S4E4: James Breakwell, @XplodingUnicorn (#47)

Storytelling with Comedy Writer and Social Media Star James Breakwell

In this episode, we hear from: a comedy writer, social media powerhouse (100k on Instagram, 1 Million on Twitter, nearly 300k on Facebook), podcaster, author, webcomic creator, amateur father of four daughters all under 10 years old… so you KNOW he’s a storyteller. James Breakwell is the man behind “Exploding Unicorn.”

He’s also writer of two books, Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and the upcoming (November 2018 release) Bare Minimum Parenting: The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child.

Since becoming internet famous, James has been profiled by USA TodayUS WeeklyThe Daily MailMetroThe TelegraphCosmopolitanBetter Homes and GardensBuzzfeedHuffington PostUpworthyThe ChiveBored Panda9gagCollege Humor, various ABC and Fox TV news affiliates, and countless other TV, radio, and internet outlets. Pictures of his smiling girls have been displayed in newspapers as far away as India. His articles have appeared in Reader’s DigestThe Federalist, and AskMen. He writes a bi-monthly newspaper column for the IndyStar and has been a guest multiple times on HLN’s The Daily Share.

Social media is the platform James has used to build an audience for his writing. His insight is inspirational.

“I’m really lucky that my hobby and my passion actually help people. I’m not necessarily a good person, it just happens that my hobby does help people. It’s just a fortunate side effect. I’m lucky the side effect isn’t smog or pollution.” - James Breakwell

Use Everything as a Resource for Story

During our conversation one of his 4 daughters decided she needed dad. She’d lost a nickel, she found a pencil, and she just wanted to be in front of the camera. For James, this is an everyday part of life. It’s what he uses to create content to entertain and inspire, and connect to others. So whether it’s his daughter hamming it up or another daughter setting up a punchline, James isn’t afraid to use life as the material source.

Check out the video of our interview to see the cuteness unfold.

For James, his family isn’t off-limits. They’re exactly what inspires him. But it may not be exactly how you’d picture it…

“My kid will do something kind of funny or kind of odd, and I’ll think ‘That’s really funny, but how can I make that funny to everybody else…’ So a lot of times they’ll give me the weird punchline and I have to build the new shorter story to get there.” - James Breakwell on his inspiration

Going Viral and Overnight Success

James was fortunate to find a little fame as a writer a few different times, including his Star Wars parody Twitter account, @VeryLonelyLuke. His subsequent success with @XplodingUnicorn may make it seem like his viral success happened overnight and is repeatable and predictable.

James is quick to point out that many times he thought he was on the edge of a big break, it didn’t happen. Plus, the viral pushes came from things he didn’t exactly expect. But what he did do was prepare for the chance of going viral with content to back it up.

“When I went viral and people liked my kid jokes… and came back to my main Twitter account, they found 15,000 other jokes just like it. You’ve got to be the best at something, it’s got to be something that appeals to people and you’ve got to have a lot of it.” - James Breakwell on going viral

Connect with James Breakwell:

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