Speaker 2: This is [00:00:30] learning to dead with Tyler Ross. That's me and I am with Jeremy Ellis. Jeremy. Thanks so much for being here, man. Really appreciate your time.
Speaker 3: Thank you for having me, Tyler. It's great to be here. Appreciate it.
Speaker 2: Yeah. So we got introduced through a common friend, Tommy who's actually been on the show and said he had a great conversation with you. So I'm really excited to talk with you. I did a little bit of research on you and you have a hell of a itemized resume. Like one of the more recognizable [00:01:00] ones that you can imagine with, I guess, a you're the VP of original programming at AMC. When a walking dead came out and breaking bad, came out, you're involved with Madmen and you're working on top now with Ben Kingsley. And I also understand that in addition to that history, correct me if I'm wrong, but you're kind of transitioning your career a little bit more towards writing.
Speaker 3: So all of that's correct at a Bruce Stan is an executive for five years at AMC, [00:01:30] very fortunate with sort of happy detour. That taught me as much about what I wanted to know in TV as anything. And I got to work with, you know, some of the greats breaking bad was a show that, you know, I played a large part in putting on the air and, you know, Vince Gilligan who created that show is as, is everybody on that show near and dear to me and, you know, the walking dead, uh, which was the last thing I worked on, there was sort of a culmination of, you know, like I said, five years there, but, but it sort of happened in that sense of sort of roll the dice [00:02:00] on this. And let's say, and sometimes I think that's one of the most interesting things in life tend to happen.
Speaker 3: The only thing about the introduction that was a little bit off, it was taught was a series that was from a few years ago for spike and Paramount's okay. It was limited series with yes, Ben Kingsley, which was amazing. I was in Africa and there's actually, I think a relevant story to that for the show here today because I had a eight month old, my first kid at the time, which was, I didn't expect to be in Africa and more or less [00:02:30] when I came back from that, which was in 2014, heading into 2015, I had had my own production company then for a few years. And I sort of had to make this choice about going back to writing, which was always a first passion. And, uh, again, you roll the dice. And so for the last three years, plus I've been out as a writer and a publisher and just looking to get the next one on, on the air. Right.
Speaker 2: That's amazing. And that's part of what has inspired me to want to have conversations is the idea of rolling the dice [00:03:00] that, you know, you're so singularly focused as a career man, it's a crush your work to just be really great at whatever your chosen field is. Then suddenly being a parent is introduced to that, but you want to be great at two things now. So I'd like to go with a little bit more history on your professional career. I saw that you went to UCLA, did you grow up in the LA area?
Speaker 3: I grew up in New York, I'm from long island, New York for the most part. And my UCLA was sort of my [00:03:30] way to get out to Los Angeles and to sort of explore the movie business, which was something I've been interested in for a long time. So it was a bit of subterfuge there. Although UCLA turned out to be, you know, a wonderful school. I, I live now like a handful of blocks from there, so I still go back a lot and love it.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it's wonderful. So you knew leaving New York that you wanted to work in film and television Hollywood more or less,
Speaker 3: You know, I'm one of those lucky people who I think from a very early age had a pretty good sense of what I [00:04:00] wanted to do. I think that the, you know, job titles and descriptions sort of, you know, materialize more along the way. And sometimes, you know, you sort of Zig and zag to get where you need to go. But yeah, I, I quite specifically picked criteria for college that I knew could only end up in like UCLA. It was like UCLA rice university and I think like Miami or something. And, and, and I sort of knew that of those three, like, you know, UCLA would be the one that would make sense to my parents, reluctantly, [00:04:30] admittedly, you know, as I had said NYU, and they were like, no, no, no, you got to get out of the city. You spend too much time. And I thought, all right, fine, happy to go cross country. And God bless them since we're here talking about dads and parents, they paid for my school and I was very lucky, so
Speaker 2: Wonderful. Um, um, when I was visiting colleges, I got to visit UCLA and, oh my gosh, was it a jaw dropping experience? Just being in Westwood and, and just the campus and the goodness, beautiful people everywhere.
Speaker 3: Oh [00:05:00] yeah. I mean, and if you come, you know, in that spring time, it's there, it's crazy. Like right now, it's you think you're in sort of like a, I dunno, an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial shooter. And I remember on my orientation, like I was down in Westwood, which at the time isn't even as built up as it is now, it was sort of going through, you know, the, uh, what do you call it? The, uh, not gentrification, but sort of just the town was sort of being renovated and way, uh, rebuilt. And, um, anyways, they were filming the nutty professor there. So like, you know, my, my weekend orientation, I'm watching, you know, Eddie [00:05:30] Murphy and his son double do like reverse wheelies in a Dodge Viper, you know, filming a movie. And I thought, yeah, I'm good. I'm ready.
Speaker 2: Um, and so did you always want to be behind the camera? Did you ever have aspirations of being in front of it?
Speaker 3: I, if I have ever had aspirations of being in front of it, they were dashed in, uh, roughly 1980 something when a Broadway show called little shop of ours, which is equally a great movie, um, a great remake of a movie as a musical and a great Broadway show had come [00:06:00] to Broadway. And my uncle who is also a writer and who had worked in advertising on Broadway for a number of years, was doing the commercial. And if you grew up in the tri-state area in the 1980s, you saw a commercial that ran for a little shop of horrors. That was one of the first of its kind to employ the, uh, you know, outside the theater. Like Tyler, tell us what you thought. And you were like, oh my God, when the planet, the first one, I loved it. And one of the people who did that was a woman standing in front of her entire family, which like included me like a PDF.
Speaker 3: And it said, we [00:06:30] liked it so much this time we bought the whole family and that was my mother. And she got royalties from that commercial, which, you know, she was great. And for years and years to come, I also had auditioned for that commercial for my uncle. And I was the one that I think people had, the expectation would be in it. And my uncle had to call me up the next day and informed me that I was cut from the commercials. I was no good. And I would say that that more or less ended my aspirations to act or be in front of the camera. I think you have to know your strengths in life [00:07:00] and kind of live on the other side.
Speaker 2: Well, at least he got the courtesy of a no, as opposed to wondering for weeks and weeks.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, it's funny cause I, you know, now here I am, you know, decades later out there pitching and, and as cynical as I can be about it, I sort of feel like I was, um, you know, well prepped by my uncle when I was eight. I got my first official pass. Sorry again, sorry.
Speaker 2: So you're, you're, you're born in the wool ready for [00:07:30] this industry. You come out of UCLA and you, what's your first kind of work outside of UCLA once you graduated.
Speaker 3: I'm like your classic example of, of, of not thought out decision when you come out of graduate. And because I had come here for four years, but I was also a sort of dyed in the wall and new Yorker at the time I had a girlfriend at the time, it was going to be finishing college and I, and it was still the Indian movement in the late nineties of New York. And I thought I'm going to move back. UCLA was like my pilgrimage to Mecca. I've, I've gone to the religious [00:08:00] holy land and I've seen what it's all about seeing behind the curtain and seeing the wizard. And now I'm going to go to New York and make these kinds of cool films that I grew up on. And I did that for a couple of years. And the first job I actually took was, and the way I say it was a bad decision was I graduated into the greatest job market in the history of the modern world in 1999. And I took a job working at the morning, pull the show, which was the first job that was offered to me. And if you ever want to have a podcast about, you know, the prey of television, like, let me be your lead off guests. [00:08:30] And I'll tell you about my year on the morning show,
Speaker 3: Disqualify me from the patriarchy and if I could be excommunicated from every religious organization. And, but, um, anyway, so I did that for a year. I have friends who graduated and they were like, you don't get sushi lunch and have a foosball table in the lobby. It was like the first iteration of the internet bubble. And I thought, no, I get yelled at for 42 hours a day and ship people in from the worst parts of [00:09:00] the country and put them on television. What am I doing wrong? That's a whole other story. You know what it is? Here's the deal. Kids never take the first offer,
Speaker 3: Find out what you're worth. So, um, I did that for a number of years. I actually did get to work production in New York. I did a bunch of indie production. I learned to like pull focus is like a second AC and the camera unit and sort of shot in Brooklyn shot and, you know, Wallingford Connecticut, and was sort of doing all these things and [00:09:30] having a blast. And then, um, and then frankly, nine 11 happened. And, uh, I was there for nine 11. I was actually working downtown cause you know, I had to make ends meet. So I would intern intern with him for money. And I was literally, it was election day. So I was down there like, you know, doing polling and what was right. And then, you know, shadow of the world trade center. And I had actually at like 6 45 in the morning, uh, you know, as only by the way, like a 23 year old can do, I was like, you know, let's bail, go see my sister and get a bagel.
