Interviews

Rainman - Un-Edited

Brennan Swain (Photo courtesy of Brennan)
Brennan Swain (Photo courtesy of Brennan)
So, how did Blake talk you into taking part in one of his schemes? (Reality Central)
Blake talked to me very early on in the genesis of Reality Central. He was looking for some money and I had some. Plus, he wanted some free legal advice ;^) I'm sure we've all thought of a 24/7 reality cable channel at some point. Well, I was excited to be involved from the very beginning and knew Blake had the wherewithal to pull it off. So, it didn't take too much talking from the scheme-master.

What is your involvement in Reality Central?
I'm one of the owners, a reality council member (the reality stars that have signed on to the network to help promote it), and I am the Head of Reality Stars and Fan Relations. I'm basically in charge of corresponding with all the different reality stars (we want to have as many involved as possible) and the fans that have joined the Revolution (go to http://www.realitycentral.com/i_want.html if you haven't joined yet). Eventually, I'll be on-air. And then you can hear me talk and talk and talk.

Now that you are wading hip deep into the Reality TV market, what do you think sets TAR apart from the rest of the shows?
From a contestants' standpoint it is the BEST show to participate in. It was stressful as can be, but the travel sets it apart from everything else. I meant it when I said that I would do it again even if there were no TV exposure and no money to win. From a viewers standpoint it is exciting to watch (sometimes I get a little stressed out watching), educational and doesn't exploit the participants like a lot of shows do.
From a viewers standpoint it is exciting to watch (sometimes I get a little stressed out watching), educational and doesn't exploit the participants like a lot of shows do.
Any other exciting business or career ventures?
I actually had gone back to being a lawyer from January through mid April. I was covering for a woman on maternity leave at my old firm. Besides that, I continue to make appearances, audition and work on some writing projects.

What have you been up to since the race? (Well, besides hanging out at TARcons.)
I've been trying to spend my money. Believe it or not, I've actually done a pretty good job of it. Last year was an absolute blast. I traveled a ton (both for business and for pleasure) and had the rare opportunity to be unemployed, for the most part, and not have to worry about it. I've also spent a lot of time hanging out with other reality has-beens here in L.A.

In your interview with Miss Alli, you said that you filmed your audition tape for TAR at the last minute. I seem to hear this story a lot from contestants. Do you think making a last minute tape is actually helpful because you don't over think things?
Yeah, I think it does. The casting folks really want to see personality and spontaneity. Rushing at the last minute creates more of a "raw" audition tape. They don't want to see that you can produce a video, they want to see that you would be great for TAR.

Since you were on during the first season of the race, you really went in blind. What did you and Rob expect? Was it at all what you thought it was going to be?
Rob and I were dumb enough to think we were going on a month long Eco Challenge. We didn't know what to expect or what to pack. We talked to a guy in the camping/hiking department of the sporting goods store (with a great cover story that we were in a college class where they were taking city people and putting them in extreme situations around the world) and he told us to prepare for the worst. So, we showed up with mostly synthetic clothes (except for the swainbrain.com shirts), a tent, sleeping bags w/pads, headlamps, crossbows, a hibachi, a cooler full of beer and motorized scooter.

As for the actual race, we expected it to have a few more physical challenges. We also didn't expect all the bunching. Overall though, it was more than I thought it would be. It really was an incredible experience.

Did you feel it was a risk to go for the FF in the first leg of the race?
We never thought it was a risk, but we knew it could come back to haunt us. On any reality show, the last thing you want is to be gone in the first few legs/episodes. Because we didn't know about the bunching we wanted to grab an insurmountable lead (or at least a lead that would last the first few legs). Editing didn't show it, but we were the first team to find the "knife's edge" clue. We thought "if this fast forward thingie can take a team in ninth place and put them in the lead it should give us a huge (we were guessing 8 or 9 hours) lead." As soon as Bill and Joe checked in 23 minutes behind us we knew we had screwed up.
I said "We're going to Luke Skywalker's home planet." Kevin simply said "That's from Star Wars." And who got the soundbite? Elmer Fudd.
It's known in some quarters that you are a big fan of the Star Wars saga. What was you reaction when you realized that the Race was headed to Tataouine, the Tunisian village used as a setting in the film series? Were you distracted by the setting?
I knew immediately after getting the clue where we were going. Kevin always gives me a hard time about that one. Being the Star Wars fan I was hoping to get a sound bite on the show about going to Tatooine (The SW spelling). I said "We're going to Luke Skywalker's home planet." Kevin simply said "That's from Star Wars." And who got the soundbite? Elmer Fudd. I was a little distracted at Ksar Hadada, but not too badly. It was a bummer though that the only point in the Race when we were clearly in dead last (by a good 45 minutes) is when we were cruising around Anakin's home. Behind-the-scenes alert - While talking into the walkie talkie, part of the time I was saying "Anakin, anakin." Hey, I might be a geek, but it's better than counting in Japanese (right Joe?).

