Join Wendy Weiner Runge on the #PirateBroadcast
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It's time for the pirate broadcast and we are here and we are going to share interesting things and have interesting conversations with people doing amazing things.
And today we have in the room Live Wendy. Thank you so much for being here.
All the way from the great white north Minnesota
Seriously, seriously it's so white I mean but SO WHITE, We got a nice plowing of like maybe six-eight inches seven nights Sunday morning and everything is just picturesque and beautiful and crisp and, you know by February snow you know it's not going to be a forever November snow you're like wow we're stuck with this for the long haul Oh we're on the downhill slide it's all Good. Good Morning Russ.
Yes good morning and thank you so much for being here all the gratitude in the world.
I want to make sure that everybody understands that you know we're here for a reason. It's not very long. And we really need to be able to extend our gifts and share our gifts with other people and make sure that people have an opportunity to understand. Hey, this is something that if you're interested in doing something. You know maybe a writer doing a film, creating a podcast you know broadcasting doing what you want to do. This will trigger some ideas that possibility you might have an interest in and you can actually do things like this as well.
Well, we just it was you just talking. Speaking of the fact that both of us had the experience the seven minutes we've actually got to hang out already which is great like life-changing.
But the fact that we both dedicate a lot of time to taking care of our older parents and we just came to both came to the conclusion that you only get one chance to do that like you don't get a do-over life there are no do-overs. You either do it now or you regret it later. So this is our chance to just talk about how to just get up there do it get us.
I know that that's something that has been a thread throughout your life is just going out doing. You know you're an awesome speaker. You know and you've done film.
Let's talk about your IMDb history and some of the things that you have done.
So that's interesting. It's so funny because it's so IMDb an Internet Movie Database and a lot of people who are not in the film world or don't look at it don't know of it.
And so you really it's your
That's another common goal we have
It's exactly it's your it's my less than personal linked in so it's just projects that I've done and what awards they've won et cetera and I. And so it lacks all the emotion that LinkedIn has, isn't that funny the Hollywood component Which is great. So 2007 someone approached with a script, I really only have three skills in the whole wide world and I'm not being self-effacing really only have three I can write I can tell a good story and I am blessed to collect amazing people who do the rest of the stuff that's it. These big ideas of a ten thousand foot scale and then it's like oh let's get a team together and do it. I'm such a middle child. So someone hand me a script and I have an English literature degree and my parents owned the theater and I have a long theater history but I said it's interesting. And they said would you consider executive producing this and I have to go to Google and look up what executive producers do.
And coincidentally executive producers do what Jewish moms do they take people and projects and get them out the door. And that's I'm a Jewish mom so I was like Well this is made for me quick little thing I'm just gonna do this for the summer you know my husband I've got a short film and it's interesting and then we're gonna go to find a house and we'll get it. You know it's a.
Oh Mickey Rooney movie you know I'll get the barn and we'll do a show and I'm like yeah we can figure this out.
Yeah so make it happen.
Yep and then that was got one thing led to another in one thing and it was like Only if I was attached and then it was like oh here's another and here's another.
And then I produced a couple of films in Iowa feature films in Iowa. And because Iowa had enacted the most generous legislative agenda legislatively and enacted this piece that they were going to subsidize films because they saw the incredible economic, development benefit from Bridges of Madison County when you have, you bring one hundred people into town right now a small town and you, go to the hardware stores and the liquor stores and the dentists and I mean I've had everything you see this huge boom like Oh why don't we do that they did that. The program collapsed got a lot of legal trouble because they owed me the most money. Spent some quality time in a women's maximum-security prison because if all time is quality time. So at the end of the day even though this I did with the state officials said for me to do They told me I wasn't going to listen to him. And then later he was convicted of misdirecting me.
But as the world works in strange ways and so I always and I always come upfront with this I talk about this all the time like oh my gosh we've got a speaker she's the prison chick.
Well yeah, I'm not you know look at that. So I speak about it because it was an extraordinary experience.
