April 29, 2021

#Spotlight 'Entrepreneurial Leadership'

 

Credit: Entrepreneurial Leadership

Credit: Excerpt, Entrepreneurial Leadership


Meet the Author 

Joel Peterson is the Chairman of JetBlue Airways and the Founding Partner of Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based investment management firm. Joel is on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and has been since 1992, teaching courses in real estate investment, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Joel formerly served as Chief Executive Officer of Trammell Crow Company, then the world's largest private commercial real estate development firm. Joel earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and received his Bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University. He is the author of "The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds That Make a Business Great". (Credit: Amazon Authors)

April 24, 2021

Kelly Mitchell on Society, Humor and Learning

Credit: Kelly Mitchell | Sasha Talks

Moving Mountains with Sasha presents Kelly Mitchell - an entrepreneur, author, podcaster and a very intellectual commentator that piques the interests of those craving knowledge in all aspects of life. Kelly shares her intimate and provocative thoughts on her blog, Musing Around LV, which explores the realm of human behavior, culture, society's infrastructure and lifestyle musings. Her books, 'Clap If You Hear Me' and 'Tour of Insanity' highlights her love for research and being a lifelong learner as she continues to educate and entertain her audiences with the latest projects yet to be announced. As the host of the podcast, Playing Devil's Advocate, she brings her sense of humor and relatable references to connect with audiences. Learn more about Kelly by visiting musingaroundlv.com.


April 23, 2021

Meet Kelly Mitchell, Author and Podcaster


Credit: Kelly Mitchell

Hi Kelly! Welcome to Kreative Circle. You're a business professional, an author, a podcaster and a proud gamer. Your professional journey references your transition from Fremont, Nebraska to Las Vegas, Nevada. How did this cultural transition materialize in your life? What emotions embodied any cultural shocks that accompanied this move?
 
Growing up in a small town was difficult for me.  My sister had died when I was young, my parents divorced, and as a result my mother kept a firm grip on me.  Couple that with a small town that everyone knew your business and an obscenely large family -- I couldn't get away with anything and craved adventure.  When you have limited choices, you rebel.  This means I was grounded (confined to my room) quite frequently.  I would write myself into fantasy worlds and pour my pent up dreams onto pages.  It stuck with me.  Eventually, I met prince charming who happened to tour several countries and one of his stops in his job was my small town.  We dated, things progressed and Sin City with its transient nature, big neon lights, and 24-hour atmosphere seemed an ideal place to start on my adventure.
 
The whirlwind of emotions I went through--some don't even have words.  I was stunned you could move two blocks over and never see the same people again.  I felt empowered and inspired by the individuality that I could express without judgment.  I was moved by the surprising sense of community that I found lurking outside the Las Vegas Strip.  Paulo Coelho had said, "writing is a socially acceptable form of being naked" and that's how I felt.  Naked, free, unbridled--the flood gates had opened.  Although, I should disclose I was terrified of driving on the freeway till my 5th year of living in Las Vegas.  
 
You pride yourself to be a 'forever learner'. What initially motivated you to pursue a higher education in criminal justice? Based on your academic and professional experiences, is there an aspect of criminal justice that isn't taught or talked about in society that requires attention to improve society as a whole? 
 
I think the day that you stop asking questions is the day you halt personal growth and development.  I absolutely love the show Ted Lasso, the sexiest man on earth.  He used a Walt Witman quote of "Be curious" and that is relevant.  How can you possibly communicate with a diverse population without asking questions?  I had originally completed college earning an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies.  It didn't quench my thirst for knowledge and wanted to be an attorney.  So, I thought a Psychology degree was the way to go.  I ended up disliking psychology (too many rules)--except for Forensic Psychology.  I transferred my credits from Creighton to UNLV and immersed myself in Criminal Justice with emphasis on Serial Killers and Sexual Predators.  I was infatuated with the criminal mind.  Yes, I fell in love with Hannibal Lector, who didn't?
 
