Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 27, 2011
I’ve known Beverly at least 6 years now. We met on Ryze when it meant something, although I’m not sure how well she remembered me. But I did recognize her immediately on Twitter years later and we connected. I’ve been on her Blog Talk Radio show many times, and was on her regular radio show once. Now she’s got a TV show as well. Who is she and how does she do what she does? Read below:
1. How did you first get into TV news, and was it your first stop in media?
My very first television job was in 1987 — when I was hired by one of the NBC Affiliates in North Carolina. I always wanted to do television but was convinced I didn’t have the right “look.” By that, I mean my skin color. During that time, any black anchors or reporters on TV looked like Jayne Kennedy so I figured that ruled me out. I didn’t have long hair nor was I tall. But I decided to take a chance anyway since I was in North Carolina and saw women who actually looked like me. I owe everything to my start in TV to my former News Director, Jim Bennett, who was willing to take a chance on me with no previous television news experience. I didn’t disappoint him I’m happy to say and I got promoted a few times while there.
My media career actually started in radio right out of college. I went to work for a radio station in Beckley, West Virginia and soon realized they hadn’t gotten the memo about affirmative action. When I started questioning the arrest of a black man on charges of murder when he had a stone cold alibi, the Sheriff kindly told me “my kind didn’t belong there and shouldn’t be sticking my nose in business where it didn’t belong.” When I told my boss what happened, I ended up being the one who got fired because he said I was disrespectful to a law enforcement official. I took my case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for discrimination and WON! I got a severance package out of the deal, which helped me while searching for another job.
2. What’s it like doing a daily news program? Is it as glamorous as many people think it is, and does it pay well in local markets?
There’s so much that people don’t see when it comes to gathering the news. All they see is the end result where we come into your living room. They don’t see the daily grind of how to find news on a slow news day or how to track down credible sources for a big story. They don’t see the many phone calls made and people we have to talk to before we can put the story together. They don’t see the editing or the newsroom battles we have over why we choose to do one story over another. It can get pretty intense at times. The glamorous side is being recognized on the street by someone who treats you like a celebrity.
3. When you left TV, what made you decide to go into public relations?
I don’t really call what I do “public relations.” I am a Media Trainer and what I do is teach people how to self-promote to give themselves more visibility so they will be recognized by different media outlets. I know how challenging it can be to get exposure because I was once on the “other side” combing through press releases and listening to media pitches and I know what it takes to break through and catch a reporter or producer’s eye. I LOVE doing it and I’m good at it!
4. What drove you back to media, first with Blog Talk Radio, then your radio program and finally your new TV show?
I love being a “voice” with a message. I enjoy interviewing interesting people and sharing their stories with the world.
5. I listened to your interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell; how do you get big time guests to show up for your programs?
People are always looking for exposure. It doesn’t matter how big of a celebrity they are. If they are trying to promote a book or movie or whatever, they want the opportunity. I truly live by the scripture that says you receive not because you ask not. If they turn me down, I can always find someone else. I might also add being a part of the Radio and TV groups on LinkedIn helps because we’re always trading information and being a Radio Host at a traditional radio station also helps. It also helps to have gone to school with a few celebrities like Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson). She’s been my guest a few times and we’ve stayed in touch since college.
6. You once got someone onto Oprah; how’d that happen?
Answer: It wasn’t Oprah — I WISH! It was the Today Show. I went to college with Matt Lauer and that’s all I’m saying
7. In January I reviewed your book Don’t Ask; tell people why you wrote it, how sales have been, and how it developed into a game and how that’s been going for you.
I wrote the book because of a lie I told my doctor that nearly cost me my life. I haven’t actively promoted it as much as I did the first two but sales for the card game have been tremendous!
The card game came about one evening when a few girlfriends and I were sitting around talking about the book. Each one shared their own story about what they would have done in some of my situations. From there I got the idea to create a card game. It is definitely a deck of dialogue. Rarely do people get through the entire deck because they’re so busy discussing their responses or recalling their own “Don’t Ask” stories. The game has far exceeded my expectations. I think the card game sells the book.
8. You gear a lot of your stuff towards baby boomers, which includes me. How do you see us overall taking to social media, what are we missing, and how can we be better?
I think the majority of us are doing a pretty good job in social media because we clearly understand who we’re talking to—each other. Our messages are clear and concise and we are easy to find, especially on Twitter.