Speaker 3: So I ended up moving [00:10:00] to Washington square park and I kind of always tell the story that throughout the day I ended up moving north through the city. But by the time I had gone to Washington to union square and had gotten to see my friend and gotten that bagel, we had gone to get the bagel. And in the span of time, you know, the first plane it hit and then nine 11 happened. And I was in the city for that, for that day. And for several days afterwards, and I had actually been due to go out of town to Wallingford, Connecticut to film this movie. And my friend was the director of photography and he had hired me. He [00:10:30] was leaving on September 11th, which needless to say he didn't end up doing. And I thought the job would be canceled. It ended up getting pushed a few weeks, you know?
Speaker 3: So three weeks later I found myself in Wallingford, Connecticut, and it's like small town with, you know, every, every porch and an American flag hanging on it, like in the wake of nine 11, you know, filming this like Indy murder mystery. And in the middle of it, I ended up getting like flu and had to go back to New York for a minute. And it was weird because, you know, I could tell as soon as I got back to the city had changed. I mean, it was, it was eerily silent. I remember fire engine went by and people [00:11:00] started applauding. Uh, and, and then, you know, four days later I go back, I finished the movie and in the span of that month, all the production jobs had dried up. There was nothing else going on. And you certainly weren't running around New York city, you know, on subway tracks or in buildings or, you know, behind gated areas with cameras anymore. Because if you were, you know, there was always a cop, what do you think you're doing? Get the hell outta here. And so, you know, it was like a crossroads time as is often the case in life. And, you know, I had friends who were going to law school and friends who were doing, you know, sort of [00:11:30] what might be considered safer bets and, um, you know, and I sort of had to ask myself what I really wanted and decided to move back to LA. So that's how I got back out.
Speaker 2: So when, at what point did you have, uh, your first, you've got two children now.
Speaker 3: So I have two children. I have my first daughter, uh, Vivian five years ago and I had my second daughter Madeline, um, you know, 20 months ago now or this August. Yeah. Thank you.
Speaker 2: Yeah. That's, that's [00:12:00] wonderful. So five years ago, like at what point were you in your professional life that you felt pretty like you weren't piecing stuff together anymore? You weren't temping anymore. You'd I guess, found your lane.
Speaker 3: Uh, well, yes or no. And it's funny. That's why I wanted, I thought it'd be interesting to, you know, do your podcasts because I liked the sensibility that you have of combining sort of, you know, people who've been entrepreneurial with kind of let's call it life quest in this case, being a parent. And, uh, you know, there's a, I don't know if it's Yiddish [00:12:30] or whatever, but there's a, there's an expression that says, you know, man plans, God laughs. And I think that that would probably be how I would describe how I came to fatherhood. You know, my wife and I were married. We'd been married for a few years. We knew we wanted to have kids, but in terms of my professional career, I had had the success of AMC, but I had just recently transitioned to my own business as a blue shirt at that point, you know, I literally like lost my job because the company I was with lost their deal and, you know, sort of lived through that kind of professional fiasco for a minute [00:13:00] and came out the other side and thought, okay, this is the time then to roll those dice and, and bet on myself with it always wanted to do.
Speaker 3: And you know, I don't, I guess timing wise probably right around that same week, maybe I was celebrating and variably, my wife got pregnant and you know, so I found myself what I would call in a position that I, I, you know, you would never Townsel or advise anybody to be. Yeah. Oh yeah. Like, sure, like start your own company. And one of the most uncertain [00:13:30] businesses, you know, with the odds stacked against you, you know, and by the way, have a kid at the same time, you know, I mean, if ever there were some sort of jittery nights, but uh, you know, and then, uh, but you know, but it taught me sort of early on that I, you know, I had a few victories in terms of, you know, work, whether it was like signing a deal and then, you know, shining another deal or eventually getting taught, made that were, you know, the things that make you feel secure because you either have a paycheck or you feel like, you know, it's a job well done, but you know, then [00:14:00] with every opportunity becomes another, you know, a potential pitfall or setback.
Speaker 3: And I think that's a good sort of, I think that's a truth for parenting as well. And so what ended up happening was, uh, the network I worked for was like, you know what, you're literally like Jeremy you're actually you're right. Cause we were talking creative. They're like, we got to do Todd authentically. We're going to Africa. We're going to Africa instead of Montreal. It wasn't entirely my idea. I mean, there were some other people who had that, but I, and this was in the middle of the SARS epidemic. So suddenly I'm [00:14:30] sitting here with on, okay, I got to take three flights. I'm not flying. It's not my favorite thing anymore. I got to go to a place that frankly, I never thought I was going to go to and I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I was like, oh, it was going to be the majestic of this Hara.
Speaker 3: Like if I want to see desert, I'll watch the good, the bad and the ugly. I watched Lawrence of Arabia, but like, you know, all right. But for, for work and for, you know, movies, it's like, I love it. It's what I want to do. So off I'll go, but wait a second SARS epidemic, you know, [00:15:00] you're like I have a kid I'm going to go and bring back SARS to, I mean, really it was all these things and suddenly through the prism of having an eight month old and then trying to figure out what the right decision was. And, and, you know, I guess in, what's sort of become the theme of this conversation so far sort of roll the dice there. It was on the New York post one day, you know, SARS epidemic in New York, like a doctor had brought it back and I thought, well, all right, we're going to New York as the kids get to see the grandparents.
Speaker 3: So, you know, uh, pardon my French, but it, you know, that makes [00:15:30] a movie. And so off I went, you know, and, uh, I never would have imagined that I would have found myself in Africa on a completely different time zone in a place that I've never been, you know, working shooting all day. And then calling, I don't even remember if I could FaceTime, but like calling my, you know, eight month old daughter who at that point could sort of say hi, you know, and it was, it was, uh, I think it taught me among other things that, you know, sometimes you have, [00:16:00] there's, there's this notion that you can't always go after the things that you want in life. And I think that because they sometimes conflict with one another or they sort of all can, you know, be at odds with one another in terms of just say your timing.
Speaker 3: But I actually think that what that taught me is that you don't have to accept that, that if in fact, you know, you can do certain things to be more focused on what you really want. And what's really important. Uh, you know, when you can be just a little bit brave and have a little bit of overconfidence in yourself, then you can sort of get it done. And honestly, I, I can't think of anything that, you know, better describes [00:16:30] being a parent, you know, and being a dad. So it's definitely a fake it till you make it profession.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Read a Martin Luther king quote this morning. That was, even though you can't see the top of the steps, you still got to take the first stride. Uh, that's some paraphrasing of it, but I'm curious for those that are listening, that don't necessarily understand industry, like what, as a producer, when you started your own company, but what's your day to day look like, like what's your work day look like, like [00:17:00] prior to the birth of your first girl?
Speaker 3: So one of the things in terms of parenting that I said, fortunately, when I started my business and I had to deal was I looked at my wife and I said, you know, knowing, uh, we had our kid either on the way at that point, or maybe she was born, but I said, you know, one thing I consider myself very lucky and fortunate about is that even if it turns out this doesn't work out, I'm going to be working in and on my own terms, which at that point, I didn't know my own lane. I didn't know my strengths. And so I knew the way I liked to work. [00:17:30] And I knew that, you know, I could align that with the things that I thought would be important as being a dad. And so I said, if nothing else, I'm going to get to be home with my daughter in a way that a lot of fathers I know who either had them when they were younger and they were less certain about their careers or faculty have other professions that make different kinds of demands on their time in terms of like, you know, certain hours in a day.
Speaker 3: And so, you know, and that, that was one thing that served me in good stead, just kind of heading out, but to answer your question specifically about what my day was like or what a [00:18:00] producer does. So when I went on my own, the job was not all that different than what you might be expecting from an executive, but with a greater degree of ownership and sort of creative stewardship, which is I was out there looking for material self-generating ideas, in some cases as original pitches, you know, books, existing scripts, or, uh, in my case relationships with writers that I had had on the shows, any one of which might provide, you know, the next kind of idea that moved me or the next script that moved, [00:18:30] you know, hopefully me and other people. So w you know, there's a book that I'm working on right now called the journal of best practices by this guy, David Fen shoe, you know, by the way, would be an interesting father to have on, you've got a great story, but, uh, you know, I've been with this book for, you know, nine years, and it's a story of a guy who was diagnosed with Asperger's five years into a marriage by his wife.
