s. Podcasters are often doing variations of the same segments, and talking about the same titles. In a few weeks for instance every podcast will be discussing THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. How does one connect with one discussion over another? It all comes down to an ineffable preference.
BW: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
R: I’ve been really lucky this last year to have such intelligent and energetic guests. They are a huge part of what makes my show work, and without them my show wouldn’t work half as well. I’ve thanked them all individually, but I really want to take a moment to thank them all again. Likewise to anyone who has even listened to five minutes of one show. I’m a lucky movie geek to have such a wonderful cache of both speakers and listeners, and I truly appreciate them all.
BW: Thanks so much for talking with me, and I’ll be back next week with a brand new Interview with a LAMBpyre.