Semi-Random Walks #14: Morgan Drmaj

First things first: Drmaj is pronounced “dermay.”

I first met Morgan almost two years ago when he was helping run a mens’ group I’m in that’s devoted to self improvement. He’s since moved on to other projects, but once you hear him you’ll see why he’s so successful at helping people.

(Side note: I’m a huge believer in men’s groups and mastermind groups in general. I’m currently involved with three of them. Do yourself a favor and join one. Can’t find one you like? Start your own. Invite a few trusted friends and I guarantee you’ll get a positive response.)

Morgan is also the president of PlumeSocial, a still-new but quite successful content marketing agency.

Follow him on Twitter @morgandrmaj and find him on LinkedIn.

Download the mp3 here.

Also, the show opened and closed with the incomparable Roky Erickson. The man was a musical genius, some say even a little mad. But if you read that Wikipedia article you’ll see he was at one time faced ten years in prison for possession of a single joint! That would make me insane, too, and with policies like that you have to wonder who really belongs in an asylum.

Seriously, it appears he truly did suffer from schizophrenia, and my heart goes out to someone with that condition. I like to make jokes about crazy people as much as the next insensitive asshole, but to be imprisoned by your own mind is the worst kind of hell. I’m glad to hear that he seems functional and productive again. Long may he reign.

And I can’t talk about mental health without a shout out to my therapist. She is, in a word, awesome at her job. Need someone to talk to about life struggles? Contact Roianne Ahn.

But that’s not all! Also in this episode I talk about a therapeutic technique called Voice Dialogue. I’ve been using it for a couple months and find it really helpful. It’s not something you can do alone because it requires a facilitator (that is, a therapist). Check out this introduction and consider applying it in your own life.

 

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Walks #13: Sunir Shah

Sunir Shah is a self-described “marketer, developer and startup guy.” He’s built a career helping small organizations do big things. Really big.

Find him on Twitter @Sunir, and check out the Small Business Web, an organization he helped found and Meatball Wiki, which played a key role in the formation of WikiPedia.

Download the mp3 here.

The show opened with this awesome remix of “Party and Bullshit” by Ratatat.

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Update

This is not an episode, just a short update on what I’m up to these days.

I also share a powerful networking tip.

Total time is under 8 minutes.

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Semi-Random Walks #12: Anne Holland

Anne Holland has spent her career building a publishing empire. Currently she is the genius behind Marijuana Business Media and Marketing Optimization Media. She previously founded MarketingSherpa, which was acquired in 2007. This despite the fact that she’s dyslexic! That’s like Peter Dinklage becoming an NBA point guard.

Download the mp3 here.

The show opens with “Yellow Dog,” a rave-up from Seasick Steve. Check it out below.

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Walks #11: Wayne Elise

Wayne Elise is many things: a street performer, a story teller, and a teacher of how to be conversational. His company is Charisma Arts, and we were glad to get a chance to catch up with him.

Follow Wayne on Twitter @Wayne_Elise and Charisma Arts on Facebook.

Download the mp3 here.

Below is a great video of one of his workshops.

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Why and How to Start an Interview Site

This post was originally published on John Corcoran’s Smart Business Revolution.

media-interview11I’ll let you in on a secret. Interviews are a great way to network. It’s a novel way to introduce yourself to someone prominent, yet flattering at the same time. This is about 50% of the reason I do my podcast. (The other 50% is that I enjoy the creative process of putting a show together.)

I first discovered this technique in late 2012. I was rolling off my last project and trying to figure out what to do next. I had been watching a lot of movies of late, then I heard a quote from Julie Delpy about the moviemaking process. What she described sounded a lot like entrepreneurship. That got me thinking that I might like being a film producer.

But I had no experience in the field and very few contacts in the industry. So how could I break in? A journalist friend suggested I start an interview site, and now I’m suggesting the same to you.

