Brian Koppelman, The Art of Podcasting No. 20

Brian Koppelman is the host of The Moment on the Slate network. On his podcast, he interviews everyone from artists to entertainers to experts about the pivotal moments in their lives and what drives them to greatness. Koppelman is no stranger to greatness, having enjoyed success as a filmmaker, essayist, record producer, and now a television producer and podcaster. He was the co-writer of Rounders and Ocean’s Thirteen and the director of Solitary Man. When he was still in college, Koppelman met a young singer named Tracy Chapman and was instrumental in signing her to her first record deal and producing her first album. He is currently at work producing a television show, Billions, for Showtime for which he is also a writer. 

Koppelman was kind enough to take a break from shooting to have a conversation with The Timbre’s Eric McQuade. The the two talked about the art of genuine conversation and honest reflection, the range of guests Koppelman interviews, sitting in the hot seat in Marc Maron’s garage, moving from Grantland to Slate, and the power and possibility of podcasting.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

You’re an east coaster? Where are you from?

THE TIMBRE

My dad’s from Manhattan. My mom moved to Northport, the north shore of Long Island, when she was 16. They had me in Brooklyn and moved back to King’s Park and then we just moved south. I’m sort of a mess in that we moved a lot. We ended up settling in North Carolina.

You’re from Roslyn, right?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I lived in Westbury first. I lived in Westbury, Long Island for the first eleven years and then moved to Rosyln. When I got out of college, I moved to New York. I’m based in the city and I’ve basically been here since.

North Carolina is awesome.

THE TIMBRE

Yeah, it’s kind of wild. It’s become this new destination.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Restaurants. The whole thing. Right?

THE TIMBRE

Yeah. Asheville is this new beer mecca. And the coast. It’s kind of a cool thing to see happen, although I think a lot of the old timers there aren’t thrilled about it.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

What’s your main business other than The Timbre?

THE TIMBRE

I originally was a consultant. I worked for the company that did the Obamacare website back in the day, and I had a change of heart and wanted to be a writer and quit my job about seven years ago.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Love that.

THE TIMBRE

That’s why I really like listening to your podcast. It deals with a lot of people pivoting. When you talk about the moment–and I think you’ve even called it an inflection point–a lot of times it’s career-driven.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Those are obviously the stories that are really animating to me, and I’ll tell you, I get letters every single day from people who tell me that’s what they’re getting out of the show. What they’re getting out of it is the ability not to quit or not to think that they’re crazy or not to give in to the conventional wisdom or what the people around them are saying.

I also have to say as we get into this here, I just love that you are building a website that’s taking this world of podcasts seriously with an earnest and critical eye towards them. I think the form deserves it. I love that you’re doing it.

THE TIMBRE

That is exceptionally kind.

I think the word earnest is exactly what I wanted to ask you about. I think your podcast is so earnest.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

There’s a reason that the podcast is earnest. First of all, David Foster Wallace in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.

THE TIMBRE

Okay.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

In the first essay in that book, he talks about a post-ironic age and risking being earnest. And I read it 15 years ago and it was resonant to me then because being flip and ironic and detached is such an easy place to fall into to and especially if you’re somebody who consumes a lot of culture and you’re aware of it and you understand the memes. It’s easy to be cynical and it’s easy to be flip. It’s safer, you know? It’s not a vulnerable position to be in.

THE TIMBRE

Ah, totally.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Right? So I decided if I were to do this, I didn’t want to come from above. I wanted to come from a place of searching and curiosity. If I used that as a guide, I was then able to make some rules for myself. The primary rule being I have to be fascinated by the person I’m interviewing–by their work, by their journey. I have to be able to find an entry point of actual fascination, and then if I have that as an entry point, then I’m confident I’ll be able to engage in a conversation wherein I will learn something and maybe the person will learn something about themselves and then hopefully the listener will be on that journey too.

If we were to do that, it requires a tremendous amount of being earnest and belief in the possibility that a conversation where both participants are making a good faith effort to be clear, honest, and together to search as opposed to being conscious of publicizing something or speaking in sound bites. As long as the participants are willing to do that, there’s the chance that at the end of it something that feels magical will happen.