Speaking of distractions, did you ever hear back from Sara? (The greeter in Italy)
Unfortunately, not yet. They cut the following scene:

EXTERIOR SANTA AGATA TOWN SQUARE - SARA & BRENNAN - PRE-DAWN
She's holding him. In the rigid language of her body is the struggle to contain her fear.

BRENNAN: [very close] They leave next. If they don't kill you, they may take you north up into Bologna. A Fraternity Brother may take you for a wife.

[SARA turns aside. Brennan insists.]

BRENNAN: [continues] Listen. Submit. You hear me? You're strong. You stay alive. I will find you ... no matter how far, how long it takes ...

SARA: [nods, low] ... never doubt what you are doing.

[PHIL conscious now, arranges his hunky body to face the direction from which will come the Fraternity Brothers desperate attack as ...]

ROB puts Emily and Nancy, who've entered, behind him as ... Rob hits the floor of the square. Now the first glow from the Fraternity Brother's flashlights starts to light the pit stop. They're coming ...

PHIL has his pants rolled up. He mumbles something about guidos and philimination. Rob spins looks at Emily: her hat tassel sways in the breeze.

BRENNAN'S KNIFE cuts a lock of Sara's hair. He folds it into his shirt. The orange light from the Fraternity Brother's flashlights, now closer, plays on Phil behind her. We hear the Fraternity Brothers speaking in Jackass.

PHIL & ROB now run out of the town square and throw themselves into a waiting cab. This is their exit.

BRENNAN engraves her image in his memory one last time and then sprints across the square towards the cab ...
The conditions were terrible, but we had fun with Kevin and Drew and the locals. I think that was the point that Kevin and I realized we were gonna be life long friends.
I haven't found her yet though (OK movie buffs...from where came this inspired scene?). Hey, this could be a new Amazing Whimsy category - Film scenes inspired by The Amazing Race.

What was your favorite moment that didn't make it on air?
I always answer the extra long pit stop at Laxmi Niwas in India. So, let me come up with something new…The ride on the train from Jaipur to Bikaner was a blast. The conditions were terrible, but we had fun with Kevin and Drew and the locals. I think that was the point that Kevin and I realized we were gonna be life long friends.

With a bit of time/space, what do you miss most about experience?
The people. I don't think we'll ever be all together at the same time again.

Does bad taxi karma stay with you after the race is done?
Yes, thanks to Kevin. We were in NYC for the Survivor: Amazon finale this weekend. Kevin and I had to take a cab back to Kevin's in Jersey. Kevin kept falling asleep and I couldn't wake him to be coherent enough to tell the driver where to go.

How frustrating was the delay between filming and the show airing?
Very frustrating. Mostly because I couldn't tell people where I had been.

How hard was it to not giggle and give the ending away every time you heard yourselves complain that you were out of the race?
Rob's the giggler.

Have you been back to any of the countries you visited while you were racing?
Two - India and Queens. I wanted to experience India in "non-race mode". India was by far the most difficult country, but mainly because we were racing. It was awesome to go back and experience the culture and the people without the threat of elimination. As for Queens, I went in search of the million-dollar cabbie, but couldn't find him.
Rob's the giggler.
Which places would you like to go to that have been visited by the other Races since your season?
Brazil would probably be first, followed closely by Morocco and New Zealand.

What was your favorite way to travel during the race? Plane? Train? Boat? Camel?
My favorite way to travel was on Frank and Margarita's backs.

Did you ever think people would be so fascinated with your headgear?
Not at all. I knew I'd have bed head a lot of the time, so I brought a bunch of hats. I never even thought about them being a topic of discussion.

What don't most people know about you that you wish they did? (Other than the fact that you can actually speak in complete sentences.)
I had an AR pants moment. My pants were falling down on the way to the Boiling Pot at Victoria Falls. We were running down the path and my pants were soaked. As a result of the heavy, wet pants, elastic band and my backpack pushing on them, my pants kept slipping down (not all the way down). Rob was yelling for me to hurry up and I yelled "Hold on, my pants are falling down."

Many fans on TWoP have been talking about the idea of an All-Star Race - bringing back 4 teams from the first four seasons to race again. What do you think of the idea?
I think the idea rocks. Now that CBS has announced that Survivor is doing one I hope they're thinking about doing one for Race. I'd love to see who the best of the best is.

Do you think there would be potential to franchise The Amazing Race in different countries like they've done with Big Brother and Survivor?
Sure, why not?
You can't go wrong with clowns, air traffic controllers and a lot of people that seem to like sex.
How did you come across what was then MightyBigTV (now Television Without Pity)? What was your first reaction to the site?
I was doing an Internet search before our show started and found MBTV. I thought some of the comments on the boards were hilarious, so I forwarded it to the rest of the Racers.

Now that the TAR 4 Racer Bios are out, what's your first take on the new batch of racers? Will you be commenting on the race on your website this season?
They look like a blast of a bunch. Hopefully they make some great TV. You can't go wrong with clowns, air traffic controllers and a lot of people that seem to like sex.

We won't be commenting on our site, but I may be commenting on some radio stations (at least pre-race). I'll post it on our site if I do.