How I Broke Into: Michael Prywes Interviews Artists and Entrepreneurs About Their Big Break

From writers, musicians, and actors, to tech magnates, to mom & pop businesses and food, beverage, or cosmetics entrepreneurs, New York-based startup attorney Michael Prywes (www.Proud.Lawyer) takes the audience on a deep dive into the world of creative business building. Every innovator has an important story to tell, and lessons to share. For more information, call 212.206.9104 or visit www.Proud.Lawyer
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How I Broke Into: Michael Prywes Interviews Artists and Entrepreneurs About Their Big Break



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Sep 29, 2017

Janae Bakken grew up in Minnesota - where she spent too many frozen winters on the cross-country ski team, and went to college in Chicago - where she rarely saw the sun, so she made her escape to Los Angeles soon after graduation.  She worked on the production staffs of such shows as Mad About YouCaroline in the City, and Malcolm in the Middle before making the jump to writer, where she spent eight years writing on the critically-acclaimed Scrubs, rising from a Staff Writer to Co-Executive Producer.  Janae was twice-nominated for an Emmy Award with the other Scrubs writers.  In addition, she has written & sold television pilots for Warner Brothers, ABC Studios, MRC and ABC Network.  Janae was most recently a Co-Executive Producer on Freeform’s Baby Daddy for four years, and before that a Co-EP on Anger Management and Gary Unmarried.  In 2007, she was selected to participate in the WGA Showrunner Training Program.  In 2011, Janae was a guest professor at her alma mater Northwestern University, teaching Television Writing to the MFA Creative Writing students. 

Notes from the show:

Grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis St. Paul, MN.

She discovered "The Wonder Years," her favorite and my favorite television show.

Northwestern University's "Creative Writing for the Media" program - selected 12 people each year, was in the program with me, Breen Frasier ("Criminal Minds")

Heavily influenced by the show "Friends." A lot of her friends back home in MN got married in their early 20s.

She lived in London, England after college.

Hollywood will always be there, but you're better off going without attachments.

La-La Land.

If you want to be in television, you need to be in Los Angeles.

20 years later, she loves Los Angeles. "Everyone's starting over... you're in it together."

It helps there are so many alumni there.

Has been in the workforce since the age of 14, but all Los Angeles jobs were "in the industry."

First screenplay was a comedy. First TV job was a comedy.

Gave a funny speech at high school graduation.

First job she had in L.A., she got fired.

Agency job is a good foot in the door.

On her resume, she mentioned her job as "Gedney the Minnesota Pickle." William Morris called about it.

Interview with Pang-Ni Landrum; Mascot life got her the job.

Unruly: most people can't do funny.

At least 70% who made it in television comedy went the assistant route.

During all down time, she wrote scripts. Every night, after work, would stay at desk and work on own scripts.

Skills went "through the roof" being in the room with great writers.

Had "interview" with UTA, thought she was being interviewed.

"The longer I have done this, the more I realize how hard it is to run a show. And it's really easy to see who does it well and who doesn't."

"I'm not young enough to know everything." - Oscar Wilde

"Baby Daddy" is over, and she can't wait to get back in a writer's room.

"The TV Writer's Workbook" - Ellen Sandler

"Writing the TV Drama Series 3rd edition: How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV" - Pam Douglas

Take a UCLA Extension class or Santa Monica Community College class

Jul 21, 2017

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a writer who has contributed compelling non-fiction features to major publications such as the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Los Angeles Times, SElf, and so many more. Taffy is also the author of the forthcoming Random House novel, Schrödinger's Marriage. Taffy has been a finalist for multiple awards, including the James Beard Award and the Mirror Award, and has won awards from the New York Press Club, the Los Angeles Press Club, Society of Feature Journalists. She also teaches a phenomenal writing class, but the class we discuss in this interview unfortunately sold out before we launched. Subscribe to "How I Broke Into" on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or Google, or listen to the entire podcast here:

Notes from the show:

John Cheever's short stories

Inspired by writer Lauren Slater.

"It’s also telling that I’m not a trained journalist.  I have a degree in screenwriting from NYU. The highest priority when I’m writing is on storytelling, not voice, but storytelling.  That’s my business.  Voice comes easily to me because it’s easy for me to write how I sound.  And structure is the thing that I think about the most.  ‘What is the beginning, middle, and end of this?’ "

Loved the soap opera Santa Barbara, and got a job at a Soap Opera publication

Worked at Mediabistro in Los Angeles

PTSD from giving birth

"Moving Swift-ly on? Giggling Tom Hiddleston is spotted bidding farewell to a mystery brunette during evening stroll back in London" - Daily Mail

"Chasing the New American Dream"

"My Color Story"

"Obsessive-compulsive disorder nearly ruined her life" by Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff

"Who Controls Childbirth?" - Self Magazine

"We Have Found the Cure! (Sort Of)" - Outside Magazine

Water's Edge (The story of Bill May, the greatest male synchronized swimmer who ever lived, and his improbable quest for Olympic Gold) - ESPN Magazine

The Art of War by Steven Pressfield

Interviewing celebrities is never not weird.

Classes at: (but August 2017 class is sold out)

Dec 30, 2016

Jordan Matter, a Manhattan portrait photographer, is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Dancers Among Us, a collection of photographs of dancers in everyday situations around the world, and his collection of photos of nudes in public places, Dancers After Dark, is a monumental achievement, in my humble opinion. He and his work have been featured on television, in print, online, and in exhibitions throughout the world, including Buzzfeed, ABC World News Tonight, Today, The Tyra Banks Show, the BBC, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, #1 on Reddit, Daily Mail U.K., O, The Oprah Magazine, NPR, Lincoln Center, and the Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. Matter lives in New York with his wife, two children, dog and cat.

Notes from the show:


Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Everyday Life

My interview with my father.

My interview with ballet champion Brooklyn Mack.

Behind the Scenes

"Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats

The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook by Nancy Wolff

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Uncovered: Women in Word and Image

The Beauty Myth - Naomi Wolf

Camera + App actually DOES work with the iPhone 7 Plus dual lens system (but not "Portrait Bokeh" mode)

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs



Dec 25, 2016

Nelson Ruger grew up along the beaches of southern New Jersey, finding his stomping grounds among Ocean City’s 7th Street and North Street beaches and boardwalks.  Loving art from an early age, he dove into a career as a theatrical artist, designing scenery and lighting for stage productions up and down the eastern United States, lending his creative style from tiny one-room shows to huge regional theaters. In 1998, he fulfilled his dream of designing on Broadway.  With this life goal achieved so young, Nelson began searching for new horizons and artistic possibilities. Nelson eventually left the theatre industry to pursue his surf painting and zen watercolor art.

He formed the ‘Nelson Makes Art!’ Studio in Virginia, where he spent several happy years developing commissioned pieces in his flip-flops. ‘Nelson Makes Art!’ then led him far far west to the opposite coast of sunny Los Angeles.  As Creative Director at RGH Themed Entertainment, Nelson worked with a diverse team of artists across many disciplines, designing theme parks and attractions around the world.  

In 2014, Nelson discovered a passion uniting two of his favorite things - painting, and tropical beverages.  This led him to his most exciting works to date - the Huli Pau Glassware series - painted glassware featuring the beautiful waves of oceans from around the world. He's the guy who believes you deserve to live the life you've always wanted.  And he's gonna do everything he can to help get you there.

Notes from the show:

He didn't like the "drama" offstage of theatre. He went to work for Apple. He was invited to build a theme park in Los Angeles.

He opened an Etsy store.

Can Infringement on Etsy, Ebay, or CafePress be Considered "Fair Use?"

Helped by Amy Colella

Kim Bloomberg Designs

The One of a Kind Show

Winsor-Newton paintbrushes

Liquitex enames to be discontinued.

Gordon Firemark

Jason Fellerman Glass

Buck's Rock

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly

James Schramko's SuperFast Business

SoCal vs. Hawaii

Ocean City, NJ

A Crash Course on Taking on Centuries-Old Brands... and Succeeding

The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

Simon Sinek's TED talk

No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From a Creative Journey: Motivation & Self-Improvement (Creative & Innovation series Book 1) by Gideon Amichay

Nov 24, 2016

Bradley Broder is the founder and Executive Director of the Kenya Education Fund.