THE TIMBRE

I always wondered: did you come into this space with the knowledge, “I am an earnest guy and I can bring this inquisitive mind to a variety of topics”? Is that something you brought to the table and thought you were capable of?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I knew that I engaged in these conversations in life all the time.

THE TIMBRE

What did you want to share that made you start a podcast?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

One of the benefits of being someone who makes movies or television shows that get out into the public is that it gives you the ability to reach out and meet people who are interesting to you. It’s something that people who do this don’t talk about that often.

For famous people it makes sense. Because for famous people it’s like, “Oh, there’s the fame club.” But for those of us that work in these worlds but aren’t really famous people, if I’m interested in an author or an artist or a musician, chances are I can find a way to have a collision with that person. Or that they’ll be interested in having it. Do you know what I mean? I’ll be able to engage. In life.

I knew I had the tools. Yes, the interest to engage. But what I didn’t know was: Could I do this on a schedule? Could I prep to do a specific interview and then did I have the tools to organize these conversations in a way that someone not sitting at the table would be interested? There’s no way to know.

THE TIMBRE

Right.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

It was a huge leap for me and it was scary to do it, but I really, really wanted to do. So I just figured–the advice I give people–when you look, you have to leap. So I had to fucking leap, you know?

THE TIMBRE

You know what’s really interesting about that? To me, some of your most compelling podcasts are when you get people I didn’t know anything about. I didn’t know anything about Bryan Garner and I just bought his book based on the podcast.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Good.

THE TIMBRE

You had Dave Ramsey on, and like you, I’m a liberal who secretly loves Dave Ramsey.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

<Laughs> You are? That’s hilarious. Really? That’s great.

THE TIMBRE

Oh, totally. I think he has the biggest heart. I’ve gotten in fights with people about this. Every time they profile him, they do a hatchet job on him.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I know, man. I know.

THE TIMBRE

And you got him on there and you talked to him like a human being and I just thought, ‘This is what it’s about.’ How aware are you of the fact that what you’re doing is distinct? I feel like you’re on new ground there. Do you see anybody else doing that?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Seth Godin gave me this great piece of advice. He said, “Don’t ever try to make your podcast bigger. Just keep making it better and more of what it is.” He’s like, “Just keep chasing what you are fascinated by and don’t think about anything else.”

He was in my apartment having tea with me and I’d asked him, because I was deciding what to do with the podcast. I was like, “How would you think about this if you were me?”

He said, “Do not waver. Do your show. No matter what.”

So I do think that the group of guests I have is not like anybody else’s. Perhaps Terry Gross, but Terry Gross wouldn’t have–I don’t think–Tony Robbins and Seth Godin and James Altucher, along with the artists, you know? To go from Killer Mike to Bryan Garner within a couple of months? No, I don’t think anybody is doing that show.

THE TIMBRE

<Laughs> That’s true.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

And that I’m really interested in all of them. I think it’s clear to the listener that I’m never faking the funk when I have these conversations.

THE TIMBRE

Absolutely. That is transparent. I imagine if you’re Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel or decades of Johnny Carson, you’ve probably tens of thousands of guests where you just had to fake it.

I think that’s what makes podcasts so interesting. There is a chance to really get into it. It is a different kind of conversation.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yeah, it is.

THE TIMBRE

I wonder, when did you first consume podcasts? What were you listening to?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

What I was listening to originally was Carolla, Maron, Jay Mohr. Jay Mohr in the beginning before Jay had his radio show when he would do these two-hour podcasts with his comedian or actor friends. I think those were probably the first three that I spent a lot of time listening to and then I listened to a lot of Dave Ramsey, which came as a podcast, but he doesn’t do a podcast, right?

THE TIMBRE

Right. A radio show.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

And Elvis Mitchell.

THE TIMBRE

Oh, great. The Treatment

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

He’s the best and The Treatment is spectacular. Elvis is my friend, and he and I talked about this a lot before I did it. If you think about it, Elvis is super prepared, really aware of who his guests are, and isn’t afraid to take chances with his questions. To arrive at a thesis of sorts.

