How to Persuade People to Work for Free

In the last ten years, I’ve worked for free many times. “Uh, no shit. It’s called an internship.” Not so fast. I’m not just talking about internships (though of course, I did those too). I’m talking about working for free outside the safety umbrella of a university. Without the structure of an internship program. As a grown-ass man with man bills to pay: I worked on sets for indie movies and music videos. I read scripts. I researched for authors. I watched Youtube videos. I did casting. I consulted on marketing plans. All free work. In rare cases, yeah, it
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A Million Moments of Serendipity

Couple weeks ago, I was researching charisma, the ability to build rapport, that sort of thing. It led me down the path of the Charismatic Man: the Bill Clinton’s, the Dale Carnegie’s, the Neil Strauss’s… All of which were extremely interesting. But not the right context for me. A familiar voice creeped into my ear as the deadline for this research approached, a voice rooted deep in the lizard brain, strong and powerful — but one of very limited vocabulary: Why did you take on this project? You’re not smart enough to figure it out.  You’re running out of time.
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Trade Up Problems

Below is the transcription of the best three-minute segment of an interview I’ve heard in a long time. And I listen to a lot of interviews. [01:37:53] It’s not like you read one book and do one thing, and it’s figured out, and you’re done. it’s a constant course correction. You need to have those rituals to go back to. [01:38:29] People don’t get it. It’s messy. Life is messy. [01:38:45] It’s messy. Life is always going to be messy. It’s in figuring out how to manage that mess, and planning, “what am I going to do with this?” [01:39:30] Life is suffering. If you
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If You’re Looking for Permission You’ve Come to the Wrong Place

One of my favorite interviews of all time (and thanks to the handcrafted Aux Hook-up in my car, I listen to many) is Bryan Elliot’s interview of Seth Godin, for the Icarus Deception. In the interview, Seth says — and I’m going to paraphrase here: “The excuse that, ‘My boss doesn’t give me permission’ is a bad one. Why should he? You’re not asking for permission, what you’re saying is, ‘Can I go do this thing, and if it works, I’m going to take all the credit, and if it doesn’t, you’ll take all the blame.’ Who would agree to
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This Is What I Accomplished with All The Time in the World

For an extended stretch of time two years ago,  I had A LOT of time to write. It’s called “unemployed.” I had finished a Production Coordinator job. I wasn’t great at being a Production Coordinator — you in fact, need to know things about Production in order to Coordinate — which I did not. Nor did I possess a passion for physical production. So no surprise THERE when I wasn’t asked to join the next project. (The indignation of some interns and temps, when they’re not asked to stay on for full employment, baffles me. If they didn’t try to
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It Took Me 4 Years to Build a Regular Poker Game – And Why That’s Okay

The second time my roommates and I hosted a poker game in Los Angeles, four people showed up to the apartment. Three of them — including myself — lived there. The fourth, he was interning (like us), was car-less, and lived in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Armed with a bag of Doritos and pretzel thins, he took a 45-minute bus ride to arrive at our doorstop… to find that everyone else flaked. An hour later and the Doritos eaten, we gave him a ride back to his hotel. How hard was starting a small poker game? How different
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The ONE Thing My Friend Taught Me… That Changed My Career, Relationships, and Happiness

I keep a mental list of things I’m awful at: Cooking Making the bed Writing long lists Only one thing really held me back, in my career, personal life, and relationships, though. In college, when I saw how my friend used this one strategy, it was like a strong punch of sobriety after a night of too many cheap vodka shots. It’s effect in this year alone: I earned more money (almost a $10,000 yearly increase), created my first Hollywood tracking board, and developed a more valuable network of colleagues. I’ll get to all that. First, though – back to
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The Difference in Small Fears vs Big Fears

I’ve been thinking a lot about small failures lately. In my experience, they’re more difficult to publicly face than large failures.   For example, in 2008, when my father opened the first Shogun, the idea that “this might might work” didn’t cross my mind too often. I felt like: “Of course this might not work!” It’s a big risk. The economy is depressed. One out of 4 restaurants fail in their first year. That number rises, to three in 5, over the next 3 years. We faced plenty of other obstacles: Was there a market for Japanese food in Delmar?
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How Do You Decide: Take a New Job or Stay at Your Old Job?

I got offered the opportunity to work for a show runner the other day. Was it the right decision? My friend asked me to call him. He said, “This position is about to open up. I can tee it up for you, but you have to tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in four hours. You’re the first person I’m going to, but if you pass I need to get someone else in the room.” It’s a gun-to-the-head situation, but fair play. I thought it over, as I tried focusing on check letters and connecting calls and the minutia of the
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The Benefits of “No”

I read this beautiful piece by Kevin Ashton called Creative People Say No. The gist of which can be summed below: Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy. Creators
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