REDDIT thank you for such an INCREDIBLE DAY. We hope it was as good for you as it was for us. We will continue to check in and answer all of your questions. So feel free to keep asking us anything and we mean ANYTHING.

NEWER NEWER NEWER UPDATE:

KRISTEN JUST GOT A STAPLER!

NEWER NEWER UPDATE:

We are $114 away from our reaching goal. The redditor will receive a puzzle book signed by myself and all the illustrators and brand new stapler!

NEWER UPDATE:

HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Reddit backers! We are about to reach our kickstarter goal! YOU made it happen. You truly bringed it on!

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone for being a part of this amazing AMA and for your questions about our Search and Find, Awkward Family Photos, Not Another Teen Movie, Pierce Brosnan’s face, Highlights, Mad Magazine, Random existential questions and taking a dump on my chest. You truly did ask anything, and I hope we answered everything or at least made you laugh trying. It’s almost 1 o’clock where I am and I have to take my daughter for a bike ride. But feel free to keep asking questions and we will respond to everyone. I really hope you will back our Search and Find and support these incredible illustrators, they truly are rockstars! THANK YOU. Here is the link to our Kickstarter. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/hnkx7k/im_the_cofounder_of_awkwardfamilyphotoscom_and/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

I’m Mike Bender (Co-founder, Awkward Family Photos) and I’m joined by Chuck Dillon (illustrator, Highlights Magazine), Rich Powell (illustrator, Mad Magazine), Laura Close (illustrator, Highlights Magazine), and Brian Michael Weaver (Illustrator, Highlights Magazine)

During the past few months of quarantine, I’ve spent a lot of time doing search and find puzzles with my kids. It’s nostalgic for me because I remember doing them as a kid myself in Highlights Magazine. I started to wonder if anyone was making a more humorous and irreverent search and find for adults. They weren’t, so, I thought let’s make one!

I really wanted to make the puzzles as authentic as possible. So I reached out to veteran search and find illustrators like Chuck, Rich, Laura, and Brian. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were all excited to push the genre to an edgier place.

The book includes 40 original puzzles and over 1000 of the most random hidden objects including lederhosen, flamethrower, avocado toast, lower intestine, hypodermic needle, and Pierce Brosnan’s face.

We are making this book now because we believe now more than ever, we need healthy distractions from all of the depressing news and more activities designed to simply make us happier (and smarter btw)!

You can find out more about our adult search and find puzzle book here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/awkwardfamilyphotos/search-and-find-puzzle-book-for-adults?ref=3a5pgj

We’d be happy to answer any questions about this project, the process behind the unique art form of search and find puzzling, Highlights Magazine, Mad Magazine, Awkward Family Photos, or Pierce Brosnan’s face.

We are:

u/awkwardmike - Mike Bender u/Richpowellart - Rich Powell u/unsadtrousers - Chuck Dillon u/geenflot - Laura Close u/IMA-1981-BMW - Brian Michael Weaver

Proof: https://twitter.com/awkwardfamily/status/1280553986152529920?s=21

Comments: 965 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

awkwardmike1564 karma

Upvote this if you want to see a NATM reunion movie.

VictorZiblis1052 karma

I am constantly asked to put my two cents in and yet am only offered a penny for my thoughts. How can I stop this hemorrhaging of funds?

awkwardmike1082 karma

Offer people in-thought purchases.

mreyes1798523 karma

What made you write Not another Teen Movie? I saw it as a kid when it came out but obviously didnt get it, and now it's one of my favorite movies to watch when I'm stoned. And who made the casting calls? Cause whoever's got chris Evan's to play that role deserves an award

awkwardmike498 karma

Thank you so much. I was in casting with the director producer and casting director. Collectively decisions were made Chris was a no brainer and unanimous. And btw our search and find is perfect for being stoned as well :)))

penny_eater84 karma

So we have you to thank for starting the prepetual motion machine that keeps Lacey Chabert doing hallmark movies 4 times a year?

awkwardmike116 karma

Thank you it is the thing that makes me most proud

soupjuice235 karma

Who came up with Jake Wyler's portrait of Jake Wyler looking at his portrait?

Thank you, whoever it was.

awkwardmike234 karma

That was me as I recall. I came up with all of the prop jokes, a lot on set.

sheepsleepdeep178 karma

Did you ever complete a puzzle that took forever only to realize the solution was actually really easy?

PS: you co-wrote what is possibly the last great parody movie.

awkwardmike137 karma

Thank you. I hope the genre returns someday.

Getbusyizzy116 karma

I'm working on organizing a ESPN-8 The Ocho type of summer sports. I'm going to record all the "athletes" separately and then video it together so it looks like we're all together (working around that Covid).

One of the silly events I'm thinking about is Hotdog Catching. I think videoing in slow-mo of contestants opening their mouths wide and watching hotdogs splash off their faces will be comic gold. But I'm having trouble coming up with good rules for play, and the internet isn't helping.

