Dazza:Hello DAZZA, you are looking fantastic today.
Dazza:I know.

Dazza:So, since we are the same person I guess you know whats coming?
Dazza:You’re going to ask me questions about the site?

Dazza:You’re so smart.
Dazza:I know.

Dazza:Ok, so how and when did you first become a Nat fan?
Dazza:I remember being very impressed after watching "The Professional" on video. She certainly stood out but she was just a little girl and I didn’t think much of it. It’s important to note that I wasn’t online at this stage. I’m a bit hazy about the chronology of the next part but two more significant things happened. I saw "Beautiful Girls" on video when it came out and her character of Marty really blew me away. Around the same time I got a UK film magazine called Neon, which had a number of pictures and an article about Natalie. I’m not sure which came first but the combination of those two things plus her performance in "The Professional" made me a fan.

Dazza:Wow, that was quite moving.
Dazza:Thank you.

Dazza:So, how did you get to natalieportman.com?
Dazza:I still didn’t have the internet but started bugging my friends who did to get me pics and info on her. I was quite obsessed. I think I came online in April 1998, I got the internet kit for my birthday. I still use the same piece of shit modem. Once online I looked for Natalie sites…feeding my hunger…

Dazza:Creepy.
Dazza:Very. Around June of 98 I had devoured every Natalie site…except for the messageboard link. At the time I didn’t know anything about messageboards but after just once visit I was hooked. I lurked for a few weeks before making my first post, which was something like…"I am Natalie’s first fan from Africa!" A day later I got an email from another South African nat fan from the board informing me that I was not in fact the first, and even he wasn’t. But eventually I started posting frequently and 4 years on I’m still posting there. Some of my best friends come from that Natalie community.

Dazza:This is really touching but what has it got to do with natalieportman.com?
Dazza:Well np.com was the site that ran this messageboard and the owner was a guy called, Audio. Unfortunately Audio had become too busy to keep np.com updated so for a number of years it remained dormant. There was another Natalie site called America’s Queen and it was run by a former np.com board member, Orac. Orac was the big bad of the nat community. He lied on a daily basis, pretended to be young girls to get Natalie info etc etc. But his nat site was probably the biggest on the net and the people who visited it believed everything he said. People from the original board tried to "open the eyes" of the AQ community but they either didn’t believe us or didn’t care. I figured that it was high time to give new nat fans an option again, so that they didn’t have to go to AQ. So I got together with Sanjiro and Flipp and Nerf and we all decided we’d run the site together. Nerf did the first new layout but was too wrapped up in his Star Wars site to work further on np.com. Flipp, who had been posting a lot of nat news on the board, suddenly just left…which left myself and Sanjiro. Sanjiro couldn’t lead an ant to sugar so suddenly I was left holding the ball.

Dazza:Wow, that was a long paragraph. I wonder if anyone who started reading is still awake?
Dazza:Shut it. So anyway, there I was…now you must understand something, in the real world I am no leader. Hell, when it comes to organising somethig I edge my way to the shadows away from the limelight. I think maybe that’s why I get so much satisfaction out of the job. For the first time in my life I’m "in control" of a huge success. But I digress…I had very limited ability. I had a LITTLE website knowledge, I knew enough about Natalie but was no expert and I had a decent sense of humour but simply put, I could never have done it by myself. Luckily I did know exactly what I wanted the site to be so I just set about getting the best people for certain jobs. Sanjiro is a great right hand man. He has a wicked sense of humour and knows a lot about Natalie. Those are his strengths. His weakness is that he’s incredibly lazy and completley unaware of his talents. JC is fantastic at finding Nat news on the net and also retains a large amount of Nat info…but he’s not really good at writing humour, so he simply doesn’t. It would be stupid to make staff members do things they aren’t capable of doing. Kris is THE MAN. When it comes to the technical stuff he’s got it all covered and he’s also a workaholic. More often than not he’s already done what I needed him to do before I even ask him. Nobody on the staff is more important than Kris. Then we have Melody Nelson who is also a perfectionist. She keeps that image archive and the film pages up to date…even if it kills Kris in the process. Mart is new but it only took him a week to get the articles section in order, something Krycek couldn’t do in several months of me whinging at him.

