John Green: novelist, vlogger, force for good

 

Does professional person of the Internet (his definition) and teen whisperer (The Fault in Our Stars actress Shailene Woodleys term) John Green think of himself as a visionary? Not really, or at least not in the Buckminster Fuller, ideas-drawn-from-the-cosmos kind of sense. I don't really think of myself as an innovator so much as I come across something that I want to make and then try to make it, he told NUVO recently. Or I don't know how to feel about something so I make something to try to puzzle through it, and then share it so that other people can help me in that process.

Problem: John doesnt have a close relationship with his brother Hank. Solution: The Vlogbrothers project, which found the brothers communicating solely by video blogs for a year — and launched both Greens as Internet personalities way back in 2007.

Problem: Online video creators like Green dont have a real world space to talk about their craft. Solution: VidCon, the first fan conference and trade show for online video, founded by the brothers Green in 2010.

Problem: Video creators want to do good, but dont have a way to harness their energies and talents in a focused, effective way. Solution:Project for Awesome, which finds the YouTube community making pitches on behalf of favorite charities for one day a year.

All of the above are examples of problems solved in the digital world, in part because, according to Green, My fiction is almost aggressively UNinnovative, at least when it comes to form. There are so many fascinating and wonderful things happening with form and genre in fiction these days, and I continue to be completely enchanted with the traditional form of the novel and with playing within very well-established genres, from the Cancer Novel to the Boarding School Novel.

Greens best-selling novel has, of course, given birth to a screen version, and if Green didn't pen the screenplay, hes been involved with the film from the beginning. He's also been picking up accolades left and right, most notably being named one of Times 100 Most Influential People. Shailene Woodleys profile of Green for TIME is worth reading for a generous take on Greens ability to connect with the masses on a one-to-one level. She calls him a prophet in a universal, all-things-connected sort of context, noting that he sees people with curiosity, compassion, grace and excitement and is encouraging a huge community of followers to do the same.

-Scott Shoger

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