Video transcript
2017 NSW PRC author interview - Jeff Kinney

Back to video Back to NSW Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC) 2017 author interviews

[music playing]

- Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Book Fest. My name's Yvette Poshoglian. I'm the Premier's Reading Challenge Officer, but more importantly, on the other end of the line, we have a superstar author joining us this morning for our launch session. Jeff Kinney, the author of 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid.' Jeff, you've been so patient. The kids of New South Wales have been clamouring. They've jammed the system. You've broken the internet, Jeff. What can I say? But we're here. We're ready to go and we're going to chat now for around half an hour or so, and we thank you all the way from Sydney and across New South Wales for joining us this morning. It's great to have you here.

- It's great to be talking to you. Thank you so much. I'm excited, and sorry to everyone because we're a little bit late, but technology is tough sometimes.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: It can be our best friends and our worst enemies, as we know. As we know, as Greg discovers in one of his adventures. But Jeff, you've taken some time out from your world tour-- your whirlwind life of the new movie that's out for the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' 'The Long Haul' movie, which is coming out to Australia really, really soon. And amongst all the incredible books that you've put out, the students and readers of New South Wales are just thrilled to have you here.

And I won't lie to you. I've got a million questions that I'm going to have to ask you. The kids really, really want to know how you work, how you operate, how Greg lives inside of you how, Greg kind of lives inside of all of us. Even I relate to Greg Heffley a lot of the time. So I know that there's a lot to get through today, but first of all, I want to congratulate you on the recent release in the States, anyway, of your new movie, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid-- The Long Haul,' and also, we're hoping you can tell us a little bit more about your books.

- Sure, I'd be happy to. So do you want to ask any questions and I'll answer them, or do you want me to just start talking? You tell me.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Yeah, let's do that. I'm just going to set the scene. Now there's no pressure, but we've got thousands of students watching us right now through the video conferencing system in New South Wales. We've got schools from all over the state. I'm going to give a shout out to quite a few little schools that have joined us. We've got big, metropolitan schools. We've got primary schools-- your elementary schools. We've got high schools, secondary schools. Everyone's a fan. No stone unturned, Jeff. We're just a little bit off the pace here, starting a bit late today, but we're more than going to make up for it.

So we'll cover lots of things. I want to hear all about your screenwriting, too, for the new movie, but I thought-- and I think this is kind of pertinent because the first question is from a great school, and I think it actually kind of relates to what may have happened to us this morning with the little hiccup that we've had in our time frame. And this question-- I'd love to hear your answer. It comes from St. Patrick's School. It's 1C, and it's from Lochlan, and I want to thank Ms. Devlin for putting this question through to us. And it's about the cheese touch, and I think we've had a bit of the cheese touch here this morning. Which book do you think the cheese touch will finish in?

- Oh, that's a good question. Every so often, I think maybe I'll bring the cheese touch back, but when I was growing up, we had a-- I went to a church, and the church had a parking lot where there was a basketball hoop. And there was a piece of cheese under the basketball hoop, and that's where I got the idea for the cheese touch. I'm actually in my studio right now in Massachusetts, and I'm only inches away from the cheese that we used in the musical, so I'm going to show it to you.


JEFF KINNEY: So here it is. Let's see. OK. Can you see it well enough?


- Let's see.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Yep. Oh, gosh. Oh my gosh.

- I don't know if the cheese has ever been let out. Yes, it's going to be let out. So here is the actual-- here is the cheese.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, gross. That is just--

- It's very disgusting.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Exactly what we need to launch Book Fest with. Thanks, Jeff. That is awesome. Can you describe the little-- well, big studio that you're in. You're based in New England in the States, and here we are in our Strathfield studios. Through the wonders of technology, we're able to see into your home. That's kind of a cool sneak peek into your world. Is this where you write your books?

- Yeah, well, this is my studio that's on the top floor of my bookstore. So this is not my home. But I'm going to do something. This is very low tech, but you're going to be able to see around my studio, right? You can see here is this big statue of Greg.


