RBYZ: Hollywood Inside Out (#005)

It’s not about you. It’s about the work.

If you were born into a Hollywood family, would you do anything else other than film?

My guest this week is an aspiring visual artist. Last year, she quit her job, traveled around half of the globe for four months before moving back to LA, starting afresh.

Her bio is quite unique—

I can write upside down and backwards; I always say hi to left-handed people; I helped dress the models at the Elie Saab Summer ’06 Couture Show in Paris; Blair Waldorf wears a headband I made when she says “I love you” to Chuck Bass in Gossip GirlI have a pretty good relationship with my cell phone and technology; and I love reading children’s books as an adult.

Meet Amee Carter, who dares to differ even it means hitting rock bottom.

What you’ll hear:

  • Is groundedness even possible for someone born in Hollywood?
  • What are the disadvantages to be in the family business apart from its clear advantages?
  • How to look at the world like a production designer?
  • How does she find courage to break out of the familiar world? What’s the drive behind that choice?
  • What does it feel like to have 17 home bases in four countries in a year?
  • How not to be fazed working with the greats? What’s the advice?

It’s not about you. It’s about the work.

Links from the episode:

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

RBYZ: On my terms (#004)

Meet Barbara Kiao, the therapist who practises what she preaches.

“Feel the fear and do it anyways.”

Says our guest this week. She had been a successful hospitality manager until she decided to study psychology when she was two decades too old. That is, according to the norm.

Seven years later, after getting her degree and license, she walked away from the broken marriage, accepting her own Rock Bottom.

Meet Barbara Kiao, the therapist who practises what she preaches.

What you’ll hear:

  • Can one really switch from hospitality to psychology?
  • Is there such a thing as “too old to learn?”
  • What does age have to do with… anything?
  • What does a calling feel like?
  • How to stop the stigma around counseling?
  • What does a clinical counselor’s day-to-day practice look like?
  • How does a psychology pro deal with crises and rock bottoms?
  • And much more!

Links from the episode:

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

RBYZ: I have a voice (#003)

I want to give the world something I can be proud of.

Your host YZ, a stutterer-turned-storyteller, talks about writing, podcasting, her own Rock Bottoms, and her latest situation.

My guest today is myself.

Truth be told, I’ve been wanting someone to interview me for sometime now. I know I’m good. Since I’m not quite there yet, those interview invitations have taken a tad longer than I thought to hit my inbox. 

So fuck it. I had my friend from UCLA interview me after we packed three boxes of books for Goodwill.

What you’ll hear:

  • What was the first few weeks/months like after she landed in LA?
  • How difficult was it for her, a foreigner who doesn’t use English as her first language to survive one of the toughest screenwriting MFA program in the world?
  • Where does the podcast idea come from?
  • What does Rock Bottom mean to her?
  • What does it take to be a writer, a podcaster?
  • What skills can she apply to writing from podcasting?
  • How did she conquer discomfort in the early stages of her writing and podcasting?
  • How to unlearn the stuff we pick up from our culture?
  • How does she deal with rejection these days?
  • How did she learn English?
  • How did she cure her stammering?
  • What’s the goal for the podcast a year from now?

Links from the episode:

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

RBYZ: Straight Outta Deep South (#002)

Years later at a very dark and difficult time in my career and life, I happened to find the photograph. I blew it up and put the caption on it to always remind myself what real hardship was.

Born to a working-class African American family of five children in the segregated South, got drafted to Vietnam leaving his newlywed wife behind and handing in his fate to the unknown…

My guest today is Mr. Jess Womack, former Los Angeles Unified School District’s inspector general, who defied Rock Bottom and rose to the top.

What you’ll hear:

  • What was it like to be born in the ’40s Alabama?
  • How did he deal with race in the segregated South as a kid?
  • How books changed his life.
  • What did he learn from his White teachers when the family moved to the North?
  • What impact did Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech have on him?
  • What did his two-year Peace Corps sojourn in Kenya teach him?
  • How did he keep having faith as he got drafted to Vietnam?
  • How did he deal with self-doubt as a young lawyer?

