That Time I Interviewed Neil Gaiman
Back in 1998, when I was a producer/editor at Seattle's PBS station, KCTS/9, I convinced the pledge program director that it would be a good idea to air Neverwhere during our pledge drive, and since Neil was coming to Seattle for a ComiCon in a few weeks, let me produce an hour-long interview with him as the pledge premium.
Calls were made, details were ironed out, rights were cleared, and a date for the interview was set. Neil's only ask was to provide some number of VHS tapes (I don't remember how many) to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to sell as a fundraiser. Brilliant!
One the opening day of the ComiCon, my bestie David Persson helped me shoot B-roll. The following day I picked Neil up his hotel and drove him to the TV station. Drive time is quality time. I stayed away from questions or topics I was planning to cover in the interview. The Shakespeare authorship debate was getting a lot of attention at the time with Edward de Vere, XVII Earl of Oxford, the leading candidate, so I asked for his thoughts on this non-controversy . I don't remember his exact words, but the gist was When has anyone in the English monarchy written anything even remotely as good as Shakespeare? That, but witty, sharp, and funny. Like Neil.
I couldn't make the Seattle stop on Neil's 2022 tour. His stop in Austin was a few weeks later so I called David, who now lives there. "David, do you have two tickets to see Neil?" "Of course I do." So I flew to Austin. Neil's been interviewed countless times in the 30+ years since our interview so backstage after the show I freshened his memory with these screen grabs from our interview. We did a bit of catching up - Neil's incredibly generous with his time and attention - then he gave us a sneak peek at the final trailer for The Sandman. If you haven't seen it, see it. And if you haven't read the comic, read it. Both are brilliant. The complete series is available on Amazon.com but is pricey. You'll pay much less buying used on Abebooks.com. The best deal is your local library.
Listening to Neil read his poems and stories and tell personal anecdotes was delightful. We've come so far. I'm so glad we got to reconnect. If you ever have the opportunity to see Neil read his work, do. I'm still smiling.
BTW, the interview is available on YouTube.