Ok kids pay attention. This interview was probably the funnest interview I have ever had. I got to talk to Eepybird the YouTube sensation guys with the Diet Coke and Mentos video. As much as I love talking to wacky artists or crazy inventors these guys are like talking to myself a bit. They love to look at the world in a different way. They don’t mind failure and are willing to risk looking silly in front of people.
As a dad I am always pushing my children to “try” no matter how badly they fail right off. I often try to remind them of how well they do something now by failing the first few times. That usually gets them motivated and beyond the fear in their head. But I digress, Eepybird:
First I’d like to say thank you to Siobhan Aalders who presented me and my little blog to Stephen and Fritz for a phone interview and some follow up emails. And thank you to Fritz and Stephen for accepting the idea and taking the time to talk to me. While I hope in the future they’ll be able to see my TV show and say “hey, we know that guy…” but until then, they took a risk of wasting time with little ‘ol no name me. I’m very grateful and am delighted that what they had to say fit right in with my book.
I’ll start with the email questions I asked of them:
• Why do you think we are fascinated by everyday objects doing extra ordinary things.
FRITZ: There is nothing like seeing our ordinary world transformed into something new. For me, art in general shows you a particular way of looking at something so that you see it in a way you hadn’t before. When things as simple as soda and candy become a geyser or pieces of paper become a waterfall, it’s tickles your brain the way both art and good jokes do. It is completely incongruous but somehow makes perfect sense!
STEPHEN: I remember reading a critique of magicians once that said essentially “You show me a prop that looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before . . . and you make it behave like nothing I’ve ever seen before! Where’s the magic in that?”
I think it’s a lot more compelling to see things we ARE familiar with behave in ways we’d never imagined. And I also like that it’s the kind of work that gets our audiences looking in new ways a the world around them.
• What is the deciding factor in choosing and everyday object?
FRITZ: The choice of object is all about where we find the interesting phenomena. With Diet Coke & Mentos, we started with the phenomenon and looked for what we could do with it. With sticky notes, we started with the object and looked for what it could do. We end up exploring dozens of objects to find one interesting phenomenon, and we may explore dozens of phenomena before we find one that we can build a spectacle around.
STEPHEN: It’s really about what catches our eye. What looks like it might have more to it than we usually use it for. One of the things that’s cool about this process is that what catches Fritz’s or my eye might be something entirely different than what catches your eye – and you can find something just as cool with what grabs you as we do with what grabs us.
• At what point do you give up on a selection, if ever?
FRITZ: We’re very tenacious, so we rarely give up completely on an idea. Many ideas will sit on the back burner for years, though, with a glimmer of an idea waiting for that one more insight that will get it cooking away on the front burner.
STEPHEN: Yep. It’s all about the back burner. We have an unlimited number of them!
• Is there anything that fascinates you but not your audience?
FRITZ: So far, happily, what we enjoy has been what our audiences enjoy. First and foremost, we look for what fascinates us. That helps avoid a vain search for what might or might not be popular. We always want our work to be accessible and friendly, to get a dialogue going with the audience. For us, that dialogue always begins with, “check out this crazy thing we found…” And then hopefully our enthusiasm spreads!
STEPHEN: Not yet. And I do think that there’s something inherently interesting about having someone share with you something THEIR really interested in. It’s like having a teacher who’s really enthusiastic about what they teach. If they care about it, and care about teaching it, it almost doesn’t matter what the subject it.
• …and just for kicks… If you were a color, what color would you be?
FRITZ: I was all about bright, “safety” orange growing up, but now I’m a more thoughtful blue/purple most of the time.
STEPHEN: Blue, though I find myself wearing a lot of black for some reason.
Over the phone Stephen and Fritz told me stories of always being inquisitive as children and some of the things they did in order to get a “real job” in order to support themselves. But they always kept in touch with their creative side in some form or fashion through the years. Not that they weren’t creative in their “real jobs.” Also they spoke enthusiastically of not giving up on an idea and I’ll paraphrase their advice as saying that a failure is simply a delay and not the end. Sometimes you may have to put an idea aside, but they are willing to wait it out for an idea. Who knows when an idea will cross over from another idea that’ll solve the one currently on “delay.”
I was also thrilled to talk to the Eepybird boys about volume. In my book I talk a little about some past genius’ put out more “bad” ideas than they did good ones. But you’ve got to get them all out in order for the “good” ones to come out.
Stephen and Fritz of Eepybird are an encouragement to the world to never give up and to always try. And when you’ve got it working, make it extraordinarily great.
I encourage you to visit their website and watch all of their video’s on YouTube. (…and then get a copy of my book to help you get to their level of creative genius)