THE TIMBRE

Yeah. Absolutely. That is a good comparison with Elvis Mitchell. I think there is some overlap. I’m not saying you made the comparison. I’m making it. I like the “arriving with a thesis.” I think it’s also arriving with something to say and not being concerned about that. Wanting to be part of the dialogue.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

And try to chase it down. So, I don’t always think of it in terms of a thesis, but I do try to think about, ‘What is it about this person that I’ve noticed that’s interesting to me that might not be something that’s on the surface in every interview but that I can get at?’

You know, I thought of The Moment with Taylor Goldsmith when I brought up the Salinger book, and he happened to be reading it right then. Those kind of moments are really rewarding to me because it tells me that I’ve done the work to get on the wavelength with the guest and I hope that will lead to something rewarding for the listener. You know?

THE TIMBRE

You mentioned listening to Carolla earlier, which is where I heard you for the first time. You called into Carolla’s show. I remember it very well and thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’ I think he had said something about one of your movies and you called in and you had such an interesting conversation with him and clearly showed a knowledge of his podcast, which struck me as different.

 

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I’m glad you notice there was something going on there. As I talk about on the show a lot, I think as you get older, the more and more you can be your authentic self, the happier you are and the better you can be to the people around you. That’s part of what this is too. Can I just strip away any bullshit and just really be who I am? And I think that encourages the guests to be really who they are, or I hope it does.

THE TIMBRE

One of the things we stumbled upon is that in our favorite interview-style podcasts, the interviewer has a statement of purpose, whether they are consciously thinking about it or not. For example, Maron seems to be working through his neuroses and his life on the air and trying to find some sense of peace. In your podcast, not only are you sharing these conversations–which I think you’ve said before–but also I think you like to assimilate people. I really think you’re analyzing them and going, “What’s great about this person that I can emulate?” Would you agree with that?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Oh, well I’m always looking to learn, right? Yes, I don’t think you ever get too old to apprentice.

Okay, if I have someone like Bryan Garner on, I could have talked to that guy for four hours and asked him every question that I have about the purpose of language. I’m interested in somebody who’s rigorous–as rigorous as he is. Does he ever take his foot off the gas? What does it look like if he relaxes? What would he say? I remember the question I asked him from that episode: “What if someone in my professional life misuses penultimate? How would you handle that? What would you do about it?” Absolutely, I was looking for an answer that I could employ.

THE TIMBRE

Right.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

<Laughs> But of course it’s deeper than that. Yes, when I’m talking to an artist and I’m asking about their process and I’m asking about how they think through stuff, I am always open to learn and to bring that stuff forward. And you’ll hear that, right? Because I’ll reference something somebody said in an earlier podcast when I’m on a later one. I’ll try to connect those dots.

I’m definitely looking for a unified theory of creativity. I’ve never said that before.

I was a blocked writer for so long–you know the mythology and it’s all true. I was a blocked writer until I was thirty. So I think I probably am looking for a unified theory of the creative spark or of how to continue a creative practice and keep pushing yourself and keep growing.

THE TIMBRE

Yeah, exactly. What you can learn from someone.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Just to circle back and answer your original question: When I was listening to all those different podcasts, a few different things happened. I went on Jay Mohr’s show twice. The first appearance was really funny and went well. The second appearance, Jay and I had a fight on the air. Fight is too strong a word, but there were a few minutes in the middle of the interview where I took it over a little bit, or I was leading the conversation. And people really responded to it and connected to it. I could tell when it was happening that something pretty awesome was going on between the two of us because we got to a pretty honest place in this disagreement. If you haven’t heard it, you should hear it.

THE TIMBRE

No, I haven’t heard it.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

It’s an intense conversation. Essentially, Jay had put me in an uncomfortable position with people with whom I was working, and then I did him what I perceived to be a favor. He wanted to be in a movie of mine. By the time Jay knew about it, there was only a small part left and he had said to me, “Hey, I would do any part in that. I’d love to come do a couple days.”

And I said, “Jay, you don’t really want to come to Puerto Rico and do a day on this movie. You’re a star, and it doesn’t make sense.”

And he’s like, “I’ll do any part.”