We just spoke about my mother God bless her to put this idea in my head that I'm never uncomfortable anywhere, so I can go to an Oscar party or I can go to prison but I would rather go to an Oscar party but I'm just saying
I know which one I would rather be at.
Right one of them the shoes are way more comfortable
And the food is much different.
Oh, I'm sure. So the big picture is like we follow a path and you have to just bravely follow a path. And at the end of six months of a 10-year sentence zero restitution which meant I didn't really commit a crime but they want and they wanted to invalidate the Eighty-four million dollars they owed me, the state. So after six months. the chief judge took it away from the judge who handled it. And he called me in the court and said I don't know why you're here at all like took me out of prison in shackles and walked me into the court room and said I don't know why you're here at all you're going home today. Well, how much restitution do you owe? And I said, with all due respect zero dollars of restitution. And he said then you're going home today. This is ridiculous and he sent me home. And then you have to start over. And that's I think the key is like OK well I followed this path because I was just on this conveyor belt there was nothing I could do. To this day I've never been questioned they never asked me what happened. They never deposed me they didn't care like this is what it is and we're just going to slap it with this. OK so you go on this conveyor belt
Sometimes you take advice from the wrong people.
Unfortunately, sometimes they're in the state capital but it happens. So, by the way, he was convicted of misdirecting me by jury and that gentleman received I receive a 10-year sentence for following his directive and he got a seven hundred fifty dollar fine. Go figure. So it is what it is. And then you have to rebuild. And I I had developed a fantastic relationship with a business mentor who said to me I don't care how long you're inside two weeks two months two years when you're done. When you're released come back to me and I'll get you through it.
And that light he kept on for me so that I knew that I was going to be OK. Like I knew that he knew how to pull me out. So I get home and I go 10 days later. Like the adrenaline of being suddenly released from prison just like that. And then I held my phone in my hand took me an hour to get up the strength to call anybody. And I called him and I said I just said six words. I said I don't know what to do. He said I do. Tomorrow morning eight o'clock coffee. Well, we're going to start the work. And he said this is what you got to do.
So his forward modus operandi. His name is Mark Cohen and his forward modus operandi is "So what now what".
So what that happened to us now what are we going to do. Because of that we named our production company now what studios because it was really important
I love that, I love that. Because it's the same way I started. Nextstepnext. What's the next step. What are we going to do next? What is it.
Well, sometimes that next step leads to everything like that next step but finding the courage that hour that it takes to muster up the courage to make that phone call to someone that you know will be able to help you it seems at that moment to be the most difficult thing. Fifteen seconds later oh my gosh that was the best thing I ever did.
Well, we get stuck. We get stuck in leaning into the next thing taking action and getting a lot of time. And there's a lot of times it's only the ability for us to lean forward.
Take the next step where we find and release what we need to release get moving
which is because really you can't take the next step if you're still holding on to the last one. You just can't do it. So that's the key. And I love that analogy of the leaning in. Because why are we leaning. Because we're still stuck to what happened before. So we just have to say at some point I'm going to let go and that is what a crazy thing because you know what if you fall but what if you fly. If you fly. And what if you fall you're really going to get hurt. You pick yourself up and you go again. So that's a key element. So I from there went to. I was looking to produce a faith-based musical rock opera which I thought was really cool. and that didn't come together and the very night that didn't come together. My producing partner who went on at that time to do.
The Meg which did five hundred thirty-five million dollars worldwide. Fantastic man a really great mentor and a great, great friend. He said this is not going to work we have to step out and I got it. I call the lyft in Los Angeles. Wow. I got nothing and I'm an I. You know what's my next step. I get into the lyft, like wow it's ten-thirty. I'm in Los Angeles. I just Wow what am I going to do And my Lyft driver is at that moment is at this moment is now my producing partner.
