It was many months ago while searching for some background on a young performer that I was reunited with a website that I hadn’t visited for awhile. While I had read many articles, like most visitors, I had yet to leave any comments. However due to my deliberate search, I left a comment thanking him for publishing exactly what I needed to find out about that youngster.
Since the time of leaving that first comment, we have become very close friends. Not only sharing the same interest in maintaining a blog site but in treble music, movies, and a host of other interests.
I’m speaking about http://www.theskykid.com. The skykid.com is one of the most influential and captivating blogs on the net, featuring articles with embedded audio, video clips, and film previews. The site also includes introductions and reviews of coming of age books, short films, music, and movies that focus on adolescent development and young people in the performing arts. The newest feature of the site boasts a live radio program each Sunday afternoon and is on the air 24/7 broadcasting previous live shows and music by young aspiring musicians along with well known artists who have already made their mark in the industry.
It is my privilege today to introduce you, through this interview, to the one and only Skykid (author, manager, and founder) of Theskykid.com.
- Rivenmaster: Hello Skykid! How are you today?
- Skykid: Hello, Hello, I must admit that it’s really scary being on the other side of the microphone. I usually enjoy it more when I’m the one doing the interrogation.
- Skykid: That will be fine!
- Rivenmaster: I found your website more than four years ago. But when did you actually begin blogging and what inspired you to create http://www.theskykid.com?
- Skykid: It all started about six years ago when I was a member of several online communities, message boards, forums and the like. However, I didn’t find the whole experience rewarding and wanted to set up a place for myself where I could write about things that I am passionate about without having to obey certain rules or regulations other than the ones I set myself. That being said, I created such a place on WordPress.com as a free account, which I maintained for about two or three years. At that time the blog was exclusively personal and I was writing about things that were happening in my life. Then one day I started writing about movies, with my first movie review only being a few sentences, as I did not enjoy the film. I did find, however, that I enjoyed being able to express the way I felt about movies and then, later on, music. So in 2003, I set up hosting with my own domain and began to get rather serious about blogging. Now the site has progressed to the point that we are having about 100,000 visitors a month, which is quite an achievement.
- Rivenmaster: That is an amazing accomplishment, having that many monthly readers! Your site is quite diversified in the fact that it boasts young talented artists, film reviews (both short feature films and full feature films), in addition to book reviews and other interesting articles. However, I think what makes your blog the most unique of all is the fact that it features “Coming of Age Movies”. For those who are not familiar with that term, can you give us your definition of what a coming of age film is?
- Skykid: Well, to me a Coming of Age Film is one in which the protagonist or lead goes through some life changing experience and comes out the wiser through the lessons of those experiences. Although the term “coming of age” really does not refer to any certain age group. For example, it is not necessarily in reference to a child becoming an adult, but rather the development process a person goes through regardless of their age. In short, it’s the process of having a revelation in which a person learns more about himself and how to make sense of the world that surrounds him. I review all kinds of coming of age movies but mainly ones with a male protagonist. If the film is well-made, it’s easier for me to relate to his experiences and mine or those of people I know.
- Rivenmaster: That is a unique perspective, as I always thought about it being a youth coming into adulthood. But, then, I’m pushing 60 and I’m still learning every day, so thank you for your insight about that. Something that I would really like to know is, while I have been privileged to get to know you personally, do your readers actually know who Skykid is and is there any benefit of blogging anonymously rather than being open about your identity and where you are from?
- Skykid: Well, the truth is that most of my regulars know who I am as a person by the things I write. I tend to inject much of my personality into reviews and a lot of my writings. At the same time, I am using a nickname “Skykid”, which is actually a part of my marketing strategy — with the nickname and the domain name working together. It’s actually my belief that, since I am not a famous musician or something, I don’t need to propagate my name on the Internet. So I am fine using the name Skykid for the general public. At the same time, anyone who has been in touch with me on a one-to-one basis (to talk about singers, actors, record and movie producers, or directors), or regular readers of the blog who have contacted me, know my name and contact details and everything. So it’s really not as anonymous as you might think.
- Rivenmaster: Well that’s true. You and I have become quite close friends over the past year simply through a comment I made on your site. So you are definitely not unapproachable. Where did you come up with the name Skykid? Is this something you picked for yourself?
- Skykid: When I first started participating in online communities I was using a variety of nicknames. But when I started a place of my own, I wanted a familiar name that would be recognizable and not obscure. So I chose the name Skykid. The name actually came from a 1985 Namco game, which I did not know about at the time and only found out about later on. I also thought that the name Skykid would be something that many people would be using, so I really didn’t think I’d be able to capitalize on that nickname. However, after about a year, I was able to retain it pretty much for myself. If you search Google, you are 99% sure to be directed to my site.