I said, “All right, I’m going to go to everybody and say, ‘Jay Mohr is going to do this.'”

And he said he would do it and I got everybody to be ready to offer it to him and then he was like, “I’m not coming down there to do a small part.”

THE TIMBRE

Oh, no.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I was fine with that, but then on the podcast he said something about how I treated him unfairly. Basically, that he was insulted. I had to flip it and say, “Dude, let’s walk through this.” I said, “You’re completely wrong and here’s why, and I love you, but you’re totally wrong about this. You asked me to do a thing and I put myself on the hook for you. You bailed. You don’t get to be the one that’s annoyed.” And he admitted it.

THE TIMBRE

<Laughs>

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

So, I did that and it was really fun. Around the same time, I guess I was making the Jimmy Connors documentary and I was interviewing all these people, and that’s when I realized that I was a pretty good interviewer. Because I was getting these people to tell my partner Dave and me stuff that they hadn’t said before in many interviews. And so I felt like, ‘Oh, okay, I always wondered this and it feels like it works.’

At the end of all that, I went on the BS Report, and obviously Simmons played a huge role. When I did the BS Report, and it went so well, and people responded so favorable to it, that’s when I really started getting into podcasting.

I was listening to This American Life, Snap Judgment. I was really getting into podcasting and understanding it as this incredibly intimate medium. And I was really listening to Maron closely. I was listening to Pete Holmes, too. When I wrote that piece for Grantland about Maron’s Jim Breuer episode, I realized that in writing it, I wanted to do that thing. That what I really wanted to do is what Elvis, Maron, and Howard Stern do in terms of having those kinds of conversations.

So, that’s when I made the decision: ‘I’m going to figure out how to have my own podcast.’ And it had been in my head for probably a year and a half. But when I finally said, “Yeah, I think you’re just afraid that it might fail if you don’t do it, so you should probably do it.”

THE TIMBRE

Did you reach out to Bill Simmons about starting a podcast with Grantland?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

What happen was I didn’t think of it at first. A friend of mine hooked me up with another podcasting network. And then, when I was talking to this other podcasting network, I realized, “Oh, I write for Grantland, and I really like those people. I should probably ask Bill.” It was this weird thing. I didn’t impose on him, but then I realized that if I just suddenly did a podcast somewhere else, that would be the wrong thing to do.

THE TIMBRE

Right. Absolutely.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

So I call Bill and I say, “What do you think?”

He was like, “Let’s do it.” And then, you know, when Seth Meyers and Mario Batali said they’d be my first two guests and then Brendon, who produces Marc Maron’s show, said Maron would be the third guest, I thought, ‘Okay, I can go do this.’

THE TIMBRE

Speaking of Maron, I have to ask you about your visit to Maron’s garage.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Sure.

THE TIMBRE

It was a riveting podcast. Maron seemed to be pushing you about your privilege. Did that come off harsher on the podcast than it was in real life?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Listen. Yes, I felt it in the room. Look, Marc is a funny cat. I like Marc. I respect Marc. I don’t know if you heard his appearance on my show?

THE TIMBRE

I did.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I did ask him a lot of questions that I think a lot of people wanted to ask. The only thing that I felt was a little unfair was when Marc left my studio he said to me, “Come on my show whenever you want.”

And then when I got in there to do his show, he goes, “Hey, you wanted to be here.”

He invited me. I know that he forgot that he invited me, but he invited me on the show. So, it wasn’t like I was begging. I wanted to go on his show. It’s a huge opportunity to go on his show, but he did invite me on the show.

A lot of people have felt that he was aggressive. But you know what? He gets to do that. I walked into his show having listened to 300 episodes of his show. I don’t feel that he was unfair. I think that Marc is working out a lot of stuff as you said earlier when he does this and when he does the show. And I think that I probably push old buttons in a way for him because perhaps there’s some atavistic aspect there for him that’s still in play when he sees somebody who was raised… I was raised in a nuclear family that was together, with a dad who made a lot of money when I was a kid. That’s just the truth. I was raised with a lot of privilege, man. There’s no way of getting around it. <Laughs> And it wasn’t like I tried to say that wasn’t the case, either.