Bradley founded Kenya Education Fund as a means of supporting the children he befriended while serving in the US Peace Corps for two years (Kenya 1999-2001).   Bradley has over 17 years experience working with Kenya and speaks fluent Kiswahili.  His deep, personal connection with Kenya and knowledge of international development issues has led Bradley to focus KEF focus on keeping Kenyans in school to develop the country’s human capital and reduce dependency on foreign aid.  Brad holds a BA in Spanish from SUNY Stony Brook and an MA in Political Science from Western Washington University.   He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

The story of KEF weaves together the rich histories of three organizations,  the Kenya Education Fund (est. 2006), the Nomadic Kenyan Children’s Educational Fund (NKCEF, est. 2001) and the Children of Kibera Foundation (est. 2007).

KEF has over 20 years of collective experience working to promote education in Kenya.

KEF was started by former Peace Corps Volunteer, Bradley Broder and local community leader, Dominic Muasya, to keep kids in high school when their means did not allow. 

NKCEF was formed after a group of families from McLean, Virginia accompanied their children’s high school teacher, Hon. Joseph Lekuton, on a trip to his nomadic homeland in Northern Kenya where many of the children were not in school. NKCEF combined with KEF in 2011.

Children of Kibera Foundation was founded by Honorable Ken Okoth (Kibra) and provided hundreds of educational scholarships to primary, secondary and university students from Kibera –Africa’s largest slum. CoKF decided to join hands with KEF in 2013.

Notes from the show:

Brad founded the KEF in 2006.

The KEF gives scholarship to Kenyan high schools; you can sponsor a child for just $750 a year.

He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Loitoktok, Kenya from 1999-2001.

He was in Namibia when the towers came down.

When he returned to Kenya 3 years later, so many people had died from AIDS.

The KEF started with asking friends and family for money to send one girl and then five kids to school.

About Schmidt (2002), starring Jack Nicholson.

The KEF has helped thousands of kids get an education.

"The ask is sort of an art... asking is a sales pitch.

Barack Obama: "Fired up, ready to go" video gives 10 free licenses to non-profits

Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Art of the Ask - Connie Phieff

Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson

The Ask - Laura Fredericks

Ask. - Ryan Levesque

Essentialism - Greg McKeown

Oct 13, 2016

Chef Rossi, of the renowned Raging Skillet, is a master storyteller, and this episode doesn't disappoint. She is not your ordinary chef. She credits her success to everything from "kishka and grits" to marijuana munchies to the Hasidim in Crown Heights to foul-mouthed bar tending. Her stories are phenomenal, worthy of a Moth competition. Oh, and don't take my word for it: her cookbook (!)/memoir is being turned into a play and screenplay!

Rossi, yes, she only has one name -– has been a writer for many publications, such as The Daily NewsThe New York Post, Time Out New York and Mcsweeney's to name a few. She has been the food writer of the "Eat Me" column for Bust magazine since 1998, hosts her own hit radio show on WOMR and WFMR in Cape Cod called "Bite This," now in its twelfth season, has been featured on "The Food Network" and "NPR” and is a popular blogger for “The Huffington Post.”

As the owner and executive chef of "The Raging Skillet," a cutting-edge catering company known for breaking any and all rules, she has earned a reputation as the one to call when it's time to do something different.

The Raging Skillet has been called "a new breed of rebel anti-caterer" by The New York Times, "the wildest thing this side of the Mason Dixon line" by Zagat and has been named among The Knot’s Best Of Wedding Caterers for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 2015 and now 2016. Having won six years in a row, The Raging Skillet is in The Knot’s Hall of Fame.

On November of 2015 Rossi’s first memoir; The Raging Skillet/The True Life Story of Chef Rossi was published from the Feminist Press to rave reviews.

From Kirkus - "A humorous and witty chronicle of a woman’s pulling-herself-up-by-her-bootstraps rise through the culinary ranks."

From Publisher’s Weekly: "With an insightful and irreverent voice, Rossi’s debut is well suited for foodies, feminists, and creative revolutionaries."

Rossi’s motto is simple; "molds are a delicious thing to break!”

Notes from the show:

As a child, she always thought she would end up as President of the US. Then she thought she would end up an artist. She has always had a problem with authority and considers herself completely unemployable.

Her parents bought swampland in Panama City, Florida (the "Redneck Riviera"), diet of "kishka and grits."

At 13, her mother got a microwave and that was the end of home-cooked meals.

She discovered marijuana, made stoner food.

At 16, she ran away from home. Her parents drove her to Hasidic Crown Heights... "like being dropped off on Mars with matzoh balls."

She explored different cuisines based on the ethnicity of women she dated.

She hired a sous chef who was so good, should have been the chef.

She cooked for 10 years before going solo.

"The Raging Skillet" came to her like a light bulb.

Doing V-Day for The Vagina Monologues led to her listing in

Celebrities love to be treated like everyone else, and she likes to treat everyday people like celebrities.

She is most comfortable with 150-200 people.

She did not like working in restaurants: too high stress yet boring. She lived for the daily specials.

Her goal is to delegate more and have more fun.

By working for others, she learned what not to do.

She has a "Zen kitchen." No yelling allowed.

"Gordon [Ramsey], there's no way people aren't spitting in the food."

She turns down competition shows.

"Why One Neuroscientist Started Blasting His Core" - The Atlantic

Like Water for Chocolate

Stay super-organized. Never let things accumulate.

The food processor: "mi esposa."

The play based on her book is written by Jacques Lamarre.

Advice: go work for as many different types of kitchens.

She loves The White Trash Cookbook.


Sep 22, 2016

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson is the Voice of the Greatest Show on Earth. He began performing at age 11 with the world-famous Boys Choir of Harlem. For seven years, he was intensely trained in all forms of music including classical, jazz, hip hop and gospel. Johnathan experienced a string of unforgettable, inspiring moments as a member of the Boys Choir, which included being awarded the lead tenor role for the choir, singing at the intermission for Luciano Pavarotti's Concert in Central Park, performing in a live show on Broadway for two weeks and winning second place in the Lena Horne Vocal Jazz Scholarship.

Johnathan graduated from the University of Hartford's Hartt School in May 1998 with a degree in voice performance, and shortly after his graduation, Johnathan was invited to begin his professional entertainment career with the 129th Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Johnathan couldn’t refuse the offer and felt his prominent role in the show was an unbelievable dream come true.

Johnathan toured with Ringling Bros.® all around the United States, and his charismatic charm and incredible voice caught the eye of Barbara Walters, who within a year of his first tour named him one of the ten most fascinating people in 1999. Johnathan’s historical tenure with The Greatest Show On Earth is featured in numerous publications, including: the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post,  Black First: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events by Jessie Carney Smith, African-American First by Joan Potter, Live Life! Be Young, Black, and Successful by Quincy Benton, and Beat of a Different Drum: The Untold Stories of African-Americans Forging Their Own Paths in Work and Life by Dax-Devlon Ross.

Notes from the Show:

He was a nominal fan of the Greatest Show on Earth (Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus) as a boy.

His favorite act was Globe of Death/Globe of Steel

He studied to be an opera singer. He planned to move to Europe to launch his opera career.

He auditioned for the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Wisconsin, which was directed by the director of Ringling Bros.

He loved being around the late great Gunther Gebel-Williams.

He credits the Boys Choir of Harlem for his commitment to excellence.

He saw Placido Domingo in Tokyo when he was with the Choir, and at 13 years old, knew he had to become an opera singer.

He credits Dr. Walter J. Turnbull for so much of his success. "You have to walk boys to manhood."

He went to Fiorello LaGuardia High School.

Tyranny always targets artists and intellectuals.

"Believe me, when you're 40 feet up in the air, about to turn a triple somersault, you could care less if your catcher is black, white, gay, straight, speaks English, whatever."

"The Mongolian father has the same concerns for his kids as I do mine. The Chinese guy over there is just as romantic or he's vying for that woman's attention like I would have when I was single. We all have these same types of things. It's really fascinating. I think the arts open the gateway to our common humanity."