Speaker 3: And it sort of actually, it was a great thing for him, but it led to this exercise called the journal of best practices, which was this sort of self examination of his relationship. [00:19:00] And so, you know, that was a book that I had had for five years. And I first tried to get legendary entertainment interest in it when I was a producer for them. And they sort of were until they lost their deal with Warner brothers. And then, you know, it sort of, I had it for a minute under my deal with stars and it kind of came and went and along the way, I think there was even a script written for HBO that I wasn't involved in, but it's finding, you know, the material that matters and trying to convince other people to make it.
Speaker 2: So the things [00:19:30] that matter did those, did you feel like your perspective on those things changed once you had the experience of having a kid and going through the wife that was pregnant and holding your little?
Speaker 3: Oh, I mean, there's no question it's, life-changing, you know, in a way that to describe as utterly cliche, but it's a cliche because it's true. I think it may have been on your show. Somebody said it, or maybe you said it that I remember one time somebody talked about, you know, and it's not a, this is not a dig at anybody who doesn't have a kid, but you [00:20:00] can't really understand your perspective on the world as a parent. You know, if you're not a parent and again, it's not a dig it's, it's just that you suddenly have different lenses on, um, you know, what's required of you as a parent is different. And so, yeah, to some degree, there are things that, you know, I would have a harder time, you know, I think anything that involves, like I did a show called the killing and, and I think that, you know, I wouldn't be squeamish about doing this, but I don't know that I would just use like the dead daughter in the trunk of [00:20:30] a car as the catalyst for some sort of sorted story, unless I felt like, you know, there was a greater tale to be told.
Speaker 3: I, you know, I mean, I think there's an entertainment value in anything, but on just a personal level, that might be a harder story to deal with. I think you think a little bit more about promoting, you know, ideas that feel a little bit more conscientious, but, but, you know, here's the other truth. Like I also, you know, I love movies and I love [00:21:00] television and books, and I really believe that most of the price mysteries are kind of answered in them. And I know what movies and television and books meant to me in my life growing up. And so I try not to sort of stand in the way of what is kind of just the sheer joy of experiencing something. You know, there's an author who talks about maybe it's Ryan holiday or somebody who talks about like blow your mind books. And I think that those things sort of apply. And so yes, being a father, I think [00:21:30] changes my perspective on things, but the way I try to approach it is I'm just looking for different blow your mind books or stories, you know, I'm not trying to sort of, I think it's a bad idea when we, when we go back and kind of, I don't know, have a referendum on past behaviors or past beliefs. I mean, you're supposed to do that. You're supposed to believe different things in your twenties and then you and your forties otherwise, how do you know you're getting any better?
Speaker 2: You you've been involved in reading and finding and creating [00:22:00] stories sounds like your entire life in the form of writing or developing or producing. So after having your daughter are both daughters, have you gone back and looked at an old story and thought, you know, with this news perspective, I have a new appreciation for it. Like anything just jump right out.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I think that there have been some stories that I went back to that I had written either early days that I thought, oh, maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. And then I went back and read it and I went on a, you know, that was bad. [00:22:30] You weren't that talented, but in one case, in one case, I thought, oh, you know, it's funny if this guy were father, I could see where that story would start to sort of work and would coalesce. And I don't think I would've ever thought that had I not had a kid and on a kind of unrelated to the professional level, but you know, my parents recently delivered for me, you know, some old things that I had written when I was at this point a little bit older than my daughter, you know, I was probably eight or 9, 10 11 when I wrote some of these things in grade school, which she's just about to begin. So when I look back on that now, and when I know that I have [00:23:00] those things to some day show to her and say, you know, look what your father was working on. Uh, yeah. I, I think in a sense that's the absolute magic of writing and writing things down and telling stories and you know, why they're so important or important,
Speaker 2: Like back to, uh, you know, you, we talked about changing perspectives. What about changing practices? Like with your work and owning your own company? Like, how do you change the way, like, what's your wife do? And she stayed home [00:23:30] or she worked,
Speaker 3: No, my wife works. She stayed at home for maternity leave. She, like I said, before, we started recording, she's a VP over at Showtime and she works in publicity and we talked actually about, you know, what having a kid would mean for her career, you know, beforehand sort of, you know, academically, hypothetically, and then afterwards, and you know, to her credit, she knows she wants a career. She's been a person who has been committed to that. And it isn't something that has impacted her ability to be a committed mother. What I think works well for us is that [00:24:00] we've had a balance in our relationship that even before I started to develop some of those routines that you just asked about, which I'll mention, I think worked for us, because what I will say about parenting that as you know, traditionally been sort of laid at the feet of women that occurred to me.
Speaker 3: You know, I think even before I became a father, but definitely after I became a father being a parent. And let me say it in the traditional sense, being a mother that is a job, I don't mean that it's like the [00:24:30] greatest job in the world, but that also requires like, you know, the most for you to give of yourself, like you cannot phone it. It not in the way that I think we're talking about. And, and so when I started to think about how me and my wife would balance things, plus the fact that I had a business, I was very keen on the idea of routines. And I'm not like a routine oriented person, I think, um, you know, if you left me to my own devices, I joke with my wife. I hadn't gotten married. I, you know, I'd be sleeping on the couch and what movie was I watching last night?
Speaker 3: Oh yeah. Pick that up [00:25:00] again. And that's for breakfast, it would be very fly by the here bats. But I think that in order to maximize your time, which is of course, you know, the first thing that occurs to you when you become a parent, you have to set routines. So here's a funny story that a guy told me when I, that I think is a good thing to tell people when they're going to become a parent and you told me that she said I was pregnant, we were talking. And he had had a couple of kids already. And he said, uh, he said, you know, all that stuff that you hear about how you have a kid and it changes your life. [00:25:30] It does, but not in the way that people talk about it. You know, it's, it's not like, you know, you're never going to have a night out with your wife again.
Speaker 3: Or like, you're never going to like, see your boys and hang out or take a vacation or even have sex. Like, all those things are gonna happen. You, your sex life will go on, you will get back to it. You'll have to find your way back to it. We'll get back to it. And I said, oh, okay. That sounds good. He said, yeah. He said, is there anything that you like to do, you know, for you? And I said, you mean like go to the movies [00:26:00] by myself on a Friday, or like read the New York times on a Sunday. And he said, yeah, you're never going to do.
Speaker 3: I thought, I mean, every Sunday I go, that guy was right. I have not been. I mean, if I give me, my wife gets to see a movie start to finish, it's, it's a true marathon. Um, but I do. I, so I think that, you know, I think so what that meant to me in terms of your question and how I approached it, because I knew that I needed these, I needed to focus. And, and before I even got to this step, [00:26:30] I will tell you, as I said a little bit earlier, like, you need to know what your priorities are. You know, Warren buffet has this great exercise. I think that there's a story. You can Google it about him and his pilot. Steve, that was about making two lists. I think if you Google Warren buffet and about making two lists and, and, and it's interesting, I won't tell it all here, but he basically figures out that he helps you figure it out, how it, like, what are the five things that you should be working on?
Speaker 3: And his distinction that he comes up with is once you figure out those things, most people think those are your priorities and everything else that's, you know, on the secondary list is, you know, what you work on in between the other stuff. [00:27:00] And his whole thing is, is no, that's what everybody thinks. And that's totally wrong. The five things you work on are the only things you work on and everything else, those secondary goals, that's what you don't work on. Right? And so I had that mentality in terms of, you know, a business. And I was like I said, keen on podcasts and, and, and, you know, YouTube where I found that there was a lot of long form type of advice. That was great. You know, I, I bought a lot of books and whatnot, but I really, you know, knowing that being a parent was a job, knowing that, you know, me and my wife were going to share those responsibilities and knowing [00:27:30] that I was intent on being a really involved dad, I, I truly set about devising routines and things that I think I had been trying to do in a kind of self-help self-improvement way.