For me, it isn't so much what isn't taught in society per subject.  It's what isn't taught that is translatable across areas of study.  Critical thinking is a must and translates across fields, the rest can be taught in the workplace.  This is what helped me the most.  When you teach someone how to critically think, a conspiracy theory dies.  Relevant education is one of my passions.  In my book, Clap If You Can Hear Me, I dedicate a chapter to the relevance of teaching virtues, experience, financial literacy, cultural and emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship--all through service-learning.  Connection to the community is huge.  These are your employers, your neighbors, and your mentors.  A sense of civic duty should be in every one of us to elevate national prosperity.  There is no better way to learn leadership and critical thinking than through service-learning and that is what is not being taught.  There should be a class from 9th grade to 12th grade with 30 hours of service or hands-on-learning per year.  The degrees are nice, but it takes schooling + experience education = wisdom.  You won't learn that in a classroom and that is what is needed to improve society.  Relevant education.
 
As a writer and commentator, do you believe true criminal justice reform can occur in a politically correct driven world?
 
No.  It's unrealistic.  First, I don't like the word 'correct'.  Correct can mean a lot of things depending on who you ask.  I think justice needs to be restorative and not just with 'criminals'.  For example, truancy is a crime right--but what makes it a crime is the person's age.  Now, if it is a girl running away from home because she is being abused and therefore truant--is justice to send her back home?  To send her to a detention center with more advanced criminals to learn their behavior?  It doesn't sound right does it?  Or, let's talk about how victims need to be included in the process.  This is especially prominent in the school systems.  The victim does not have a say, the perpetrator is not meant to face the victim and have a conversation and amends cannot take place if the victim isn't included.  The scope of criminal justice reform doesn't lie with political correctness in my humble opinion.  It lies in stopping the student pipeline to prison, ending zero tolerance, having resources available for static (age) offenders and implementing a two-way justice/discipline model.  
 
In my book, I tell the story of a 9-year-old who was labeled a sexual predator for telling his friend that he thought his teacher was cute.  A substitute teacher overheard it.  So, not only was the victim of the assault not in the room to be assaulted, assault usually takes place by someone of authority to an underling.  Slapping this child under the same definition as a boss that was inappropriate with their subordinate minimizes the severity of the act and the action.  Puppies are cute, kittens are cute -- the substitute teacher should have kept on walking.  This type of nonsense, this is what needs to be reformed first.  We need to stop the inflated, catch-all definitions spouted at children as weapons.

Credit: MusingAroundLV.com

Kelly, your blog and platform Musing Around (Wicked Creative Writing), explores all lifestyle topics from social issues to lifestyle topics. The writings are infused with satire, dark comedy and thought provoking opinions.  When did you decide it's time to share your musings with the world? 
 
I write mostly to get the madness out of my head.  My mind is always going and unless I write it down, the battle is fierce knocking about in my dreams.  Sharing my writing and intimate thoughts were not on my radar, at first.  It kind of erupted like...you know when you are watching a football game on TV and you feel overwhelmingly compelled to scream at the ref, player, or maybe even the football itself?  That's what happened to me in a sense.  I wanted to participate, contribute, yell right alongside my peers into the vastness that is the internet.  It was shortly after that my fire changed to passion to use game theory and psychology in the workplace as well as initiate conversations on what a relevant education may look like.  I would love nothing more than to see the nation prosper as a whole.   
 
How has this experience contributed to your self-development as a person and a writer?

Absolutely.  This process in podcasting and writing has introduced me to new people, caused me to research deeper into things, recognize and channel my emotions, organize my thoughts, and find my voice.  It is extremely challenging to find your voice when you have so many different ones screaming at you.  Your children, your boss, your clients, your spouse, your pets--before you can find your voice, you need to find moments of peace during the day to silence other voices.  The silence helps me reflect on what I have heard and seen.  I have warned friends and family that every conversation I hear, everything I see -- generally ends up in a blog, book, or podcast.  Writing is life and to participate you need to ask why.
 
Musing Around represents different genres of life topics being explored that encompass human behavior, lifestyle choices and social culture. Are there any particular genres that attract readers to react and welcome a healthy debate?  