THE TIMBRE

Right.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

He was pressing. It wasn’t like I was saying, “Hey, man that’s not true.” I was going, “That’s totally true.”

THE TIMBRE

That’s what’s so interesting. I thought the initial push was fine. I thought the secondary push was almost like he wanted you to say, “Everything was given to me.” For me, even for Maron, that seemed like a push.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yeah.

THE TIMBRE

What’s someone going to say? “You’re right. Everything in my life was given to me.”

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

And the great thing is that if people listen to my show, they know my entire story. They know what I fought for, what I didn’t. And the truth is that nobody gets a free ride. As I’ve said, and as I said to him, the great privilege is that I had someone who could teach me unbelievably valuable lessons about being a father, a person, a businessperson, what artists are. I had the most incredible education from an involved, caring, successful dad. And a mother who gave me unconditional love. That already just puts me so far ahead.

So, in that sense, I was given a tremendous advantage. And the advantage that I didn’t have to work a job during high school or college. I didn’t. I was able to just go to school and go to college and I didn’t have to work a job. Totally true. That is a gigantic advantage compared to most people. And no student loan debt. Huge advantage. But not only do I acknowledge that, I am so grateful for it.

And that’s the thing. It’s a weird area to attack me on because it’s not a very fertile ground to get any exciting radio, because you’re not going to get me pushing back.

THE TIMBRE

What makes it such a great podcast to me is what happens after that discussion. It’s the stuff about Tracy Chapman. I never want to say you “discovered her,” because that’s so silly. It’s how you became a fan of hers. Let’s say that. And it’s such a moving story.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I will say that I thought that was a great moment with Marc. You know, I told it in a completely true way and a way that I’ve never really talked about in a public forum. I don’t really have anything to add to it other than to say: working with Tracy and being the conduit that got her music to the world is absolutely one of the most important things I’ve ever done and most meaningful things because of the impact her music had on people.

THE TIMBRE

When you met her in college and began to follow her music, did you feel like you were on this quixotic journey?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Oh yeah.

THE TIMBRE

A year into it, when you’re up in New Hampshire and Vermont in these clubs–

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yeah.

THE TIMBRE

Were you too young to realize how ridiculous that was?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yeah, man, but I’m indefatigable with that stuff.

THE TIMBRE

Really?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I am. Each step for me has been that, right? All this shit. If I allowed myself to think of the odds of selling Rounders, much less the odds of it getting made.

Truthfully, even if you think about just the podcast. The fact that people are engaging with it and are giving it to one another and it’s helping people–I could not have known that piece. I did not know that piece. I did not know, and sometimes I still don’t know how it happens that people are getting out of it so much inspiration and taking so much action as a result of it. When I started to do it, that was never in my head. I never thought, ‘Oh, it’ll lift people up in that way.’ You know?

THE TIMBRE

First of all, I completely understand that. You’ve worn so many hats in your life. When I was prepping for this, I’d forgotten that you’d done standup comedy. There’s this music stint. You went to law school, although I know you never practiced.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I was never a lawyer, yeah.

THE TIMBRE

You were a screenwriter, a producer, a director. Now you’re going into television. What is it about you that has to try everything? In podcasting, what’s the itch you have to scratch?

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I don’t even think of it like that. I just try to let my curiosity and passion lead. I do think now that TV and film are the same thing. The big leaves, for sure, were leaving the music business to do this. From doing this, to thinking I could be a writer. And learning to direct and produce. And then yeah, doing the podcast.

THE TIMBRE

Right. One thing leads to the next.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Generally, I just think of it all as taking the chance. As I talk about on my show and in the series of Vines, and as I talk about on the blog sometimes, I do think that being in a state of being blocked is very destructive. I think it makes you toxic because I think you turn against yourself. And then I think it makes you bad company to the people are you.

When my first child was born, I knew I wouldn’t be able to be the kind of father that I wanted to be if I didn’t try to become a writer. I just knew that I would be bitter, and I didn’t want to be bitter. And so I used that as a big driver the whole time, which is earnestly pursuing my curiosity and fascination and passion to be better to those around me, to those that I love. And I’m maybe going to create something that’s meaningful to other people.