For me personally, I still struggle with the technical side of it all and I think that may be a problem for other boomers. Instead of dealing with it, some just refuse to stay up-to-date. In social media, it’s hard NOT to because it’s changing all the time. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with others who know and understand more than you about different aspects of social media — even if they’re younger. Luckily I have you, Mitch along with Heidi Caswell to help me.
9. Tell people other stuff about you that I might not have covered here.
I’m married — just celebrating our five-year anniversary in June. He is my soulmate and I am so blessed to have been given a second chance at love after living 18 years in a nightmare. I have a five-year-old grandson and a daughter, who’s a rising senior in college. Want to know how I felt about having a teenage daughter get pregnant? Read about it in my book!
10. If you get Mariah Carey to appear on any of your shows, can I be there with you?
I’ll be sure to call you well in advance!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 18, 2011
Yasmin Shiraz does everything I mentioned above and more. Yes, she’s made movies, and she’s written books. She does speaking engagements. And she’s helped to spread both her message and her reputation through social media. I met her on Twitter and to me she’s proof of the good people on Twitter who need to be better known by the masses. She’s also one of the people I highlighted in my post on 21 of the Top Black Social Media Influencers. One of these days I’m going to be in one of her films (okay, she didn’t say that, but who knows right ).
1. Can you tell people all that you’ve done and do?
I’ve written 7 books that have been published — a couple of best sellers, an award winner, and even a critically acclaimed book that was taken from my teenage diaries.
The Blueprint for My Girls: How to Build A Life Full of Courage, Determination & Self Love; Retaliation: A Novel, The Blueprint for My Girls in Love: 99 Rules for Dating, Relationships & Intimacy; Exclusive: A Novel; Privacy: A Novel; Teens, Handle Your Business: 24 Tools for Motivation & Success; and The Blueprint Guide to Success & Motivation: Identify, Focus On, & Achieve Your Goals.
I’ve written, directed and produced 2 films – one a 4x award winner – Can She Be Saved? is my documentary film about teen girl fights. It won several awards including Best Documentary at the NC Black Film Festival. They Call Me Dae is a short film that explores the life of a teen bully.
I’ve keynoted and conducted speeches for the Essence Music Festival, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Congressional Black Caucus, and at least 60 colleges throughout the US.
I’ve owned several businesses including a hip hop magazine, Mad Rhythms. I’ve interviewed more celebrities than I care to recall – though Johnnie Cochran and Martin Lawrence are among my favorites. I’ve been to Diddy’s house in the Hamptons and Jay-Z once threatened to throw me out of his dressing room. (He has a wicked sense of humor.)
2. Where did you get the passion to do all these things?
I love LIFE. I love doing things that I enjoy. I love music. I love being creative. Every day I push myself to enjoy myself through work. I feel that if I’m alive, I should use my life to enjoy myself and be happy.
3. What’s it like putting a movie together?
Wow! Putting together a movie is fun, creative, grueling, exhilarating. It pushes you to your limit. Just when you think you have nothing left, a film lifts you up and you feel satisfied that you didn’t give up on yourself. Its one of the best experiences of my life.
4. Your stuff is so edgy and real; do you ever worry that people will stereotype minorities because of it?
No. I don’t worry about stereotypes. My goal is to educate and give a voice to the voiceless. I want young people’s pain to be heard, seen and felt. If you look at one of my films and are not more in tuned with a young person’s experiences then you have missed the message.
5. You’ve written seven books, even winning awards. What awards have you won, and how did you get your first book published?
My first young adult fiction book, Retaliation won the Top Ten Reluctant Readers Award from the American Library Association in 2009. It was a major moment for me. My Blueprint books have been on various bestseller lists. After numerous agents rejected my manuscript, I wrote The Blueprint for My Girls and published it myself. 6 months after I published it, Simon & Schuster offered me a book deal.
6. You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction. I find fiction difficult; how have you broken through in your mind to be able to write both?
I love writing. I don’t overanalyze it. But, I love writing. I love expression. If I have an idea that I need to express in a non-fiction format then I work it in that medium. If I decide that the message will be better expressed in a fiction medium, then I go with it. I never limit myself or my writing. I’ve written poetry, raps, biographies, screenplays, interviews etc. You name it, I’ve written it. Most writers who truly love writing, love it in all forms. I am a writer’s writer.