A check for the ego: the animals are the reason people come to the circus.

The circus is a singer's nightmare.

His first year was vocally traumatic. Working in the circus is a "learn-on-the-job thing."

Frank Sinatra was so much better after Ava Gardner.

Mortality is what distinguishes his colleagues from him.

The band is the hardest working band in show business.

"You can't phone it in in the circus. You have to be focused."

He puts Vaseline on his teeth and a lozenge under his tongue to have moisture in his mouth.

"I continue to be a student of my voice."

"I've never trained with an academic. Ever. I don't trust someone who's just learned it from a book. They don't know anything. People who've gone out and done it can teach it."

"It's a hard life to be a performer of any kind."

His wife is his boss.

"I consider myself the wealthiest man in show business."

Early in his career, it was all about self-promotion. But having wife and kids has changed his perspective. "How do I give?"

"The noblest art is that of making others happy." - P.T. Barnum

If you're a performer, be grateful.

Twitter: @Bigtopvoice

Recommends the documentary "The Last Great Circus Flyer"

"How I Broke Into" is now on iHeartRadio! Also, iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Please subscribe!


Sep 1, 2016

Adam Moskowitz is the wunderkind President of Larkin Cold Storage and Columbia Cheese, and he founded the Cheesemonger Invitational, an in-demand twice-a-year event that is considered the Olympics of cheese skills, an celebrates what are to cheese what sommeliers are to wine. The profits from the CMI, which Adam hosts as his alter-ego, "Mr. Moo," go towards The Barnyard Collective, an organization devoted to food education. Adam was responsible for the introduction of Challerhocker cheese to the U.S., just as his father was responsible for the introduction of cave-aged Gruyere to the U.S. But Adam bought out his own father's business long after Adam had pursued other entrepreneurial and artistic endeavors, and, in a decade Adam has grown various multi-million dollar revenue streams by focusing on "small ponds," "big trees," and "not chasing butterflies." He has been featured in the cover story of Cheese Connoisseur Magazine and has appeared as a judge and expert on the Food Network.

Notes from the show:

"New York's Prince of Cheese" - Politico

His grandfather was one of the first importers of cheese in New York. His father started up Larkin Cold Storage. Adam took over 10 years ago.

Adam considers himself a cheerleader.

Adam has always been entrepreneurial; in college, he launched a valet company, and sold pot.

In his early 20s, Adam worked for Yahoo, and earned a lot of money.

Adam used his earnings from Yahoo to launch his rap career as The Beat Poet.

His father saw an entrepreneur, even more than an artist, when he saw Adam at CBGB.

Adam worked at Essex Food Market to develop skills.

"Cheese is the perfect food."

He loves connecting to the land, to the animals, to families.

"I made a conscious decision early on to make choices that would lead me not to have regret."

He has 5x earnings in 10 years.

He loves helping people: artisans, cheesemongers, connect supply chain, employees.

"All life experiences are cumulative."

"I'm not going to regret that decision. I am simply going to make another decision."

Still uses pen and paper for inventory.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The conundrum of the perfectionist.

Adam fires toxic customers.

The Importance of Being Dirty: Lessons from Mike Rowe

The Complete Counselor webinar on work-life balance: uncrossable lines.

"Food is the great equalizer. Food has no social class. A great piece of meat tastes the same--amazing--whether you're rich or poor."

Life's Too Short for Miller Lite

"I'm a mission-driven entrepreneur."

Flavor: taste, aroma, trigeminal stimulation.

He owns Larkin Cold Storage, Columbia Cheese, and the Cheesemonger Invitational.

Becoming a father reset Adam's notions of success.

Kids don't follow the entrepreneur's playbook.

"The return is giving."

On the horizon: curriculum and lexicon, empowering people with words.

Adam is interested in content creation.

Latest favorite cheese: Wrangeback from Sweden.

Favorite bubbly: Cremant du Jura.

Beer: Fat Tire Amber Ale

Meats: Olympia Provisions, Herb Eckhouse Prosciutto, Smoking Goose

Olympia Provisions is an example of an excellent product being more important than its name.

"Let go of your food fear."

Michael Prywes is Managing Attorney of Prywes, PC. For more information, visit

Aug 18, 2016

Amy Ignatow is a writer and illustrator living in Philadelphia with her family. After graduating from Moore College of Art and Design she worked as a freelance illustrator, a stationery designer, an air-brush face and body painter, an art teacher, an SAT prep instructor, a reporter, a wedding singer, and a florist. Amy was not very good at working for other people. Or with other people.  Or around other people. Now she happily works in a studio by herself. She is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed middle grade POPULARITY PAPERS series as well as the upcoming ODDS series. The first ODDS book, THE MIGHTY ODDS, debuts in September 2016. In her spare time Amy enjoys knitting, peeling oranges, yelling, and absurdity. She is a relatively good driver.

As an aside, she is pretty hilarious.

Notes from the show:

She loves it when boys read her book.

Each page is hand draw and handwritten, unlike "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

Amy has different handwritings for herself under different circumstances.

She was working gig jobs, including teaching, but they weren't her passion.

Shel Silverstein - The Devil and Billy Markham

'Ig City" - weekly web comic

An agent on Craigslist sought clients, didn't like her web comics.

She sent the site of the comics to the guy who ultimately became her agent. The agent told her she needed a story. He suggested writing for kids.

When they started sending out queries for Popularity Papers, 75 pages were sent out. She kept getting rejections, and then Random House made an offer. They leveraged that offer to get more offers.

"Amy, you're the writer. You get to wear anything you want."

Went with "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" imprint Abrams Books/Amulet.

Scholastic's office was awesome but they didn't offer enough money.

"You have to gauge: who am I most comfortable with? Who do I want to work with?"

Her agent gave her a huge packet titles, "Now You Have a Book Deal."

She went to Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. She learned how to take criticism there.

"As an artist, you have to get really used to rejection. And get used to defending your work and get used to taking criticism to make you and your work better."

Long Island High School for the Arts

Illustrators are hilarious.

Jim Henson was a big influence.

Sesame Street Old School

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens

Canson All-Media Paper

Dyslexic kids like the handwriting in her book series.

Her new book has four main characters in a Lancaster, PA setting, based on Lititz, PA.

"A Better Place to Be" - Harry Chapin's Greatest Stories Live

She will be part of an anthology of stories called "Funny Girl."

She played Pictionary with Daniel Handler.


Buck's Rock Camp

Interview with Charlie McWade

Dan Rothenberg at Pig Iron Theatre

Agent: "You are being a little too kind to your characters."

"Put the work out there. Even if you're afraid, you have to be fearless."


Aug 4, 2016

For most of my life, I was a night owl. Starting a little more than 5 years ago, I went through a series of transformations to better my life, and one of my greatest and most difficult transformations was going from a night owl to an early bird. When people heard what I was doing, many told me about this amazing book, The Miracle Morning, widely regarded as “one of the most life-changing books ever written”. I read it (and listened to the audio book), and I was inspired. When I started up my podcast, "How I Broke Into," Hal Elrod was on the short list of people I just had to interview.

Hal Elrod is the #1 best-selling author of The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life… Before 8AM. It is also one of the highest rated books on Amazon with over 1,300 five-star reviews.

What’s even more incredible is that Hal actually died at age 20. He was hit head on by a drunk driver at 70 mph, broke 11 bones, died for 6 minutes, and spent 6 days in a coma only to wake up to face the news that he may never walk again... Not only did Hal walk, he went on to run a 52-mile ultra marathon, become a hall of fame business achiever, an international keynote speaker, one of the world’s top success coaches, he’s a hip-hop recording artist, has been featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, writes for, has appeared on radio and TV shows across the country, and the list just goes on and on. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the all-time bestselling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, said the following about Hal: “Hal Elrod is a genius and his book The Miracle Morning has been magical in my life. As my rich dad often said, ‘I can always make another dollar, but I cannot make another day.’ If you want to maximize every day of your life, read The Miracle Morning.'”