JEFF KINNEY: Cheese right behind him.


JEFF KINNEY: And those are a bunch of the foreign editions, right. And some awards I'd won-- some Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Over here, this is my desk. This is where I do all of my drawings, right?


JEFF KINNEY: So I do all of my drawings on this tablet right here. And then I do all of my thinking in this room over here. So you can see it looks like a British telephone booth. You see that? And there's a chair inside. It's getting dark here in the States, so you can see outside, my town of Plainville. And then I've got this Uncle Scrooge statue, which is cool. And that's a good wide look at my studio. That's the desk-- that's where I do all of the drawings for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' right there on that screen.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Amazing. Amazing.

JEFF KINNEY: This is a mess right now.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, if that's a mess, you're laughing. That's fantastic. And tell me more about the bookstore beneath.

- So we built a bookstore called An Unlikely Story about-- oh, it's been open only for two years, but it's a nice bookstore. And any-- who ever want to come visit are certainly welcome to come here to Plainville, Massachusetts.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, fantastic. Thanks.

- All right, I'm back.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: As we say here in Australia, Jeff, you are living the dream. You're living above a bookshop, you're writing best sellers, and you're turning them into movies. I mean, really, that's just overachieving. Thanks again for letting us see a little window into your world. I'm going to jump now to a question from the good kids-- the good folks at Westlawn Public School and their teacher, Miss Parma, who has been one of your biggest fans. And there, your group is years four and five. And I guess this is kind of a deep internal question for you to answer, and the question is regarding at middle school, did you get into trouble much or were you bullied? That's a question for the therapist couch, but maybe you can help us out.

- I got into a bit of trouble. I was a bit of a mischief maker, yes. Was I bullied? Yes, I was bullied a little bit. It was-- I went to middle school, and when I was probably 12, 13 years old, there were some pretty bad bullies at my school. So luckily, I made it through more or less unharmed. But yeah, bullying is a real thing.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Bullying is a real thing.

- Yes.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: And honestly, Jeff, the story of how 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' came to life is really interesting because you're both an Illustrator and a writer, and it had kind of a very interesting path to publication. Do you want to fill us in on sort of how that happened? Because from what I understand, you were working away on your comic strip and it all kind of happened through the wonders of the internet. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

JEFF KINNEY: Sure. My goal was to become a newspaper cartoonist. I never intended to become a children's writer, actually. So I failed for a few years. I tried to get my cartoons published, and I couldn't get them published. And so then, I had this idea for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid.' That was in 1998, so a long time ago. And I worked on this idea, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' for eight years, and finally, I-- publishing it online. And then one year later, I was ready to show it to somebody, and I went to New York Comic-Con and I showed it-- and that's how my career got started. And that was 10 years ago, almost to the day--

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: It's incredible, actually, because the wonderful thing about your books, in particular, is that the characters never age. They're kind of-- Greg's adventures are in middle school and we see a different cast of characters come and go, but the great thing is Greg's just always Greg. And we're going to come back to how the characters age differently in film to how they are ageing in the books because there's just so many different adventures that they're having. I may jump, Jeff, to another question, which is from-- I'm going to go to Toukley Public School. From Tristan, he's asked, do you come up with the story first or the drawings?

JEFF KINNEY: I come up with the jokes first, so first, I think of different ideas in my head. So as soon as I think of the joke, I have a picture in my mind. And I'll tell you an idea that I had today to illustrate the point. And no kids know this idea. It's only in my head right around. That Greg, in the next book, he's going to be going to the airport-- cold weather, and outside, he steps in a puddle of slush, right? So a puddle of liquid snow, right? I don't know if you have-- you don't have a lot of snow down there, I don't think.

- Not really, no.