One of my goals is to provide content that introduces value.  I encourage debate because this country has forgotten how to constructively communicate.  Debate strengthens arguments and makes ideas live up to their potential.  I found that interaction with readers happens more on social media than it does on my web page.  I have even been asked to research some topics and do a blog on them.  One of which was ADHDs correlation to sexual addiction.  I didn't even know this was a thing and was happy to investigate and report on it.  It just goes to show that people have different struggles that you may not be aware of and that's where I live.  If I can help, I want to.  Comedy and laughter are universal languages and I think that is what makes me approachable and welcomes conversation without boundary.  So, maybe it's not the genre, maybe it's the approach I take on a topic.
 
Are there any particular writings that you've shared that delivered a response which surprised you for better or worse?

I would have to say, two of my most read articles are polar opposites.  One is the history of sex toys and the other is how we know we are in a narcissistic relationship with our government.  I mean, basically the only thing these articles have in common is they are on the taboo list of Thanksgiving dinner conversation. It surprised me, but in such a good way.  To me, I was validated in covering the multitude of topics that I do.  It means there are people out there, like me, that are interested in a variety of things and not content with anyone niche defining us.  We want to know a bit about everything.  To me, this knowledge was beneficial and encouraged me to explore varieties of topics.
 
As a prolific writer, do you believe all topics are a safe bet to discuss in mainstream culture in order for society to evolve and grow? 

That is a hard YES.  Personal and societal growth mean the exploration of boundaries, the tolerance of topics that you may not enjoy, and the freedom to enjoy them.  We seem to constantly scream for more diversity, more culture, more, more more--but then have zero tolerance for any of it.  It doesn't make sense.  Freedom should not be weaponized.  Dr. Seuss is bad, but Grand Theft Auto is good.  Nobody should decide that for me.  Freedom ensures that you have the choice to read the book or not, play the game or not.  Freedom comes with tolerance of the things you don't agree with and temperance to leave the option there for others to decide for themselves.  I think people should not be afraid to discuss any topic and navigate situations with cultural and emotional intelligence because there is a time and place for conversations.  I can write a book about education reform and still talk about the history of sex toys on my blog.  One does not discount the other.  The value of information is still there but the audiences are different, or, maybe some are the same.  Hiding topics, like not saying Voldemort's name, gives them the power of fear.  
 
When writing an editorial / opinion, what are a few tips that writers can rely on?  Were there any lessons learned along the way that helped you refine how you present your opinions?

Research.  Examine every argument against your opinion and analyze if they have merit.  See if there is a middle ground and address it in your opinion.  Once you get your facts and argument, disarm the defense with comedy.  Too many people do not actively listen.  Instead of listening, they are preparing to 'fire back'.  Comedy removes that finger from the trigger and makes an audience more receptive and open to meaningful conversation.  It also means, you actively listen too.  This is the best advice I can provide writers and dually is the key lesson I learned.  I'm not infallible.  My arguments sometimes need to go back to the drawing board or come up with a new solution altogether.  Writers should be open to that process as a forever learner.  The second I realized I was not right about everything and became more diplomatic as an active listener--I started learning.
 
Kelly, as you tackle many curiosities in your editorials, is there such a thing as a right or wrong opinion?

No.  Opinions are like...well, we all know that saying.  I like to think of opinions more like a lighted path.  As you gather new information, your opinion changes--a light will go off here or there and lead you another way, or you may stay the course.  Some people will join you on your path, some won't.  Opinions are a participation sport.  The experiences in your life, values, and research are what forms opinions.  Opinions should never be considered in absolutes.  You will carry different opinions from graduation, to parenting, to grand parenting -- as you should.

Credit: Clap If You Can Hear Me
 
As the author of 'Clap If You Can Hear Me', the book explores the educational reform model that creates generational wealth and national prosperity. What primary aspects of our education system require an immediate educational reform? 