Notes from the show:

The Miracle Morning really changes lives: "What do you want to change in your life right now?"

At 19, Hal started in sales. He didn't know how to sell, but was enthusiastic and knew how to work hard.

At 20, Hal was hit by a drunk driver, and was told he would never walk again. He thinks it was one of the best things to ever happen to him. He chose to be grateful for what he had.

2 weeks after the crash, doctors were concerned that Hal was having delusions and was in denial. He was always telling jokes, smiling. He told his Dad, "I love my life by the five minute rule... It's okay to be negative when things go wrong. But not for more than 5 minutes."

"Everything happens for a reason, but I think we have to choose the reason."

"We can take an adversity... if we learn and grow from it, it becomes an advantage."

Cutco is a microcosm for life: "It's not about knives. It's about who we're becoming."

"For anything we do in life, it's who we're becoming that's more important than what we're doing. Yet, the interesting thing is that what we're doing determineswho we're becoming."

If it weren't for his mentor Jesse Levine, Hal would have quit Cutco on the very first day.

Before Cutco, Hal had never heard the terms "personal development" or "positive thinking."

You need to lead by example. You can't force people to change. He pushed healthy eating and the Miracle Morning practice on his wife, and she turned off. But when he stopped pushing, she responded.

It's important to ask a lot of questions.

He recommends Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

Started doing The Miracle Morning practice with 1 other person, his client Katie, and realized that if it could change two people's lives, it could change a whole lot more.

The book has been translated into 20 languages, but he still is surprised by its massive successful.

He believes the success of the book lies in distilling the 6 most powerful practices in personal development, which can be applied in every arena.

The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families is coming out in the fall of 2016.

The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Anchor

Happy for No Reason - Marci Shimoff

5 Minute Journal App

People have said they've gotten off of depression medication within weeks of the Miracle Morning practice.

The Optimistic Child - Martin Seligman

To be physically fit, you have to work at it. Why would emotional well-being be any different?

Hal believes in trying to exhaust other possibilities before anti-depressants. He knows someone who stopped chemo and went on a raw vegan diet, and hasn't had cancer since.

Socrates said, "Let thy medicine be thy food."

Make changes now that will allow you to live longer.

OmVana App

7 Minute Workout App - 30 seconds of exercise

Blinkist App

Hal's program is Best Year Ever.

Live program is in San Diego in December:

Hal's web site portal:

Hal's Facebook Group:

I Am Not Your Guru with Tony Robbins

Jul 21, 2016

This "How I Broke Into" interview is filled with stories of courage and self-discovery, and provides tremendous insight into how a global brand can result from the initial efforts of one person’s decision to forge a new path. Here are notes from the show:

Jill's love of yoga and fitness began early on. She has a love/hate relationship with business--she grew up in a solar community and her family's business was solar. She worked in the family business from a young age.

As a child, Jill was on the standard American diet, was overweight, teased, scrutinized. She discovered Jane Fonda's Workout and Raquel Welch's Yoga Program (Total Beauty and Fitness). She discovered how important a teacher, even one on video, is. But she overdid t with the videos and became anorexic.

We discussed "The Best Little Girl in the World" (1981) with Jennifer Jason Leigh (I wrongly said it starred Ally Sheedy).

Anorexia/Bulimia is the #1 cause of death in teenage girls.

For Jill, falling in love led to a path to self-love.

She started studying shiatsu while attending Northwestern University, and this led to healing.

The Coregeous Ball is part of her product line; it's a soft, grippy pliable ball meant for self-healing.

She never planned to teach. But she was inspired by her mentor Glenn Black at the Omega Institute. Shortly before 9/11, she decided to explore teaching.

She enrolled in the 200 hour Teaching Program for yoga. She felt inhibited by the rigidity of the teaching program's failure to take time for body and tissue sense. She started to change the way she taught.

Jill became known for her lateral abdominal churning--Nauli Kriya--and had an 8 page spread in Yoga Journal.

Her mother worked for JetBlue, which has a family program of flights all over the U.S. Jill offered to fly to yoga studios all over the country.

"I had balls. And now I have a ball products business."

She does compassionate cadaver labs with Gil Hedley so movement educators can see the anatomy on the inside.

Yoga Tune Up does not stay in the yoga space.

Center for Pain Rehabilitation - Mitchell Prywes, MD, Danbury, CT

Hospitals are finally embracing all parts of well-being.

Tune Up Fitness has 500 teachers worldwide.

Jill's husband Robetr is a serial entrepreneur. 6 months into dating, he came to a 3 hour core workshop and couldn't believe how fast it flew by. He said, "We need to bottle this." The collapse of her mother and step-father's business made Jill reticent to build a business.

She licenses materials and products globally.

The Roll Model is being translated into other languages.

"Self care health care."

She has shared perspective with Dr. Kelly Starrett, best-selling author Becoming a Supple Leopard and Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA.

She doesn't quite feel like she's arrived yet.

We discussed the school system and deskbound kids. She recommended Starrett's Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World.

 I mentioned how much I enjoyed Starrett's appearance in 30 Days of Genius on Creative Live, in which he mentioned Jill.

She did programs on breath, fascia, and pre-natal fitness for Creative Live.

"We met at a time when all of us were trying to reach people."

Robert is her business backbone, loves building businesses. It's scary to go along with new initiatives.

Jill knew, in writing her first book, that she need to capture the soft-tissue soft tool market, so she did The Roll Model instead of a book on breath. That will be her second book.

She has become known as a go-to expert in the field of fascia.

She is impressed with Wim Hof's breathing method.

Her daily practice involves soft tissue self-care, walking, range-of-motion exercises. Josh Landis is a strength and conditioning coach that has been helpful.

Web sites include and

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Jul 7, 2016

After practicing law for nearly 10 years, Melissa Garcia left it all behind to follow her dreams in fashion and hasn't looked back since.  Melissa spends her days making appearances as a fashion expert on shows such as the TODAY Show, The Wendy Williams Show, EXTRA or The Meredith Vieira Show to name a few; shooting segments for global network-Fashion One as their Business/Fashion Expert; writing fashion Columns for sites such as E! or Ivanka Trump or styling actors/TV personalities. Melissa embraces charity work; she was lead stylist on a charity shoot benefiting the Women's Prison Organization, is a volunteer for Dress For Success and has also offered her services for both women's and children's cancer organizations.  Her relatability, professionalism and expertise make Melissa one of the most highly sought after fashion experts in the country. Melissa lives in New York and is married to her high school sweetheart with whom she has three beautiful children.

Follow her on Snapchat
Follow her on Instagram
Follow her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter

Notes from the show:

 From an early age, Melissa loved fashion. Her grandmother knitted and crocheted and her grandfather was a tailor.

She always thought that success meant becoming a doctor or lawyer.

She almost dropped out of law school, but she doesn't consider herself a quitter.

Melissa practiced for 10 years, and hated most of it.

While she was an attorney, Melissa found that people sought her fashion advice.

Melissa's best friend, a holistic life coach, convinced her to leave law.

She started up a web site after taking an 8 week online course.

A local blogger, Amy Selling of promoted her.

She creates a "digital lookbook" for easy repeat use from a phone.

Every woman has a different feeling about hiring a personal stylist. There is a lot of insecurity involved.

"I feel we're all given gifts that we're born with, and whether you choose to pursue them or not is up to you... What do you love to do that comes naturally and easy to you, that's not easy for everyone else? That's your gift."

Her job is to tap into each individual's personal style.

Having a supportive husband was instrumental to her success.

One of her best friends' friend is in PR, and connected Melissa. They shot a segment on an iPhone and that got her her first gig: better TV.

"I always come from a place of 'Yes.' "

"Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real."

"If you don't let fear get in the way, and you kind of take a huge chance and leap of faith and walk through the fear, amazing things happen on the other side."

The Today Show had her first appearance during a blizzard.

"My real job is when I am home."

It takes a village.

Social media keeps her in the loop.

"I've had to become comfortable in the uncomfortable."

Book recommendations:

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success by Steve Harvey

Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose by T.D. Jakes

Discussed Life is Too Short for Miller Lite

The joys of helping clients feel beautiful

She has worked with a number of charitable organizations, including Dress for Success and Women's Prison Association.