JEFF KINNEY: Right, and so Greg goes-- want to get onto the plane in wet clothes, right? And so he goes into the airport bathroom and he takes his sock and puts it over the hand dryer, right, to heat it up, to make it warm. And then the sock goes flying through the-- almost like a deflated balloon and flies into somebody's stall-- into a bathroom stall. And so I think of the joke first, and then I have the visual in my mind. I can definitely see the sock kind of flapping on the hand dryer, right? And then much later, then I write the manuscript, and then much later, at the very end, I do all the drawings.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, that's just such an interesting process, Jeff.

- That make sense?

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Yeah, it really does. And I know that lots and lots of the readers who are joining us today are also budding writers, and this is just priceless information for them to hear about the creative process from somebody like you. That's just money in the bank for them. They're really going to hopefully be inspired by what they're hearing today. We get lots and lots of questions about how authors write. But to hear it from you as to the joke, the drawing, the punchline, the writing-- I think that's really good advice for all those budding stand up comics out there and the writers among us in the primary and high schools of New South Wales.

Jeff, just to give you a little bit of a picture, we've got thousands of students joining us this morning, and they're halfway through the Premier's Reading Challenge, where they're challenging themselves to push through the pain barrier-- in fact, it's not a pain barrier, it's a reading barrier. They've got to read 20 books in a set period of time, and they're halfway through that point. So one of my questions to you is do you have time to read a lot when you're creating, and do you have a favourite book? And that's actually the same question as Mia from Toukley Primary School, who has also asked, do you have a favourite book?

JEFF KINNEY: That's a great question. I don't do a lot of reading when I'm writing because I don't want to be influenced by other books, but when I'm drawing-- when I'm doing all of my illustrations, I draw for 13, 14-- hours a day. And so I have to occupy my mind. And so I listen to books. I listen to audio books then, and I think that my favourite-- some of the best audio books, I think, are the Harry Potter series-- were great on audio. And I listen to a lot of books for grownups. But I think my favourite book as a kid was 'The Hobbit,' by JRR Tolkien.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, it's a great book, and one of the most popular books, along with yours, on the Premier's Reading Challenge list. So a great recommendation for everyone to get out there and pick up some Tolkien. Well, we're going to just move now to talk a little bit about the film adaptation of 'The Long Haul,' and we've also got the movie diary, which has just come out, called 'The Next Chapter.' And for kids watching today, the movie's coming out June 29 in Australia, and there's some sneak peeks on from this weekend at the cinemas. This is the fourth Wimpy Kid film to be made, and anybody who's interested in the filmmaking process and the writing process should definitely have a look at 'The Next Chapter' book to understand how the film came together.

Jeff, you're a screenwriter on the new film. What's the process there, and how different is it to sitting down and writing one of your books? Because there's so many other factors to think about when you're writing a film.

- Yes, writing a film is really different because with my book writing, when I'm writing my books, I don't really care about telling an emotional story. I only care about writing a funny book. So right now, when I'm writing this new book, 'The Getaway,' I'm thinking, how can I make it as funny as possible? And in a film, you have to tell a different kind of story. You have to tell a story that's emotionally satisfying. So the best movies actually put-- feel. You can be scared, you can be happy, you can fall in love. All of these things. You want to laugh. And so a good movie will do all of those things, and so that's what the-- when you're writing a movie, you're thinking in a really different way.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: And not to mention with the new film, you've got a new cast of actors, too. And you were on set every day, watching a film being made, and can you tell us a little bit about what that's like? Because it sounds very exciting from my perspective.

- It sounds very exciting. It's about the most unexciting thing you could imagine. It is so boring. You sit there for-- let's say you work for 12 hours in a day. Well, you only capture two minutes of film for the whole-- and with all of that work, you only capture two minutes of film for each day. So-- the Wimpy Kid movie-- the newest movie took 45 days to film, and it's 90 minutes long. So you do a lot of shooting and re-shooting. And a lot of our scenes were shot out in the hot sun, so we're trying to find shade. And it's really, actually quite-- and then when it all comes together, it looks very exciting. That's the magic of movies.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: That's terrific. Well, in a couple of moments, we're going to take a look at the trailer, and we'll get to that in just a moment. But just while we're waiting for that to roll, I've got a question from Mulwala Primary School, and I really hope I pronounced that correctly. And the question is how many books have you written? Can you refresh our memory, Jeff?