Dazza:So all that crap basically means you’ve got a good staff.
Dazza:The best. They all are wonderful at their particular jobs and if, tomorrow, I got hit by a falling 1 ton banana, I think the site would be ok…each staff member is sorta like a terrorist cell…errr…moving on…Oh, and aside from the current staff there are also guys who helped set the wheels in motion. EM, Nerf, Sub, Kry, Audio, Jutze, Brave…they all helped and deserve credit. That’s not even mentioning the fans who contribute every bit of nat news they find, or every nat pic…and all the wallpapers and fanart and songs…it’s really great.

Dazza:Sounds perfect. So job done?
Dazza:Sorta…I guess we’re the number 1 nat site at the moment and Orac dissapeared along with his site. It took time but the site is almost complete.

Dazza:So what’s missing?
Dazza:An interview with Natalie where she answers questions from her online fans. I would so love to just be able to announce it and ask for questions submissions and then pick the best 20 or whatever and send them over to her people for her to answer. Then I could die in peace. Maybe one day…

Dazza:So what is your average week like?
Dazza:Well, I think I get the most emails. Just looking at my emails for thursday…excluding personal email and spam…I’ve got 23 emails related to the site. I guess that’s about the average. I try to respond to all emails (even if it’s just a small "thanks") except submissions where I do my thanking in the update. So that takes up a large chunk of everyday. I then handle most updates which involves sorting through my email for news and links and pics…the pics sometimes have to be resized or converted to JPG (Please don’t send me BMPS!!!) and then uploaded. If it’s a big update, with my modem, uploading can be a real pain in the ass. Then the update itself, if it’s a decent size, can take around 30 min to an hour. If I had a fast connection it would make everything much easier but alas. I also keep in touch with Kris and Melody Nelson and Sanji because something is always being worked on. When AOTC came out it was a nightmare though. I was spending probably 3 times as much time on the site daily but it was still exciting.

Dazza:What are the cons of the job?
Dazza:Staff members who don’t do their jobs properly making me constantly have to keep repriminding them like a parent…thankfully those days are behind us now. Having a site for a celebrity that chooses to pretend that an online community does not exist (more on that later). Having a crappy modem which means large emails that get sent to me take an age and tend to put me in quite a bad mood. Unappreciative and judgemental fans who email us their two cents. From the "How can you say Ozma sucks! I’ll kill you!" to "How dare you criticize Natalie!" and the "You guys are so full of yourselves…less you more Natalie." And of course when I reply giving them a piece of my mind often they act like wounded puppys like I’m the bad guy. If you email me with a criticism and attack me while doing so then I’m sorry but etiquette goes right out the window. I made a decision long ago that I wanted np.com to have some personality, to not JUST be about Natalie. Personally I prefer sites like that and in order for me to enjoy doing this job I need it. I need to be able to speak my mind and I pass that message on to the rest of the staff as well. But some people feel like it’s an insult that I can have a contrary opinion to them.

Dazza:Woah, cool down there, buddy.
Dazza:Yeah, as you can see, it’s my pet peeve. I don’t understand how people can prefer empty praise. You know…like if we constantly said everything Natalie did was wonderful. If we did that the praise would be meaningless. At least people know when I say "wow, that was great" about something she did, that I really believe it. Fans should not be blinded by thinking what they are fans of is perfect. I thought AOTC was crap. So did Kris and Melody Nelson. While Sanjiro and JC loved it. That doesn’t mean they are better fans. But to finish off this rant, if you don’t like the site then please feel free to leave. There are plenty of great sites out there and a number of which are devoid of personality so…enjoy.

Dazza:Errr…and the pros?
Dazza:Plenty. Natalie for one. Working with my staff. Planning stupid things with Sanjiro. Getting friendly emails from people who really enjoy what we do. Being able to lead something so fantastic for the first time in my life. The community, the history. The excitement at getting a scoop before anyone else. 2 and a half years on and I’m still not bored.

Dazza:So you get a lot of crazy emails?
Dazza:Tons. The emails requesting Nat’s personal info cos they "simply must contact her" is quite annoying but I keep it cool unless they don’t take no for an answer. Some emails are just incredibly funny because they’re written by people who don’t know english. Here’s an example…

hello Dazza. I am an user that I visit a lot (every day) it paginates it. (www.natalieportman.com). I would like to know if you could give me Natalie Portman’s email, because I would like to write him and to send them some things.
Thank you for your attention and excuse the nuisance.
(name removed) from Venezuela.
PD: it excuses my groins, but it is that I speak a little.