7. Which social media outlets do you use and how have you seen it help you?
I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… I love the concept of social media and so I’m always game to try it on.
Twitter has helped me reach new people and meet new people. I love it. Facebook has helped me to show people in a sorta intimate way what I really do. It has made me more familiar to people. LinkedIn has brought me new business customers.
8. You also do speaking engagements; do you enjoy that as much as I do?
I don’t know how much you enjoy it, but I am thrilled with it. I love writing speeches and delivering them knowing that I can capture a phrase, or a word in such a way that it punctuates the moment. I love how speeches allow me to be part comedian, part actress, part activist, part showman. I get to do it all when I’m speaking.
9. You do a lot; how do you script your time?
I keep to-do lists and every day I make sure I “to-do” what’s important. (LOL)
10. You’ve already done it all; what’s left?
Getting really paid for it. LOL. But also, I love to continue to stretch myself. Who knows what tomorrow brings? So, I push myself to see if I can make tomorrow a little bit different from today.
To follow Yasmin on Twitter: @yasminshiraz
To Visit her site: www.yasminshiraz.net
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yasmin-Shirazs-Still-Eye-Rise-Friends-Fans/139699712763511
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 2, 2011
Isaac Bidwell is a local artist whose work I happen to like a lot. He’s starting to garner a lot of attention both in the central New York area and in other parts of the country. His art is being shown all over the place; he’s going to be a big deal one day and I get to go to a big fancy party on his behalf. Okay, I’m allowed to dream, right? Take some time to learn about Isaac, and if you like this and want to learn more then check out this first interview I did with him on my other blog.
1. Why graphic art instead of any other type?
That’s a hard question to answer. Personally I think my work is part Graphic Art and part Fine Art. Fortunately the lines a blurring.
2. How does the creative process begin?
First I think up a concept, then I start to sketch. After that I draw a detailed pencil sketch. At this point I either scan the image into my computer to digitally ink and color the image, or I use a quill pen and ink the art and then add watercolor.
3. How long might it take you to fully complete a work?
Anywhere from an hour to a couple of years. It all depends on the deadline for the work. This week I created 4 images for two gallery shows. I also have a comic I’ve been working on here and there for the past two years.
4. When you don’t have models, are you thinking about famous people, people you know or are you making them up?
I’m a big believer of using references. I used to be against it, for some stupid reason. But with a couple of references, the work simply looks better.
5. What kind of genres does your art fit best?
Before I would say Comic art, but after talking to an art rep, I realized that’s not really the case. I feel my work is more ornate, similar to Art Nouveau or sometimes to old ink illustrations of the late 1800s.
6. What kind of clients would you look to work with, or do you want to just be independent?
I’ve tried freelance and it didn’t work out well. My mistake was I thought local, not national or global. Currently I’ve been exhibiting in some amazing galleries. I now realize I can do anything I put my mind to. I honestly feel it’s just a matter of time before I go out and land some big clients.
7. Where can people see more of your work or even purchase some of it?
My work can be seen on isaacbidwell.com or thecreativefinder.com/isaacbidwell. I also have some works for sale on my publishing site: lestylemoderne.com. And I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Close with a pitch; tell people who you are and why you’re going to be the next big thing.
My talent. Now when people read or hear that they may think I’m full of myself. But here’s the thing, I don’t mean the art. Granted, I believe in my work, but my true talent that will make me successful in this field is the business part of my brain. I realize this is work and a business. Too many artist forget that if you want to create art for a living, it’s a job. Luckily for me about 99% of the artist out there are lazy, they just want it handed to them. I want to go out and get it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 3, 2011
What a strange week this seems to have been. It started out with my buying my first couple of pairs of shorts ever, with my wife’s help, and finding out that I can actually wear a waist size of 42; I haven’t worn a size 42 waist in 20 years! Working out seems to be doing at least part of the job; glucose isn’t down though.
Then a consulting gig I’m supposed to be working hasn’t started yet; I haven’t even heard from the client in about a week. That’s how it goes sometimes when you’re an independent consultant, which is why I was so key on my earlier post this week about getting some money upfront; it’s not always the fault of the people trying to do work for you.
And now this; I’ve been interviewed again, this time by Christian of Smart Boy Designs. I was kind of surprised because I actually did the interview back in April, then forgot about it until I was going through old emails yesterday and started to wonder about it. And then there it was this morning; nice timing, eh?
