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

 

Hope, inspiration, interview, speaker

Elizabeth Smart- How To Move On From Tragedy

No Comments 15 August 2014

Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 9.27.05 AMElizabeth Smart endured the tragedy being abducted and held captive for several months. Today she’s married and is one of America’s most sought after speakers. In my interview with her, she acknowledges how everyone has had struggles in their past, how to accept it, and how to move on.

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

friend, george w bush, speaker, steve bridges

Remembering Steve Bridges, My Friend and Famous George W. Impersonator

No Comments 05 March 2012

It’s very sad to hear the news of the passing of Steve Bridges. It’s pretty shocking, as he was only 48, and I’d just booked him for a very successful event three weeks ago. If you don’t know Steve, he’s an incredibly talented comedian and impersonator, most notably of President George W. Bush. Bush was a huge fan of Steve’s and even did a Press Club event with Steve acting as his internal monologue.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4N93jLVPIA]

I actually knew Steve long before all that. He’d started out
as a youth minister in Texas, and found out he could make teenagers laugh by doing impersonations. He went into stand-up and doing comedy in churches, clubs and for corporate events. I connected with Steve when I started here at Premiere in 2000. He was still at the ‘scratch-out-a-living phase’ that most entertainers go through (and very few get out of). I’d gotten engaged to a southern California girl, and flew out there in early 2001 for her wedding shower. I didn’t know anyone in Orange County, so Steve took me out to dinner during her party. “But Steve, this place has cloth napkins and everything!” I knew his financial situation and said I would have been happy with El Pollo Loco, but he insisted. He was just that kind of guy.

I knew Steve was incredibly talented, and I wanted him to be successful. It turns out I was too good a salesman- which eventually led to our losing Steve as an exclusive client, but helped his career take off. I was talking to another speaker’s manager one day and mentioned how great Steve was. That manager, Randy Nolen, actually booked Steve to do an event for some business leaders in Chicago in late 2001. They talked, and came up with the idea that instead of having Steve be a stand-up comedian doing impersonations of several people (of which there are hundreds), they’d have Steve do full make-up as George W. Bush, get some great comedy writers, and become THE George W. impersonator. The only catch was that Steve would have to leave us at Premiere, and become a ‘non-exclusive’ speaker. It was tough, but turned out to be a good decision. We were Steve supports, and still kept booking him. He and Randy really found the magic formula of talent and platform, and Steve became very successful. As I mentioned before, the ‘real’ President Bush loved him. Supposedly Clinton hated impersonators, but the Bush’s- both father and son- don’t take themselves too seriously and think they’re quite funny. I even had a time where I needed to reorganize a schedule just so Steve could perform at the White House.

But obviously Steve was more than all of that- comedian, impersonator, but a good guy and a good friend. One of the funny things about this industry is that once you start getting managers and agents- even good people- sometimes you loose that personal connection. Steve would always make sure to figure out a way to say hello. The last email I got from him said “Big Brian! Hope all’s well. Just leaving freezing NY. Merry Christmas.”

Our loss is heaven’s gain. I can just imagine right now Elijah is saying, “Holy Cow! That guy does an incredible ‘Moses’!” We’ll miss you Steve.
-Brian


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