- I've written, let's see, 11 books plus two movie diaries and one do-it-yourself book. So that's 14 so far. And I'm working on a new book right now.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, that's great. Well, we might have to interrogate you a little bit later about that, but for now, we're going to show the students the trailer from 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid-- The Long Haul,' which is nearly out.

- Hi, Australia. This is Jeff Kinney, author of 'The Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, and I'm excited to be launching Book Fest in celebration of my new film, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid-- The Long Haul.' Make sure your school registers now, and see you on June 6th.

NARRATOR: This year--

- Roadies in the car with my family. [screaming]

NARRATOR: Get ready for the wimpiest--

- I'm going to get you punks!

NARRATOR: Road trip--

- Deep fried butter on a stick.

NARRATOR: Of all time.

RODRICK HEFFLEY: I knew I shouldn't have ate that ninth stick of butter.

- Ninth?


NARRATOR: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid-- The Long Haul.' In cinemas these June school holidays.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: OK, so there's some gross out moments there. There are some fun moments, and we also meet the Beardos, who are some super funny characters, including Mr. Beardo. Can you tell us-- do you know a Mr. Beardo in real life or where does he come from?

JEFF KINNEY: I was always scared of any big guy with a beard. As a kid, I seemed to be really unpopular with my friends' parents, and I always felt like there would always be some angry guy who just really didn't like me. And so Mr. Beardo is kind of the collection of all of those guys. Plus, I can't really grow facial hair. I'm not very good at it.


- I'm a little jealous-- yeah. So that's where he came from.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Talking about that book to film process-- so you've got the character of the beardos, and they look a little bit different on screen, and you do go into that into your book about the movie. But maybe can you explain to us about how sometimes, the characters have to change a little bit when they're on screen, and how you make that work? Because you're a screenwriter on this film, so isn't it kind of in your control, as well?

- Well, yeah, it is. But it would be-- I think if you just start with Greg, you can see why we have to change things. It would be strange to have a boy who's bald with three strands of hair sticking out of the top of his head.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: You do make a good point, Jeff.

- So already, we're going to make changes. But in this one, we made-- for example, Rodrick has kind of long-- and I remember when this actor, Charlie Wright, tried out for the role. The producers were saying, well, he doesn't have that right look for Rodrick. He doesn't have short or spiky hair. And I said, yeah, but he looks like a rock guy. He looks like a rock drummer, and that's more-- that's more important than resembling the character. Same with Alicia Silverstone. She has long, blond hair. And in my books, mum has dark hair that's short. But it's still-- I think you get over it right away, as long as the actors inhabit the character. As long as the actors can step into those cartoon shoes, we're OK.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: That's true. And I have to say, I know I'm going to make a lot of kids jealous out there, but I have been lucky enough to see the movie, and for anybody, and everybody's done this-- we've been on a road trip with our family, with our brothers and sisters, and our parents. And this is the kind of road trip that really is the long haul, and there's some very interesting things that happen on the road towards-- the family is on their way to Meemaw's 90th birthday. So it's a real-- we've just got to wait and see whether they get there, but the adventures they have along the way are really-- not sure if they're going to get there in one piece. So I think the thing is, everybody can relate to a road trip. Is that something that happened to you in childhood that you're traumatised by or you're working through, Jeff?