Of course, it was also fun being a part of Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips this week with my post on 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. I really put out for that post because I always believe that you give as much to others as you’d give to yourself, and if you can you should give more since you’re reaching out to a new audience that you’re hoping you can drive to your site.
All that and tonight I’ll be staying in a hotel about 5 minutes from my house in a room with a jacuzzi… all by myself. My wife is holding a large garage sale with her friends and asked if I not be present; I can take a hint. So I’ll be pampered tonight on my own, then heading to the casino in the morning. Yes, I do live a strange life; but it’s pretty fun as well. Is it any wonder why I smile so much?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 21, 2011
Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Carolee Sperry’s Blog Talk Radio show called Blogging Biz Mom. She does this show every Wednesday at 6:30, and I was honored to be the guest this time around. The show only lasts 30 minutes, and though I can’t say I’ve caught close to all of them, I have listened to a couple here and there when I’ve had the chance. If you’d like to listen to the interview we did, you can download it here; it’s an MP3, and I’m sure Carolee doesn’t mind. It’s publicity after all.
I love being interviewed. I want more of it, I must admit. Doesn’t matter if it’s print or radio or internet radio, I’m ready. I’m not sure the world is ready for me on TV or with a live audience, but maybe one day we’ll find out. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m always ready to be interviewed. Beverly Mahone has these tips on preparing for a successful interview, and though they’re great tips, I have to own up to the fact that I have rarely done any of those things.
The couple of times I did do it was when Beverly invited me to help her host a couple of shows on older music. In that case I really did do some research and gather some facts on the acts we were going to talk about because, though I knew much of the music and the names, I didn’t know much detail about those songs or the artists; I was kind of young at the time after all.
I want to go in a different direction in talking about being interviewed. I think there’s a mental preparation one has to go through to make sure you’re ready. After all, this isn’t like a speech, where you get to write the entire thing down, memorize it, practice it, then repeat it perfectly to an awaiting audience. This is live, and you have to be calm, collected, funny, engaging, and above all else not come across as nervous.
This last one is a key if you’re being interviewed about something you’re promoting, whether it’s you or something else. If you don’t sound confident, then people are going to think you’re unsure about your business. That’s obviously not true, but if that’s the perception you put out then they’ll feel it and you might as well find a new career.
So here goes, tips for getting ready for an interview:
1. Grab something, act like it’s a microphone, and practice talking. As silly as you might think this is I don’t know a single person who had access to a pen or pencil as a kid that didn’t at least once act like they were doing a radio or TV show. What you want to practice is your “live” voice. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to make sure that you speak clearly, speak loud enough without shouting, and not speak so fast that no one knows what you’re saying. You might feel a little silly initially, but you’ll feel natural in no time at all. If you have to practice singing; the right voice will eventually come to you.
2. Sit in a chair while you rehearse. Most interviews you’ll be a part of will have you sitting down. Your diaphragm, where your air comes from when you’re speaking, is a bit more compressed than when you’re standing up. Strange as it seems, you’ll run out of air quicker speaking while sitting than standing if you’re in a stressful situation. Interviews aren’t supposed to be stressful, but you might find it that way. If so, make sure you do this step.
3. Think of at least 5 possible questions you might be asked. This should be really easy because you’re being interviewed about something you do that the person on the other side wants to learn something about. It’s rare that you’ll be interviewed by someone who’s an expert at what you do, but even if they are who says all experts agree with each other? Unless you’ve done something wrong or the person interviewing you is mad at you, there won’t be many “gotcha” moments. In some circumstances interviewers will ask you to give them questions you wish to be asked; that’s makes things really simple.
4. Think of terms you can use to help you buy time in case you can’t come up with a quick answer. I actually did an interview of someone last year for my business blog and I wrote 13 questions up front that I didn’t have the chance to share with her before we began. For more than half of them she thought about it for a few seconds, then led with “Wow, that’s a great question.” It bought her time to formulate what she wanted to say.
5. Be calm. Remember that someone came to you and asked you do to the interview. This means they really want you to do well, and they really believe their audience will like you. No matter what the topic is, at that moment you’re the expert, the star, the one everyone came to hear. This wasn’t an assignment you had to do; this is fun. See it that way and you’ll do just fine.
And there you go. And if you listen to the interview above and want more, you can check out these other interviews I’ve done.