If you had told me ten years ago that I’d have a chance to interview Sean Astin, someone I’ve been a fan of since The Goonies, I’d have laughed. Honestly, if you’d told me even two years ago, when I started doing interviews for this site, that I’d interview Sean, I’d have been skeptical. But it’s happened. Sean recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his radio show Vox Populi: The Voice of the (Occasionally Interested) People. I’ve listened to the show, and I think Sean does exactly what he says in the show’s mission statement: he brings people together to talk civilly and calmly about the hot topics of the day, without regard for sound-bytes or better ratings. It’s about talking, and about listening. So I backed the Kickstarter, and took a chance to ask Sean if he’d do an interview for my little personal website. He agreed to it, “after I run the Chicago Marathon.” So here it is. It’s a short interview, but hopefully we get across why Vox Populi is a project worthy of being funded and more. As of today, there are 4.5 days left in the campaign, and it is funded… but Sean would like to hit the $60,000 stretch goal to build the show an app. The video at the end of this interview explains why he’s so passionate about this despite adding it late in the campaign. I’ve seen KS campaigns raise much more than $20,000 in much less than 4 days, so like Sean I believe it can be done. But enough of me …
ANTHONY: Let’s start with an easy one: After such a strong acting career, what led you to start a political radio talk-show?
SEAN: Well, I think I would have done some kind of political show regardless of my career. My mom was president of the Screen Actors Guild and hosted a morning tv show in LA when I was a kid. So, the desire for citizenship and using my voice was placed in me by my family. The fact that I’ve been blessed with a long career, just makes the transition easier. Lots of people are familiar with my name, so it’s easier to build an audience. At least on paper, encouraging people to see someone in a different light, particularly when it’s politics, takes work. Also, it’s not the only thing I do. In fact, it’s a hobby for me at this point; a hobby that I’m extremely passionate about, but it’s not about money, yet. It might be in the future. I am currently acting in a show for FX with Guillermo del Toro directing. So, life, particularly with my wife and three daughters is sailing by. The political show gives me the satisfaction that on some level, I hope, I’m making a difference!
ANTHONY: Your focus is on “civil discourse,” and I really admire the way you let people have their say, even if you disagree with them. But I’m sure people wonder: what would make you cut a discussion short or lose your cool with a guest?
SEAN: Ha! Fun question. Well, as the HOST I get to disconnect the call if someone flouts the premise of the show and behaves in an uncivil manner. I might get nervous about doing that, but I would do it because I must protect the integrity of the show. I think in most instances, when people are directed to “be nice” and then given the time and space to express themselves, they usually become the best contributors. I lose my cool sometimes at events in the world, Sandy Hook, Benghazi… but I believe that the HOST role carries responsibilities and I like to be responsible.
ANTHONY: I’m sure you get this all the time, but I have to ask: what was your favorite part of filming The Goonies (one of my top five life-time favorite movies)? And, more seriously: can you tell my readers about your marathon experiences and the #Run3rd movement?
SEAN: One of my favorite things about making The Goonies was driving onto the Warner Lot and feeling like a big shot. The pirate ship, Dick Donner, Steven Spielberg, My Goonies friends, the Crew, Waterslides…it was a great adventure. I love talking about running. I would direct your readers to my Mission Statement and our official Run3rd.blogspot.com site. Just know that I choose now to dedicate my runs to people, causes, ideas. I declare before 5k’s,10k’s, 1/2 & Full Marathons that I “#run3rd for (insert person etc..)” It started as a twitter campaign, which offers a prompt to people to make dedications themselves. When I or you or anyone dons the emblem #run3rd on their clothes or whatever, they are said to be running on behalf of all of the dedications. I ran 3 marathons this year, LA, SF & this month, Chicago. These events inspire the heck out of me. I just love the challenge, the community everything. Running is more than a sport to me, it’s a sacred experience!!!
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: what is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who has never read it to convince them that they should?
SEAN: I don’t know anymore. I studied English and History at UCLA. At certain periods of my life, I was a voracious reader. In recent years, I haven’t dedicated myself to reading very much. It saddens me to say so, but it’s true. I think when I was kid, I was probably A.D.D. That may have come back. My usual answer is Candide, by Voltaire. It sound high faluten, but basically it’s a great adventure story with a powerful bit of philosophy and morality mixed in for good measure.
ANTHONY: Thank you again, Sean! Now, what’s all this about “The Show Needs An App?”
And finally, most importantly: the Kicstarter page. All you need to do is go to www.StartTheVox.com. That will take you directly to the Kickstarter page where you can see all the Backer Rewards Sean is offering, as well as Sean’s original video explaining the show and the project, and of course, where you can back the project yourself. Every little bit helps!