Education is archaic.  The most immediate thing that needs to change is relevance.  It is a vicious cycle of preparing kids for college and not life.  The way to stay relevant is a connection with the community aka the businesses that are looking for the skills being taught.  Higher education is sometimes best served in vocational training.  Service-learning provides experience and a service to elevate community.  Life skills are not learned in classrooms.  You can read about critical thinking but not really put it into practice.  World Religion is History.  Religion influences culture and economies.  Ignoring world religion is walking blind attempting to communicate with the world.  We should know how religion built other cultures.  Higher education quality has diminished but the prices remain steadfast.  Students are not financially literate and do not know how to communicate much less debate.  We are in a strong gig economy, but no entrepreneurial skills are taught or experienced.  This is not the fault of the students.  The onus is on us and holds us back from being globally competitive.  
 
Do you believe the higher powers are hindering the progress of educational reform, or are the students and parents not making a concerted effort to demand sensible quality education that delivers a fair return on investment?

I don't necessarily think it is the fault of anyone's efforts.  I just think we are focused on the wrong things and spinning wheels of who is right and who's agenda we are fighting for.  The truth is agendas shouldn't be pushed on students as an ultimatum.  A 7-year-old need not be forced to identify as anything.  This is the age of reason and they should be exploring and questioning everything.  I think choice has been taken away in the educational system.  We are trying to fit the student to education and not fit education to the student.  I'm not a fan of several theories being forced on students because they are being forced.  

Home economics, shop, and other life skills were defunded to make way for technological pursuits and stay competitive.   My book illustrates how this concept has backfired and robbed youth of an affordable, relevant education with financial, mental, and physical well-being.  Clap If You Can Hear Me not only guides conversation, it offers solutions and links to resources that parents, teachers, and students can use right now--immediately--to establish control over individual educational goals.  My hope is that educational reform happens, but it should not happen overnight or be a knee-jerk reaction that is a band aid rather than a practical solution.  Education needs to be fluent with the times to be relevant.  The structure put in place, hopefully sparked by some ideas in the book, should encourage discussions on how to do that.  I am no expert.  I am a parent, student, entrepreneur, and community member - so I do have a vested interest.   

Credit: Tour of Insanity

'Tour of Insanity: A Manifesto for Better Home Design' is a book co-authored with Matthew Zakutny. What experiences and/or events encouraged the two of you to write a book on entertaining home trivia which answers questions which explain 'why' things are situated the way they are in one's domestic space? 

I met Matt through gaming.  I often network and build business relationships outside of gaming with gamers.  Gamers used to have the stigma of some long-haired dude in the basement, screaming at his mom to bring more meatloaf.  That's simply not the case any more.  Gamers are professionals, students, executives, managers, white-collar, blue-collar, and gaming is multicultural.  You will never find a more diverse, cohesive population of people that collaborate well together like you do in gaming.  This is why I believe game theory and game psychology would do well in the workplace and should be used on resumes.  There are translatable skills here and we already educate by utilizing these theories--but that's another book.

In our game we talk about life and we vent.  Sometimes we do interventions to save us from ourselves.  Matt was discussing how things could be improved in homes to make them more relevant for the times.  I became intrigued and curious.  When I am curious, I am relentless in researching the 'why'.  History provides the story for everything in existence.  It is the relevance of the thing that is on a sliding scale.  That's where the comedy is.  As we went back and forth, we discovered we do things because they were always done that way, not necessarily to anything that is applicable now.  I'm sure everyone has walked through their home and said 'just why' in frustration.  We decided to address these issues and make some suggestions.  It is one of the funnest projects I participated in to date.  Yes, there will most definitely be a Tour of Insanity 2.
 
How do you perceive and define the word 'offensive'? In today's society, readers and listeners are easily 'offended' with content that doesn't align with their sentiments, or even the mainstream narrative. 

Offended is a serious word and requires more than making someone uncomfortable or disagreeable.  The requirements of an offense should be 1) willful and blatant intent to attack a person's beliefs without care; and 2) have no intent to further discuss the issue - therefore the act is to do harm.  The problem is several people are offended by what is not a personal attack on them or has anything to do with them.  Being offended should not be used as a shield from hard conversations.  This type of behavior promotes divides, not honest discussion.  It should be mandatory that if someone offends you, you must tell them why what they did or said offended you.  Odds are, they probably had no idea they did.  I would circle back to education reform.  We aren't exactly promoting an investment in each other or society so it is easy to be offended and even easier to justify that with no need for conversation or relationship development. 
 