Speaker 3: So, you know, whether it was like Ben Franklin, you know, 13 traits to improvement or his methodology era was, you know, David Goggins or right. Jesse Hitler or anything else like that. Right. I started to sort of think about that in the context of being a parent. And [00:28:00] one of the things that occurred to me early on afterwards was, and I tell this to people now you need to train to be a dad, right? You need to like physically and mentally, but I'll even just take it into a physical thing. It's just, you know, it's funny how, in some cases we're, so ill-prepared for the things that truly matter in life. Like, I can tell you what an edge worth boxes and economics, and I don't know why, but like nobody bothered to tell me that like, Hey, by the way, when you're going in and out of a car [00:28:30] with a kid, who's, you know, growing five pounds, 10 times, that thing in your back is real pain, you're going to want to pay attention to, and it ain't going away because you're a fat, lazy who wasn't right now, you can either be a fat, lazy, dad, who's going to keep having bad problems.
Speaker 3: And I think, you know, I don't have to spell it out for you where that goes, or like anything else that you want to accomplish in life, which for me was, you know, being a producer and then being a writer, you know, being a parent sits above all of them. And [00:29:00] I realized, I need to train for this. So, you know, and what was you talk about changing perspective? So, uh, you know, before I had a kid, it was like, okay, I got to go to the gym and this is the year I got the six pack and this is the year I, you know, take off the shirt. And I looked like whoever, Brad, Pitt, whatever, I'm trying to get there, whatever. And after that I suddenly went, okay. I, I'm almost going to treat myself like a person coming back from an injury. I need to learn how to like move again. You know, I'm going to be getting out of cars, me lifting things up, [00:29:30] you know, and then, and then that extended to, okay, well, if you go to the gym, I can't go for two hours. You can't go for 90 minutes. Like I gotta get back. I can't leave my wife alone. Cause she's got to get ready for work. So I got to maximize the gym. So, you know, then all of a sudden Tim Ferris with his advice about, you know, here's your minimum viable?
Speaker 2: Oh yeah. That would be 24 hour body. Yeah.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So to me, it's like the great thing about the age we live in is, you know, yes, it's the age of over information, but if you know how to sort of parse through it and short for what you're looking for, you know, I got tremendous advice [00:30:00] again from the medium through which I make my living now, which is, you know, movies and television shows that inspired me, but like, you know, books, whether they were books that were written by Navy seals, advice to their songs, which I don't have a son, or it was Michael Shavonne's, you know, uh, fatherhood for amateurs or whatever it's called, you know, just countless, countless stories and things that, you know, mentioning to me a great one. I think that actually sort of exemplifies all we're talking about is the will Smith movie pursuit of happiness because [00:30:30] in that movie, he's, you know, frankly in much dire circumstances, more dire circumstances than I was in, but he's a single father.
Speaker 3: Ultimately he's working in an internship, uh, you know, uh, at, uh, like Morgan Stanley or, you know, some financial, uh, bank institution and, and, you know, he's got no money. He ultimately ends up being homeless and he has to go pick up his kids from this kid from daycare. So he, he has to like leave work at like four 30 in the movie. And you know, all the other guys are there till seven, eight o'clock. And so we started [00:31:00] talking about these little things that he's doing, right? Like not putting down the phone in between calls and he's not getting water. So he doesn't have to go to the bathroom, just these little micro, you know, improvements that he can make to gain a little bit more time in his day. And so what I realized was was much like in business, where you go, well, somebody is out there working, you better be hustling.
Speaker 3: I realized like it's not the same kind of competition, but if it's a competition with myself and for my kids and I want to do well, like how can I, you know, devote [00:31:30] that same focus and attention to sort of being a parent and to squeezing out the time so that I can spend time with my kids and still write the amount of hours I need to write and, you know, spend the time making phone calls and still get the oil change in the car. How can I do that? And I, and I think that you can't do that if you don't really spend time thinking about it. I think if you're like watching a ball game or, you know, still out, you know, kind of drinking and partying it up, at least in the early days, maybe if we're not starting a business or maybe, you know, maybe [00:32:00] if that's your outlet, don't get me wrong. I'm not passing any judgment. People should have fun. I'm not saying my life is for everybody, but you know, those are the things, those are the five things I want. I want to be a great dad and I want to succeed in my career, you know, and I want to be a great husband. So I focus a lot of thought on it.
Speaker 2: Yeah, sure. Sounds like it. I mean, I have to get them, I'm looking forward to re listening to this so that I can look up some of those books and pursue some of those things. I'm reading. Uh, the one thing right now by Gary Keller, which is a riff off of the five things [00:32:30] I suppose, but I'd like to get into a couple of just my kind of form questions. See how you responded.
Speaker 3: Sorry for my long answer styler.
Speaker 2: No, I appreciate it very much. It makes my job a lot easier, frankly. Yeah. Let's get into it. Well, tell me about your kids. So are they like you or are they like your wife?
Speaker 3: They're terrible you to say Tyler, I can't wait. I think they hear me. You know, my kids are, they're like me and my wife, to be honest. And you know, [00:33:00] it changes in terms of timing. I think one of the joys of being a parent is when your kid does something and you realize, you know, you see yourself in your kid or you see your wife and your kid, I think in a kind of cosmic joke of the universe, that's usually followed by you saying something that immediately stops you in your tracks and you go, oh my God, my father, my mother, how did I just do that? But I also think that that's, again, that's the beauty of kids is like, it lets you in on, I think a little bit of the sort of, you know, cosmic, wink, wink, joke [00:33:30] of life, you know?
Speaker 3: And, and I think you get a joy out of that. That's sort of hard to describe. But, um, my, my eldest is before my eldest Vivian was born. I'll give you another movie reference. Forgive me. I'm a victim of my own fashion, but James L. Brooks, one of the all time great writers of all times who wrote broadcast news, the great 1980s movie about the now almost antiquated idea of a broadcast news network, which started Holly hunter. It begins where you see Holly hunter [00:34:00] and William hurt and Albert Brooks as kids. It's a great introduction. And the, uh, introduction to Holly hunter as a little girl is there's this little girl. And she was like 11 years old and she's sitting at her desk and she's sending out pen pal letters. And a father comes in, he goes, honey, it's time to go to bed. And she like screamed.
Speaker 3: She's like, oh, I have to sneak up on me. And he's like, all right, all right. You know, she's like, I only have one more to write. And he says, okay, fine. One more. But I don't want you getting upset kisses around that. And he walks out and she sits there for a second, like starts to write the letter [00:34:30] stops. You see her like tilt her head. Something's occurred to her. And this girl stands up. She's brunette. She marches out of room. She marches down the hallway and marches into her father's and where the dad who looks sorta like Kris Kristofferson, I forget the actor now is like sitting in this chair. You could tell, he just wants to like kick back and relax. And she walks in with this great Southern plan. And she says, dad, you're always telling me to choose my work.
Speaker 3: Well, you know that, then you go and drop a word like obsessive on me. Well, I'll look it up. And obsessive as if it's a deaf person who can't stop what they're doing, or here [00:35:00] I am stopping what I'm telling you that late. And the father space is like, oh, I didn't know what happened. And she like starts walking. And then she turns around and she walks over to him and she goes, I love you. Can I kiss him on the head and storms out? When my, when my, when my daughter was in my wife's room, I turned to, when I said, that's your daughter. That will be our eldest. And so it's largely me. That is my daughter, Vivian, and my daughter, Madeline, who is a, you know, a year and a half who's the baby is, you know, she's our little, my wife likes [00:35:30] to joke our Leo baby. She was born in August through astrological, but she, she is bold and brave and we'll try anything. Loves music is fascinated by instruments. You know, even that it's like, I'm no expert, I am tone deaf, but I look at her and I say, you know, is there really something there? And I don't mean it in a weird Hollywood, just like this idea that music connects with her in a way I can just see it, that it's not the same for other people. So who knows and so [00:36:00] exciting.
Speaker 2: It's amazing watching kind of, I'm going to call them the natural inclinations of your kids. I have, you know, my daughter she'll go outside and sing, put on a performance just by herself. My, I want to enable whatever it is that she's inclined to do. So I can totally resonate with that idea of just, you know, not in the Hollywood way, but like in the way that makes them happy.
Speaker 3: Uh, yeah. In a way that could be so much more profound in their life. Even if it [00:36:30] builds me is just a fine appreciation for it. But you know, one of the things I love about being a parent is this idea of re-experiencing childhood, you know, and sort of, but you're obviously experiencing it sort of somewhat removed. So you sort of see it. I, I often feel overcome with like feelings of nostalgia when I watch my kids do certain things. And, you know, they're growing up in a very different city at a very different time, but there are certain things that are just universal truths about, you know, growing up and learning. [00:37:00] And I, you know, I'm, I'm endlessly fascinated by that.