- Yeah, we took lots of road trips that were really quite awful. There is a moment in the new movie where seagulls invade the car, and I got that idea because we used to, every Friday night-- I grew up in Maryland-- we would buy a bushel of crabs, and live crabs would be in a paper bag in the car. And one time, they got out. So we were all screaming as these crabs were running along the bottom of our car-- the floor of our car. And so that got twisted and turned into the seagulls in the car. So a lot of the ideas for 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' actually started off as real events, and then they got fictionalised.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Look, the seagulls-- I think we've all met a pack of terrifying seagulls in our time. But what happens to Greg is truly terrifying. I'm just going to jump over to some questions now because I'm conscious of the time. We've got about 15 minutes to go, and thank you once again, Jeff, for staying on the line. We're getting through this, and I just want to do justice to these incredible questions that we're getting from everybody. I'm going to jump over to our good mates at Hunter Christian School, and Mrs. Folwell, who has made all these questions happen. And I've got so many of them, but I might ask Ethan's question. Ethan's asked how long does it take to write one novel?

JEFF KINNEY: It takes me about-- well, usually, I write the jokes over four months. And-- excuse me-- this year, I only have had two weeks to do it. So I'm still-- before I came here today, I was actually writing jokes for the new book. And when I go back to my house tonight, I'll be writing more jokes. So very limited time. And then I have one month to do the manuscript, and then about six weeks to do all of the illustrations.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, so no pressure.

JEFF KINNEY: When you add it all up, it's about--

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Talking to us is a real deviation. Thank you so much. We're taking you away from precious joke time. Just don't let this become part of your joke routine, OK. The kids of New South Wales beg you. I've got another question here, also from Hunter Christian School, and it's from Jordan. And it's a really, really cool question, I think. The question is also a searching question. How do you know what will make children laugh? You are writing jokes. Do you test them out on people? And further, Jordan's question is, is it to the point where their belly hurts and they can hardly breathe? Is that what happens to you when you test the joke's on yourself?

- I don't find anything funny. I don't find anything I write as funny. So it's really-- I'm my own worst critic, I think. But I just thought of something, actually. In the new book, there's going to be a box jellyfish. So that's something that's familiar to people in Australia, but I'll be introducing-- to most people around the world.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: I'm just wondering how that jellyfish is going to get into the schoolyard. I mean, Australia is a dangerous place, but we don't have them in the playground.

- Imagine Manny-- well, first of all, the family goes away to a resort, right? So they're at an island resort. And imagine Manny with a bucket-- like a plastic bucket, and add a jellyfish and see what happens.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, dear. Poor Manny. Actually, poor jellyfish.

- Right.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Look, one of the questions I've got here from St. Ives Park Public School and from Miss Hayla. We've got a question from Sophia, and I'm interested to know this, as well. Who is your favourite character and why?

- I think my favourite character is Rowley, who's Greg's best friend, because Rowley is a kid who likes being a kid. And I think a lot of kids-- they want to get older. They want to-- the next step because it means more freedom, but Rowley likes being a kid. And he holds Greg back, in a way. But I think it's a good thing, for every Greg should have a Rowley in their life. And he's a good guy. He's a good character--

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, I like that. I like that. So everyone should just remember their best friends because they are the voice of reason, I think. I'm going to jump over to Holy Family School, and Ms. Hart has kindly sent through some questions. And Hugh has asked, how do you come up with the names of the books?

JEFF KINNEY: Well, let's start with Rowley. Oh, I thought he was going to say the characters. I'll answer that question that wasn't asked first, is that I try to come up with names that sound like the characters should be. So Rowley sounds like a very friendly name. And the names of the book-- that's always hard, but I always try to come up with phrases that kids don't know, but are curious about. So cabin fever, for example. Does that phrase mean anything to an Australian?

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Well, it kind of does, but can you explain it again for us one more time?

- So cabin fever in the States and especially here, where it gets-- the idea is that you're trapped indoors for a long time, and then you feel like you're going crazy. So that's what cabin fever means. And so the new book is called 'The Getaway,' and it actually has three meanings.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: OK. Please explain.