You said to ask anything, so... What're some good rules for a Hotdog Catch, and the Catching Athletes?

awkwardmike92 karma

Thank you for your anything question. Well, I think it has to be a clean grab and can’t bite through it. Immediate disqualify.

thxxx1337110 karma

Did you come up with the line, I just jerked off in your French Toast?

awkwardmike161 karma

No that was Ben folds! He wrote the music.

bigtex200389 karma

how did you come up with the idea of the naked exchange student? did you have any particular actress in mind when you wrote her?

awkwardmike134 karma

I assume you’re speaking of NATM and not search and find!:) All of the foreign exchange students in teen movie were always portrayed as horny and so we decided to go all in. Only thing is she would be naked and not be phased by it at all. That was key. No actress in mind.. just knew they had to be brave. Serena was awesome.

bigtex200343 karma

were you involved in the casting at all? did you get to meet her and say "she's perfect to be naked"

awkwardmike120 karma

Yes I was in the room when we cast everyone. We were very respectful of all the actresses who came in for that role. They were very brave!

PapaParmesano79 karma

Are you shocked and appalled that nobody would take a shit on your chest? Would you like to change that?

awkwardmike62 karma

To this day I’m still shocked. It seems like such a no brainer.

buddha-ish71 karma

Was Chris Evans as likeable as an unknown as he seems to have become as an adult superstar?

awkwardmike106 karma

He truly was. Great guy all the way around. He was willing to take ideas for jokes on the spot. Very gracious.

awkwardmike65 karma

Well, this is awkward :)

AllModsAreDouches64 karma

If I were to tell you

“Jakey Jakey about to make a big....”

What would your answer be?

awkwardmike74 karma

Mistakey.

alexpop12355 karma

Which of your colleagues would you eat first and why, if stranded on an island without any food whatsoever?

awkwardmike79 karma

I would eat Rich Powell. He appears to have the most protein.

KazPart254 karma

Since you worked with captain america, doesn't that technically make you part of The Avengers?

awkwardmike81 karma

Technically it does yes but I never seem to get invited to the events.

greenbastardette45 karma

Not Another Teen Movie is such a gem! Who had the idea for Scott Weiland to cover that amazing Depeche Mode song for the soundtrack? How involved were you guys in the music selection?

awkwardmike41 karma

Joel Gallen. Director. He is a musical genius.

baltinerdist44 karma

Were there any gags you had in mind for NATM that didn't make the final cut because they were too over the top, ludicrous, etc?

awkwardmike66 karma

As I recall we really wanted to push the limits and the producers let us. So I don’t remember a lot that we cut for going too far. We were given an NC 17 initially.

RulerOfHotTopic39 karma

You said ask anything: What is the weirdest thing you have created?

awkwardmike148 karma

My children.

IMA-1981-BMW108 karma

I once had a job chewing gum for an artist in Soho. I’d have to chew the sugar out, then put the chewed gum as flat as possible on plexiglass. I probably chewed thousands of pieces of gum that summer. The sugar free gum was the worst.

awkwardmike55 karma

Amazing.

Unsadtrousers43 karma

The Child Birth puzzle I created for this book has to be way up there but I imagine there will be even more weird stuff once we get to do more.

awkwardmike29 karma

Oh yeah that’s just the tip, Chuck.

LockePhilote38 karma

Why do to think families take awkward photos or do awkward things like that?

awkwardmike49 karma

I don’t think they think it’s awkward at the time. That’s what makes it awkward! :) I think they want to take the perfect family photo to show the world how unified their family is. And then reality sets in.

SweetDank35 karma

First, just gotta say that NATM is a perfect comedy and beyond the amazing casting, it's only perfect because it's perfectly written. I watch it about once a year and it still feels as fresh as the first time.

In regards to the acting vs writing making the movie great, I gotta know...how much improv, if any, is in this movie?

awkwardmike23 karma

Quite a bit. All of the actors were open to it and it was encouraged. All of it was very scripted but we gave them room to experiment.

awkwardmike15 karma

And thank you!

bigmacjames22 karma

How big was that banana in Chris Evans' ass? Did anyone eat it?

awkwardmike36 karma

Fairly big. It was rubber if I remember correctly. I only nibbled on it.

acoffeycup21 karma

Oh, I’ve got some questions!!

  1. What’s your favorite holiday song?

  2. Who’s on your Mt. Rushmore of bands?

  3. Are you fans of The Real Housewives, why or why not? And, if so, what’s your fave city?

Richpowellart27 karma

1: Monster Mash 2: I only have a Statue of Liberty of Bands. 3: the faker the housewife, the better. Mary Tyler Moore in The Dick Van Dyke show

awkwardmike24 karma

Dayenu. King Harvest. Nope but I love Kansas City.

Transmetropolite18 karma

So...

Best weekday dinner for a couple with too little time available in the kitchen? No diatery restraints.

awkwardmike25 karma

Chicken tikka and kimchi.

mikebrown3316 karma

My question has two parts: How old is the oldest tramp stamp by now? Has it aged well?

awkwardmike24 karma

They never age well.

awkwardmike15 karma

For me definitely in Highlights magazine at the Dentists office. When my daughter went to kindergarten the teacher would hand out search and finds first thing in the morning. I would look forward to those mornings and doing with her.

