Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone
Jim Sweeney is a 57 year old guy who is living his dream. His dream is bringing a cartoon character to life, that has been living rent free in his head since he was born, to fruition. Jim Sweeney creator of Mike Raffone, aka Michael Anthony Raffone, aka Mike Raffone (pronounced microphone), or simply Mike. He’s really just a figment of Jim’s imagination that he’s brought to life.
Jim lives in Clearwater, Florida and has been at the “Mike Gig” full time for the past five years. He has figured out how to monetize it and loves everything he does. He loves what he does. He looks forward to getting up everyday, sitting down at his computer and creating content that is “Mike” related.
Mike Raffone is the ultimate talking head on sports. Mike Raffone is his name and he is actually a microphone. He’s trademarked as well. Jim went through the trademark process when Mike was introduced because he thought that he would get pushback from ESPN, Fox Sports or CBS Sports, but noone challenged him.
The Story Behind Mike Raffone
Mike was born in Jim’s “DNA” 57 years ago. Jim has always thought like Mike. He’s always thought about sports through the lens of the Mike character. Mike is witty, clever, he loves sports, he loves words and he loves humor. When Jim was watching sports, he would always find himself saying “why didn’t that ref call that” or “why doesn’t that announcer say that” or “why doesn’t that sports writer write about that”?
If you are a sports fan you can most likely relate, right?
One day Jim’s wife told him to quit muttering about that stuff and do something about it. It didn’t happen five years ago when he formally and officially launched into his new career as the content creator for Mike, it was a gradual process.
Jim started his journey like so many of us by getting the confidence to begin, but would stall only because of second guessing himself. He would wonder how he was going to do this and when should he pull the trigger to really launch Mike character. It took Jim going through this process that lasted a couple years before he finally got “the moxy” to say he was going to go cold turkey and that he was just going to do this. Jim decided to not only get started, but to do it right, with passion and he was just going to make it happen.
During the interview, Jim took on the persona of Mike Raffone as I asked questions about his website. I went from interviewing Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone, to interviewing Mike Raffone himself. It was a lot of fun as we discussed some of the things on his bucket list.
Mike Raffone’s big dream is to be the first animated character to win an ESPY award. It doesn’t stop there though as Mike would also like to appear on ESPN Sports Center. Jim broke character for a bit as we talked about appearing on Mike and Mike in the morning because he, Jim, would probably appear as Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone so he could help explain what Mike Raffone is all about.
Jim’s goal with Mike is to get a licensing deal with the network. The network could help find a sponsor and help pay the exorbitant cost of animating Mike. Mike could be an online celebrity, as an animated character, bantering back and forth, joking or reporting on sports with real celebrities. Jim believes that Mike will be on Sports Center one day talking back and forth with show hosts.
Insight into Mike Raffone
While Mike is always fair-minded, he has no problem talking about what he feels even if it might be upsetting to some sports fans. For instance, in one of Mike’s 2 Cent Tuesday’s Sports Blogs,Mike called Kobe one of the big elephants in the arena.
Mike petitions Kobe Bryant to follow the lead of another Laker great, Elgin Baylor, and just retire. Even though it was the beginning of the season and Kobe has had a fabulous career, the first four games of the season were terrible for the future hall of famer.
While this may tick some fans off, Mike has good reasoning behind his rant. He wants to remember Kobe as a good player, not as what Michael Jordan was when he played for the Wizards or Brett Favre when he played for the Jets. These awesome players were all well past their prime and they kind of sullied their reputations.
Again, I found myself lost in the conversation. Not that I wasn’t following what Jim was saying, but it wasn’t Jim I was talking to. It was Mike. Mike’s character comes to life and is so believable, that even though Jim is doing the talking, the character of Mike Raffone takes over.
If you want to learn more about or connect with Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone, check out his links below and remember he welcomes all questions, comments and inquiries! Don’t forget to mention you heard about Jim Sweeney on Stop Riding the Pine:-)
(iTunes Shout Out) The Franchise Doctor
Thank you to Alexis Ayala, our very own editing pro, for providing the intro for this episode.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone if you are in a hurry:
- Who is Jim Sweeney Creator of Mike Raffone? (2:58 Mark)
- The funniest character description ever. (6:15 Mark)
- What motivates Jim to keep going? (14:44 Mark)
- Jim shares the magic of repurposing the same content over and over. (23:16 Mark)
- What was Jim Sweeney’s break away moment? (29:15 Mark)
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