Saturday, November 03, 2012

The value of re-inventing yourself

I’m a BIG believer of re-inventing yourself. It keeps you young, you learn new things, and in this economy and marketplace it just provides you with more options.

The entertainment world, in particular, is changing every minute. This is partly because technology is changing every thirty seconds and the industry is desperately trying to keep up even though they have no idea what they’re keeping up with. Old business models don’t work (not that they all worked before), and everyone is scrambling trying to get a toehold in the future. Trouble is that’s like trying to hold a soap bubble.

But if you made a living doing one thing for twenty years there’s a good chance that job doesn’t exist, or if it does, they don’t want you doing it. I’ve always believed that it’s a good idea to find an alternative skill before the bus that takes you out of show business pulls up in front of your house.

For me it was directing. But I’m an extreme case. I also became a baseball announcer, and set off to write in different formats (like say a blog for example). So I’m not saying emulate me. I’m crazy. But finding something else that sparks your imagination or you feel might serve a need is a good course of action to consider.

A number of my friends have done that and I want to salute them.

Bonnie Hoffman has created the impossible – a healthy cookie that is actually delicious. With the help of her husband, Howard they have started Bonnie’s Survival Cookies and they’re available on line. I’ve been watching their progress the last year with great admiration. Think “the Manhattan Project” but with chocolate chips instead of plutonium.

Another future cookie mogul is my buddy Ray Richmond. Ray has been an entertainment journalist since before cable. For years he was at the Hollywood Reporter. Currently he’s writing for Deadline Hollywood Daily, the Nikki Finke juggernaut. But on the side he came up with a great idea – ACCURATE fortune cookies. Our whole lives we’ve opened fortune cookies and read these lame optimistic predictions. Imagine slipping somebody a cookie with a fortune telling him he’s a hopeless loser who shouldn’t even try. This is one novelty item I want when I invite friends over and fire up the wok. You can check them out here.

Other colleagues I know have started restaurants, a limo company, become radio talk show hosts, and self-publishing has opened a whole new world to writers tired of having their spec screenplays rejected because Miley Cyrus is not attached.

But my favorite example of all is Jane Espenson. She’s a fabulous writer with a career that’s in the stratosphere. In the blogosphere world she’s a goddess. But not content to just write great scripts for other people, she created her own web series, HUSBANDS that has become a big hit. Mix talent with initiative and magic can happen. Is it too bad of a pun to call her the Mother of Re-invention?  Yeah, probably is.

But the common denominator is that all of these people took it upon themselves to go off in a different direction. Good things can happen. And I’m a firm believer that you make your own momentum.

You may change your life for the better – and that turns out to be an accurate fortune.


Chris said...

Any thoughts on Last Man Standing replacing Alexandra Krosney? They're on thin ice airing on fridays anyway.

By the way, what does it mean when they let an actor go for "creative reasons"?

Chris said...

2 minutes in, I see they haven't only recast the oldest daughter, they changed half of the cast, the kid is now 5 years old instead of 1 and the kid's father is also someoene else. Is that a good idea?

LC Douglass said...

Thanks for this post. It's inspiring, and I am always up to support new cookie moghuls.

Richard Y said...

Oh my, cookie prices a bit dear but will still have to try them

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Tell me about it...

From bein' an oldies DJ, science show creator and host, radio time salesman and voiceover co-creating a funeral home marketing company:

...and there's more potential and activity here than with anything I've done in the past twenty years. I'm grateful.

Nothing like a crushing economy and disappearing profession to spur motivation!

Reinvent or remain. :)

Howard Hoffman said...

I'm trying to peel Bonnie off the ceiling after she read this. Thanks so much, Ken! (And thanks for forcing us to update our website for the new Survival Cookie.)

@Richard...the cookies are 3 ounces each. People have eaten them as a quick lunch when they're really pressed for time and they say it works beautifully. Thanks for trying them! We know you'll like 'em.


Debby G. said...

I spent nine years as an appellate bankruptcy attorney, then six years as a stay-at-home mom, and now seven years and counting as an author of five YA novels and eight humorous books for children. The attorney gig paid the best, the SAHM gig was the hardest, and the author gig is the most fun.

Cookies? Very cool. Can one make a career out of eating them?

Conrad said...

You may change your life for the better

Or you may fail miserably and lose everything you have.

Either way, it's a change.

Christodoulos said...

An interesting link I found: the floor plans of some famous homes, from FRIENDS, I LOVE LUCY and FRASIER, and more. Hope someone does the same for MAD ABOUT YOU and THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.

I had read in this blog some time ago that someone had recreated in his back yard the complete set of MASH. I wonder if anyone has done the same with Frasier's house. Why not? I mean, there are people who turned their living room into the bridge of the Enterprise.

Ray Richmond said...

Thank you Ken, for your post and for the support. Indeed, my reinvention has been borne somewhat of desperation. The motigating factor and bonus is that I haven't felt so challenged and alive in years -- maybe decades. I surely appreciate the ink, or the cyber equivalent. And it's an honor to be included in a post written with such grace and eloquence. You continue to write like an angel.

Studio Exec #2 said...

It's for this very reason that I've decided to start an inner-city Mime Workshop. Nothing captures the feeling of social disenfranchisement and urban decay better than a man trapped in an invisible box. Especially if he's wearing a beret.

I think they'll relate.

Mike said...

@Studio Exec #2: You're clearly an original thinker and have no place in Hollywood.

La Cabina.
A 35-minute film made for Spanish television in 1972.
About a man trapped in a glass box.
If you've not seen it before, avoid all spoilers. No subtitles needed.

Cap'n Bob said...

Two of my previous jobs: print shop and keypuncher. Both obsolete. Cars I've had: Plymouth, Olds. Both defunct. I've also killed more than a dozen businesses by giving them my trade. Reinvention is my life.

Priority Hire said...

It is good that you are discovering more of your self.talents and passion.Keep it up I know that you can do more for a batter you.

Studio Exec #2 said...

@Mike, I like the cut of your jib. Come work for me.

On second thoughts, we can't really afford to take anyone on right now.

Maybe if you're interested in interning?

Do you have any experience with cleaning pools?