HeathrBee15 karma

Has a submitter ever asked to remove an awkward photo after being posted because the family feelings about it being public made it awkward?

awkwardmike15 karma

Yes occasionally. Usually someone in the same family. Like a brother and sister who disagree with how “funny” a pic is.

CletusVanDamnit14 karma

Hi Mike. I don't have a good question, I just want to say that NATM is far and away one of the greatest parody films ever made; I sincerely put it up there with the likes of Airplane. I was so disappointed to see it with an audience that missed the Better Off Dead references, but at least we all laughed at "I just jerked off in your French toast."

So since you said we could ask anything, I'd like to know why you only ended up doing that one feature. Bad experience? Just moved onto this (or other) projects?

awkwardmike11 karma

Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. I wrote other movies. Bob The Musical is still at Disney with Channing Tatum :) All ended up in development unfortunately. Then in 2009 I started Awkward Family Photos and it changed my life. All of a sudden I was the master of my own destiny and I could pursue odd projects like this search and find. There was a freedom about it that I loved and never looked back.

boom_michael_scarn13 karma

NATM is amazing and one of my all time favourite parody movies. What made you write it? Are you a Mel brooks fan? Also- what’s your favourite parody movie?

awkwardmike56 karma

Thanks! Airplane inspired me to want to make a parody movie. My first script I ever sold was called Gigantic a parody of titanic about a ship that was 2.5 inches smaller so it never got press.

tjamos869413 karma

How does your process for screen writing work? Do you go with a basic outline then flesh it out? Or does the story come to you and it's work through it chronologically? Or something else?

awkwardmike21 karma

For parody or satire it’s really about building a structure that is classic to that genre and then layering with jokes. Not unlike parodying search and find to be honest. You identify the tropes and then twist them.

mrtrollingtin11 karma

How was it working with Marilyn manson on not another teen movie?

awkwardmike20 karma

Never got to meet him. He just covered songs for the soundtrack.

rdgrdmdfld8 karma

What is wrong with you?

awkwardmike10 karma

So so so much.

Doctor_Loggins7 karma

Did you ever try to get Pierce Brosnan into NATM in any way? He's so fucking handsome and it would've been great to see him doing something wildly inappropriate at John Hughes High.

Also, i wanted to say i positively loved Highlights as a kid. There were so many cool things in the magazine and it really helped sharpen my curiosity and thirst for knowledge!

awkwardmike11 karma

Ha. No he was too big at the time. but that’s why I had to use him as a hidden object now. He learned his lesson.

AllModsAreDouches5 karma

Is Paul Gleason as cool as I’ve always envisioned him being? His line “Cry me a river dickface” is in my top 5 favorite all time movie quotes

awkwardmike7 karma

Beyond cool. A legend. And intimidating as you would expect.

Guifas3 karma

What are the biggest struggles you overcame creating these ventures?

awkwardmike3 karma

Just making mistakes as you go along. We ve made plenty but we always try follow thru on an idea even if it’s unsuccessful.

show_the_maw3 karma

In today's overly political correctness climate, where even Cards Against Humanity is having to step back and address some atrocities in their past are there any changes on how you approach humor with certain subjects? Is there anything in your past you worry is going to catch up with you and cause controversy with your current work?

awkwardmike4 karma

I lead a boring life. Nothing in my past but I do think through all of the jokes and make sure nothing is mean-spirited. We included a pimp hat as a hidden object and my wife told me, “take it out” I took it out.

Cindilouwho23 karma

So much creativity in one humorous snarky package...what makes you lol?

awkwardmike5 karma

A lot. Steve Martins Born To Stand Up most recently.

onyxheart1153 karma

Big fan Mike, but there’s a serious issue unrelated to you that needs to be addressed.

Around 7,000,000,000 male chicks are culled every year because they do not lay eggs. The chicks are placed into a large high-speed grinder or suffocated. This is what you are financiaIIy supporting when you purchase chicken and eggs.

We are the ones creating them and then putting them in grinders after birth. Don’t forget they are someone’s children.

Why question is, why is this a legal business practice? Thanks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_culling

awkwardmike3 karma

Agree. It’s totally f-Ed.

DoomGoober2 karma

"Not Another Teen Movie" had quite the cast and some unexpected casting (Mia Kirshner, Chris Evans, Randy Quaid.) Mike Bender, how involved were you in the casting? Did the final casting jibe with what you had pictured in your head when writing the script?

awkwardmike3 karma

Funny casting story. We saw Amy Adams for the role that went to Mia. She was actually really good as I recall.

Unsadtrousers4 karma

I'd cut off my drawing hand to meet Amy Adams.

awkwardmike6 karma

I’m going to arrange it then.

awkwardmike2 karma

I was lucky to work with a director (Joel Gallen) who brought me into all of the casting. He is as collaborative as a director comes so I was lucky to have a voice in the process.