Step by Step: Create an Interview Site

  1. Choose a relevant domain name. I chose MakingFlix.com.
  2. Create a blog on WordPress. Don’t worry about designing a custom theme or anything like that. Just choose a theme that seems consistent with your topic.
  3. Pay the $13 or so that WordPress charges to use your own domain name. It suggests a higher level of professionalism.
  4. Write an introductory post explaining what your blog is all about and ideally what inspired you to start it. On MakingFlix I discussed my realization that filmmakers are entrepreneurs. This subtly demonstrated that even though I’m not a filmmaker, I have relevant experience that might be of value to the community. Someone else who, say, wants to become a makeup artist, might instead show off the amateur work they’ve done on friends. The point of all of the above is to demonstrate that you’re serious, even if in a lighthearted way.
  5. Reach out to everyone you know via email, Facebook, Twitter, you name it, and let them know you’ve started a site about X and would appreciate them referring you to anyone they know who works in field X.
  6. Marvel at the response and start cranking out posts.
  7. Optional: Find that you really enjoy it and start a podcast or YouTube channel or other content site to boot.

For #6, it’s not like I got to Steven Spielberg right out of the gate (or at all), but I didn’t need to. Instead I talked with experienced, often unsung filmmakers who knew a lot about how the industry works. The kind of people who might value having a partner with experience in startups.

And that’s exactly what happened.

I found a number of ways I could have entered the film industry, though noone offered me a job outright. But I ultimately concluded that the day-to-day work of producing a film would not be as fulfilling as the work I do in tech companies. As a producer, I would likely be out scouting locations or begging investors for money than hanging out on set with movie stars. I honestly prefer to sit in front of my computer most of the time, with the occasional novelty of a sales call.  (Ironically, one of the best opportunities I found involved working with a tech startup servicing the film industry, but I didn’t feel a passion for the product and I would have had to move to LA.)

And in a way, that’s kind of the point. Without interviewing, I may have entertained grandiose dreams, perhaps even gone to USC (which has a producer program that feeds the major studios). But by interviewing people I was able to learn a lot from many experienced people while spending very little time or money.

Here’s another benefit of interviewing: it gives you a deadline. Once start getting responses, you’ll feel motivated to post them. You may even promise to the interviewee that it will be posted on a certain date, and that you’ll tweet them when so. Telling others of your plans is a powerful motivator.

How to Get the Interview

As I said, comb through your contacts, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Anyone you think might even remotely be a candidate, ask for the interview. Here’s an example of the email I sent to people I had targeted.

Subject: Can I interview you?

Hi [NAME],

[MUTUAL FRIEND] gave me your contact info, and I believe he told you I’m working on an interview project about filmmaking. The focus is the non-creative aspects — planning, budgeting, raising money, dealing with locations etc.

The idea is to learn from professionals like yourself about the behind the scenes things that are so important to bringing a movie project to fruition. You can learn more about it here: http://makingflix.com/2012/11/16/hello-world

Interested? Please let me know if so. Thanks!

-Derek [my cell #] [link to makingflix.com]

Notice what’s not in it. Though I’m making a request, it’s one that enhances his own reputation. The first rule of networking is to give before you get. Try always to be adding value when you contact someone new. Just asking to pick their brain over coffee usually doesn’t cut it. Also note that this one was sent in response to a “warm” lead – referral from a friend. In “cold” cases it’s better to be straightforward and say you admire them and want to learn more about the industry. If I got a positive response (I would say at least 50% responded, maybe more; only a couple said no), I sent the following:

Great! I look forward to hearing your insight.

Below is a list of questions. Answer whichever ones you feel are appropriate and give as much (or as little) details as you feel necessary. The idea is get a sense of how you manage to get things done in such a way that an aspiring filmmaker will come away with a few tips, do’s and don’ts.

Your answers will be posted on http://makingflix.com/, and I will send you an email when it’s live.

Questions? Shoot me an email or call [cell phone #].

Thanks a million!

-Derek

—–

QUESTIONS:

Briefly tell us your name and background. Optionally provide email address, phone, web etc.

What current or recent project are you working on, and what is your role?

Please provide links to IMDB and/or this project’s web site, Facebook page, Kickstarter page etc (whatever you think is relevant).

What are some of the things you had to do to personally prepare for this role, especially as it relates to getting the project off the ground?

How much time would you estimate you have devoted to this project?

What was the most difficult challenge you had in bringing this project to fruition?

What was the best part of the project for you personally?

What’s the biggest thing or things you learned from doing this project?

