Thursday, January 25, 2007
Blogger Interviews: Who Shot The Cavalier?
We're running a segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.
Joining us today is The Cavalier from the very funny, very visually-pleasing YAYsports! NBA. The YAY is a wild spot to go for fun with the NBA and all things NBA-related. They're also putting out a movie that's bound to be off-the-wall good, titled, Who Shot Mamba? The YAY has its own clothing line too and you can -- and we recommend you -- buy their shit here. You'll be like that "cool kid" we often refer to. Their Renaldo line has been featured on this site a few times. So please help us welcome The Cavalier and be sure to support Who Shot Mamba? It'll be worth it. We promise.
1. The rundown:
Name: The Cavalier
Location: Los Angeles
Favorite team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5): All my favorite posts were mangled in the dreaded sever move of December 2005 except a few. This is one of my dumbest ever, but for some reason it really worked for me.
The All-Star 1-on-1 Tournament, The Crepes Are in the Oven, Mamba's Makeover, there's a bunch more. Yeah, they're all gone. I have the jpegs, and will have them all reformatted and back up for when Who Shot Mamba? comes out. So many of them are referenced in there or incorporated into the storyline, and I really want the uninitiated to be able to go back and see the source material.
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere: Ideally about four hours, but the past few months it's been like one if I'm lucky. I hope to get back to normal soon, but I have a feeling it's gonna be hit and miss.
2. What was the motivation for starting YAYsports! ? Girls? Money?
Ah, the secret origin of YAYsports!. It goes back to the summer of 2005, when one of my friends was going on the reality show Big Brother. We made a plan for me to blog as if I was him doing it secretly from inside the house, and people would wonder if it was really him or not. We had planned for him to do and say certain things on certain days, and I would "call his shot" before he did it - like we planned for him to shave his goatee on a certain day, and I made to sure to write a post saying "I'm thinking about shaving" the day before. It worked great, and it was a big mystery for a while among the show's fanatics as to whether it was really him or not. Like 12,000 people a day were reading, and I was like "whoa -- that was interesting. Also easy."
Thus, I decided to start a general sports blog. After two days I remembered I only truly love the NBA, and that was that. As a writer, I find blogging valuable, just from the standpoint of you end up doing that "write every day" thing automatically, plus there's a nice sense of completion with each post, which is something you don't get on a daily basis writing something longer like a screenplay.
(BTW you can see that Big Brother blog here. Note the early, crude Photoshop jobs. It's like watching history!)
3. Most blogs that post a few stories per day -- like the YAY -- have the hurdle of finding a good story to report and then to actually write about it. You do that, and then in addition, do some of the funniest, awesomest Photoshop work we've seen. Two-part question: 1.) How did you develop those Photoshop skills and 2.) how much extra time does it add to a post having to make some creative pictures?
It's funny you ask that question on this particular day, when I haven't written anything since Monday and took the entire month of December off. Anyway, we move on, yes?
The Photoshop stuff was (and continues to be) just practice and trial/error. My sister (who I live with) is a fashion designer and went to like art school and stuff, so she knows it really well. She would kinda show me one thing, which would open doors to other things. Yeah, that's the long way of saying I taught myself. When I started the site, I knew I wanted to do something different than news/stats/analysis, and the Photoshop stuff really helped me add to that.
As to the time factor, it really depends. The thought bubbles are fairly quick. Adding two extra arms to Dwight Howard takes a little longer.
4. Take us through the whole Scoop Jackson and "Orange Roundie" fiasco. Still pissed? It probably helped bring some much-deserved recognition to the site, so is there some silver lining from this situation?
That was a disaster, mainly because the day it happened, I was switching servers, and switching blogging software from Movable Type to Wordpress. And of course, that was like the day before my December break, as well. I'm sure it brought a lot of new people, all of whom showed up and wondered whether this ugly site was even still active.
Am I still mad about the Roundie thing? No, not really, but about Scoop...just the idea of using someone else's concept...any and all legalities over my ownership of the name "Orange Roundie" aside, that's just like complete creative bankruptcy. I can't fathom how someone could do that. It's retarded. The when his reaction was like I should be flattered that it happened? Fuck, you can't say that to someone with an ego the size of the one I have. It's massive and explosive.
On top of that, in addressing it, he would email Deadspin and ask Will to forward emails to me. Because I'm so hard to contact directly, right? I never really understood that. I'm sure Scoop is a nice enough guy, but I'm probably going to make fun of him in some way for the duration of YAY's existence.
5. Dream job? Go.
Making movies is fun. I love it. More money and power to do the projects of my choice is the ultimate goal of course, but the job I'm doing now is the only thing I want to do.
6. You're making a movie! Who Shot Mamba? Um, how's that going? (We donated money, by the way, so we're like those curious investors). Oh, and as a side note, the photo that reads, "Who did Stephen Jackson Shoot?" gave us a good belly-laugh.
Thanks -- I liked that one, too.
Who Shot Mamba? is going...it's going. Come interview me again about Mamba in like mid-February. That's about when the push should start. It's coming, and honestly...it's been hell getting it done. But good hell. I've worked on other films and shows in various capacities, but this is the first movie I've ever taken from scratch and actually made myself. (Hardly "myself" -- I've had a ton of help from some really talented people). The upside is that it's actually really, really good, which is hard to do, especially on a small budget. I promise it'll be worth it.