- OK. One is-- and the getaway. Like that-- it's that you're going away to a place. Another is literally the Heffleys are getting away from the rest of their family to go on this island retreat. And then the third meaning is a getaway means like a getaway car. It means something sneaky, like you're getting away with something. So I like this title a lot because it's got three meanings.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: OK. And I think the question was, yeah, you came up with the titles, but you've also given us an answer about how you've come up with the characters' names. So I think that's something that we can all take away. A lot of the students are writing stories, too, at the moment. So that might help them with the stories that they're working on. I think a good title is obviously really important. Now, two questions have just come in via Twitter because we're very much on the front foot here. Dremoine Public School-- I want to give them a shout out. One of the questions comes from Eliza and Kyra, and is this an interesting one. Who did you look up to when you were young?

JEFF KINNEY: I looked up to my mother when I was young because she not only helped raise us kids and cooked for us and was a mum that was at home, but she also pursued her doctorate degree at night. So she became a PhD, which is a doctor in education. And she showed me that you can do more than one thing. And so now, these days, I have lots of different jobs. I own a bookstore and I work in movies and books, and I also have a job with Poptropica, which is a virtual world online. And I learned that from my mum-- that you can do more than one thing.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Wow. Moms everywhere are rejoicing at hearing that. That is awesome. Remember your mum, everyone. Jeff, that's a lovely shout out to you mum. She sounds like an incredible woman. I'm going to jump over to a question from Tukabia Public School. Gosh, I'm going to get hammered if I didn't pronounce that one correctly. And it's from Dillon. And it's, have you got any ideas for a new series? Because you're not busy enough, what else are you working on behind the scenes, Jeff?

JEFF KINNEY: I don't think-- I used to think that I should create a new series, mostly just to show people that I could create a new series, right? And then I realised that that's not a very good artistic reason to create a new series. But I'm very open to working with other authors. Like I think it would be a dream to work with Andy Griffiths, for example. Andy-- came to my town. He came into my bookstore and we went on a really long walk together. And I love that guy. I can see why he is so treasured in Australia.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Look, I think we just had a meltdown here, hearing a potential Jeff Kinney, Andy Griffiths partnership. If that happens, we broke that story, everybody. I'm just going to hang onto that one. Jeff-- Andy-- he's a legend and we love him to death. He's had a lot to do with us at the Premier's Reading Challenge. So that's awesome. We love his books so much, too. I'm going to get to a sort of less serious question, and it may be a bit more of an artistic question. Again from Dobroid Point Public School, Stage Two asks why is Greg so skinny?

- Because I wanted to make sure he looked like a Wimpy Kid. In fact, on the cover of the first book, he's sort of bent over. He looks like the backpack is too heavy for him. I like-- when you look at that book, you say, that guy's having a worse time than I am. And I think that there are a lot of characters in children's literature who are heroic. They always-- they're strong, they're brave, they're popular, they're athletic. Greg isn't like that, and I think that's what makes him kind of funny.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: No, and I think that we all kind of relate to that because every time I read one of your books, I'm transported back to my childhood in the schoolyard. And I'd forgotten about things like-- even when I was reading about the cheese touch, I just still remember those playground-- those wastelands of whatever's happening in the playground-- sometimes, very strange things do happen there. So you do have a way of taking us back and making us relate to Greg and his friends. OK. I've got a quick question now. I'm not sure that we touched on this one. I've got Ingadeen West Public School. We've got Kate asking, have you got a favourite book out of the series? I think we may have touched on that one.

JEFF KINNEY: Well, I do think I like 'The Long Haul' the best. I think that was the best written book, and I-- it was actually written to be a movie. So the one I'm working on right now could be better- 'The Getaway.' So I'm hopeful that it all comes together.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Awesome. Well, while we just chat finally, I'm going to get to a few questions. We might be able to have a look at a few stills from the movie. We've got a few files on hand, which might show some things from the film. And I've got a question about a very important character in 'The Long Haul' film. And is the pig scene something that's a flashback from your life? Now, there is a very important character in this particular story that is a pig. Is this something you need to talk about with us, Jeff?

