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Uploaded:2008-09-09
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Award-winning author John Green came to Worthington, OH and answered questions from Worthington-area nerdfighters! In Part 2, he addresses brotherhood, Brotherhood 2.0, and videoblogging.
JOHN: This is John Green, the author of Looking For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and my new book, Paper Towns. You have very wonderfully given me some questions to answer, which I am now going to answer as quickly and succinctly and yet brilliantly as possible.

Q: What's your earliest memory of getting in trouble with your brother, Hank?

A: Oh, God. When I - when Hank was about six, I convinced - he had just learned how to ride a bike and I convinced him to ride with me about three miles to the mall, and it was extremely dangerous - like, we were crossing interstates and stuff - and, uh, I was like, "Hank, you cannot tell Mom and Dad that we did this." And he was like, "I understand." And then, when we were biking back, I got ahead of him and he got behind and he thought he was gonna die, and he's like six years old, so we get back to the house and he's just bawling and bawling, and I can't get him to stop, and then he got me in trouble. Second question is whose fault was it that you got in trouble? Now I would argue that it was Hank's fault for not being able to, uh, man up at the age of six and not cry. Um, but Hank would probably argue that it was my fault for making him go to the mall in the first place and risking his life so that I could, you know, uh, buy Converse or whatever I was buying at the time.

Q: Uh, did you get grounded as a kid or teen?

A: (Laughs) Obviously. Yes, I got grounded that day. No, I got grounded - I got grounded a lot. Like, my parents were pretty strict and, uh, I was - I was a bit of trouble. I think I was tough on them, so I got grounded a fair bit when I was in middle school. Then in high school, I was in - I went to a boarding school, so being grounded was a different idea than it is when you're living at home. But I still got in trouble. Then I became a good kid, though, which is important. I don't want to sound like a role model for bad behavior because I find bad behavior, uh, in young people just absolutely deplorable and annoying, like most adults.

Q: Have you ever broken into SeaWorld or know someone who did?

A: I mean, I'm not sure I can legally answer that question because I don't know if the, uh, statute of limitations has totally passed and I don't want to get in trouble with SeaWorld. I certainly don't want to encourage other people to get in trouble with SeaWorld. I will say this: it is harder to break into SeaWorld now than it used to be.

Q: Um, the next question is, "Were you and Hank always so cool?"

A: Um, Hank and I have never been cool and we aren't cool now - we're gigantic nerds. So we were gigantic nerds in school and we're gigantic nerds now.

Q: What inspired you to start Brotherhood 2.0?

A: I mean, the initial inspiration was I just felt like Hank and I weren't as close as I wanted us to be and I missed him and I wanted to sort of see his face every other day and make jokes with him like we had when we were growing up, and, I mean, I don't want to brag, but I think it worked pretty well. It was totally my idea, Hank had nothing to do with it, and it's brilliant.

Q: How long before the start of the new year did you come up with the idea for - for Brotherhood 2.0?

A: Um, we started on January 1, 2007, and I suggested the idea to Hank on, like, December 18, 2007. So it was a very sort of last-second, splash together thing. Um, it was so fun in the very beginning that I knew we were gonna do it for the whole year. I mean, initially, I thought, God, we will never be able to do this for a year - it just takes too much time - but we just enjoyed it so much. We loved the audience so much, and we do it for each other still, I think, and because it's good for our relationship, but we just love, um, the people who watch so much, like, we're so, um, we're such big fans of them, you know? So it's just another chance to interact with people that you really like and kind of admire and look up to.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Question Tuesdays?

A: I don't know. Question Tuesday is the day where I do this, but I do it much faster and I'm kind of screaming at the camera and answering questions really quickly. I don't know where I came up with the idea. Um, actually, Hank came up with the idea initially. He said, "Ask me some questions because I'll answer them - and then I'll answer them on Tuesday," but then he didn't answer any questions on Tuesday, and so I kind of took up the mantle. So I guess that - that - that I owe Hank. 

Q. How do you pick the questions for Question Tuesdays?

A: Um, I just go through all the comments on our website, nerdfighters.com and at YouTube, and I kind of look for questions that I can read quickly, and then answer quickly and humorously, so like, I have to say the quality of the question is not as important as whether or not I've thought of a quality answer.

Q: Your videos are awesome! Did you have experience making videos before Brotherhood 2.0? How did you and your brother get started making videos?

A: Um, I had absolutely no experience making videos before Brotherhood 2.0, and you can tell that on the January 2nd video, the first video that I ever did. I mean, I bought the camera on December 24th, as a kind of Christmas present to myself and to Hank, and we both bought our cameras on the same day, we bought the same camera, and I went home that night, and I, uh, I videotaped my wife and her cousin doing a jigsaw puzzle and then uploaded that footage to YouTube, and then immediately deleted it, and that was how I learned how to make a video on the Internet. It's really quite easy, because I'm completely technophobic, and, uh, I was able to do it.

So, how did we get started making videos? Um, I was really interested in a couple of video blog projects, um, I'm really interested in video blogging and video-based communication as a way of sort of building communities and as a way of having kind of collaboratively created content, like when you watch a television show, you're watching something, and that something is happening to you, but when you're watching a video blog, um, because of the nature of the pages, because you can -- because there are text comments and video comments and because they're much more, um, interactive and ask more much more of the viewer, it's more collaborative, and that means that it's more like a book, which I've always thought of as a kind of conversation between a reader and a writer. So, um, that really appealed to me; there was a show, in 2006, called The Show, with Ze Frank, and hosted by this guy Ze Frank, that I thought was just brilliant and that we have, um, stolen from in many many ways over the years, and I was also one of the early -- I mean, this is embarrassing and nerdy -- but I was one of the early fans of a, um, video project called LonelyGirl15, that initially appeared to be the video blogs of a 15 year old girl whose parents, uh, were involved in some kind of weird occultist religion, and there was a small group of people who proved that it was actually a professional production, and not to brag, but I was among that small group of people. 

Q: Since your happy dance project inspired the Worthington Library's two most popular videos on YouTube, what video do you think our dancing librarian should spoof next? 

A: That's an excellent question; definitely Soulja Boy. Consider it a challenge.

Thank you guys so much for watching, it's such a pleasure to be here in Worthington, and in these nice fancy green chairs, and thank you for your wonderful questions, and, uh, best wishes!