An interview with David Schmader, the brand-new creative director at the Bureau of Fearless Ideas

This morning, local author (and, full disclosure, my friend and former coworker) David Schmader made an exciting announcement: he’s the new creative director at the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas. The BFI is a nonprofit writing and communications center — until last year, it was known as 826 Seattle — that offers writing workshops, tutoring assistance, field trips, and other writerly pursuits for Seattle-area youth. Schmader has for decades been a beloved fixture in Seattle’s writing scene; you may know him from his brilliant solo shows, or his insanely fun Showgirls screenings, or his brainstorming classes at Hugo House, or his Last Days column in The Stranger. Perhaps, like me, you attended his world-premiere annotated screening of the Patrick Swayze film Road House last night at the Triple Door. If you’re a Seattleite, you should know that Schmader brings brilliance with him everywhere he goes — he’s the single best brainstormer I’ve ever worked with, and his comedy is so carefully crafted that you sometimes have to read his one-liners three or four times to figure out how a single sentence can be so deeply funny. He’ll do nothing but good for the fine people of the BFI. We managed to track him down for a brief interview about his new gig and what’s next.

How did this new job come about?

I first met BFI Executive Director Teri Hein through a mutual friend, and she knew my writing and was considering creating this new position of creative director for BFI. And when the time came that she was ready to make it happen, she approached me, and I said yes yes yes.

Could you explain what your new job as creative director will entail?

The "creative director" part is pretty literal. I'll be in charge of BFI's creative output and public voice—writing newsletters, directing "messaging," and generally wrangling words for the cause. But there's a big writer-in-residence component, too, that'll draw on the type of stuff I've done as a teacher at Hugo House and a mentor to TeenTix arts writers. And I get to bring my dog to work!

Say, weren't you working on a book? How's that going?

I am turning in the final-edit draft of my book this Monday. It is called Weed: The User's Guide, it's being published by Sasquatch, and will hit the shelves of bookstores and finer Urban Outfitters on 4/20/16.

Does the new gig at Bureau of Fearless Ideas mean you're going to be doing less writing and theater work?

Amazingly and wonderfully, no. This gig leaves me plenty of time to do my own writing, and after 15 years of cranking out words almost exclusively for The Stranger, I can't wait to explore new avenues for writing for print and the web. As for theater — I finally have time to dig through the box of ideas I've been filling for the past decade and a half, so I'll keep you posted on new stuff. Also: Next month I'm taking my solo play A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem down to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and before I go, I'm doing a one-night performance here on September 19 at the Hugo House (aka the place that commissioned this show back in 2011). Tell people to come!