William Weinbach enjoys playing golf, acting and hanging out with his friends. But this rising freshman has one hobby that differs from most 14-year-olds’ extracurricular activities: he interviews athletes, actors and other noteworthy people in his spare time.
In January, Weinbach started posting these interviews on YouTube as segments of a show he calls Twin Talk. Weinbach and his fraternal twin brother, Max, came up with the idea together last December while on vacation and things took off from there.
“We were kind of just walking in Connecticut and it kind of just popped into our heads and then I guess motivation kind of helped us to start trigger it,” Weinbach said.
The twins went home and created an email and YouTube channel, Twin Talk x2. “And then I reached out to my friend Jason Collins, to see if he could help me out and he said yes and that kind of jump-started it.” Weinbach knew Collins, the first openly gay basketball player in the NBA, through their country club.
During the interview Weinbach asked Collins, a twin himself, about his relationship with his brother. “Twins definitely have that special connection. We started out in grade school … my brother and I, we could understand what each other was saying, but it was hard or difficult for others to understand what we were saying,” Collins said.
After Weinbach’s interview with Collins, the teenager, who is starting high school at Oaks Christian this fall, was able to land more celebrity interviews with the assistance of the former basketball player.
Guests have included professional golfer Fred Couples, composer Michael Levine, “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet and Erika Henningsen, who plays Fantine in “Les Miserables” on Broadway. The twins even got a chance to interview Ryan Seacrest by phone on his radio show.
Weinbach reached out to Seacrest the same way he does all his perspective guests, with a form letter, and only three hours later he heard back from Seacrest’s producer asking the twins to come on the show to interview the host.
“So that was a pretty interesting experience going on his show that’s syndicated across the U.S.,” Weinbach said. The twins prepared five questions to ask Seacrest, one of which was, “Who would you like to interview out of anybody?”
“Since we listened to his show we knew he would turn that one around on us so that was definitely one we wanted to ask.” The boys answered Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran. Seacrest said he would try and help make that dream a reality for the two, but so far they haven’t lined up an interview with either singer.
Though Weinbach and his brother interviewed Seacrest and some other guests together, Max is less involved in the show.
“Max helped come up with the idea. He does a little bit of editing. But he’s kind of drifted away from Twin Talk for his Minecraft obsession and his Twitch obsession. So he does those two things,” Weinbach said of his brother. “He loves computers and technology, which works out for us because he does all the behind-the-scenes producing stuff.”
If you ask him what makes Twin Talk special, Weinbach won’t tell you it’s the twin gimmick. “First of all we’re 14, so that’s really different from some person from CBS who does it for a full time job. We do everything differently,” Weinbach said.
“We’re starting up something with our social media base where all the questions will be coming from them. Some of the people we interview, [those] suggestions will come from [social media], which makes it really fan-based, really social media-based.”
And while Weinbach adds that it is fun to do the interviews, the business end of things isn’t always easy. Twin Talk has around 1,500 followers on Twitter and Facebook, but Weinbach said it is really a struggle to get subscribers and followers on YouTube. “And that’s probably the toughest thing, other than getting the interviews.”
“Three-fourths of the time the answer is ‘No,'” Weinbach said of the responses he gets to his requests for interviews. “You get more declines for interviews than successes. But getting an interview keeps me going. It’s fun to hear someone say ‘Sure, when would you like to do it?’ instead of saying ‘So-and-so is not available, check back in three weeks or something.'”
As far as what the future looks like for Twin Talk, Weinbach himself doesn’t know.
“Right now Twin Talk is not a short-term thing, but it is something I do on the side for fun,” he said. “It does take up a lot of time. I have no clue what I want to do in the future. I’m only going into high school. And I don’t know if Twin Talk will play into the future.”
For now he’ll just play it by ear.