Links from the episode:

To the rest of us, Jess seemed to start from the Rock Bottom:
Born to a working-class African American family of five children in the segregated South, got drafted to Vietnam leaving his newlywed wife behind and handing in his fate to the unknown…

And yet, decades later, he is a revered lawyer who not only served his country, but also served as the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Inspector General, twice, building hundreds of schools for kids, lots of whom first-generation immigrants.

Jess Womack
Jess in Vietnam, 1970

Note from Jess:

This photograph was taken somewhere on a muddy hill in Vietnam where we stayed for about 3-4 weeks, which was a typical deployment. The contact we experienced there was atypical and costly. We were glad to leave. As I was rounding up the last of our guys, one said, “Hey Sergeant Womack, turn around!” It was that moment he caught. 

The caption — Perspective!  Years later at a very dark and difficult time in my career and life, I happened to find the photograph. I blew it up and put the caption on it to always remind myself what real hardship was.

Give it up to Mr. Jess Womack, my dear friend and mentor.

And one more thing: Happy Birthday, Jess!

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

RBYZ: I’m gonna still be writing (#001)

First-ever guest, first-ever interview.

From Midwest to LA, a teacher-turned-screenwriter’s California dreaming and dreading.

My first-ever guest is a teacher-turned-screenwriter who likes simple stories, complex characters, and real-life absurdism.

What you’ll hear:

  • What has teaching got to do with screenwriting?
  • Why did he choose film school after years of writing screenplays since he was 16?
  • Write what you know is a cliche. Write what scares you.
  • How does he deal with frustration, Rock Bottoms? Two words. Angry run.
  • Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the successes. But then, it doesn’t guarantee anything.
  • How to get the writing workshop going after film school? Consistency and the right mindset.
  • How does he process friends’ successes? Acknowledge it’s there and try not to let it consume you.

It’s hard to be successful at anything you do. You just have to like being unsuccessful. If you can do that, then you’re in the right line of work.

Your students are your audience. You’re not owed anything. If you fail to grab their attention, they’ll let you know.

If you think you’re writing something that is going to be successful or popular, it ain’t.

Wherever I end up in the world, I’m gonna still be writing.

Link from the episode:

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

RBYZ: Trailer (#000)

You ready? Let’s rock from the bottom!

Introducing Rock Bottom with YZ, a new podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Premiers August 28.

You ready?
Let’s rock from the bottom!

 

Listen and subscribe via:

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

 

Life as a podcaster

When the podcasting gets tough, the tough keep podcasting.

Next Tuesday, my podcast Rock Bottom with YZ will hit iTunes.

I just re-did a line for the trailer. My composer friend Vincent Lin, who created my podcast theme beats, will lock it in.

I also found the ideal visual for my podcast logo and art cover. My graphic designer friend Mikkel Aranas would help to visualize.

It’s been quite a journey.

The podcast idea hit me in late January. I told my dad first, who was staying with me in LA at the time.

“Go for it, kid.” Dad said.

There was nothing else going on at my nine-to-six anyway. By early February, I researched and bought the equipment. But it was not until near the end of March did I record my first interview. A brave friend from my film school agreed to be my guinea pig. [You will hear his story soon!]

It was slow at first. I wasn’t sure how serious I was, how committed I wanted to be. I was afraid of running out of guests. I feared that I just didn’t have it in me. I wondered if anyone would listen.

Then around the same time, I saw Seth’s blog about the Podcast Fellowship. Right there, I didn’t give myself a chance to doubt when I enrolled for the course, or another moment to pause when I paid for the tuition. Quite a lot for my meager salary.

Let’s see how Seth is really like in person. I thought.

As the fellowship started, I had a shitty few months. My visa; my work; my finance; my apartment… Every possible aspect of the LA life I had endeavored building was crumbling down on me, in dust and smog.

I wasn’t in the mood to talk. But I was doing this Podcast Fellowship, so I had to! And my theme was… Rock Bottom!

Fuck it. I opened up. Then magic began. Praise poured in. New friendships were fostered. It is virtual, but it feels so much more real than most folks you meet in this quote and unquote, City of Angels.

So I am, another interview to rock in roughly 30 mins.

When the podcasting gets tough, the tough keep podcasting.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic