Some "Lost" fans have been hardcore, Smoke Monster-obsessives from the minute the show debuted back in 2004. Others didn't fall head-over-Hurley heels until a little later in the game.
Such is the case for Danny Simonzad, the man responsible for "Obsession," the video entry in ABC's recent "Lost" promo contest that -- at least in my opinion -- did the best job of capturing the bittersweet feelings "Lost" followers feel as they approach the big farewell. Watch it below. (For the record, the winner -- "Convergence," which aired during Wednesday's episode -- also is quite well-done.)
I spoke to Danny about he became a "Lost" fan and what inspired him to capture our collective sense of Sawyer mourning in Web video form; read all about it in the Q&A that follows.
Name of "Lost" Superfan: Danny Simonzad
Place of residence: Los Angeles
Profession: Owns a production company called Spot-On Media that makes music videos and TV commercials.
What makes him a "Lost" Superfan: After jumping on the island bandwagon a little late, he still managed to capture the essence of "Lost" fandom in a video submission to ABC's promo contest.
Jen Chaney: When did you start watching "Lost"? From the beginning or did you catch up on DVD?
Danny Simonzad: Well, here's what happened. I started watching it on Netflix in January.
Jen Chaney: Of this year?
Danny Simonzad: Yeah. I'm like, "Let me give this ‘Lost' thing a try." And as soon as I watched the pilot, I got hooked on it, like on crack or something. I had to watch it every day, it was that addictive. It was a great plot, it has great mythology. And the philosophy behind it is just fantastic. It just absorbs you.
Jen Chaney: Did you get through all five seasons before the sixth one began?
Danny Simonzad: Yes. I had to catch up basically in about a month.
Jen Chaney: So you watched the whole thing in a month's time? Wow.
Danny Simonzad: But I am a normal person.
Jen Chaney: That's hardly the most unusual thing I've heard someone say about "Lost," so don't worry about it. What is it about the show that speaks to you and made you want to cram it all in so quickly?
Danny Simonzad: I'll tell you, it's the characters. Yes, they're stuck on an island. Yes, all this weird stuff is happening to them. But what drew me in was the characters and how unique they are. Because you start watching and you start liking a character, and the writers are so good that within a few episodes, you're like, "Oh my God, I hate this character." And then a few episodes later, you're like "Oh my God, I love this character again."
It's that power that this show has over the audience. The characters are so real; they're just like real people. And you could relate to them or you could hate them, all in the same character, you know what I mean?
For example, Sawyer: you start off hating that guy. And then throughout the show – he's one of the guys that I could actually say, he could be my buddy or something like that. He could be a friend of mine. If I'm in a bind, this guy could get me out.
Jen Chaney: So do you have a favorite character and a least favorite character?
Danny Simonzad: I have to say, from the moment I started watching it, I really liked John Locke. He has this vulnerability that just draws you to him. You just feel so sorry for this guy, but you kind of can relate to him as well. Because you really want him to succeed, you want him to find what he's looking for. He kind of represents all of us. We're in this life kind of searching, asking questions – we want to figure what this is all about, and that's what John Locke is.
Jen Chaney: And a least favorite?
Danny Simonzad: I would have to say Jack. I don't know, that guy irked me for some reason. He started off okay, but if I was on that island he would get on my nerves. I don't know, maybe it's just an alpha male thing, but I kind of related with Sawyer on that. "Dude, just shut-UP." But you know, I get that he's a good guy. Deep down inside, I can see that. He just gets on my nerves sometimes.
I just hope I don't make a lot of people angry by saying that.
Jen Chaney: Matthew Fox is going to be so mad at you.
Danny Simonzad: [Laughs.] He kind of started making up for that stuff [during "The Last Recruit"]. That episode was kind of a kick in the groin.
Jen Chaney: When you say it was a kick in the groin, was that because of Jin and Sun dying?
Danny Simonzad: Yeah, Jin and Sun. And I especially loved – this is what makes the writers so great -- that you take the Muslim character, Sayid. With all the stuff that's going on in the world and the stereotypes, he's the one who saves them all by killing himself with a bomb. You know, it was like the reverse of a suicide bombing. Instead of killing people, he saved their lives.
Jen Chaney: Wow, that's a really interesting perspective. I hadn't even thought about that.
Danny Simonzad: That's just amazing writing.
Jen Chaney: Let's switch gears a bit and talk about the video that you did. Obviously since you do video production for a living, this would be a natural thing for you to do. But what inspired you to make it?
Danny Simonzad: About a week before I found out the promo contest was going on, I'm like, "Somehow I really want to be involved with ‘Lost.'" I had that overwhelming desire. On Facebook, I'm a fan of that [ABC] "Lost" page. And they posted that there's a promo contest going on. And I don't know what it was – I don't know if you want to call it John Locke-style destiny – but immediately, the idea popped into my mind within a couple of hours. I'm a fan and I guess I'm obsessed because I watched the entire series in a month. And I thought, what if we just show it from the fans' perspective? Because that's what it's all about. If it wasn't for the fans, this show would not be going on.
And I just took what I was feeling about how the show was ending, and I just wrote a script for it and shot it in about a week. I cast it and got a lot of favors pulled. Most of the cast, they're all "Lost" fans. So they were like, absolutely. We'll do this for free.
Jen Chaney: The winner of the promo contest was "Convergence." Do you know if you came in second?
Danny Simonzad: I have no idea. They have not contacted me as far as who is in second or third.
Jen Chaney: The funny thing about this is that you captured the feelings people would have after living with the show for a long time. But you've really only lived with it for four months.
Danny Simonzad: I feel like I know everybody on that show. I really care about what happens to them. I know it took only a month but I am obsessed with that show. Just ask my family and friends.
Jen Chaney: Oh, I believe you. I guess what I'm saying is that the video demonstrated an understanding of the fandom that -- it's interesting that you got that so quickly.
Now I have to ask a few standard nerd questions. Have you watched any seasons more than once? I'm guessing not since you just started in January.
Danny Simonzad: Not the seasons, but I started since it's ending – I started watching from the pilot again. I'm on the first season right now, on the third episode.
I'm waiting for the show to end, and after it ends, I want to watch the entire thing again.
Jen Chaney: Have you ever dressed up as a character from "Lost"?
Danny Simonzad: No. But some people say I look like Sayid.
Jen Chaney: Do you own any "Lost" memorabilia or merchandise?
Danny Simonzad: No, I don't. But the [Oceanic] mug that you see in the promo, I had to make myself. So that's the only thing I have. Basically I took what ABC provided and I printed it out on sticker paper -- one by one, the circles -- and I put it on a mug. It's actually sitting on my desk right now.
Jen Chaney: How much time do you spend looking at "Lost" blogs or Web sites?
Danny Simonzad: I would say 10 to 20 percent of my day.
Jen Chaney: Which ones do you look at most frequently?
Danny Simonzad: The "Lost" fan page on Facebook. And also, on Twitter, I follow [executive producers] Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof.
Jen Chaney: What are you going to miss about the show?
Danny Simonzad: Here's what I always miss about something that really captures my attention: it's that not knowing what's going to happen. That mystery, that surprise that comes up, the cliffhangers. I know a lot of people get annoyed by that. But I love that stuff.
I guess what I can look forward to is if I watch it again, I'm going to pick up things that I didn't pick up the first time around.