JEFF KINNEY: Well, we had a rabbit when I was growing up. We had a rabbit for a few years, and there's a scene in the movie where the pig gets out of the car and it tries to escape the car. And our-- actually got out of the car when we were over a bridge and tried to jump out the back window. And my mother caught its hind legs. And that same plays in the book. In the book and the movie, yeah.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: It does. Well, there's some really interesting stuff in the book, too, 'The Next Chapter,' about how the film was made and how no animals were harmed in the filming of it. But there's some really cool insider looks at how the movie was made, and you can learn all about the actors that play the various characters. You can hear about the set where-- how you built Corny's, which is a place that I'd like to go to, I guess. The food looked good, but the play room-- the ballroom just looks exciting as-- although poor old Greg-- there's something that happens to him in there that he finds very hard to live down. But we're rapidly running out of time. I just want to ask you, gosh, one of the most deep and meaningful questions of all from Claire at Holy Family. She's asking, is there a meaning behind your books, Jeff?

JEFF KINNEY: There is not a meaning behind my books. My books are-- I wrote my books to make people laugh, and hopefully, I'm doing my job. But if there is any meaning, I would like for it to be that if-- a kid likes one of my books, then they can learn that reading can be fun, and that if my books turn kids on to reading, that would be a good result. So I'd be very happy with that.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Oh, Jeff, that is fantastic. And I'm just going to end with two quick fire questions. First of all, OK, I know you've got this awesome studio and we've done a little bit of a tour of it-- and you live above a bookstore, so I'm just wondering, is there anywhere else you keep your books in the house, or are they everywhere?

- Books are everywhere in my house, yes. So I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books, and one of the things I've found in the United States is that there are a lot of kids who don't have a single book in their house. So to have books is a real privilege, and I feel very lucky to have grown up.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: Yeah, that's so true. And I just want to say on behalf of all the teacher librarians who have booked in for this session with their students, they've told me how much they love you and how much the students love reading your books. Is there one piece of advice that you've got for all of us doing the Premier's Reading Challenge right now that we should take heed of? Have you got a piece of advice or motivation for us to continue?

JEFF KINNEY: Yes. Your success and your enjoyment in life will depend greatly on how much you read. The more you read, the happier you'll be, the more successful you'll be in your life and your career, and just the more you'll enjoy life. So I just want to encourage you to read everything you can get your hands on. Find the things that you're interested in. Find the things that bring you joy, whatever those things are, and read as much as you can.

YVETTE POSHOGLIAN: That is fantastic, Jeff. Jeff, I can't thank you enough for joining us. We're eating into your precious joke writing time, so it is really appreciated. We've gone a little bit over schedule. Thank you for bearing with us through our technical glitches, but I am standing by the fact that you broke the internet today, Jeff. And I also want to just send you a big, massive thanks, and we're going to send our readers to your bookshop, to your books, and most importantly, I want to thank 20th Century Fox, who have helped put this together, and also to your publishers, Penguin Random House, who have sent some wonderful packages out. And I just want to say good luck for the movie. The movie is coming out here in cinemas June 29, and there are sneak peeks, everybody, from this weekend. And Jeff,

I think we're just about done, but thank you so much for your time and your insight and for showing us your incredible writing space. I'm going to let the kids of New South Wales go completely wild now. I know they're clapping. Show Jeff some love. He can see you on the screen. Just give him a clap, give him a cheer. Show him your appreciation. Jeff, I'm officially going wild. Thank you so much for joining us. We really, really appreciate it, and we'll join you again sometime in the future and we'll continue to watch the space. Thanks, Jeff, and all the best. And everybody, stay tuned for our next session at 11 o'clock with Jacqueline Harvey. So we'll see you soon. Thanks, Jeff, and all the very best. Happy creating!

JEFF KINNEY: Thank you.

- Thank you.

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