As a public personality, how do you feel about people engaging in 'offensive' tantrums to demand 'political correctness' in today's society? 

I think leadership needs to reflect on their behavior.  They weaponize causes and people for their agendas.  Leadership includes the media.  It has become OK for the media to call their patrons 'idiots' and far worse.  My jaw drops at the people that are supposed to be the best we have to offer.  If the best of us are acting this way, why would people feel they need to act any different?  It certainly isn't encouraging.  I don't think people should use being 'offended' as a reason to force what they think 'political correctness' is.  To me, a correction in leadership and media behavior to start acting like the best of us is in order.  I would love to see a debate without insult, collaboration without social media slanders or media bashing, and focus on the problems.  Problems are usually forgotten with misdirection.  On my website is a blog for America On Mute and it goes deep into how leadership, no I don't care what party it is, how LEADERSHIP should behave and start being mentors that we could get behind.  I can't get behind tantrum throwing, not even for my kids.  I don't negotiate with terrorists.  
 
Playing Devil's Advocate is a podcast hosted by you which delivers a cocktail of snarky, informative and humorous banter before audiences. Kelly, audiences may wonder what type of rebel are you and what is your cause?

I am an ordinary girl next door, think it & say it type.  I am a realist.  I consider myself a rebel with a cause because I don't fit into the mainstream, nor do I care.  I am a patriot, a champion for community and education, an advocate to enhance quality of life and prosperity for the nation and can see through the smoke and mirrors to identify what the real problems are.  I have the ability to spout comedy that tackles serious subject matter in the hopes people are both entertained and take away something new.  I am the voice that amplifies:  we can do better, let's talk.     

How do you unwind and relax in your leisure? 

I love to travel, but that's on hiatus at the moment.  I read and of course play games.  For a writer, you are really either doing it or thinking about doing it.  So, there is seldom down time.  I have a post-it note fetish to write down ideas or thoughts that I want to research.  They are stuck all around my laptop space.  A good gust of wind could make my laptop airborne.
 
As a gamer, do you recall the first game you played? Are there any games in the present that serve as a guilty pleasure?

The first game I played I think was Oregon Trail.  Sad story, I died of dysentery.  Then I think I got into the whole Mrs. Pacman, Donkey Kong, Zelda craze.  My world changed with Mario Brothers, I was in love--that is until World of Warcraft came along and blew my virtual mind.  After that, I had to flip to more mobile casual gaming.  I played Metal Gear and God of War at night and War of Thrones during the day on breaks.  Now with my writing and podcast--War of Thrones is all I have time for.  I am partial to war games that allow you to connect with people.  I have been in this one for nearly 6 years and have met people in real life that I met first in the game.  It's been an amazing journey.  
 
Is there a particular mantra that you live by which allows you to be the best Kelly to her kids, family, friends and advocates?

I stand by living naked (the Paulo Coelho quote).  It has given me the freedom to ride my passion and in return to inspire my kids, family, friends, and advocates.  Passion drives ambition, makes dreams tangible, pushes your boundaries, and reaches your potential.  I never knew contentment until I was content in being me.  
 
Are there any new projects on the horizon that you'd like to share with audiences?

I am currently authoring my third book (It is Tours 2).  I have books being written in my head that I intend to publish in both the Sci-Fi dystopian and nonfiction genres.  My podcast will always be rolling out episodes with new authors, innovators, and topics.  I am creating an educational game with Matthew Zakutny that will be on Kickstarter soon.  A Virtual Book Tour is being scheduled for the near future.  There is always something brewing.
 
Please share with the audience how they can support your work.

I am always flattered by people sharing articles on my site, podcast episodes, or engaging with me on any of my social media.  Buying my books is always awesome too!  I am also on Patreon where people can be a VIP member and earn free merchandise and signed books.  All links and information can be found at www.musingaroundlv.com or www.playingda.com.