She still works with everyday women.

Melissa wants to do more television and more charitable work.

When she left law, her family took a financial hit.

Her preference for social media platforms has shifted from Facebook to instagram to Snapchat.

"Please, take that leap of faith!"

Jun 23, 2016

My Dad Arnold Prywes is a true Renaissance Man. By trade, he is a physician and an inventor, but he is also an entrepreneur, a sculptor, a photographer, an architect, and a terrific father. He has been Chief of the Glaucoma Service at the Northwell Department of Ophthalmology since 1981. An Associate Clinical Professor at the Northwell-Hofstra and NYU School of Medicine, he is currently President of the New York State Ophthalmological Society and has served as President of the Long Island Ophthalmological Society, Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine. My Dad is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and Fellow and past Councilor of the  American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has also been listed in the Castle-Connolly Guide to Top Doctors for well over a decade. He has been involved in clinical care, teaching and research as founding partner of Glaucoma Consultants of Long Island and Eye Care Associates. He also holds multiple patents, one of which () is completing FDA clinical trials and is being used in Europe and Canada.

My Dad has enjoyed art (photography, ceramics, sculpture, architecture) as an avocation throughout his medical career. His more recent work has been inspired by his mentor of more than 25 years, the museum sculptor Rhoda Sherbell. His work has been exhibited at Allied Artists of America and Audubon Artists of America at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. He was also an All-City lineman for the Stuyvesant High School football team, because why not?

Jun 9, 2016

Brooklyn Mack is originally from South Carolina, and is a dancer with The Washington Ballet. He began his dance training at age 12 with the Pavlovich Dance School under Radenko Pavlovich and Milena Leben before receiving a scholarship to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. Brooklyn then apprenticed with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and later joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. Before joining The Washington Ballet, Brooklyn spent three seasons as a principal dancer with Orlando Ballet. He has performed internationally in Venezuela, Latvia, Japan, and many others. He has won many awards and medals, including the gold medal at the legendary International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, the oldest ballet competition in the world. He was one of only three Americans ever to win. Most recently, Brooklyn was featured in Ebony Magazine, the Grio’s Top 100, and was named as a top “25 [dancers] to watch” by Dance Magazine. In 2015, Brooklyn and Misty Copeland made history at the Kennedy Center in D.C. as the first two African-American leads in a major production of Swan Lake.

Notes from the show:

Brooklyn has always danced, but discovered ballet at 12 years old.

Growing up in South Carolina, there were lots of stereotypes and misconceptions about ballet and male ballet dancers.

At an annual gala, he was blown away by the athleticism of the ballet dancers.

Brooklyn really loved football and wanted to try out. His mom wouldn't take him to tryouts. He asked her, "If you take me to tryouts, I'll take ballet lessons." His mom was shocked.

His Mom researched and decided on the Pavlovich Dance School under Radenko Pavlovich. He attended 6 days a week.

Brooklyn took two buses to class each day.

Ballet became like "wisteria."

He got a scholarship to the Kirov Academy of Ballet.

He made a pact with himself: "If you're not a soloist by the age of 21, you'll go back to school and pursue football."

He started out loving bravura roles like those in Dox Quixote and The Pirate, but then really took to more romantic roles.

"If I can move them in some way, then I don't really care what any artistic person has to say that much, because it's for the audience, first and foremost."

At the Chicago Dancing Festival in Millennium Park, there were almost 12,000 people.He felt "invincible" because of the energy he was getting from the audience.

The Bowie & Queen show at the Kennedy Center in DC came close in energy level despite the audience being one tenth the size of the Chicago show.

When Brooklyn watches a recording, he picks himself apart. It's hard for him to enjoy watching a recording.

When you have reached a certain level, you need to find someone you trust, who understands artistry, someone who is invested in you. Pavlovich is one of Brooklyn's favorite coaches to this day. "He's almost like a Dad to me."

Brooklyn performs with the Columbia Classical Ballet each year for the LifeChance International Gala of the Stars.

Brooklyn danced with Misty Copeland for the first time in 2015--and made history--in the Kennedy Center's "Swan Lake."

Brooklyn admires Misty's ambassadorship for bringing ballet to young people through her appearances in commercials such as Under Armour.

His first job was with the Joffrey Ballet.

He is very much a perfectionist.; every day is the pursuit of perfection.

The small linking steps in ballet are so important; they make a leap sparkle. Brooklyn was able to do the big "tricks" during his first year and a half, but they were very unrefined. The smaller steps and techniques refined the more showy tricks.

Winning Gold Medal at Varna was a moment of "Wow, I can't believe I did that." Everyone who has won is a legend. Being listed among them is still surreal. "Was that a dream?"

The hardest ballets, though he doesn't feel like they're hard when he's dancing, include "Romeo and Juliet" and "Swan Lake."

Adagio is uncommon for a male dancer; it is very slow and you have to control every element. "It's like the difference between 20 fast push-ups and 20 eight count push-ups."

Brooklyn usually gets into character, but he does sometimes talk to himself during a performance.

He has fallen only once during a performance, and his memory of it is priceless.

Brooklyn prepares through visualization.

He shares his physical and nutrition regimen.

Stretch! Stretch! Stretch!

Don't be discouraged if you're not the favorite--there will be a favorite and pay attention to what a teacher or coach says to the favorite.

"Shed your pride. Shed your insecurities. Just be a sponge."

"Put in the extra hours. There's always going to be someone who does something better than you. If you want to be the best, the only way to ever catch that person is to be doing more than they're doing."

Mar 31, 2016

Anthony Gelo is one of the hardest working DJs in New York. Anthony was born and raised in Queens, New York and has been in the DJ Entertainment business since 1994. He has performed at events ranging from Wedding Receptions, Corporate Events, Private Parties, School & Nightlife Events to working the crowd in Times Square during Fleet Week. He is a graduate of St. John’s University, where he still regularly works the crowds with expert beat matching and a vast collection of music. Anthony’s company is Good Times Productions, LLC.

Notes from the show:

Anthony got his start working in a video store, and got the opportunity to DJ his boss's teen dance party. It was a disaster. But he was hooked on DJing.

He bought entire record collections from garage sales.

He doesn't consider himself a specialist.

"When I'm playing to a crowd, I'm playing for them, not myself."

His Monday routine: download music from DJ services such as Promo Only Track Trends and Prime Cuts, and organize.

Anthony doesn't like to emcee a lot; he prefers the music to do the talking.

He switched to Serato Scratch Live (Serato DJ) in 2004.

Experience trumps a great music collection.

He thought he was going to have a career in radio.

To this day, Anthony is still very protective of his personal brand; he still considers himself "single op."

His advice to young DJs: get an all-in-one controller, learn basic beat matching, learn different types of music, how to deal with clients, how NOT to make the work about you.

Most of Anthony's clients come from referrals and online reviews.

A Yankee fan from Queens.

The difference between Brooklyn/Manhattan weddings and Long Island weddings.

What it felt like to work Times Square during Fleet Week.

How he stays healthy and builds routines.

Recommended books:

Recommended conference: DJ Times Expo

Recommended social media: Facebook

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes, PC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.


Mar 17, 2016

Rhoda Sherbell is an American sculptor whose work has been compared to Rodin's. She has been commissioned by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY as well as private commissions from Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Aaron Copland, among a host of other celebrities. Her sculptures are in the permanent collections of twenty-five museums throughout the country, including the the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Jewish Museum, the State Museum of Connecticut, William Benton Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum. She is a member of the National Academy Museum, and is on the board of the Portrait Society of America. In 1960, Rhoda was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters alongside Philip Roth and Norman Mailer. In 2013, the National Association of Women Artists awarded Ms. Sherbell as Artist of the Year, an award previously bestowed upon such luminaries of the art world as Mary Cassatt and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.

Notes from the show:


She grew up going to Brooklyn Museum of Art; she didn't love Rembrandt's as her father had. She loved the Egyptian rooms; she would hug the giant cat sculptures.

Her father believed you weren't a complete person if you didn't have a fill exposure to the arts and literature.

