Deposition @ Sarasota Film Festival

Boy howdy, The Deposition of Lou Bagetta will be in the line-up at the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival, which takes place March 25 – April 5 in Sarasota, Florida. Because of its ties to circus guy John Ringling, Sarasota has a lot of clown statues – but please don’t let that discourage you from a visit.
Screening time forthcoming.

Deposition @ LA Comedy Shorts Festival

My film, The Deposition of Lou Bagetta has been selected by the LA Comedy Shorts Festival, which runs March 5-8 in Los Angeles (obviously). This is the first festival we entered and entitles us to add those pretty laurel graphics to our posters and press materials. Fortunately people like Sean McMenemy exist to make that easier.
If you live in LA and would like to attend the screening, the details are here.

The Deposition of Lou Bagetta

Ages ago I wrote a short story and someone said, “Gee, that’d make a great film,” and I said, “Oh.” But they kept saying that to the point where I was finally compelled to put it in script form. I sent it off to him and figured that was the end of it because really, what can you do with a 20 minute film? But my friend took the script and showed it around to folks in Hollywoodland and slowly managed to assemble a group of people willing to work on it for nothing more than credit/copy/meals – the standard payment for these things.
It takes a tremendous amount of work to do a film, even a short one, and I was amazed that we could actually have so many people laboring on something that could potentially have no payoff. We invested heavily in catering and I recommend any filmmaker do the same if they’re demanding 16 hour days from their crews.
The whole time we worked on this I kept expecting people to bolt. But nobody bolted and you’d have thought they were all on salary with performance bonuses. The catering was that good.
In the end we have a film that we’re going to be sending around the festival circuit hoping to get those impressive looking laurels that everyone adds to their posters and websites.
The Deposition of Lou Bagetta may or may not be coming to a festival near you. If you want to follow it, the website is and it also has a Facebook page. And, naturally, a Twitter page. I did not create a MySpace page because I am literate and older than 12.

A Gathering of Potentially Humorous Radio Commercials

Sixty Second Airborne – Some Ads We Did

In the days before iPods and satellite, people listened to music via the radio. Stations that played music over the radio used to subsidize their existence by selling advertising. Can you imagine?
Back in the late ’90s I partnered with two other guys and created Sixty Second Airborne – a radio advertising agency that wrote and produced humorous radio commercials. We had the brilliant idea of building the space ourselves, as my partners were both handymen. By building the space out ourselves we stood to save a ton of money.
One thing we didn’t completely realize is that literally building your business at the same time your were building a business is a terribly stupid, time-consuming thing to do. Installing cabinets, drilling sheets of metal, painting and putting down flooring is great – if you’re Bob Vila. But if Bob Vila also has to write, cast and produce three radio commercials for a client by Wednesday, then Bob Vila is not making the best use of his time.
Nevertheless we had a nice run – especially during the dot-com days when clients, pumped with millions in venture capital, simply did whatever they pleased at whatever cost. There were great clients, good clients, bad clients and clients that didn’t pay (Pollak, Levitt & Partners). And we had a lot of fun. We shared our space with other businesses, including a recording studio – which meant interesting visitors were always traipsing through.
Recently I discovered, which could be described as a YouTube for audio, so I took the liberty of uploading some of our favorite work lest it all languish on a hard drive.
Some of the voices may be recognizable: Space Ghost‘s George Lowe, Seinfeld‘s John O’Hurley and Ken Hudson Campbell.

Angry Independent Segment – “Polytykes as Usual”

This is my most recent “Angry Independent” segment on Glenn Beck – and actually the last “Angry Independent” segment on Glenn Beck for now because Glenn stopped the show last Thursday in preparation for a move to Fox in February. I learned this only when somebody emailed me to ask me if I knew Glenn was moving to Fox. That’s how out of the loop I am.
Anyway, it’s too bad because there was plenty to complain about with this election. I’d hoped to touch upon the lack of attention third parties get, and my disdain for the “Vote No Matter What!” ads that encourage people who don’t know anything about their candidates to rush out and vote. That’s not really democracy, that’s dumbocracy.
This “Politykes” installment is one of my favorites because I detest using kids as props in a political campaign. It’s creepy, as evidenced by the startlingly awful “Sing for Change” video and it’s corny, as we see in the “Kids for McCain” spot. Really, must we drag our little ones into this? I think we should endeavor to keep kids non-partisan for as long as possible.

Angry Independent Segment – Glenn Beck

Someone was nice enough to put this clip of my weekly Glenn Beck segment online. I used to put all my segments online, but it gets time consuming what with the downloading and transferring and converting and uploading and all that.
I wish I could just point a laser at something and have it appear on YouTube.

Paul Reddy Show (Full)

The Paul Reddy Show with John Mayer (Full) from Banterist on Vimeo.
The Cliff’s Notes version of The Paul Reddy Show has been on YouTube for some time, and I routinely get emails from 19-year old girls asking me where the full length version can be found. Until now my standard response has been: I do not know. Please come over my house.
I didn’t know – because the full length version of the show was only distributed on the Heavier Things DualDisc. The DualDisc technology (CD on one side, DVD on the other) never really caught fire like they’d hoped. Just like Betamax and Zima.
Someone recently told me about Vimeo, a video service that can host large files that are longer than ten minutes. So now, to answer the question of countless 19-year old women: I do know where the full version is. Please come over my house.