Credit: Playing Devil's Advocate

April 09, 2021

Meet Megan Davis, Hollywood Actress and Producer

Credit: Actress Megan Davis

Megan, Welcome! Your history traces back to acting from the early age of three years old working on commercials. How were you introduced to such opportunities at a young age? What was the experience like for yourself and your family?

I always wanted to act. I was obsessed with the character of Cosette in Les Miserables and used to clean our own kitchen floors by hand while I sang Castle on a Cloud. My uncle was directing TV commercials at the time and asked if I wanted to be in one, which, of course, I did! And then one led to two...

As an actress and producer, you've studied at the BFA Acting/Musical Theater program at The University of Arizona. Did you host any preconceptions of what you would learn in this program to fulfill your academic and professional goals? What did you learn about self-development from completing this rewarding program? Is there anything you could have done differently?

Not really. To be completely honest, I only went to school instead of going straight to LA because I felt like it was super clear that I could get out of rehab earlier if I stayed in Tucson. And then I just completely fell in love with the BFA program and the professors and the other students and now, of course, I am so grateful that it happened that way because what an exceptional school to have been trained at. The producing kind of happened by accident. Scott Stuber, who is now the head of film at Netflix, was a University of Arizona graduate and I asked if I could intern with him over the summer of my senior year to learn the other side of film-making. He was awesome. In terms of self-development, I would say I have learned more about that here in LA, because when I was in school, there was still a projected course of action to follow which makes everything so much easier. Once there is no piece of paper telling you what to do next, then you really learn a lot about yourself. And he was kind enough to not only let me, but to teach me so much. There are always things you can do differently or "better" in hindsight, but I wouldn't change a thing.

You've also studied at Second City, an improvisational comedy enterprise based out of Chicago, with training programs and live theaters in Toronto and Los Angeles.

What are a few prerequisites (qualities or skill sets) that can benefit actors in performing improvisational comedy?

Was there any aspect of this craft that you found challenging yet mastered over time?

What professional advice can you offer to candidates seeking an opportunity to study at Second City?

What was your greatest achievement during your time invested at Second City?

Is there any comedian you admire? 

The best thing you can take in with you when studying comedy is to completely lose the word "no" from your mental vocabulary. Sometimes the things that feel the most ludicrous in the moment work the best, and you will never know if you close yourself off. Also, comedy is a group sport, especially improv, so you want to keep an attitude of always being open so you can build with the other person. There is hopefully a true place of communion you can get to in comedy in the same way you can get to in drama. Well, I found it very challenging at first. In fact, the reason that I went in the first place was because comedy scared the shit out of me and I thought well I better throw myself into the hardest and best comedy I know of then and get over it. And then I found out I was actually really good at it. Improv isn't really my jam in the sense that I don't enjoy it as much as scripted comedy but improv is so important to all aspects of acting. So many shows and plays I have done - the best moments came out of improv, and therefore out of all of the artists on set behind the camera and in front of the camera having that attitude of not shutting off to their preconceived notions - of being open to let the muse come to them. I love Kate McKinnon. I could just watch her all day. Her timing is impeccable. 

Megan, as a professional actress, you stress the importance of physical dexterity and athleticism in your craft.

As an equestrian that can also sing, play the piano and dance, are there any new physical challenges that you're entertaining?

How can novice actors develop different forms of dexterity to grant them a competitive advantage in their acting roles?

Have you played a body double for another actor due to your wide range of athleticism and range?

Are there any action roles that you've opted to perform yourself instead of delegating it to a body double?

Hmm, I think for me it is more just about overall wellness and keeping up with your training in every area. Just like I think actors should always be in class (I'm actually answering these while my Shakespeare class is on break) I also think you should always be training your body. Your body is obviously a huge part of your craft and I think it should always be in a state of readiness to transform or of feeling at your best, whatever that means for you individually. Also, I do think that the more you can learn, the more you can experience, the more you have to work from. I am a bit of a thrill seeker so I enjoy sky-diving and bungee jumping and cliff jumping. I enjoy training in hand to hand combat and broadsword and rapier/dagger. I think your body is such a huge part of acting that any movement you can study is wonderful. Any art form you can study that contributes to the mind and body being as in sync as possible. I have not but I have had multiple people play my body double. I would almost always prefer to do it myself, but sometimes the production just isn't comfortable allowing you to do the stunts.