Rivenmaster: Outside of all the movie reviews, and interviews with directors and young musicians, you have one thing that really stands out on your site, that being Billy Elliot The Musical. You have some extremely professional and insightful articles about this wonderful Broadway show. Would you please elaborate a little about how “Billy Elliot” became such a large part of your blog?
- Skykid: From the very first time I saw the film with my father a few years ago, I immediately became a fan of the movie. It reminded me a bit of my own story having gone to high school in the United States. It was hard for my parents to send me there. Later, I was able to see the musical in London and was absolutely astonished by the performances.
I had done an article about Billy Elliot in 2006, but it didn’t have a great deal of depth, as I hadn’t yet personally seen the musical. In the summer of 2009, I was in a chat with someone by the name of porschesrule, who had read my article and mentioned to me that I really should update it because the musical version was now open on Broadway. Knowing little about the American version of the show, but knowing that he did (as he was a member of the two Billy Elliot the Musical forums), I suggested that he guest write an article about it. There was some reluctance on his part, but he finally agreed to do a one-time article. It was called “Where Do All the Billys Come From”. The article turned out to be very popular, and he then agreed to do a series of profiles on each of the Billy’s currently playing the role in England and on Broadway. He suggested, and I agreed, to add a separate section to the blog for BETM, which I gladly did as I felt it really fit the Coming of Age focus of the site. Today, porschesrule is in charge of the ‘Billy Elliot Department’ for the site. Thanks to him, theskykid.com has become the most complete site on the net for articles about this wonderful musical.
- Rivenmaster: Over the years you have had a variety of directors and film producers that you have interviewed or written articles about on your site. Are there any that really stand out to you that you would like to share a little more about?
- Skykid: Well, I would have to say that everyone that has ever appeared on the site has been outstanding in his or her own way. I would like to say that I owe a debt of gratitude to Stephen Ryder, one of the most renowned producers in the United States, for his continued support and advice given me over the years. I recently did an article and interview with Director Rick Lancaster. And then from Germany, we have Uwe, who is the agent for Leonard Proxauf, a young German actor who was cast as the lead in Nimmermeer and The White Ribbon. Of course I must mention writer/director Dave Schultz, who I had an amazing interview with about his film Jet Boy and Simon Barren. who I worked with doing an exclusive interview with Vlad Krutskikh and the pop group “Street Magic”. There are so many more that I could mention who have helped Theskykid.com become one of the largest blogs focusing on young talent and coming of age movies.
- Rivenmaster: Skykid, your blog stays so fresh with new articles written so regularly you would think that you had a whole host of writers publishing these articles. But, if the truth be known, you have just a few. How do you keep up with the maintenance for such a large blog?
- Skykid: When you are really passionate about something you make the time for it. I stay on top of the game by following a lot of Twitter accounts and subscribing to several Google bloggers of Coming of Age films. I also receive a lot of insight from people who comment on the site by suggesting other films and have done my best to acquire many films over the years through second hand store outlets, which enables me to write my reviews.
- Rivenmaster: In relation to getting the word out about your blog, what social networking do you find works best for you for communicating with your readers and supporters?
- Skykid: I would have to say e-mail, which is kind of odd because many people think that e-mail is dead! But the truth is most of my communications are still with e-mail. Secondly, would be Twitter. In fact, many of my communications start with Twitter and then move to e-mail. I also have MySpace and YouTube accounts, which I need to spend a little more time with, yet none-the-less are there. In addition, I use bookmarking services such as Delicious, Stumbleupon and Digg.
- Rivenmaster: Because I know what goes into blogging and have learned much about the time and expense that goes into this effort, is there a way that people can support your site and help you in your venture?
- Skykid: Yes. There are several ways that you can support the blog, both monetarily and non-monetarily. Monetarily you can donate any amount that you would like by using the donation button located on the site. Non-monetarily, you can support the blog by leaving comments on the articles, which is very, very essential to me. I always enjoy seeing comments on the articles I write. Last, but not least, you can support the blog by using the share buttons at the bottom of each article that is published, which is very beneficial in helping others to see what is offered on the site.
- Rivenmaster: I want to thank you for doing this interview with us today and I know that many of us have learned much more about you and theskykid.com.
I want to encourage all of my readers to be sure to visit all of Skykid’s sites and especially tune into http://www.radio.theskykid.com , which is still a relatively new addition to his site. Skykid has been very generous, by allowing me to use his radio as an additional benefit to this site, by playing much of the music from the young artists you find here at Rivenmaster’s Place.