Her parents wanted her to go to Cooper Union, but the artists she admired were all at the Arts Students League. She asked for, and received, a scholarship, and asked to study with Reginald Marsh and William Zorach.

She was by far the youngest student there in the 1950s, and Zorach took her under his wing and called her "Baby." He quickly asked MOMA to have her teach sculpting during Christmas break.

Rhoda works on a half-dozen to a dozen pieces at a time.

Her focus now is a series called "The Woman's Question."

She was not interested in portraiture until Zorach asked her to do a portrait of him and his wife Marguerite.

She was not and is not interested in commercialism and wonders if it is a fault. She is interested in exploring "truth."

It was tough to be a woman in sculpture in the 50s and 60s. But she became an academician very early.

"You never feel like you arrived. There's always another hill to climb."

Oronzio Maldarelli didn't want her to be in the American Academy of Arts and Letters because she was a woman, and it would be "a wasted vote."

The foundry with which she initially worked would ignore her and only take care of men. She eventually switched to "Roman Bronze."

The owner of the Portland Sea Dogs Boston Red Sox affiliate commissioned her to sculpt "American Baseball Family."

Zorach didn't use tools, but Rhoda likes tools--she will use anything that works.

Rhoda doesn't sketch, because then the sketch becomes the work of art, and she doesn't want to do a second version.

Rhoda would not take photographs of her subjects.

She recommends going to Shu Swamp Nature Preserve in Mill Neck, NY.

She sculpts from memory, sometimes in the near dark.

You should always strive for a "unity of opposites" in line and volume.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is her favorite museum.

Artists must acknowledge and try to connect with an audience.

She loves Pierre Puvis de Chavannes' paintings.

Her discovery that "Las Meninas" by Velasquez was painted impasto.

"Spirit of the Dance" killed William Zorach.

"Artists need a William Zorach in their life."

Rhoda always knows when to stop sculpting a certain piece.

Yogi Berra was lots of fun. His wife was fiercely protective of him. He wanted "Sherbell portrait" like Casey Stengel had.

Percy and Joanne Uris were Rhoda's Medici-like patrons.

The story of Aaron Copland's confused Great Dane.

The camaraderie of MacDowell's Artists Colony and Rhoda's decision to leave.

"To be an artist, you need to know who you are.""

"If you're a person of purpose, you have to say 'My time is valuable, I'm not going to live forever. Protect the time..."

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Mar 10, 2016

Cinematographer Reed Morano is the Director of Photography for HBO’s hit new show Vinyl, executive produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger.

In early 2013, Reed was invited to become the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers; she is one of very few women out of approximately 340 active members in the organization. She has been named one of variety's"10 Cinematographers to Watch", one of's "American New Wave 25", and one of five innovative cinematographers in icg magazine's "generation next" spotlight. In 2012, reed's work was featured in Indiewire's "On the Rise '12: 5 Cinematographers Lighting Up Screens in Recent Years" and "Heroines of Cinema: An A-Z of Women in Film in 2012." Some of Reed's thoughts on the digital revolution and how it has affected filmmaking are featured in Keanu Reeves' acclaimed documentary Side by Side. She was honored to be featured in Kodak's long-running OnFilm series.

Reed's work appears regularly at the Sundance Film Festival including the premieres of Little Birds, Shut Up and Play the Hits, and For Ellen. Frozen River won the Grand Jury prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actress for Melissa Leo and Best Screenplay) and seven Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture; Reed's work on the film was the subject of an article in American Cinematographer. In 2013, Kill Your Darlings, a 35mm period piece about the beat poets set in 1943, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Jason Leigh was released theatrically and premiered at Sundance, as well as the Toronto and Venice film festivals. Also in 2013, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, premiered at Sundance and was released theatrically that fall; the drama was directed by George Tillman Jr. and stars Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie, and Jeffrey Wright.

In January of 2014, HBO premiered the first season of its new original series, Looking, shot by Reed. Reed's other theatrical premieres of 2014 include The Skeleton Twins, War Story, Autumn Blood, and Rob Reiner's latest feature, And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, written by Mark Andrus of As Good As It Gets.

In the summer of 2014, Reed began production on her first feature as both the director and DP; Cinedigm's dark drama "Meadowland" stars Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Elisabeth Moss, Juno Temple and John Leguizamo. Reed is currently leading the charge on a movement to control motion interpolation a.k.a. "the soap opera effect" on our HDTVs; Reed's petition is supported by nearly 10,000 signatures and has gained momentum, attracting the attention of both the film and technology communities.

Reed currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two children.

Notes from the show:

Her dad suggested NYU film school to her because of her love of photography.

All DPs develop an intuition so they can tell from a script how it wants to be shot.

No one teaches you in film school what the etiquette is for a cinematographer.

It takes years and years to find the right combination of your style, the director's ideas, and what's right for the story.

Vinyl's pilot had already been shot before Reed's interview for the HBO series.

Reed likes to light a whole space and yield to amazing spontaneous moments more than planning every shot.

There's a fear of not having enough light.

Reed left film school in no rush to direct.

Reed started working in the grip and electric departments on local shoots. Her first "big" film was Returning Mickey Stern, shot on Fire Island, NY.

Fellow filmmaker and college buddy Toshiro Yamaguchi invited Reed to join the crew of Mickey Stern.

Gripping gave Reed a real understanding of the set. It also provided a paycheck while she shot films on the side.

You build up stamina and muscle memory over time.

She feels like "just one of the guys"- you have to "have a trucker's mentality... you have to be chill."

That time she saw Conrad Hall, ASC speak.

The moment she found out she had been invited into the ASC.

How she got into the ASC.

Her partnership with Olivia Wilde.

The American Cinematographer Manual

The photography of Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Find Reed on Instagram at ReedMorano

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Mar 3, 2016

Gene Seymour is an arts critic and culture reporter who writes frequently for CNN and USA Today. In New York, he was a longtime film and jazz critic at Newsday. His writings have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Entertainment Weekly, the Washington Post, and many other publications. Gene is a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Jazz and is the author of Jazz: The Great American Art, a history for young adults. Gene is a two-time winner of the New York Association of Black Journalists Award for distinguished criticism.

Notes from the show:

Gene started out as a reporter, and approaches criticism from a reporter's perspective.

Got his big break when Nels Elson passed along opportunity to cover the Philadelphia Jazz Festival.

Gene's years as a television critic were among his happiest as a journalist because he got to cover tv, politics, and culture.

Gene's came to Newsday as a New York City jazz critic, but later provided movie criticism.

Gene was raised in a Hartford CT household which always had jazz records playing: Miles Davis, Ahmed Jamal, Dave Brubek, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker.

His Dad's motto: "If it doesn't have soul, it isn't worth it."

His Dad loved Paul Desmond's "Time After Time" and Sonny Stitts's "Who Can I Turn To?"- these songs became emotional touchstones.

Music critics range from composer Virgil Thompson to George Bernard Shaw.

It is not Gene's role to explain on behalf of a musician, but to write on behalf of the spectator.

The art of note-taking during a live performance vs. a movie.

Lena Horne vs. the cell phone.

Jazz: The Great American Art

First Book of Jazz - Langston Hughes

"Jazz is the 20th century."

"Have We Reached the End of Jazz Itself?" - The Nation

Flying Lotus, Kendrick LaMarr, and the future of jazz.

Groundhog Day, The Big Lebowski, and giving movies a second look.

Critics' controversy over Wes Anderson.

John Leonard's disdain for All in the Family.

The passing of Harper Lee.

Better Living Through Criticism - A.O. Scott

Recommended Blogs:

The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story - Brain Pickings

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Feb 25, 2016

Nick Pelis has worked for some of the most recognizable distilled spirits industry brands and distributors in the U.S., including Diageo, Moët Hennessy, William Grant & Sons and SKYY Spirits. He founded Citizen Spirits with its flagship artisan rum, Denizen. Denizen's first product was a white rum that blended flavors from Trinidad and Jamaica, and it hit the ground running, earning praise from Forbes, iVillage, and the Beverage Testing Institute. Rum is the second-largest spirits category in the U.S., but Denizen got noticed in a hurry, with 90+ ratings and a number of awards. The Cocktail Enthusiast raved that "Denizen is a game changer for white rums." Denizen introduced its amber 8 Year Aged Merchant's Reserve in 2014, a blend of flavors from Jamaica and Martinique. Denizen's Merchant's Reserve has been praised for capturing the essence of Trader Vic Bergeron's legendary Mai Tai rum.