Your work references Katharine Hepburn as a form of inspiration. What was it about Ms. Hepburn that influenced you in how you approach and represent the art of acting?

I don't know that my admiration for her is even just about her acting, but really who she is as a person. She is unapologetically herself. She is just such an inspiring human being. She always found a way to make it happen even when people were telling her no. I fell in love with her when I saw this movie Love Affair, which was essentially a re-make of An Affair to Remember. I think that was the first role I ever saw her in. And I remember thinking she was so strong and so vulnerable somehow at the same time.

Among a few entertainment genres, your work also includes drama and comedy. Did you find one genre more difficult to connect with than the other? Are there any common threads among those two styles of storytelling that audiences overlook?

Oh, I think they are so similar. Underneath both of them is the most important thing in storytelling - truth. Comedy is funny because it's grounded in truth. Drama is compelling because it's rooted in truth. They are just different ways of approaching the truth - they appeal to our different senses and defense mechanisms as human beings. I don't think I find one harder than the other - there are definitely huge traps in both - but both are so incredible.

Credit: IMDB

Some of your works include the American Horror Story, Bones, 2 Broke Girls and For Nothing. What have you learned about receiving direction from Directors and improvising at your discretion?

Well, this is a tricky question. I always believe in being open to improv. But there are times when it wouldn't be appropriate for the character or the moment. But I think in all of those projects you listed that we were all very open to collaboration and improv. In Bones, the director and I decided to do something in that scene and not tell David Boreanez that we were going to do it so that they could just catch his reaction when the cameras were rolling. In American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson asked if we could just play in the scene at one part, which, of course, I loved. To get to work with excellent actors and get to play in the moment with them, that's it. That's the best. 

You've also produced projects such as American Street Kid (2018) and Famous (2019). What was your experience working on American Street Kid which focuses on the youth homelessness epidemic? Were there any new professional epiphanies acquired behind the scenes while working on this project?

Obviously this was incredibly rewarding and challenging. I felt so very grateful to get to be a small part of telling that story. Those kids are so courageous and so strong. And it is an issue that we don't talk about, in my opinion, enough in this country. There is no reason that we have children living on the street. And one of the things that I think the director did so beautifully was address the common misconceptions that people have about why these children ended up living on the street.   

Credit: Famous

Famous was a story that challenged the protagonist to learn the price of fame.

From your personal experiences, how do you define fame? Do you believe fame comes at a price?

...ooo fame is hard to define. There's different levels, there are different ways in which someone can be famous or renowned. That specific project was loosely based on the stories of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim and River Phoenix. And it wasn't just about fame, it was also about children being taken advantage of by the mechanism of fame all those that stood to benefit from their fame. And I think we have seen so many examples of that in every part of life, sadly. I think of course it comes with a price, and in a weird way, I think we are seeing a piece of that from the phenomenon that is social media and the way it has affected and continues to affect people. We are all starting to see how detrimental it can be to live publicly and to have anyone be able to comment anything they want on anything you do or say. It's a dangerous place mentally. And I am hopeful it will lead to a wider conversation about self-worth.      

Megan, you were also nominated for the Best Actress Award by the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival for portraying the prescription-pill addict in Adverse Effects. How did you prepare to play the role of Samantha?

Well, in this specific circumstance I have had a lot of experience with addiction and how devastating it can be. I was really lucky to have Spencer as a director on this and to have Aaron on set with me, because they both allowed me to go through being crazy and being broken and all of the things I went through with her while we were filming. 

How do you know you're satisfied with your performance?  Is there a certain validation you receive from the outside world, or is there an inner knowing you've done justice to the role you're trusted to honor?

