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Last sync:2022-11-22 12:30
Hank Green was in Houston to promote his book, "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing". Green is one half of the YouTube Duo, Vlogbrothers. He's also an internet producer, musician, author, entrepreneur, and CEO... just to name a few. For more information click through below!

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Hank: Okay.  Gotcha.  


John: Hi there.  This is John Green.

Hank: And I am Hank Green and we are the vlogbrothers on YouTube.

John: Hank, you're holding a Picasso while eating Pringles.

I am here on the set of The Fault in Our Stars.

Hank: This is what one of the bathrooms of the White House looks like anyway.

I've been in Target for about five hours now.

John: Good morning, Hank.

Hank: Somebody's watching me.  I'm recording now.

Remember how I wrote a book?  (scats)  So it's a book that is, like, in large part about like, getting famous on the internet and we sort of have an idea of what that story would be, like, like, oh, like it's gonna be like, sort of a happy and like, wish-fulfillment kind of book.  It's not that.  A lot of very weird things happen to this poor girl.  Robots and fame.  Because I had sort of always imagined the book as a graphic novel, I took a little bit of my advance and I paid a bunch of illustrators to like, illustrate scenes from the book and that was really fun and turned out really well.

One thing I learned in writing this book, I didn't really know it before I sort of like, like spent so much time with it is that like, wanting to be famous is wanting to be dehumanized.  You want people to see you as more than a person.  You know, when the good parts of that happen, it's nice, but like, that comes with the bad parts as well, of people like, not treating you like a person when they want to be cruel to you or they don't agree with you or they just want to sort of define themselves in opposition to your fanbase, which, you know, we all do.  I did when I was in high school.  I said very mean things about Dave Matthews because I didn't like the people who listened to his music, not, and I, I'm sure that he's a lovely person.

For me, writer's block is a, it's about fear, not about like, not having something to write.  It's about being afraid that I can't do it and so I always am looking for the thing that's gonna cure that fear, so like, finding the root of what's stopping me from writing and figuring out what that is and combating that and it's often like, what I need to do is like, trust myself to be good at a thing, which is hard, especially when it's the first time you've done it and like, you've never had anybody read anything you've written before, so, so that's the thing that I'm trying to combat and the way that I did that was often, like, reading something that I've written that I think is actually good and that's not 100% of the book, but there were those moments that I go back to and I read it and I'd be like, this book is worth finishing.  

I think the first person who read a piece of this book was Hugh Howey, who is a science fiction writer.  I met him at a conference and I was like, I want to send you a thing that I wrote and he was really helpful and very supportive and then the second was my wife and then the third was an agent, and because I was like, do you think that this book--should I finish it?  Like, is it publishable?  And she was like, yes, so, it was a very good feeling and the process of writing a book, though, like, that's just me and like, I have an editor who, once the manuscript is done, helps me figure it out and all of Penguin to help market and sell the book, but writing a book is, it is a time consuming process and it's something that I find really rewarding.

There was no idea of what a YouTuber was.  Now, people want to be a YouTuber.  That phrase didn't exist.  That word wasn't a thing when we started uploading YouTube videos, so, we sort of like, discovered that we were YouTubers bef--like, after we had become them.  What I was doing before all this happened was, you know, science communication of a kind, and that was something that I had been interested in forever?  Like, it's just like, you know, it's like everyone from Carl Sagan to Bill Nye, like, those people were a big deal for me and like, to be able to do that as a job was, you know, that's actually kind of what I went to grad school for, so the fact that I now get to do that for a living in addition to like, novels and you know, weird YouTube videos with my brother, is really, it's a literal dream come true.

I have a problem where I like, I like starting, like, I like the sort of jolt of starting a new thing, and so I'm kind of always doing it a little bit.  We just launched a channel that's about like, sort of the wonder of microscopic life, so that's been really fun to do and it's doing well and I'm--yeah, so I have that.  I have that problem, where like, the existing things need to be taken care of, and the other ones, and the new ones are the ones that I'm like, more like, sort of jazzed about, so how do I handle doing all of those things is basically I have to, so I figure it out.  I have a lot of help.  You know, we have a whole company of, you know, 30-something employees now helping us make educational content.  

You know, another thing that I have found is if you really like, you spend like, a couple hours a week on something, over a year, that really adds up.  

I'm still here.