Nick lives in New York, but has seen distribution for Denizen explode beyond New York all over the US. Recently, Time Out Seattle and the Rum Collective celebrated the arrival of Denizen rum in Washington State.

Notes from the show:

Nick's father, as a sales manager for a high-end Greek food importing company, gave him the opportunity to see how things operate in a business, and Nick saw firsthand how people got excited to receive products.

"If you're going to be successful, you have to deliver something different."

"You need to value other people's feedback."

Nick noticed early on that there was a void in distilled spirits products connecting emotionally with consumer.

Rum was a category that was "a mess."

Nick saw a big opportunity in the "tweener" market - post-college graduates still trying to find themselves.

The concept of a denizen matched Nick's goal of creating a brand around the "liberated spirit."

Nick's first goal was to create a brand that transcends the category.

Nick spent a considerable amount of money developing the brand before developing the product.

Pricing was a barrier to entry; white rums over $20 don't sell.

Offering in-store tasting mitigated risk to retailers.

"On premise"--in bars, restaurants, etc.--cost per ounce matters more.

Nick ended up at Diageo after his boss at DC Comics moved to Diageo.

Nick got an MBA in marketing, because he already had a background in finance, strategy, and operations.

"Very few big companies give people the opportunity to get outside of their comfort zone."

Very few people deliver on promises, especially if you can't offer something of value immediately.

Denizen was not Nick's first entrepreneurial endeavor: he decide to pivot from an online liquor delivery service after 6 months.

Owning a house and renting it out provided greater financial flexibility.

"You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Put your own money in."

A SWOT analysis is everything.

A marketing plan is not just based on messaging.

It was a mistake to hire a PR firm.

Email info[at] - Nick takes the time to get back in touch with you.

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Feb 18, 2016

John Temple teaches reporting and writing courses at West Virginia University. His specialty area is narrative nonfiction writing.

His new book 2016 Edgar Award nominee “American Pain” chronicles how two young felons built the largest painkiller distribution ring in the United States. The book, published by Rowman & Littlefield, also explores the massive rise in the use and abuse of narcotic painkillers over the past two decades.

Temple is the author of two previous nonfiction books: “The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates” (2009) and “Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office” (2005). In 2010, “The Last Lawyer” won the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers. More information about Temple’s books can be found at

Prior to teaching at WVU, Temple taught and studied creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned an M.F.A. Temple worked in the newspaper business for six years. He was the health/education reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a general assignment reporter for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and a government and politics reporter for the Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Fla.

Hollee Schwartz Temple is a journalist-turned-lawyer-turned-professor at West Virginia University College of Law. She is the co-author of Harlequin's "Good Enough is the New Perfect" and the textbook "West Virginia Legal Research."

After graduating at the top of her class with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree from Northwestern, Hollee headed to Duke University School of Law. She graduated in 1999 and began a four-year stint as a litigation associate at a large Pittsburgh law firm. After her first son was born in 2002, Hollee returned to her firm part-time before joining the WVU faculty the next year.

An active scholar and speaker, Hollee has been published in newspapers (including the Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Michigan City News-Dispatch), national law reviews and legal writing publications. She has conducted seminars on generational issues and projecting professionalism in writing for large law firms.

John and Hollee have also been small business owners since 2013, when they opened the Morgantown, West Virginia's party destination beauty salon known as "The Beauty Bar."

Notes from the show:

John takes 6 months to a year to put together a book proposal. Hollee's proposal on her first book took 3-4 months. A book proposal contains sample chapters, outline, and Hollee's included a national survey she and her co-author Beck conducted.

Mentioned: The New Times article "Pain and Gain", David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and the eponymous television show.

Warner Brothers bought the rights to "American Pain," to be adapted for the screen by Melisa Wallack.

"Figuring out who you want to talk to and who is at the center of your story and how to find them is a large portion of the process." 

"There's a human compulsion to tell your story."

"You can ask anybody almost anything as long as the think you really want to know [the answer]."

Mentioned: "Dreamland" - Sam Quinones

"It's a daily struggle [to balance work and home life]. And only one of us could be working on a book at one time."

The Beauty Bar draws on a theme from Hollee's book that women deserve to feel beautiful.

The California model of a "blowout bar" didn't translate to Morgantown, WV, so they pivoted the Beauty Bar to providing many more salon services.

Managing staff and personalities is the toughest part of being a small business owner.

Hollee is a big fan of BNI.

Mentioned: "The Price of Nice Nails"

Hollee gained a competitive advantage through social media and working with Mom blogs.

They are able to juggle home life and work a little more now that their kids are older. Priorities change as children grow. The kids are integrated into their work life. 

Academic jobs allow for their lifestyle.

Hollee can oversee a large staff by living close and having 10 security cameras connected to her cell phone.

Best business advice:

Hollee's: "I'm the heart of the business. I can't just give that away."

John's: "Stick with it until the 18 month point."

Best book writing advice:

John's: "You have to schedule your writing into your day and give it a prime spot in your day."

Hollee's: "I got up at 5 to write for a couple of hours before everyone else got up."

Recommended book: "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Feb 11, 2016

Kimra Luna is a personal branding and online business strategist.  She helps freedom-seeking entrepreneurs to stand out, captivate their audiences’ attention and monetize their authentic brands online.

As a leading authority on the use of Facebook ads and webinar-based training as both list and brand building tools, she took her business from zero to over $880k in sales and cultivated an email list of over 14,000 subscribers from 50 countries around the world during her first year in business.

Kimra is the creator of Be True, Brand You, her signature online program which has hundreds of students enrolled.  Her Facebook group, The Freedom Hacker’s Mastermind has over 20,000 members and is widely regarded as one of the most interactive, generous and supportive groups for entrepreneurs online.

Kimra has been featured on websites including ForbesBusinessInsider, Farnoosh.TV, Chris, Female Entrepreneur and has been a speaker at Nathalie Lussier’s Off The Charts Live.

You can find Kimra on YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and of course Facebook where she consistently provides advice and guidance to her group The Freedom Hacker’s Mastermind.

Notes from the show:

Freedom hacking is seeking a freedom-based lifestyle through technological advances; freedom is the ability to make your own hours, choose your own clients, etc.

Even though Kimra seems to be an overnight success, she spent 8 years growing online mom's groups and health and wellness groups before exploding with Freedom Hacker's Mastermind.

Facebook is not like email or other social media--no need for email blasts. Instead, people appreciate that you spend time and give value without feeling overwhelmed by information.

"In Defense of Facebook" and "The Gift of Gratitude"

She got her start in concert booking and led a music industry life until the economy collapse in 2008.

She spent the four years prior to her "million dollar year" on welfare.

Social media, especially Facebook, saved her life.

"People want to buy from people, not a logo."

She started her business by messaging potential clients how they would prefer to learn. Their answer? Webinars.

Be True, Brand You is a comprehensive program; it is not "niched down." 

In the age of trolling and mommy/daddy wars, entrepreneurship allows for unconventional parenting.

"Dumb-Ass Stuff We Need to Stop Saying to Dads"

Her superpowers include teaching and being intuitive about people who are givers and people who are takers.

Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income and Ask Pat podcasts

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Feb 4, 2016

Charlie McWade is a voice over artist who graduated NYU in 1996 with a BFA in drama from Tisch School of the Arts. Since then, he has worked in television, film and theater. I can tell you that all these years later, when we have gone out for a drink or a slice of pizza, he still has been recognized for his memorable role in the cinematic cult hit ‘Road Trip’ produced by Dreamworks and directed by Todd Phillips. But for the last 15 years, Charlie’s focus has been on voice over work. He has recorded over a thousand TV and Radio spots, lent his voice to several animated series and videogames including the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and has narrated seven full length audiobooks. You can also often hear Charlie’s voice on Nickelodeon.