What’s one piece of advice would you give to someone considering a project like this and/or a career like yours?

Will we get a chance to see this project on screen? How and where?

What’s next for you after this project?

After the Interview

Make sure you let them know when you post it! I like to Tweet it out with a cc @ message to the guest. They often retweet it. I sometimes email them the scheduled publication date in advance (another deadline motivation) . These days I also send an inexpensive thank you gift.

Whether you’re looking to change fields like I was, or want to elevate your position within your current field, interviews are a great tool. Try it!

PS It wasn’t long ago that TechStars co-founder David Cohen did essentially the same thing, though with more credibility than I had.  He introduced himself to the Boulder community by interviewing and writing about local startups. It seems to have worked out okay for him! :-)

Derek Scruggs is a serial entrepreneur in Boulder, Colorado. His Semi-Random Walks podcast airs twice weekly.

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Semi-Random Walks #10: Jim Kukral

Jim Kukral is a serial entrepreneur who has figured out how to balance work and real life. He recently released Go Direct, an e-book about how you can publish directly to your audience without the need for a middleman (the e-book is proof of that!).

Follow Jim on Twitter @JimKukral on also on Facebook.

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Walks #9: Shawn Coleman

Shawn Coleman is a musician-turned-lobbyist. Among many issues, Shawn has been very involved in the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, and he’s particularly interested in removing the stigma from it. People don’t think twice about buying a beer or a shot at a local bar, but there is still a lingering “ick” factor around marijuana. Never one to wait for someone else to act, Shawn has tackled the issue head on by helping launch Classically Cannabis, a concert series that shows that cannabis consumers are not all Deadheads, but supporters of high culture too. (Get it?)

PS: Rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Walks #8: Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, American Indian composer

 Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (say that three times fast!) is an award-winning composer whose work is deeply influenced by his Chickasaw heritage, so much so that the Washington Post said “Tate’s connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent in this piece…rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.”

And let me tell you, they’re right. I’ve known Jerod for over 25 years but had never really listened to much of his music until preparing for this interview. My short review: good shit!

We excerpt a few works in this episode:

  • Yo Le Ne – a work Jerod described to me as “a traditional Chickasaw tune injected with 5000 lbs of steroids”
  • Tracing Mississippi (get it on Amazon here)
  • Halshi’ Hiloha (Sun Thunder) – also included on the CD above

But that’s not all

Checkout Taloa’ Hiloha below, which is especially appealing to drummers like me:

PS – rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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Semi-Random Walks #7: Katie Goodman, comedian, writer, songwriter and all things in between,

I was pumped to interview Katie for two reasons. First, this is my first interview with someone I did not already know. Second, I personally got a lot out of her book Improvisation for the Spirit. When I first contacted her I had no idea how diverse her career is. Writing is just a tiny piece of all the things she has going on.

It’s also the first time I’ve interviewed a performer, which scratches my creative itch. I hope to have a lot more people in the creative industries in future episodes.

Links to some of the things we discussed:

  • StandOut – a personality test. Katie was surprised to find she’s a Pioneer and Provider. (I’m a Creator and an Innovator.) I hope to talk more about StandOut in a future episode.
  • She’s an ENFJ – a Giver
  • Katie’s personal site
  • BroadComedy, the comedy troupe she co-founded
  • BroadComedy’s YouTube Channel
  • Their album of very funny songs. Do we still call them “albums?”

Follow Katie on Twitter @KatieGoodman and on Facebook here.

Check out “Shit Park Slope Parents Say” below.

Where does she find the time to make these?!

Part of the reason I started this podcast was to cultivate my creative streak. What are you creating?

Sponsor Message

Listen to the episode to hear about my “drug dealer” Jessie, who works at Terrapin Care Station in Boulder. He always delivers service with a smile. I should have him on the show sometime…

Jessie - my drug dealer and a budding writer. Get it? "Bud?" Heh heh

Jessie – my drug dealer and a budding writer. Get it? “Bud?” Heh heh

He sold me chocolates infused with THC - the new cocaine

He sold me chocolates infused with THC. They’re the real the New Coke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS – rather than commenting here, please give Semi-Random Walks a review on iTunes. Whether you love it or hate it, I value your feedback.

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