Speaker 2: Have you were talking about something that made me want to ask you about your childhood because you were obviously very deliberate and thoughtful and hardworking and dedicated to being a great parent. So did you find that your parents are that way? Like w what is it about?
Speaker 3: It was terrible, terrible, terrible people. Sorry, sorry. Um, no, I, you know, I it's, I, I am extraordinarily close [00:37:30] with my parents from now and I, they were great parents. They were, they were great parents like anybody. They were, you know, human beings. Luckily they're still together and they're still alive. Again. I'm very blessed in that way. You know, me and my father in particular, like we, you know, butted heads, I mean, from 14 til 20 something was, was tough. Interestingly, going to college helped our relationship a lot, because I think there was a certain amount of distance that needed to be had. I think I was independent. We're both particular, you know, you asked me about my kids now. I see that in [00:38:00] my daughter, you know, it's funny. We, we have a temper streak that runs from their family. I'm waiting for them to identify the temper gene, because I'm going to lobby for them to name it after my family. But I'll tell you something that my parents said to me that I think is just astoundingly, good advice. And they said, and it's funny. I think it's such good advice about being a parent, that when they send it to me as a kid, you know, when you're a teenager and you, you almost know nothing is getting through right. When you're a teenager, it's just the wall of, you know,
Speaker 2: The mood.
Speaker 3: [00:38:30] And when I would, when we would, you know, we had a very close family in terms of a lot of tradition would keep me coming back. And, you know, my parents were great about a lot of things that I think where it really counted, made me know that even if we disagree, they love me. But the thing that my mother and father said to me, I thought was just brilliant, was when cooler heads will prevail. My father would say to me, just remember that every time, you know, you said, I'm the oldest. They would say, just remember that every time your mother and I go through something with you, no matter how old you are, no matter how many times [00:39:00] we've been through something else, that seems even similar every time with you. It's the first time they're like every time they're like, you could be 18, you could be 25.
Speaker 3: You could be 40 every time as your mother and father were experiencing it for the first time, true with your sister. Sometimes it's different. There are some things that are the firsts for her, but, you know, you will always have been our first and we're learning. And I think it was one of those things that, you know, really, which is so important in anybody's sort of maturation [00:39:30] that made me realize, you know, my parents don't have all the answers. Right. And that, and that also that what they're doing is, you know, at times might seem sort of mean, or oppressive, or just not fun. Like they're not doing it to be that way. They're just, you know, kind of doing the best version of what they think they should be doing. And, and, and I, you know, I, I follow that's an example myself and I fully expect to say that to my kids from that as a reminder, because it works so well.
Speaker 2: Yeah. That's an amazing thing. The idea that they could be so forthright in their humanness, because [00:40:00] I remember the day that I realized that my dad was human, that the pedal stool was, I mean, he's still on a pedestal as my mentor in all of these things, but like you realize they're not infallible. And for them to go out of their way to actually point that out to you, I think sounds really powerful. Like, why do you think people don't do that? Their parents wouldn't come out and say that as a pride thing and ego thing, a lack of thinking about it. Thing.
Speaker 3: I think that my [00:40:30] parents probably offered it up because it was a, an honest and genuine sentiment that they were expressing because of frankly, positions that I'd put them in, which was, you know, I was challenging them as, as a parent. I was challenging them as a child. You know, we, I'm also equally blessed in that. My, you know, I have my mom's side of the family passed away when she was young, but my father's side of the family are relatively young. And so I would have grandparents and great-grandparents, and, you know, my grandfather who actually just passed away, uh, my grandfather, Harold Ellis [00:41:00] passed away just about a month ago or so he is the definition of a patriarch in the family. Like he was to my father and my uncle, his brother, and even to my mother when she married into the family. And so I always felt like there was this prevailing wisdom that extended from him as to sort of the right thing to do.
Speaker 3: And, and my father and my uncle who are far more like my grandmother and, you know, almost none of us are like my grandfather in terms of his sort of stoicism in his can do attitude. I mean, I like literally have [00:41:30] a picture of him right here. I, you know, a reminder of how much, I mean, you talk about like a true hero, but I think that was true for everybody in my family. And so I think sometimes advice like that, but I don't know if I could even directly attribute it to him. I think it stemmed from, you know, my parents own understanding of what the right thing to do was, and the right thing to do as a parent is to know when it's time to like, serve as the example for your kids and say, this is the way to do it.
Speaker 3: You know, I, I don't know that I am so into the idea of like, yeah, like be honest [00:42:00] with your kids about, you know, the things you did. I don't know if I agree with that. You know, there's a Julie Bowen has a very funny line in an episode of modern family where she says like, you don't want your kids to, you know, know who you were. You want your kids to know that you were the people. You want them to think that I'm African and a little bit, I'm sorry, Dan and Chris Lloyd, but I it's a, a volun, but it's a, it's a true line. And I think that, so I don't always necessarily believe that you want [00:42:30] to be forthright, but I think that in knowing when it's time to be forthright, you know, you've talked about bringing your own father up to his pedestal.
Speaker 3: I mean, for me, an important points in the maturation of any young man or woman, maybe especially a young man, is that usually comes into your teenage years and your parents, your teacher can do this too. They say something, it's something you've heard before. It's a variation on a thing. And as soon as you hear it, you suddenly go for the first time in your life with absolute clarity, you go, [00:43:00] I don't think that's correct. I don't think that's right. I am going to call on that now. And of course, that's the thing that usually sends you a little bit down the road of thinking, you know, everything is,
Speaker 3: But I think, but I actually think that, whereas usually that's a mistake on the part of your parents. That's like probably some kind of, you know, momentary, uh, you know, miscalculation that reveals themselves. I think that when they do it intentionally, and again, that's part of the, you know, the, the brilliance [00:43:30] and the responsibility of being a parent is you have to know not just what, what to teach your kids, but sort of how and when to teach them. So, you know, I think that even through the things that were hard for me, with my family, what always, you know, held us together was this idea that they were doing their best and they loved me.
Speaker 2: Beautiful. That's wonderful to keep thinking about that in mind. It's a good segue to ask you, like, when it comes to keeping your five-year-old, I mean you're 18 or your 20 month old, no big deal yet, but five-year-old [00:44:00] trying to keep her in her lane. Like, what do you do to, I don't want to use, I hate the word discipline or punish, but like to,
Speaker 3: No, I think it's well, so I, first of all, I don't, I don't, as a writer, I don't object to any words. I think they're important. And I sometimes try to break them down to their core intention and meaning is even more crucial. So I, I actually think discipline is an important part of being a parent. I think it's, especially as a dad, I think it's sometimes the hard thing. I mean, talking about a cliche, [00:44:30] the old it'll hurt more than it hurts you. Like, I kind of get that and I have not had to sort of discipline my child in such a way that it rises to that level of per se, but we have gotten to the point with our five-year-old where, you know, whether it's okay, like you're now going to bed without certain things, or it's just the discipline of, let me even take it out of the context of a kid being disciplined, like disciplining ourselves.
Speaker 3: Like we had to course correct on phones and screens. You know, we were doing the thing of sort of here's the phone, here's this sort of indiscriminately [00:45:00] kind of, if the moment called for it. And I don't agree to that anymore. I, in fact, me and my wife, it probably took me a little bit longer to come around to it. I've realized that screens are not good. And I think it is okay for us as parents to decide it's not good now, whether it's, you know, Hey, it's TV and you want to sort of sort of limit it. I mean, I watch a lot of TV or, or you want to, you know, allow them to have whatever amounts of time and if they've performed whatever tasks, you know, good deeds, all of that I think is fine. [00:45:30] I just think you have to have that discipline, self discipline and discipline of them, but I'll tell you another thing in terms of sort of helping to guide me one thing that I did, and maybe this is my grandfather who sort of inspired me a little bit, but I, I believe we live in a, in a tricky world at the moment and between social media and, you know, the news and frankly, even just the kind of social pressures.
Speaker 3: We feel from parents and friends, even when it's unintentional. I love my mother literally to death. She's from New York, but there [00:46:00] are times I tell her something and she says like, well, you have to do this. You kind of go, you've been living in New York for too long. Like, you don't have to do that, but you know, so whatever those things are, I think it can be sort of a tricky time. And, you know, one thing that I did shortly after my second daughter was born was I bought Tom Brokaw's book, the greatest generation, and I listened to it on audio. And I re-read it because I thought, you know, not that they did everything right. And not that the baby boomers did everything wrong, but I want to go back to basics. Even a lot of these books I read, they were, there were all these like equivocations [00:46:30] and, and caveats and explanations.