Fox & Friends Interview

Because of Tim Russert’s untimely demise this interview was rescheduled for the weekend I was out of town – so I had to drive four hours back to the New York I’d just left, do the three-minute interview, and drive four more hours back whence I came. Fortunately Red Bull exists, even though no one knows the long-term effects of drinking Heart Attack In A Can.
The eight hours of driving was actually a brilliant opportunity for me to finally listen to the brilliant lectures-on-tape that my wife and children refuse to listen to. I officially know more about Shakespeare, Biological Anthropology and the theory of Relativity.
Prior to the interview both hosts asked questions that made me realize they were actually familiar with the book. One even had favorite chapters. This was a welcome change from a recent radio interview where the DJ had no idea what the book was about and thought I was some kind of parenting expert.
Everyone at Fox & Friends was nice. The security guard handed me a pass that said “Brian Sack – STUD”. Sadly that turned out to be their abbreviation for Studio.

CBS Up To The Minute Interview

Ms. Stassou was mighty nice. I love how she was genuinely traumatized by the word “sex”. I managed to step on her foot right before we started rolling.
The CBS building is really fascinating. It’s one of the Big Three networks, yet has a completely unpretentious entrance. Real bare bones. And that theme continues even after you pass security: Sean McManus, head of the entire CBS News and CBS Sports divisions, has one of the most un-glamorous looking offices I’ve ever seen. It’s just a door in the middle of a long, featureless hallway. Very egalitarian, even though his salary presumably bests the GDP of Iceland.
As an added bonus I got to walk by the 60 Minutes studio where they shoot the bookends for all their pieces. There’s a lot of history in this place – as well as several Untimely Demise promotional bookmarks. In general the building and the equipment in it made me feel like I’d warped into 1978.
I found the giant CBS eye in the lobby rather intimidating.

Radio Interview Tips

Wherein I get schooled in the art of book interviews in the world’s longest, oddest book interview.
Features: Role playing, cats, professional instruction and the stupidity of selling other peoples’ books in your own interview.

Stay through to the end. It should be worth it.

Real and Virtual Appearances

Yesterday was exciting. It began with the longest book interview in the history of radio and ended with me kicking two pedestrians to death.
In the Event of My Untimely Demise began the day with an Amazon ranking of 130,000-something. It went up to 343 by the time I called it a night. It was also #3 in Parenting>Humor and #10 in Entertainment>Humor.
Fortunately it had not occurred to me to check my Amazon ranking until someone mentioned it later in the afternoon. I’d completely forgotten you could monitor such things. I’m trying not to think about it now.
The radio and TV interviews and Glamour blogging was really fun. My wife surprised me with a lovely dinner at my favorite overpriced restaurant, Strip House.
By coincidence, the highly-anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto IV was launching on the same day. In the game I play host “Mike Riley” on the Public Liberty Radio channel’s Intelligent Agenda show. I was dying to see how that turned out so I picked up the game, raced home, popped it in, stole a car, listened to the radio and finally heard the show. I was so excited that I exited the car and began murdering pedestrians before stealing a garbage truck for a joyride.
It was a good day.

Book Report: Launch Day

Today, April 29, is officially launch day for the book although a reader in West Virginia emailed me to say she got hold of it a couple days early. Always jumping the gun, West Virginia, you!
After walking into the Barnes & Noble at Union Square I realized that I will never again just simply walk into a bookstore. In the pre-book launch days I would go to a bookstore because I needed a book. Or something. No more.
From today onwards, walking into a bookstore will be about more than just getting a book. It will be about anticipation, excitement, pride and – mainly – boosted or damaged self esteem. Where’s the book? you wonder to yourself as you meander about. Recommended reading perhaps? Reader Favorites?. There’s a buzz of anticipation, like when you’re standing on the stoop making idle chatter with a first date. You’re not quite sure if the kiss is going to happen but you know that in the next few moments you’ll either be charged with excitement or really, really disappointed.
So you glance around like a parent at the playground who knows the kid is around somewhere. Fortunately, whoever designed the book’s cover did a great job because all you need to do is look for the brightest, reddest book in all the land.
Then, voila. (French for “Yo!”)


It’s really exciting to see your book up there. Especially at eye-level and not tucked somewhere next to Monopoly – Bronx Zoo Edition. It’s tingly. There’s a tingle.
This kind of excitement will continue every time I walk into a bookstore for quite some time. But the pessimist in me fears that some day the electric tingle will turn into a dull, throbbing dread. Please don’t be in the dollar bin. Please don’t be in the dollar bin.
In the meantime, online retailers have been collected here.
Also today I’ll be over at Glamour Magazine, guest-blogging on Storked!, their pregnancy blog. Feel free to stop by.

Glenn Beck Appearance 04/24/08

Having a TV personality plug your book is an author’s dream come true. Having him tell people to go to a library to read it? Not as much, but still it’s mostly music to your ears.
One thing I have learned is that as soon as you have a media appearance like this you forward it to your publicist. They in turn notify their sales force which then knows to tell their book buyers “Oh, so-and-so was on such-and-such last night” – the idea being the buyers then anticipate increased sales and buy more books. So, I dutifully forwarded the clip to my publicist… and received an out-of-office reply. She’s gone until Tuesday the 29th – when the book comes out. Now, this is my first book launch so maybe I’m missing something but I have to wonder if it’s normal that the publicist takes off right before the book release. It feels the same as an actor taking off during rehearsals and saying, “See you on opening night!”
I was really excited for the television debut of my new Bright Blue Shirt. I had been looking for this exact color shirt for a long time. My wife took one look at it and said it looked like I worked for Best Buy.
Still, I love my Bright Blue Shirt and hope that one day my wife will see the light. I’ve accepted the fact that she hates beer and doesn’t care about Battlestar Galactica the way I do, but I really would like her to reconsider the shirt.