Booking a guest is difficult.
Sometimes, it’s about scheduling. Actors often don’t do interviews while filming and journalists are hesitant to speak in the midst of writing. Interviews take time and energy and can be a burden for some. That’s completely understandable.
Other times, it’s about selection. Big artists talk with big outlets. Yes, whatiwannaknow.com ® is one of the top interview websites in the world (based on quality). But, some publicists still won’t allow their clients (i.e. Bill Clinton) to engage with thought-provoking, over-researched, interviewers like myself.
Over the years, I’ve sent out a lot of requests. I’ve been blessed to speak with some amazing people.
I’ve also been rejected countless times. Sometimes, however, getting rejected makes my day.
Why? Because once in awhile a tidbit of information turns up in the email or phone call that is both revealing and noteworthy.
Below are some of my favorite rejections…so far.
. . .
(1) President Thomas S. Monson
President Monson is the head of the Mormon church. He is a powerful, influential figure and the perfect candidate for a long form interview.
What’s it like to be the leader of a world religion? Did he see “The Book of Mormon” on broadway? So many questions and no possible way to find out.
I received a very pleasant rejection letter from the church in August of 2011. Leading 14 million people apparently keeps you quite busy.
Below is the email.
A larger-than-life persona is great interview material. This site aims to be as eclectic as possible. So, why not reach out to Ron Jeremy? The man’s had a long and illustrious career.
After sending out a request, one of his representatives emailed back with a very candid revelation. The interview never panned out, but now I know something about Mr. Jeremy that I perhaps shouldn’t.
(3) Noam Chomsky
When I started this site, Noam Chomsky immediately came to mind. He’s an intellectual icon and the subject of an Ali G interview, a.k.a. a great get.
Chomsky is an example of someone whose time is so over-booked that he probably has little time for himself.
So when I emailed Chomsky, I anticipated a rejection. What I didn’t anticipate was a personal reply.
I hear his voice when I read the email. So, it’s sort of like we spoke, just briefly.
(4) Max Martin
This Swedish mega-hit producer/songwriter is responsible for tracks such as Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time,” The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It that Way”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”, and “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. And, that’s just a small sample of his writing catalogue. According to celebrityworth.com, Martin has a net worth of $250 million. Crazy.
When I reached out to Martin, I was looking forward to picking his brain about writing hits, working with high-profile artists and hair gel. Unfortunately, Martin is too busy making millions to talk to anyone…ever.
(5) Esther Duflo
Voted one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, Duflo is a French economist who made waves with her 2011 book “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.” She’s currently a professor of economics at MIT.
After some pleasant back and forth with her staff, the interview request was finally rejected. The reason was intriguing.
I learned two new things here. One, Esther Duflo was being courted by the White House. Two, the White House requests media bans on those they’re pursuing. The White House’s courting of Duflo was reported three days after the rejection in this Daily Beast article.
(6) Miguel Cotto
I’m a huge boxing fan. Miguel Cotto is a Puerto Rican superstar. So naturally, I was interested in interviewing him.
He recently launched a promotion company called “Miguel Cotto Promotions.” I found the company’s site and stumbled upon an office phone number. I decided to call Puerto Rico and see if I could set something up.
To my great surprise, Cotto picked up the phone. An awkward, quasi-interview, ensued.