Speaker 3: And I just thought, you know, here's the thing, respecting your mother and father, like, that's good, right? Like keeping your hands to yourself, like not, you know, sharing with your sister, not taking what doesn't belong to you, like sort of basic stuff. And I mean, I'm not trying to get all sort of like 10 commandments or anything like that. But I felt like, you know, when you're talking about the greatest generation who, especially today, when I hear people complaining about what they have, it's like, we have no idea how good we have it. [00:47:00] I mean, no idea how good you have it. And when you go back and you read the stories of these people who raised not one, not two, not three, but like five kids. And they all grew up to be, you know, contributing members of society. It's sort of like, I'm going to go listen to those people.
Speaker 3: And I did, and I read the book and it's funny. I really describe it as getting back to basics. And, um, you know, frankly, a lot of that stuff led me back to like certain religious sentiments that I think kinda got. But I believe [00:47:30] that that all begins with family. You know, that that's, that's the beauty of being a family is that you cultivate those ideas and you import them to your children. And frankly, far more than you know, who you vote for, or, you know, what shows you're watching that are popular, or even what you're talking about with your friends, you know, the way you impact the world. You know, if you're a person who's fortunate enough to be parent and have this option is, is, is in what you impart to your children. So, you know, discipline is one component [00:48:00] of that. Um, you know, it's not just like, you know, John wooden, like I went back to basics, right.
Speaker 3: You know, like I did that, like Leo toaster, I went back to basics, right? Like Oprah Winfrey went back to basics. In fact, I'll tell you a great piece of advice I got from Shonda Rhimes. Because again, I like to give credit where credit's due, China arrives. There's a book called I think it's like the book of yes. And the premise of the book has nothing to do with parenting. Was that her coming out of her shell and saying yes to things with all these [00:48:30] great opportunities were coming away, but there's a chapter in the book where she talks about her kids wanting to do something with her. And initially she starts to say no, because she's saying yes to one of these other things that she has said yes to and keeping with her mandate. And what she realized is, is that saying yes is as much about saying yes to her kids, which is sort of saying yes to her as a mother.
Speaker 3: And she even says this thing in a very pragmatic advice. She says, you know, how much do they really want? Like 15 minutes to 20 minutes? And yet, sometimes it [00:49:00] does become more than that. And I know one of your guests, I think one time talked about how it can evolve into more, you know, you have to be willing to, no, not again. You have to, you know, walk the walk. Right? So when my daughter wants my attention, yes, there are times that I am focused and I try to tell her when that is. So she knows. But most of the time I kind of say, you know, buck up Jeremy, she's five and she ain't going to be five forever. And you know, [00:49:30] you can refocus and get back to what you're doing, but she's not going to ask you to look at that next picture.
Speaker 3: If you don't look at it now. And by the way, nothing you're writing is going to be as good as what she districts. I happened to look at it like you are going to crave from them. You know? I think so much of kids, you talk about discipline, like six, never tell them something once and they get it. It's like, you're, you're, it's like, you got to Mr. Miyagi them. Right. You got to like tell them something that they don't even know what it is. And [00:50:00] then, you know, maybe 16 years from now, they're going to make a right decision because of something you taught them. And you know, you may not even be around who knows, but like, that's your job. I don't know what it means to me.
Speaker 2: I couldn't, couldn't be more true. Especially at this AGC, even five-year-olds being because their parents are. Like you're doing this to them. It's the environment doing that to them. Cause [00:50:30] they're born in these pure, beautiful things that want to do great things and we got to get out of their way. So we don't them on.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Well, you know, yeah. Yes and no. I mean, you know, kids say some crazy when they're young and it pays to like, be able to say to them, Hey, that's not right. Or, you know, that's not the way we're going to do it anymore and kind of put them on track because you know, otherwise we'll be doing, there's a, there's a good, there's a good, um, there's a good, [00:51:00] uh, you know, Jordan Peterson, I think of like chapter five of his book, 12 rules says, you know, uh, what did he say? Um, I haven't like wrote it down. Don't let your kids do anything that makes you not like them. Yeah. I, you know, that's, that's like solid advice. It, you know, people say like, do you love your kids equally? And you know yeah, of course. And you supposedly love them, you know, unequivocally, but, but you still want to like them and how are you going to get to [00:51:30] like them if you're not trying to teach them how to be a good person.
Speaker 3: And I gotta be honest with you. Like, if you're not sort of devising for yourself what that, what those things mean. Right. And if you weren't lucky, like I was lucky to have parents. So even when you didn't agree, or even when they were screwing up imparted to you, important things and you know, and I frankly had other people, extended family who were able to do the same thing. Then I honestly think it's incumbent on you as a father or a mother to go out and figure out what [00:52:00] those things are. Yeah. You know, I devise your philosophy, come up with your family crests, so to speak. Right. I mean, I, you know, to put it bluntly, like, what the hell else are you doing?
Speaker 2: It's a good first step for somebody that's not inclined to do something like that.
Speaker 3: I think the first thing I would say to anybody is that recognize that, and you'll take the first step multiple times. In fact, I think that whether it's business or if it's life it's writing, [00:52:30] um, you know, it's going and working out meditation, you know, oftentimes by the way, it's like the tools that I think can be helpful towards making you just, you know, a good father or mother or the person, by the way. Um, unless you're like John Glenn, right. Let's show like one of those astronaut guys, who's like, I'm doing it tomorrow. And then you start doing it. If you're like most of us, like you take the first step multiple times, you know, when you, then you take the third and the fourth step multiple times, and there are setbacks. But I think that I say that because if you, if [00:53:00] you can sort of know that upfront, you know, and I know you've had Jesse Itzler on and I used talks about David Goggins, but you know, his book is a prime example.
Speaker 3: I love his books because he talked about when he made that determination to like, do it turns out he didn't do it. He failed the first time I went back to his apartment and drank the chocolate shake and sat there and abject failure. Then he said, I want this, I got to get up. So I think the answer, your question about what's the thing to do. It's this, it's take a second, take a few minutes, do it every day, you know, get quiet and figure out what's important to you. And if what's important [00:53:30] to you for the sake of this podcast is your children and your future as a family. And even for that matter your career, then, then really hammer down, focus in on that, you know, and make that your priority. And then at that point, start anywhere, pick a podcast. If you like Tyler, Ross, you think he's a smart guy.
Speaker 3: You think he's got something to say, well, his best friend interviewed him and he interviewed his best friends. And if you want more of a celebrity thing, there's Jesse Angela. And if you're smart, you're going to follow Jesse. It's sort of David Goggins. And you're going to realize that it's got nothing to do with kids, but maybe there's some good discipline there. [00:54:00] And, you know, by the way, my favorite parts of living with the seal are the parts where like, you know, he starts talking to them about life stuff. Like he tells Sarah Blakely, like, yeah, here's your escape plan for getting out of New York? And he's got an inflatable air mattress, you know, Sara. Blakely's like, what are you? I'm going to go for two floors down in my building in New York hump across the city, in the middle of a national emergency and roll myself to save me with my two kids. And David Goggins goes like, yeah, that's exactly what you're going to deal with. Protect your
Speaker 2: Primary.
Speaker 3: [00:54:30] Cause. And look, one of my feet, I have a picture of my wife where she's like just hugging our second daughter, but she has this look in her eyes. And I, I mean, I love it because I just think it's like, it's my mama bear. You know, you do not, you know, tread at your own risk, do not cross that because what you're looking at is, is, you know, definitive purpose. And I think that if you can, if you can access definitive purpose, if you can access the idea that what's important is that you want this, [00:55:00] then start anywhere, start anywhere, pick up a book that has fatherhood in the title. You know, if you must start with one of those sort of traditional, you know, parenting books, just to get an idea. Yeah. And, and, and, and, you know, and go with the people who feel right to you because honestly, if you're listening to people, chances are, you're not listening to somebody who's going to give you like instant advice. And by the way, and, and, and say, you know, and by that, I do not mean anything political. So when I say, I don't mean that you should go to YouTube for advice on, you know, whether or not to vaccinate your kid, you know, [00:55:30] I, I'm talking about more philosophical things.
Speaker 2: Yeah. I've found that. And I've said it a couple of times, uh, I think as a parent, it's your obligation to become the best you can be so that you can be a better parent or a better worker. Do you find that cultivating your own self is a good place to start or take the phone calls?
