Via Buksbazen, or Via Bia, is a DC-based screenwriter, script consultant, and essayist. She is a Fellow of the 2015 Stowe Story Labs and the 2015 Latino Screenwriting Project, sponsored by CineFestival and Sundance, and her feature-length magical realist script, The Radish Baby, is a current finalist in the Virginia Screenwriting Competition. On Twitter, you can find Bia at @viadear. This week she spoke with me about three of her favorite tweets, childhood, The Simpsons, and the kinds of voices she likes to write in.
Bia: I love a tweet I can read in the voice of a fist-shaking elderly person. Who doesn’t? (Perhaps a fist-shaking elderly person with a very specific axe to grind. BTW, I said that with an old person voice.)
What is it you like about the cranky elderly person voice? Is that a voice you specifically like to use/see on Twitter or in other comedy too?
I think my love for the Cranky Elderly Person Voice stems from The Simpsons (bless you Grandpa Abe, and SCREW YOU, SHELBYVILLE). Although… I did live with my grandparents for a while when I was growing up, and that was like having a First Class Ticket to a show called, “Dueling Accents” where Puerto Rican, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Yiddish accents/colloquialisms flew around the house, cutting you till you bled out.
Are there other voices or points of view you like writing from?
Gosh, I guess I do the guileless lady who makes a naïve observation that turns out to be salient point which could actually, dunno, SAVE THE BEATING HEART OF HUMANITY… but it’s all just an act. I have no moral compass; no soul. Whenever possible, I love to combine pop culture and academic elements into one mind-blowing tweet (the “mind-blowing” part hasn’t actually happened yet, but I’m working on a pretty good concept based on Cookie from Empire and tesseracts).
First off… what the devil is a wheelhouse? Secondly, how did I come to be deeded with said property? This is all so sudden and quite flummoxing!
But on the for real tip, this tweet combines several of my classic tweet elements:
1) Starts off with the word, “wait.” Since my childhood of being picked last in gym class, I often picture myself playing catch up (or is it, “catsup?”) with almost anything in the public sphere, colloquialisms, and/or my real estate portfolio.
2) Ends with all capitals. My rising intonation cannot (nay, WILL NOT!) BE QUELLED.
3) Includes a word that I don’t know, and still to this day, have no recall as to its etymological roots.
I feel like Twitter brings back stuff from childhood for a lot of people (although maybe I am projecting!). Are there other things from your childhood—like playing catch up—that you’ve noticed show up in your tweets?
There’s a subgroup of twitterers I know who grew up in fairly religious families (as I did) and sometimes we entertain each other by prognosticating on which modern-day event will bring on The Apocalypse (hint: it has to do with The Olsen Twins!), and whether our barcode tats are actually The Mark Of The Beast. Our gab seshes usually end with a recitation of The Nicene Creed or a group DM speculating on which other tweeters are washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
Has the way you use Twitter changed very much over time?
To be honest, I’m a bit of a Luddite (the Unabomber made a couple decent points, but that’s a conversation for another time) and didn’t start Twitter till three years ago. At first, I only followed big, famous-y accounts cuz I thought their methods were going to teach me the best practices.
I am very academic!
Eventually, I realized they only taught me that I should be promoting my new comedy show downloadable on iTunes for $5.00 ($7.59 Canadian). So I moved into an esoteric corner of Twitter where people are funny for free; where the women are women and the men better fucking not mess with the women; a place where I could just relax and ply my wondrous observations about life… and seethe in anger about being Twitter-ignored by hundreds, if not thousands of people every. single. day.
Call me aspirational, but sometimes I like to channel the rascally highbrow/lowbrow vibe of a nouveau-riche weird-o. Plus, CONE BRA!
Are there any subjects you make a point of not tweeting about?
I think almost no subject is off limits, but it’s the point-of-view from which we speak that can make things become super-gross right quick. And hear me well… I do not like super-gross.
Mostly, I use twitter for laughs (they say it is the best medicine but check out These 12 Homemade Laugh Inducers They Do NOT Want You To Know About), to connect with other people in the arts, and sometimes to stand up for stuff that I think should change in society, cuz society is frequently filled with bullshit and nonsense, and gosh, don’t we all need a respite from that.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.