You got to buy that story. That's right. I promise there are talented Lyft drivers everywhere. I was so impressed with the way he spoke. I never saw his face. So this is really kind of a key element. I never saw his face except for the app which is not exactly the best photo ever. Right. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me so. But it has his voice and the way he uses words. My kids always say to me that my youngest is far smarter than I'll ever be and she said Mommy does he shine. And he just shined like there was a thing. And so I say I'm in Los Angeles I'm writing a screenplay and I like the story of heard a hundred times a thousand times came to live with some buddies and that kind of thing. And I. I simply said you know you do this and I know people here in Los Angeles would help you if you want to have help and if you want to. And he said Yeah I'm looking for someone who's going to help guide. Totally he had no agenda.
Yeah. And so. Which was great. And so I gave him my contact card and I said I'll be in touch and I remember thinking when I got out of the lyft I offer to help this one like I mentored a lot of millennials. But if I offer to help this one I better pull it all the way through. Like I really better do it. Pull out all the stops execute. Exactly.
And sure enough I hope that I have this all day that because I a few months later that we had really corresponded extensively and I was coming back to L.A. to do a keynote address. They said I'll pick you up at the airport. It's cool because he's a lyft driver. But my youngest said to me at the time she said Mommy you know you're spending a lot more time mentoring you know Noah than you do the rest of your strays that's what she calls them, Mommas strays. She said you should google him and see if he's a serial killer. And I was like Google has that cool look at Google and I never thought two months and I've never really done that search. Yeah. And I found his modeling portfolio that was outstanding and like GQ and like really high end. And that was him. And I said take some was a gift eight times I cannot be great ten o'clock and then poof it was the opposite a catfish. It was that face. I mean it was that like million-dollar whatever fate I think. And then I was like is this you and I held my phone to the laptop. And he said didn't I mention. It was discovered at 14. I've been modeling since for nine years. I've actually modeled but I wanted it behind the camera. And I said I think we should go into business and do feature films, but I had said that to him before and I reiterated it. And I said I'm so glad I loved your soul before I saw your face because you have an incredible soul. And I could partner with that soul and we could make something really work and that's it.
And at the end, that's the rest of the story huh.
No, the rest of the story is so far. Yeah. AII right guys I told you I only have three skills. I mean I can do things like I can parallel park and I can make chicken soup, but it's like it's not I like skills you put on LinkedIn oh I make chicken soup. But you know unless you're sick I can parallel park and make chicken soup.
That's pretty much it. That's you know that's it. And both things always amazed people. How do you do that.
I can dress a wonderful hot dog,
Like a pro.
I want to take a moment here because this is important. Carol is here. She said she would be interested in seeing the inside of a women's prison. Probably not from a prisoner standpoint.
Tours would be cool. I didn't have the privilege of a tour. Yeah. I mean technically I guess I did. I had a tour of duty.
Yes. Maureen thank you so much resilience. Yes. Great advice. Arcot thank you so much. Gabriel. Good evening. He's on the other side of the world. Wendy. Glad you made that call Wendy. Glad you made that call Wendy.
Me too. It's changed my life.
Jennifer thank you so much for being here. Angie, she's in the snow right now as well. She's up in Wisconsin so. I want to listen to a sweet story. She wants to listen to a story. He wants storytelling time.
Oh really cool. Okay cool. I got some stories. You want to hear this Arcot this is for you. The pitch for our trilogy.
We have a dystopian sci-fi trilogy. So imagine and this was really crafted for us by the brilliant and Zack Metzler. There are a few people I gotta throw love to because they have literally a stand on the shoulders of giants. So Zach if I'm like Zach I don't know two words you know he's like I got this he's just brilliant in the way he can take a description and make it into like paint it for you it is just cool.
So Zach's a pirate, he's a pirate.
Amy Blasko, it is we have the same birthday although she's significantly younger than I am and she's our third of our writing trio and she's just this amazing. Oh my gosh. Everything about Amy is sunshine. Ryan Schulman like people who just literally carry us, Sarah Elkins. It's just a whole bunch of just great people. So anyway. So here's the story of the next film. Let's see if I don't botch it right. Imagine. There's someone out there who has decided to destroy one hundred million happily ever afters. Now. Imagine that person was you yesterday. Today you decide to stop what you started. And that's our film.