Speaker 3: I, I think, I think that the, the ultimate mirror of, of your own, you know, self capability, [00:56:00] you know, self-reliance is a word that I really appreciate. And, and I sort of seek in life as a, as a trait, but the only way you can, one of the, you know, sort of, I think true mirrors of that is, is, is your own kids. You know? I mean, there've been some good people. Who've raised some kids, but, uh, you know, which doesn't make them people necessarily, but it does mean that the way they went about it, or perhaps the environment that they subjected their kids to was, was not the best one. And, you know, and I [00:56:30] don't there's I have, for me, I can't, I can't fathom a scenario where how my kids turn out is a backseat to anything. I just, I can't, and I'd give up, I'd give up everything for them, you know, because my attitude is I'll battle back on the other stuff, you know?
Speaker 3: Um, there's a story of, of Edison. I think it's one of Ryan holiday's books, again, that he talks about where his, and I think this is a good business one, and it's a good life. One, it's a good father, one where his, you know, middle [00:57:00] of the night he's woken up and his factory is burning down. You know, something caught fire. And the whole thing is burned to the ground. All of that work, it would be like, you know, apple burnings in the ground. And, um, and, and in the middle of this, where you're standing there with his employees and the fire engine is, you know, trying to put out the blaze, he races off and he goes, and he wakes up his wife and his kids, and he goes, come out, come out. You're going to see the setup. He stands there with his kids and he puts his arm around them and, you know, puts one of the kids up on the shoulders, like, look at this, look at this.
Speaker 3: And you know, his right-hand man wanders over to him. And he goes, [00:57:30] you know, what are you doing? How, how, how the heck can you even have this attitude? And he says, you know, look, here's the thing. We can rebuild that. And we will rebuild that. But, you know, I want them to say it it's a sight to behold massacring the story, but yeah, like I it's, you, you know, there are all these videos on YouTube of, you know, people who've made it to be, you know, 90 or a hundred years old. And when they ask them, what's important, you know, when they talk about [00:58:00] what matters to them, I mean, through and through it's it's family, it's friends who ultimately became family. It's the memories of the times with those people. And, you know, one thing I was lucky about when I had kids a little bit later in life, I was in my thirties.
Speaker 3: And by the way, you know, my parents, when they're 20, they kicked me when I was 21, my father in 24, my mother, I mean, if I were that young, if I, my kid would be 18 right now, I, let me tell you something, you would not have me on this podcast. I'd put that down. Cause they would be screwing up. [00:58:30] Cause I, cause I didn't know myself enough. I wasn't sort of, you know, secure enough in myself to be able to like, I, I think, um, you know, answer some of these questions the way that I have and my wife has. But, but look, you know, again, you play the hand, that's dealt you and if you're a 20 something year old with a kid, I don't think that's an excuse. You, you get your in gear and be responsible and, and recognize that when you're a hundred, right?
Speaker 3: Like what you're going to look back on is, is not your jobs or your promotions, or even honestly the great works of art that you may have done or the great [00:59:00] plays if you join the NBA, whatever. Like, because that will pass you by, as you know, at some point you become a footnote, but like your kid's like, no, remember you, I have a picture of my grandfather right there. You know, he was present in my life every day, still, um, as are other members of my family. And so I think that, you know, that's, that's what I believe in. And that's what I'm trying to cultivate with my family and my kids.
Speaker 2: That is awesome. Well, I hate that we're running short on time. So I'm going to jump into the, uh, lightning round questions [00:59:30] I made. I may hit you up in a few months or another so that we can do this again. I've enjoyed talking to you so much. So
Speaker 3: Let's, let's appreciate having me on, by the way,
Speaker 2: A hundred percent, my pleasure. What's your greatest hope for your children
Speaker 3: That they find fulfillment.
Speaker 2: If you were going to write a book about your life as a parent, what would be the name of some of the chapters?
Speaker 3: It's funny. I heard you, I think bad. Give a good answer that I thought [01:00:00] when I heard it, I thought, oh, that's a tough one to top. You know, I don't even, I'm going to pass for a second. I'll think of it. I don't think I have a good answer for that one. Um, and there would be fortunately
Speaker 2: Fair. Well, I'll give you one that's right in your wheel house then. So we'll first we'll, we'll start with the teaser. What, what television show or movie do you enjoy watching most with your daughter?
Speaker 3: Oh, well, you know, we are, so the, the obvious answer that is we watch all of this sort of like Pixar Disney. So, you know, from Ilana to Incredibles, to, you know, and Chris, Mel, [01:00:30] and Andrea and elimination and all those guys, the minions, we level that despicable me was a particularly good one for me as a dad. What I've enjoyed is I, there there's a host of movies that I'm waiting for them to see which as a dad I'm particularly keen on showing to them. But I really enjoyed things. Like for instance, when my daughter, like when I showed her, you know, Snoopy and Charlie brown and peanuts, and she was into it, the big, big score for me is that like, we, we like, I, I have taught my five-year-old [01:01:00] that if you, once you understand the essence of comedy and she now understands it, you need to watch thousands and what you need to watch bugs body and the road runner movie, and you need to watch Chuck Jones do the Daffy doc as Robin hood or the fan comedy for anybody who's watching this, who wants to be a writer and wants to understand comedy Daffy doc, as, as you know, prior, as you know, uh, Robin hood and Porky pig is fresher.
Speaker 3: Doc, the fire talk is, uh, literally great. And so I watched [01:01:30] that with my daughter and she like sings the song and she walks around the house going, you know, Zoe sent away. So I can't think of anything else. That's just better than that.
Speaker 2: Awesome. So who's your favorite television dead?
Speaker 3: My favorite television dad. That's a good question. I'm going to answer that one in a, in a sort of unconventional way to, you know, I heard some of the sort of family ties answers and, and things like that, which I think growing up in that era is good. But I'll tell you a dad that I I'll tell you a [01:02:00] dad. I really liked. He was very popular and I thought it was a good use of him being a dad, Kiefer Sutherland in the first season of 24. Okay. And I'll tell you why, here's why, and it's a Testament to the writing. Since I'm a writer, I'll give Howard a would Gordon and, um, uh, forgive me guys, uh, that I can spend I'm blanking on their names, the creators of 24. This is what happens when you're nervous. I'm having my jeopardy moments. But the reason I say keep her settling.
Speaker 3: It is because the whole first season of that show, and particularly the first half of the first season and the whole pilot is, [01:02:30] you know, this guy has sort of rekindled this relationship with his wife and in the middle of it, you know, Alicia [inaudible] who plays his daughter, Kim sort of goes out and pulls like a classic teenage stunt, right? I'm not saying over Kathy's house when she's going out with a couple of guys. And so, you know, he is, and the sort of thing about the president and all the stuff, that's the political intrigue by Joel Surnow Bob Cochran, Bob Cochran, and Joel Sarnoff out. There you go. Creators of 24, all the political intrigue that, that sort of drives the pilot is kind of secondary to the idea that his wife keeps calling him. And he keeps saying like, I'm [01:03:00] looking for Kim and now I'm going out.
Speaker 3: And I found another father. And you know, so you get to this point in the pilot where she goes to see his boss about something political, and the guy stands in his way and you know, Kiefer Sutherland within 30 seconds is like tasing them down on the ground. And you know, this became sort of a staple, almost a comedic staple of the show that you would do whatever he needed, but why I love it was because to me, you watched that pilot. And as a dad, let me tell you something like if, if my daughter is like missing and I have to deal with that, and then I get called in on a work thing, [01:03:30] here's how it's going to go. I'm going to tell you one time what we're doing. And if the second time you disagree with me, I'm going to tase her. I gotta find my daughter, keep her saw the lead to me was a great dad in, in the first season of 24.
Speaker 3: Yeah, man, he, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's John McClane and die hard, you know? I mean, he's, he's, he saves his wife, but it's the greatest, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's, you know, I love her. I do love and your title sequence that Liam Neeson shows. I mean, [01:04:00] I saw that movie on a business trip in New York. It's two in the morning, I'm a movie fanatic. And you know, at the end of that, I was like, you know, room service, stained fingers, like standing up to me, like, yeah, yeah, that's right. Like, do you want to be a dad? Like, there you go.