And, you know, I’ve seen it born out. I’m really interested in the line between being delusional and really being a creative person.

THE TIMBRE

<Laughs> It can be a thin line.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I think enough evidence has stacked up for me that when I have these pursuits–it doesn’t mean I won’t fail. We all fail. I’ve failed my times. On the whole, I do produce work that people want to engage with. And so, if that’s the case, I kind of feel like I have to keep creating that work. Does that make sense?

THE TIMBRE

Absolutely. I want to ask you–

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Ask me anything.

THE TIMBRE

You were at Grantland, and then you popped up at Slate. Why did you leave Grantland? Did it have anything to do with Bill Simmons heading out the door? 

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Not directly. I will say that Bill and I had a conversation where I talked about leaving, and it had been a six-month conversation. There’s just no business there for the podcasters if you’re not a part of Grantland. This is just a really simple thing, which is I knew the show was having an impact, and I knew that I was building a relationship with an audience and having a conversation. There was no way that Grantland could help me to either get more people to be aware of the show, to book guests for the show. They wouldn’t let you run ads that were your ads. There was no way. I was putting in so much time and effort, and I had hired out of my own pocket a producer, my producer Jayson De Leon, who’s great. I was paying Jayson myself to help me do the show.

THE TIMBRE

Wow.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I just felt like that didn’t all work for me as well as it could. And then at the same time, every other podcast network came and asked me if I’d be interested in joining their network. And so, I had many conversations with Jacoby and Bill to figure out if there was a way to skin it to stay. But then I also did feel that Bill–I didn’t know. Bill didn’t tell me that he was leaving, but my instinct was that there were going to be changes.

And take all that aside, I love what Slate’s doing. I sat down with Andy and talked to Julia, and I just loved their plans for podcasting for Panoply, even though I’m a Slate podcast.

THE TIMBRE

Right.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

I just thought, ‘These people really understand this and they want to bet big in podcasting.’ I felt like I was a good fit because of the thing that you were talking about. The breadth of guests that I have and my interests. It felt like it was a better fit there where the show had evolved to. What do you think?

THE TIMBRE

My presumption was that they’re a place that says, “We’re podcasts first.”

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yes. Exactly.

THE TIMBRE

“And we care about this medium.”

I think every medium has that moment. Television in the 90s, where everyone thinks it’s garbage. And then all of the sudden you have The Sopranos.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

Yes.

THE TIMBRE

I think with podcasting we’re hitting that right now, although it might be the early stages. That’s what I presumed when you joined Slate. That you saw that, too.

BRIAN KOPPELMAN

You’re totally on it, man. That’s exactly right.

 

~

Author Description

Eric McQuade is co-founder of The Timbre and a former-programmer-turned-writer. He has lived in D.C., Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, New Jersey, Colorado, Argentina, Cayman Islands, and the length of the Appalachian Trail. Right now he hangs his hat in Memphis, TN.

  • Jonathan Barry

    EDIT YOUR INTERVIEWS.

    There’s some good stuff in here but it took me an hour to get through.

    • Devon Taylor

      Jonathan, Thanks for taking the time to read the interview. We’re certainly aware our interviews are long. They are that way by design! We have always greatly enjoyed longform interviews like those featured on Grantland and The Paris Review. While Q&As can be quite lovely, we found the longer style better showcased an individual’s personality and allowed for more of an exchange between the interviewer and interviewee.

      To speak to your editing comment, believe me these are thoroughly edited. This interview, for instance, was edited down from 7,000 words to approximately 5,000. Usually we trim them down closer to 4,000, but there was too much that we didn’t want to lose. Transcribing and editing is a tremendously time-consuming task, but we think the results are worth it.

      Ultimately, we recognize that not everyone wants to spend an hour reading an interview. But many do. And more importantly, we do. We want to make the site that we want to read. As Brian Koppelman so eloquently pointed out here, when creating anything, you should try to “keep making it better and more of what it is.”

      Anyway, thanks again for your feedback and for taking the time to visit our site. Best to you.

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