Oh man, I am never satisfied with my performance. I always think that there is more that can be found, more that can be explored, more that can be done, I think outside validation is always great and anyone who says it isn't is totally lying, but I think most artists really crave that internal feeling when they hit that sweet spot of the truth and know it, even if only for 30 seconds. I could ride that high the rest of my life. I think something that I always love is when someone tells me that they saw themselves in the role, because it then feels like you've at least touched the truth. When Corey Feldman first saw Famous he said that I was exactly like an ex-girlfriend of his at that time, which I loved because it meant that someone who lived that story recognized the work I had done as true to the story. I liked that.

Your latest project is The Christmas Family Reunion projected for a 2021 holiday release. What was the experience like working with the cast and what can audiences expect from this project? 

This was a weird one because it was my first time working with all of the new COVID protocols. So there were a lot of things that had to be done or not done in order to ensure that everyone was safe. I think the most notable to me was that it meant less time hanging out together before and between filming - which I love that time because, for me, it helps me to experience a certain level of comfortability. But Jake Helgren is an excellent director and he is so fun so he really helped us through all of that and still created a fun and safe environment. This is the second film I have done with Ninth House and both Jake Helgren and Autumn Federici are incredible and I felt very safe throughout the whole process. And with all of their projects, I think the audience can expect an excellent holiday film. I honestly felt so lucky to be working with them after they had just done "Dashing in December" - an important holiday film that told the story of two men falling in love in such a beautiful way. I found myself thinking while I was watching it, "Why haven't I seen this story before?" And so to be working with a company and with artists that are on the forefront of telling new stories -  that is such an honor. 

Are there any shows that you love watching in reruns or those that are in active production?

I am so ridiculous about this, I watch so many shows and movies over and over and over again. I've probably seen Friends all the way through maybe 20 times. I've watched the series Playing Shakespeare at least 5 times. Once something inspires you, I think you crave that feeling over and over. But, I have to remind myself to stop looking for feelings I have felt before and allow myself to experience new things that might have similar or even greater results.   

Is there a book that you're reading at the moment? Is there a book that you recommend to audiences?

As I look at the ground next to my bed, there are four books I am reading now, which is weird because I normally only read one at a time. I am re-reading Glennon Doyle's "Untamed" which my friend Brooke recommended and it is so excellent. My mom and I are both reading it and then talking about it together. So much respect for Gelnnon Doyle. I am also super into self development and spiritual books. Just speaking to my own profession, I think you have to always be growing and learning and working on yourself and the more you grow and learn as a person the more you learn and grow in terms of your characters. And, who doesn't want to be better every day? I am also reading The Sociopath Next Door and A Visit From the Goon Squad and The Worthy Project. I am super into audio books too. I love to drive around at night - when everything is quiet and still in LA - and put on a good audio book and gaze at the lights.   

Megan, please share how audiences can support your work.

Well, it would be great if they want to watch it and like it! You can go to IMDB and find anything I have worked on.  Also find me on Instagram @meggydavis and I will usually post about projects. 

Credit: Megan Davis, Actress and Producer


April 05, 2021

Social Innovation Connects Humanity

 Featured Guests Authors & Entrepreneurs Alexis and Justin Black

Credit: Redefining Normal

Meet Alexis and Justin Black, both are foster care alumni, recent graduates, serial entrepreneurs, and authors. Each of their businesses are for social impact and they are working to help others heal from their pasts to build a life worth living. They recently published a book called Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love that was named a #1 Amazon bestseller in three categories. In this, they reference their personal stories to share how they've overcome and how others can too. They discuss topics from overcoming, building a healthy marriage from little to no examples, their time in foster care, being entrepreneurs, and living their best life. Visit Redefining Normal to learn more.

April 04, 2021

Everyone Communicates Few Connect

#BookReads

#communication #society #goals #connection #understanding

Credit: Author John C. Maxwell


Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently

About the Author
John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 19 million books. He is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than five million leaders in 126 countries. Read his blog at JohnMaxwellOnLeadership.com. Credit: mp3 Edition

Moving Mountains SPOTLIGHT ** Meet J. Stewart Dixon, Author of Spirituality for Badasses

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Co-Author Paul Donsbach Presents The Bronze Scroll

  Credit: Paul Donsbach Paul, Welcome to Authors by Sasha!  Please introduce yourself and share with audiences how you were introduced to th...