So it's the most. So Noah brought it to me in a rough draft and said I've got the script and then we took it apart and put flesh on the bones, and gave it color and texture I'm about character and dialogue and how that works and the emotional component of it and he thinks and he writes he thinks he doesn't write what he wrote music wouldn't be the melody and then the bass and then like he wouldn't be any of that it would be a symphony all at one time it just kind of purges out. So it's super interesting to be working with these great Vincent Salara. Oh my gosh, this guy is just an amazing agent we love working with him so I'll take the pieces and to look at it and go oh my gosh like this is what this is. Here are the layers there's layers and layers that no it doesn't even necessarily see. Yeah. And then we like to put it all together so and this is a story about that about an abused young man who leaves that horrible difficult neglectful childhood and he runs to a mentor who says I know you're broken but I'm going to rebuild you into something great, and it turns out the mentor is the megalomaniac who wants to destroy the world.
And until you know what's good you don't know what's good. So here's this young man who's creating this idea that being powerful and killing and killing is what's good.
Like every kid who leaves an abusive home and goes to the streets or goes to a gang or goes to a cult because they don't know unless you know if you are blessed to experience good.
You don't know what it feels like or what it looks like or how you're supposed to feel in it. And so this is the transformation of this young man as he Goes from. Broken. To rebuilt. Unfortunately, his mentor is rebuilding broken people into weapons. And it's a problem and we do that in society. We take broken people and we rebuild. We allow people to rebuild them into weapons so it's and then it's a trilogy. And it's wickedly cool and were very excited.
Well I thoroughly enjoyed Zach and we've met and actually we spent some time together in Vegas and probably will spend more time together and I've had him work on a couple of projects with myself and I'm not familiar with Amy so I'll have to.
Oh, Amy is she. It literally is liquid sunshine. She is just smart and fun she, Amy Flaska is she writes her Forbes.com and we had coffee a few years ago
I might be connected to her.
You gotta. She's a you've got to know person.
She's a good candidate for the pirate
Oh, she's all pirate. Oh yeah, she's all pirate. She's terrific and there's Brian Shulman I don't know if you know Brian.
Oh yeah, I know Brian.
Oh my gosh he he's just amazing he's like a flower he just bloomed he just so great at making everybody feel as good as he feels. It's really amazing. So yeah I have this great posee around.
Oh absolutely. Absolutely super positive. That's why I'm here.
I mean that's the reason you know I believe that you know everybody deserves and is has the ability to shine. Everybody, we all have a gift.
We just have to describe what that gift is. You know you've been able to lean in your gifts and you know what it's like I'm very clear on the three gifts I have and I continue to use those gifts to the best of my ability.
I'm going to share with the world kind of work those good because I look at you know I always have baskets empty like I let go. What have you got to check out? Nothing.
But it's but the collecting people is and I am and I love the way LinkedIn has evolved I've been on Lincoln for a long time and it's evolved to this place where there's kind of.
It's more business is that this is is not business.
This is its business as people relief products and services and relationships and it's all so for so long it was that just like oh here's the widget I sell by it. No, I'm not going to talk about what's a mental health balance. Are you really happy in your job if you're working a big corporate entity and you're only allowed to wear white shirts?
Is that really your personality and maybe a lot of people. It's not and it's just it destroys what they have. It kills you when you say oh I was a creative before but my job or schooling or whatever squelched that. It's like if you're a creative you are creative but can you crawl out of it.
Yeah. Well here's and here's some of the things that I know are true is that. If you love what you do and you can do it people find value in it, you'll always have a place to go you always have a right to be and you'll always be able to excel and help others and if as long as you're offering value and you throw value out to the world and you share this one of the things that I and I want to shift gears a little bit because I want to make sure that we capture a couple of things about Wendy, and the industry in general because I think it's important for everybody to understand. It's like. There's a lot that goes into making a film or creating an idea of nothing. You know. You have a script.
You have an idea and it's a rough draft and you know you have to take it miles before it sees the light of day anywhere or a dark seeking the theater. Right. Right. And so.
So there's a lot of things that we gloss over in society that you know. It's like this thing has to turn through a lot of layers in order for it to go anywhere unless you're independent and you're just going out there with your camera and you're shooting things and it happens to do well at a film festival. And I've been through that process to a certain degree. And the thing is it's there's so many things that are complicated that people still move through because they have a goal they have a mission right they have an understanding of what their life is about their gift and so I want to make sure that people understand you know what are the things that you've seen and what has helped you when you have no answer. You know what is it. What do you have to work through in order to accomplish the other side when you don't know what the other side is. Because there's so many when you're sitting in a prison cell thinking this really, this is what my mom and dad are raising.
I have a parallel story to that. It's like the most relaxing time I've ever spent in my life has been in a jail cell. I would tell you that my attorney was then convicted for cocaine. So those two stories were like oh wow those two stories are parallel to a smaller much smaller degree. But.
Oh wow. Yes. Well, we certainly have to have a conversation about that.
Yes. So here's the thing so I love Simon Sinek Yeah. I'm an avid follower of Simon and I love why, and so my Why is really simple it's to incite gratitude. I'm not here on this planet to inspire gratitude that means I did something. My why is to incite gratitude which means I tell stories that take people to a place where I think wow maybe that bad situation helped me, it was a stepping stone to get me to where I am now, or maybe that was a toxic relationship getting out of that taught me more about myself or maybe that, that coach eventually in 10th grade and I wanted to be better than projected ME INTO THE MAJOR LEAGUES. So I want people to go to that place because I believe that gratitude is a catalyst for heroic action. If I am grateful to someone for doing something if I borrow a dollar from you today. And I pay you back tomorrow were even. When you do something extraordinary for me I can't pay you back exactly in kind because you don't need exactly what I needed that doesn't mean I don't have a debt to pay. I have an obligation to repay that forward because someone else so I have to look for opportunities to repay my debt and it's you know one universe where you know what kind of. So I that's my that's my scope. So I that's why I read that way that you find is that inside gratitude.
I want to take you to a place where you think Gosh I'm so grateful that I get this opportunity to serve my parents. I get this opportunity to like or that I learn so much from this experience that changes us well I think it's that the mindset that I always had that's similar is I get to do this. Not I have to do this. But I get to do this.
Exactly. And it flips things even the most difficult scenarios. Who. There are two women who were lifers with no chance of parole that were in prison with me that are free now because I was able to help them when I wrote her commutation which President Obama granted and another I was able to coach her and she was able to, and what an incredible circumstance.
So I'm talking they were 18 years and thirty-two years in prison and they're free now and now they are both my Facebook friends. I had the opportunity to effect change in that way and to incite this gratitude. That was my goal. I couldn't work with a partner who didn't have a really strong WHY. So no it's why it is to change people's perspective. When you look at him you might think of one thing but the fact that he does the unbelievably hard work of tearing apart and going in and creating these characters and the situations that are really. So vaguely familiar but yet so like you know it makes us put us on the edge and we have to change in order to do it.
It changes our perception so perspective. So that is super important to me to be aligned with people who have a really strong why and I often ask or I help them ferret out there why the kind of calls from getting a call from a gentleman in Guam who said, I understand that you know to do this can you help me. I said first where's Guam. Because. Geography wasn't on the list of my three things and so I go and I was like Oh great. And we sat and said he was sitting there in the car with his wife and we spoke face to face on Facebook you know and we got there and he's like oh and then he's just gone on to great things. Getting to that little gem of why we're here too. We're here to add value. We're here to be of assistance. We're here too in some ways we don't know. I didn't go into prison thinking that I was going to help two lifers and they were going to come out because you know I didn't know that. I'm just a vessel. What can I do in this moment. It's going to live up to my why. Which is to incite gratitude. So that one and the other hashtag I love using and the concept that I love to present in life is to make it matter.
That it matters. Every day is a gift. And the only way we can make a difference is if we make it matter.
Exactly. We made this. We have to make a decision. And I used it in a pirate podcast. Today was super fun.
And you said use the word permission and I love that word. Permission. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission. Yeah well this matters. This is important for my kids being here my parents been doing this. This matters. Coaching someone it matters. It changes life. Light a candle. You just don't know how much darkness you eliminate. That's our goal and our films and our project are books book to film and we'll go. You know that progression. And we because the people understanding that they have the ability to look for and choose good matters.
We all have the opportunity to make it.
Make a difference make an impact in somebody's life. And let's go out and spread gratitude in the world. It. Make sure kindnessiscool.
Kindness is super cool. And you know what I heard smiles are free.
I don't know who would say that. It's brilliant. Exactly. I love it.
I know that we're going to probably have more conversations Wendy because I can't wait. I think there's some but Gabriel is here in the room.
Thanks so much, Wendy. Join me with your comments. You know the thing that. I have to be completely transparent this week because one of the things that I was frustrated with is I was looking at data and I don't really follow No because I really am on a mission to you know help, a lot of people you know. And my goal is to help a lot of people. And what I discovered is LinkedIn I'm actually being penalized for creating content. Too frequently. Like this.
Yeah. And through at least that LinkedIn presence. I'd just like a double secret probation until you know that. But that's what it's one of those things that's like OK. I don't necessarily know that it's going to impact my life. However it was just kind of disappointing as we can. OK. Well the trend in my posting more frequently. And sharing people like you Wendy is the fact that because I post so frequently I still have the same profile spanning everyone. So by promoting you on my show and promoting the show and promoting you know creating a Livestream every single day. My numbers are going down because of the frequency in my posts. So it's like.
Well that seems a little strange.
You know that sounds to me that there's some platform out there that's going to be much much larger than LinkedIn apparently that's going to scoop you up like oh this is good.
This is really a this is a good catch because it's about the more coverage we have. The truth is it's there are some podcasts I listen to and of yours and I was watching I was like that really hit me in someone like OK that's interesting. But the ones that hit me hit me hard. OK. That was a truth bomb that I didn't really I 'd never heard that way. And I needed to hear it.
I needed at that moment to hear that I was in the mindset to hear it. Yeah. So what a great thing is it? It's so it's we do buckshot which are when we post and I post and I just talk and my kids like you overshare and I'm like Yeah. But we talk and we share and it just has to hit the heart of one person that makes a difference. You don't know that one person.
To make it, to makeitmatter. Right.
To makeitmatter and what ripples out of that is not our business. We don't have control of that so if LinkedIn wants to punish you. Another platform is going to be scooping that's going to blow the parallel I see with you and the reason I bring it up is that because it's like the idea you plant the seed. You don't know how big the tree will grow. You know you have an opportunity to go out there and plant some seeds get some people to help you water it. You'll write the script. Write the thing. Get some people involved in the project get some Methuselah going.
And the more people that are involved the bigger the thing can grow.
Oh absolutely. There's a great deal. I don't want keep it too long.
A guy gave a speech I love this and he held up an apple and he said how many orchards are in this apple.
And the audience is like they don't know how many apples when the audience is like no there's five seeds in the sample.
That's five years how many orchards are in this particular apple. You don't. And this Apple could go anywhere.
And we don't know where those seeds go. Five seeds build an orchard. One seed makes can make an orchard and eventually there's persistence we have to be tenacious. We have to be so convinced that our idea is worthy of being shown to the world.
And we absolutely have to just love what we do. The late nights the no sleep that you know the stuff that's just to do it. I don't get to do it.
We get to do this. So it's not about the Oscars. Those would be lovely and you know I'm not discounting any of that. That's about the impact.
This has been joyous. It's just a wonderful way to spend the morning.
So I thank you very much for having me and then allow me to do.
The honor is all mine. Have a great day. Yeah. And as you know. Thank you, Wendy, all gratitude in the world. I love that you're here and keep sharing your gifts and planting seeds.
And there will be orchards of Wendy, all over with abundance and insight gratitude possible. So I mean thank you so much. Have a great day. And remember this. Not only smiles free they're priceless and kindnessiscool and you enjoy the day.
Thanks so much. Thank you.