Notes from the show:

Charlie first discovered acting at Buck's Rock Camp in New Milford, CT.

He breaks down the different departments of an agency and the subdivisions of types of voice overs themselves.

College provided excellent education but did not prepare him for the professional world.

He fell into voice overs by accident.

He recommends taking classes with casting directors. Two of the top casting directors he mentions are Stacey Seidel and Lisa Fischoff at Broadcasters.

We discussed Stephen Colbert's performance of "What a to do to die today" during a  commencement speech.

He recommends Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up" for creative inspiration.

His mentor in the Sanford Meisner technique is Terry Knickerbocker.

He advises diversifying value, creating multiple streams of revenue to deal with the instability of the industry.

To succeed in voice over work, you need to maintain "The Ease."

No performer should be content with his/her technique.

Reinvention comes from getting pushed out of your comfort zone.

Voice over work doesn't lend itself to having a daily routine.

We discussed his FOMO (fear of missing out), and how a voice over artist needs to have a willingness to have a wrench thrown into the gears.

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Jan 28, 2016

Eva Shure grew up between Manhattan and South Florida. She was a Theater Major at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While in college, she completed her training at the Second City Improvisation Training Center right outside of Chicago. After finishing at Northwestern, she went on to complete a three-year Masters degree from The Actors Studio. After graduating from school, she starred in the national tour of the Broadway Biopic ”Love, Janis”, portraying the life and career of the singer/icon, Janis Joplin. Eva has also starred on several TV Shows and off-Broadway Productions in New York City. Eva is the Co-Founder of Red Carpet Kids and Red Carpet Improv, an experiential event and interactive education company with its flagship in New York and opening Miami and Beverly Hills this year.

Craig Saslow is originally from Long Island, NY and attended the Cornell Hotel School. After graduating from school, Craig started working in the Hospitality Industry in Los Angeles - learning every facet of operations and service. After moving back to NY to work with Todd English and several prestigious restaurant groups, Craig leveraged his acumen and knowledge to co-found Red Carpet Kids. He brings his 15+ years of experience in the Hospitality world into the realm of experiential entertainment.

Notes from the show:

After being rejected by banks, they found help through the Small Business Development Center at CUNY Baruch College.

They received a loan from Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.

"It's a blessing in disguise not to know everything that will go wrong. Sometimes it's better to jump in and learn on the fly."

Vetting vendors, such as publicists and general contractors, by calling references is not necessarily enough.

"Improvisation is a life skill."

"Don't cheap out on hiring."

"CraigsList is a lot like Loehmann's: you really have to look, but at the end of the day, you find something spectacular."

The press always needs stories; use "Help a Reporter Out (HARO)."

The low-tech secret to partnering with luxury brands such as the Four Seasons, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lincoln Center. Hint: anyone can do this.

Book Recommendation from Michael Prywes: Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Jan 21, 2016

Naomi Grossman is best known for her portrayal of the fan-favorite, “Pepper” on FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum. Previously, Naomi wrote, produced, and starred in her second hit solo show, Carnival Knowledge:  Love, Lust, and other Human Oddities, which enjoyed a twice-extended, sold-out run and rave reviews (“Recommended” by LA Weekly).  It was then reprised at the world-famous fringe theatre festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it received more critical praise (4 stars: The Scotsman, Broadway Baby, Fringe Review) and a transfer to London’s West End (Leicester Square Theatre).  It later went on to have a successful run Off-Off Broadway. Naomi’s first solo show, Girl in Argentine Landscape, also received critical acclaim (LA Weekly, “Pick of the Week”) and earned her an LA Weekly Theatre Award nomination for best solo performance.  Naomi toured with Girl to Chicago's Single File Festival, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, the New York International Fringe Festival, and screened a subtitled video-version on the big screen in Argentina. A former member of the esteemed Groundlings Sunday Company, as well as alumna of Improv Olympic, Naomi has written, produced, and starred in numerous comedic shorts under her “Red Meat Entertainment” banner, which have screened at the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival, the TriMedia Film Festival, the Connecticut Film Festival, the Dam Short Film Festival, the Faux Film Festival, the Los Angeles Comedy Festival, the Wet Your Pants Comedy Film Festival, the Action On Film International Festival, and the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.  Naomi also made a cameo in the feature film,Table for Three. A graduate of theatre from Northwestern University, Naomi has acted in several of Chicago’s illustrious, long-running, cult comedies:Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack and Shannen Doherty Shoots a Porno at the Torso Theatre, as well as Attack of the Killer B’s and White Trash Wedding and a Funeral at the Factory Theatre.

Notes from the show:

Naomi started acting and comedy with KidSkits in Denver

Started LA quest for acting success by reading Backstage West.

Los Angeles is not a theatre town.

She recommends going to Paley Center for Media, watch solo shows by John Leguizamo, Eric Bogosian, Lily Tomlin, Spalding Gray.

Here are Naomi's book recommendations:

The Luck Factor - Dr. Richard Wiseman

The Secret - Rhonda Byrne

Ask and It Is Given  - Esther and Jerry Hicks

You Are a Badass - Jen Sincero

There's No Business Like Soul Business - Derek Rydall

Failing Forward - John C. Maxwell

A Year in Van Nuys - Sandra Tsing Loh

Recommendation from Michael Prywes:

Essentialism - Greg McKeown

A-ha moment: "I'm not acting. I'm a professional mailer. If these people won't cast me, I'll cast myself."

Naomi's biggest mistakes: "Waiting for success to come to me. And not getting jobs that used my brain."

How Naomi plans her day: "LISTS!"

Naomi shares a treasure trove of information, advice, and emotional experiences. She talks about her darkest days, and the time she realized she "arrived." She also gives a comprehensive rundown of her special visiting artist lecture at Northwestern University, twenty years after Ethan Hawke's memorable lecture.

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Jan 14, 2016

Jim Dooley is an Emmy Award-winning composer/songwriter with a diverse repertoire spanning the film, television, video gaming and live theatrical industries. He has earned accolades for his solo work as well as proud collaborations with many of the top names in music.

Jim is a graduate of New York University, and upon completion of his degree, moved to Los Angeles to study the art of film composing at USC with prolific scoring legends Christopher Young, Elmer Bernstein and Leonard Rosenman. He joined Media Ventures (now Remote Control Productions) in 1999 and collaborated with Hans Zimmer on DreamWorks’ “Gladiator” and as an additional composer, arranger and orchestrator on Columbia Pictures’ “The Da Vinci Code,” Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” DreamWorks’ “The Ring,” and many others. Two projects featuring Jim’s music were also honored with Oscar nominations.

In Television, Jim has written original music for shows on NBC, ABC, FX, CW, and Lifetime and his music on the critically acclaimed series, “Pushing Daisies,” won him the Primetime Emmy Award for “Best Original Music Composition for a Series.”

In film, Jim composed has composed for many live action films, and animated films such as “Madagascar,” “Madagascar 2,” and the Penguins of “Madagascar.” the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” and “Operation Got Your 6” featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.

Jim’s expertise in other mediums can be found in the complex, interactive scores for best-selling videogame titles such as “Epic Mickey,” “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes,” “Infamous” and “SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals,” “U.S. Navy Seals: Combined Assault.”

Jim is currently scoring TNT’s hit drama “The Last Ship” with collaborator James Levine. He recently emerged into the Sports industry with his theme for the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, heard on both NBC and the Golf Channel.

Some topics we discussed:

Jim's introduction to "Stairway to Heaven" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"

The percussion of Danny Elfman's "Nasty Habits"

Patelson's Music Store in Manhattan

The New York Times article "Cultivating the Art of Serendipity"

Ordering music from (and finally releasing through) Varese Sarabande Records

The joy of handwritten takedowns

"You don't take as much ownership if you don't figure it out yourself."

Playing a tragic Gladiator theme at Hans Zimmer's birthday party

How an expert swinging a golf club correctly is more difficult than an expert playing a concerto 

Ideas from Oliver Sacks's "Musicophilia"

J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard about the importance of failure

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

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