As for the length of time it's taking, all I can say is that when I do something, I'm going to make sure it's right, or I'm not doing it. If that means shooting one scene nine different times on nine different days, that's what's going to happen. I can only thank everyone for being patient with me -- both those who work on the film and those who are waiting for it. (Again, it's not me, me, me -- I'm like number three or four on the list of reasons this film is good. This is my interview, though).
7. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few you'd recommend?
First of all, I've got like EVERYBODY on my FeedDemon RSS reader, so please, nobody take offense if I don't mention you here. Yes, I even have kwamebrownsucks.com, which started like last week. (Also see the next question for more blogs, since I don't want to double-mention).
Currently, I'm in love with Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog. If I had access, that's what I'd be doing, right there. Detroit Bad Boys has a great balance between being serious and more casual, which I think is essential for a blog. I really like Globetrotter -- I wish he had time for more content. Jones on the NBA -- same deal. Need4Sheed, SacTownRoyalty.
I love The Basketball Jones when I make the time for it -- this would be easy if I could figure out how my iPod works. I have like eight songs on it because I can't jigger iTunes to do anything I want. It's the Rocky IV soundtrack -- I have to hide the screen at the gym, because something about listening to "Eye of the Tiger" while you work out is a little too awesome. That said, it's very effective. (Do you like how you ask me about other people and I bring it back to myself? Myself lifting weights, no less! I have a sickness).
Non-sports blogs, I hit up Defamer, Better Than Fudge, a bunch of movie/entertainment blogs, and a few blogs about blogs.
I'm also obsessed with checking my ranking on LowPost.net, and my low output this week is killing my rise back into contention for the top spot. (Again, about ME).
8. YAYsports! gets a great readership now. The content speaks for itself, but it needs to get out there somehow -- especially at first. How'd the initial promotion for the site go? Message boards? Email strings? And a piece of advice, if you will, for some smaller sites how to build a steady readership?
The best piece of advice I would give to someone starting out is to find something you can do that nobody else does. Like HoopsAddict has really tried to do this with their efforts to interview authors and stuff. TrueHoop launches investigations and does like actual reporting. Wizznutzz -- like, my crap can be imitated pretty easily, but that site is a true original. I love it. Celticsblog has made an effort to like create a huge community. I put "like" into like every sentence I write -- people enjoy that. SunsGossip -- the cartoons -- love 'em.
Just find a way to do something unique. If you're gonna write game recaps and spit stats, people can read that 50 other places -- they're not gonna come get it from you unless you've got something different to offer.
That said, the audience for sports blogs just isn't what it is for the political and celebrity blogs. Deadspin's the leader by far, and they get what -- 200,000 unique visitors per day? What's Perez Hilton get -- like 2.5 million I think? Basically, if you're getting in to get rich -- pick a different thing to blog about. The stats say that famous people getting married, having babies, and showing their vaginas really draws 'em in, so prepare to wait for the sports audience to arrive. Personally, by the time it happens, I think blogs will have tranformed into something else altogether.
9. Any interesting job offers after building yourself up as a top blogger? Graphic design maybe with those Photoshop skills?
No graphic design offers, but I do get a lot of people emailing me asking how to Photoshop and "how to be funny". I answer the first question with a "I would but I really wouldn't know how." For the second one, I have a 17-page document I wrote that explains how to watch basketball and then create humorous word pairings based on what you've seen. It's a very precise formula.
The only other things of significance that have come through have been offers to write for other sites (for free!) and a few literary agents offering to represent me. I've also been offered sex, which was cool. It was a dude -- that part was not as cool.
10. You guys recently switched over the YAY to a new server or something computery like that. How come? Was it worth it?
Like I always say on Mamba, if someone asks me a technical question, "I just write the jokes and then say the jokes on camera." As far as YAY goes, I spent a lot of time writing and not as much looking into the technological part of the whole blog deal.
So yeah -- with my traffic level, I was paying like $250 a month to the bastards at LivingDot DOT ASS to host YAY. Then one day I was like, "Man, that seems like a lot. How do all these people afford all these websites?" I was quickly informed you can get 100x the bandwidth I had for like $6 a month. That's when I was like, "Man, you're pretty fucking dumb."
(Unfortunately, in the switch, I'd guess 60-70% of my Photoshop work is no longer viewable online, hence my struggle to answer the "favorite posts" question).
Of course, the new place is slow as hell. If they don't straighten out soon, I'll need to switch before Who Shot Mamba? is released on this crude, unsuspecting world. It's gonna change everything, y'know.
11. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?
Most rewarding is when Scoop Jackson steals your orange-hued orbital character and literally the entire NBA blogosphere jumps to your defense. That was awesome. It's a cool community to be a part of.
Even with my reduced output the past three months, I also have some fiercely loyal readers, and that's just a nice feeling. I really feel appreciative that people read what I write -- I'd like to shake their hands and say thanks. I know that sounds like a joke, but it's sincere.
There's really nothing frustrating about it. It's not my career, so there's really nothing "at stake" for me or anything that's making it feel like a burden. It's fun -- if it's not one day, then I'll stop.
12. We'll get you outta here on this: You're an NBA guy after all, so who do you like coming out of the loaded West to rep the conference in the NBA Finals? And give us your team from the East and one decent reason why they won't get swept by the superior Western Conference team.
Geez -- it's early for this. I think it'll be Dallas-Miami again. Mainly because the rest of the East is just kinda average at best. Unless LeBron decides he's actually interested at some point this year -- that changes everything.
(Past interviews; also found on right sidebar: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford; The Mighty MJD; Jamie Mottram; The Big Lead).