We really do get some crazy things but I’m quite used to it by now.

Dazza:So, what’s your opinion of Natalie?
Dazza:Well, like most long time Nat fans I do miss the old days. It’s funny how when I like something that’s relatively unknown I try to spread the word about it to everyone willing to listen and then when this thing becomes big I get upset that it’s no longer a small secret. I feel Natalie is just as beautiful as she always was. I also really like this new sense of self that she has now. She’s certainly coming out of her shell and some of the most recent interviews are my favourites. She doesn’t seem to judge people which I really like cos I feel the same way BUT…I’m confused by the way she or her people chooses to deal with the online community…by not dealing with it at all. Has she judged us? Put us all into a box marked "weirdo’s"? I hope not. But I refuse to say she’s either this or that if I don’t even know the girl. Maybe she has very valid reasons. I’d like to find out one day. Aside from that the only other gripe are her roles of late. The days of "Beautiful Girls", "Leon" and "Heat" are waaay behind us. I thought her role in ABH was very good although the movie was only ok…I thought WTHI was terrible although again she was the best thing…and I thought both SW films were severely lacking but I blame George Lucas for that. I wish she’d take riskier roles, prove that she has more depth. There’s no question she can play a young girl mature beyond her years but let’s move on now, see some new things. It annoys me that a few years again most people in the know would mention Natalie first as the best young actress in Hollywood…now it’s debatable. She just needs some killer roles to get back on top. This short film with Tom Tykwer is a good sign, and I’m hoping for a home run for "Cold Mountain" but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Dazza:Fav Nat film?
Dazza:Probably "Heat"…just beating out "Leon".

Dazza:Fav Nat performance?
Dazza:Tough one…I’d say Marty in BG. She blew the rest of the cast away and was unlucky, IMO, not to land an oscar nomination. Mathilda and Anne come close behind.

Dazza:Who would you like to see her work with next?
Dazza:No question, Paul Thomas Anderson. He can make anyone seem great and writes really strong roles for women.

Dazza:Lastly, what does the future hold for np.com?
Dazza:Short term: Updating those damn quotes at the top of the page and the FAQ page. Long term: Interview with Natalie and new look for the site in the new year.

Dazza:Alright, that concludes the interview. Thanks for you time…good looking.
Dazza:Only a pleasure.



(UPDATE)

Dazza:We meet again my old friend.
Dazza:It seems we do. An update of the staff page was a long time coming.

Dazza:So what’s changed in the years since you wrote the interview?
Dazza:Well Natalie has changed a lot. For the better I think. During the college years I could feel my fandom waning. WTHI, ABH, TPM…those are not movies that rocked my world. But now she’s more prolific than ever and she’s finally testing herself as an actress. Risky roles and projects. Working with talented directors. Winning a freaking Golden Globe and getting an Oscar nomination. I’m as excited as a fan of her work now as I was back in the day with Leon and BG and Heat etc.

Dazza:Your fav Nat film used to be Heat. Has that changed?
Dazza:Ummm… probably not. But Closer was one of my favourite films from last year and Garden State was adorable.

Dazza:And your fav Nat performance used to be Beautiful Girls…
Dazza:Now it gets hard. I was blown away by her performance in Closer but its so hard to compare that to Marty, even though they both are very good at bringing grown men to their knees. Closer is her most adult work and I think it was a breakthrough performance for her. The more I think about it…yeah, I would say its her best performance thus far.

Dazza:How are you feeling about the site?
Dazza:Still very proud. We still haven’t got that elusive interview and working on the site almost every day I find it harder to bring as much humour as I used to…but aside from those things I’m very happy with what we’re doing. The comic has been a great addition to the site and its things like that which keep me from getting bored with the site.

Dazza:Do you see yourself still working on the site in another 2-3 years?
Dazza:I’ve been doing it so long now its hard not to. I would also be surprised if Kris, Karelle and Sanjiro aren’t also still working on the site in 3 years. Everyone is so good at what they do, even though I’m still trying to work out what Sanjiro does.

Dazza:But what about if you make a movie that does incredibly well?
Dazza:Oh, well then screw all of you. I’m oughta here.

Dazza:Thanks!
Dazza:My pleasure.