business, celebrities, interview

Cheers, Pixar, Star Wars & America- Interview with John Ratzenberger

No Comments 13 January 2015

Ratz

What do you ask an actor and speaker who was in your favorite movie (Empire Strikes Back), one of your favorite sit-coms (Cheers), and all those Pixar movies you watch with your kids?  Anything you can!  (Thanks to all of you who emailed questions to me in advance!)  Here’s a sampling of those questions- make sure to watch the video to hear John’s answers!

What was your favorite Pixar character to play?

What was it like being on the set of Star Wars?

What is your advice for being successful?

How did you come up with Clifford Clavin?

What are some of the best things about America’s culture?

Without further ado, here’s my exclusive interview with John Ratzenberger:

 

Also check out:

KeniThomasInterview

 

Behind the scenes of Black Hawk Down and Sweet Home Alabama with Keni Thomas.

 

 

Screen shot 2014-08-20 at 8.33.40 PM

 

 

The Surprising Reason Rock Stars Prefer M&Ms

 

The Story of An Unknown Mental Health Pioneer

"Safety Car" 1961, Dr. Burton Kintner

“Safety Car” 1961, Dr. Burton Kintner

basketball, celebrities, interview

What You Can Learn About Hustle From A 7’4 Guy

No Comments 02 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 2.48.52 PMIf you can take a story from a 7’4 NBA player and immediately apply it to your elementary school daughters, you know the guy has a good story.  Former auto mechanic turned NBA all-star Mark Eaton was nice enough to swing by the office for lunch and an interview.  One of his stories I liked best is that even with a natural advantage (being 7’4), he still had to work extremely hard to succeed.

When I got home that evening, I asked my daughters this question- If you knew you were going to be on the bench and wouldn’t get in the game, would you still work hard at practice?  My oldest daughter immediately said, “Yes, so I can get in the game!”.  My youngest daughter wasn’t so sure, so I shared part of Mark’s story.  Spotted by a junior college coachon an LA street corner on his way to his job as an auto mechanic, Mark eventually made it onto UCLA’s squad, where he sat the bench.  In his senior year, he played a total of just 41 minutes during the entire season.  However, following the advice of the junior college coach who helped him get started, he made sure to make every practice count.  He’d treat every practice like it was the game, where he’d try to out-work and out-hustle everyone. He’d be the first person to the gym and the last person to leave.

After graduation, he and his old coach began cold calling NBA teams for a tryout, because no one had ever heard of him.  One team, the Jazz, were so desperate that they gave a tryout to a guy who couldn’t get off the bench in college.  That 7 feet, four inches of height wasn’t enough to get him into a game in college, but adding that to those thankless years of hard work paid off.  Mark not only got in the game, but he became a starter. He became not just a starter, but an All-Star and two-time Defensive Player Of The Year on a perennial playoff team, going from a total of 41 minutes of game time his senior year to over 25,000 minutes of playing time over 11 years against the best players in the world in the NBA.

So, I got to share his message right away with my daughters- natural ability has it’s place, but you’ll go so much farther if you combine it with hard work.

Here’s my interview with Mark Eaton:

Special thanks to Eric Woodie for the video work.

Watch: 10 Tools Every Leaders Should Have- Interview with Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam

Behind The Scenes of “Blackhawk Down” & “Sweet Home Alabama”- Interview with Keni Thomas.

Read: What Would You Do On The Worst Day Of Your Life?

celebrities, interview, movies, speaker

Blackhawk Down & Sweet Home Alabama- Behind The Scenes with Keni Thomas

No Comments 26 August 2014

KeniThomasInterviewHow realistic was Blackhawk Down? For that matter, how realistic was Sweet Home Alabama?  What did Speaker, Country Singer, Actor and Army Ranger Keni Thomas get from Reese Witherspoon as a gift?  What did Ridley Scott and his crew do to almost get kicked out of the country by the king of Morocco? These and many more extremely important questions are answered here:

READ: The Surprising Reason Rock Stars Demand M&Ms

Interview with Elizabeth Smart: How Do You Put The Past Behind You?

How Robin Williams Secretly Used His Events To Help The Homeless

 

celebrities

The Surprising Reason Rock Bands Demand M&Ms

2 Comments 21 August 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-20 at 8.33.40 PMWhy do rock stars require green M&Ms in their riders?  It’s actually for a very smart reason.  When I wrote about how Robin Williams’ rider helped the homeless, so many people asked me about the green M&Ms, I thought I’d give you the story here.

I first heard about this non-urban legend right when I started at William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor).  It’s the largest talent agency in the world, over 100 years old, and quite an interesting place for an Indiana farm boy to start working 3 days after graduation.  I remember on one of my first days at work, a guy with a white beard walked past.  I whispered to the woman at the desk next me, “That guy looked just like Kenny Rogers.”  She gave me a funny look and whispered back, “That’s because he is Kenny Rogers.”

One of the first managers I met was a guy named Scott Brickell, who managed Audio Adrenaline at the time and later Mercy Me, among others.  He’s a big dude, probably 6’5.  He leaned way over the ledge near my desk and said, “Hey, kid, you know the story about why green M&M’s are in riders, right?”  I’d booked bands and promoted concerts for four years in college, but I’d never seen that in a rider before. I’d heard it was one of the more famous weird demands that hair metal bands did to be obnoxious, which is what I said to Scott.

“Nope,” he replied. “The bands have nothing to do with it.  Continue Reading

celebrities, humanitarian, speaker

A Little Known Robin Williams Story

66 Comments 12 August 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-12 at 8.43.47 AMYears ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider.  For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements.  You can learn a lot about a person from their rider.  This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.

When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found.   He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that.  I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back.  I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions.   He was a great multiplier of his impact.  Let’s hope that impact lives on without him.   Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.

If you’re inspired by the example Robin Williams’ set in his rider, check out 3 Small Steps to Make 1 Big Impact

Also Read The Story of an Unknown Mental Health Pioneer.

If you’d like to donate to help counselors who walk along side those in need, go here.

celebrities, speaker

George Bush, Michael W. Smith, And One Crazy Coincidence

No Comments 12 June 2014

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 10.34.32 AMHere’s a neat little story about awkwardly singing with George H.W. Bush backstage, and about an absolutely crazy coincidence.

About 10 years ago, myself, the owner of our company and another agent sat down at a local restaurant to interview a new potential agent named David. During the lunch, he mentioned that his family had been very involved with a particular company. I said, “That’s great! I booked George and Barbara Bush for their national conference a couple of years ago.” I then proceeded to launch into this fun little story.

I’d booked George and Barbara Bush to speak at that company’s National Conference at a large convention center in Dallas. The event set up was that Barbara Bush would speak first. Then, well-known Christian singer Michael W. Smith would perform two of his songs. President George Bush (Sr.) would then be the closing speaker. To finish the event, the company’s founder and his wife, George and Barbara Bush, and Michael W. Smith would then all go on stage and take a bow together. Continue Reading


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