Speaker 2: Love that answer. Absolutely. All right. So this is, this is, uh, I don't know if you listened to Lewis house's podcast, school of greatness, but good. Fortunate communicating [01:04:30] with him a little bit. And a question he suggested that I ask is when do you feel the most loved
Speaker 3: With my kids or in general, is that sort of just in general,
Speaker 2: However you want to answer,
Speaker 3: You know, it's, I think probably the answer for both in general and for my kids is sort of one in the same, which is whenever I'm with my family, uh, you know, really any time, but I mean, it's particularly on a weekend, on a Saturday, that's like dedicated to family [01:05:00] and by extension, the more of my family. So I, I'm also fortunate to have a goddaughter and her younger sister and my wife's family. Who's here in LA and my mother and father and my sister and my niece were in Maryland with their husband, you know, like, so whenever I'm with these people, you know, a couple of years ago for a birthday, we all got together for my birthday and everybody was there. I I'm never happier than that. I've never feel a greater sense of warmth and security and comfort and joy and purpose than I'm when I'm with my family, [01:05:30] By the way, winning an Emmy is nice. I'll take that too. I'd probably be pretty happy. So anybody's out there listening to the voting community, but being with my family, Both for Jeremy.
Speaker 2: So, uh, this is one of my favorite questions at 10 Ferris asks about the billboard question.
Speaker 3: Sure. Of course. So I like that. I get to get asked that
Speaker 2: Billboard to tell, uh, give a piece of advice to all the dads driving down the highway and it has to fit on a [01:06:00] billboard,
Speaker 3: All the tags and asked to sit on a billboard. All right. I'll I'll, I'll I, I think I'll, I'll answer that in the spirit of kind of, I think some simple as the best, my, my thing would probably be, be committed. And, and I think I would say that because what I realized, even going back to some of your questions about, you know, how do you start, where do you, where do you begin learning to be a good dad? You know what, you know, words like discipline versus word, you know, love or whatever, like, even in terms of your relationship with your significant other right. Husband, wife, [01:06:30] whichever way, you know, your relationship has worked itself out, there's this we take for granted this idea that we're sort of prepared for these relationships and for these circumstances and these experiences, just because we've done them.
Speaker 3: Right. I got married, so I'm ready to be a husband, Y you know, fathered a kid, so I'm ready to be a dad. And, and you're not, you know, like you have to mentally decide, like I'm committed to this, right? So like, when you, for instance, think of your magic marriage vows, it's like, I mean, I set them, [01:07:00] but then you think like in sickness and in health, right? Like in, in Richard and poor, nobody's usually dramatic. Like I started a business, I could not have done it without my wife. She was giving me peace of mind and financial support when it's been there. So when I say, be committed, it's like, think about what that means, right? Like what it means to be committed to your significant other, right. What it means to be committed to your child. So I think if it were that, and I think it's probably just basic enough that, you know, you maybe would stop [01:07:30] and think like, well, what does that mean? You know, it's committed as a good word. So
Speaker 2: That's a wonderful answer that resonates with me a lot. It speaks to me. I learned from that answer. Thank you for that.
Speaker 3: Sure. No problem. Either that, or I would take John Wooden's pyramid of life and I'd slap it up on a billboard, permanent success. I think that's a good one. Visually disorienting.
Speaker 2: I'll re-ask the another question, except I'll, I'll reframe it. That period of life that you're in now, [01:08:00] if you were writing a chapter, what would you name the chapter of the period you're in now?
Speaker 3: Oh yeah. Boy, I'm failing as a writer. Let me, uh, the period that I'm in now, you know what the problem is? I'm trying to think of something sort of clever, but I think that what would I call it? It's so funny. I just told somebody this morning, I said, I think I'm bad at titles.
Speaker 3: You know, it's I know there's like some great, well, you know, this is gonna sound like a, pretend. This is not like a terrible answer, but I mean, uh, here's here would be [01:08:30] the here's the really pretentious, but it would be more, as a reminder to me, I would, I would probably call it something like Lionheart. And, and I'll tell you why, because one of the people who I've read about who I admire greatly, I sort of a hero of mine in life is Teddy Roosevelt. And, and by the way, a guy who in many cases was maybe not necessarily the best father wasn't the worst father had a particularly sort of awful kind of wife died the same day as kids. It was really kind of dramatic, but when he was growing up in his household, there's a great book of Dave and the colleague wrote called all [01:09:00] mornings on horseback.
Speaker 3: That's the one mornings on horseback. I gave him a colleague and, um, they talk about their father, Teddy Roosevelt's father, who was the one who talked to him about overcoming asthma and said to him, things like, you need to strengthen your body. And like didn't mince words for him. And he was able to show enamored with the father who sadly passed away, you know, fairly young, relative to the kids that he was called Meinhardt, um, they called him Lionheart and I, and so again, it sounds really, uh, you know, sounds a little silly, but I think in terms of a, [01:09:30] at least as a powerful chapter title, and maybe it doesn't necessarily mean what you might think it means. Um, and you know, frankly, I think the idea of a lion hearted father is not a bad thing to be. So maybe that
Speaker 2: That's great. All right. So my second to last question, um, it could be something physical. It could be something, you know, conjured from your mind, but a gift that you would give to every single father on the planet it's given the opportunity.
Speaker 3: Well, that's a good question that you would come to. Every father [01:10:00] gives him the opportunity. Wow. That's a great question. What do you do stand with father? I think, I don't know that this is really the right way to answer that question cause I, it sort of negates the universality of it, but I would, I think what I believe in is I would give him a book and, and, and your answer, the next question becomes, what book would you give them? And this is a little bit of the evasive part of my answer, but I think I would give them the book that, and you don't always know which one [01:10:30] it is, right. Where it's the one that you read that, that clicks, it blows your minds. And, and, and obviously it was sort of trying to gear these towards, you know, fatherhood, but even to some degree, like, you know, I'll tell you, like, I think the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a pretty good book.
Speaker 3: Right. You know, I think even the message of that book, which is like, you can't find the thing that you're looking for. That's right here, it's right under the tree. Like you have to travel out, right. You have to experience it. And so I think that there are lots of different, you know, tales that encompass that idea, [01:11:00] but I love books, you know? So maybe for somebody that's going to be the Bible for somebody else, that's going to be, you know, a piece of fiction that somebody loves. But, um, if I could somehow put the book in everybody's hand that blew their mind and set them down the right path. Um, that would be the one that was what I would do.
Speaker 2: That's that's awesome. Jeremy just awesome. Well, before, before I asked him,
Speaker 3: So that are like either plugs, maybe all those toys that make Like a back brace and a gym [01:11:30] membership. That would be my practical.
Speaker 2: So before I ask my last question, I'll thank you so much for being here. So enjoyed this conversation. I've learned tons, and I know that everybody that listens to it, which I hope is a lot of people, uh, learn as much as I did for short. So thank you for your time and your sharing, your experience and ideas. And, and thanks for walking that particularly,
Speaker 3: You're very welcome. That's nice of you to say thank you for having me on. Honestly, I really [01:12:00] am a huge fan of the kind of content that you're putting out there. I mean, I, I admire it to the point of, you know, wanting to emulate it. Uh, I mean, I think even from a purely producer of business point of view, I think it's great. I think, you know, do this for the next several years and, and build it up. And people like me continue to take sort of, you know, direction and inspiration from it. And so believe me, when I say, uh, it's very much my pleasure to have done this, and I was really tickled to be asked.
Speaker 2: Yeah. [01:12:30] Thank you. So here's, here's my last question. It should this recording last forever and a message that you could convey to generations to come, you know, it could be in of love or advice or anything, but what's a message you'd like to share down the generation of Ellison's.
Speaker 3: Yeah, it would probably be, you know, family is everything. I really believe that, you know, my, we have a toast me saying my family as you know, uh, last Emilia us, which is, you know, family [01:13:00] and everything. And, and, and I think, you know, there's the Hebrew equivalent of that as well. And, and, you know, I have like two girls. And so there's that whole last name change thing. And, but it's funny, I've, I've realized. And, and in preparing myself for one day being the patriarch of my own family, I recognize that it's my job to be not just the steward of like the Ellis's, but it's now the Guzman's and the Qur'an and the Caprio's and, you know, anybody else who's been a part of our lineage. And so I feel like I would just want anybody who is further down the line for me and, and mine to remember, [01:13:30] you know, where they came from and you know, that there were some pretty spectacular people who sort of led to them being there and families, everything. Don't forget it. They're the only ones who will have your back.
Speaker 2: That's wonderful.