Welcome to your sophomore year at the tragedy academy where you are the teacher and we are the students together to learn from past tragedy fillet the foundation for a better humanity. The only supplies. You'll need an open mind since a human. So guilt that chair back talk out of turn and never raise your hand because this is the tragedy academy and class concession, non purist squatters laptop into the studio and it looked like somebody sneeze from about a quarter inch away from it all over the screen. I made him carry it out of the studio. I was like, shit is not coming back in here because I do not believe that's a sneeze. I don't even know what the hell that is. I wasn't going to say that, but biohazard. You know what? Welcome to the tragedy. Academy is show created to bridge societal divides in a judgment free zone using candor and humor. We are the biohazard of podcasts. Hey, I'm here today with special guest Gary DeFranco.
Executive producer. Excuse me, I can't even talk today. Executive producer of tough, the ultimate fighter. How you doing today? Gary? I'm great. How you doing dude? I'm doing good man. I'm doing real good. I'm super excited to have you here. I'm honored. I'm honored. So I'm just gonna go straight to it. What did you do during the pandemic? Uh, well that's the going question right now, right? I mean in this day and age it's you go directly to that, right? It was, it was kind of weird because we were ramping up to shoot a whole bunch of different television shows and you're in pre production and you're starting to go and then we didn't know how long, you know, like anybody this was going to go, so kind of working still and all right stuff, shutting down in this state and shutting down in that state like this is gonna be a problem. And then all of a sudden it was like, all right, everything is on hiatus, but you really didn't know how long it was gonna be like, you know, with everybody. So it started off slow with a lot of Postmates and sitting on the couch and kind of enjoying that and then it looks like it's gonna be, you know, a long time.
So, Um gotten a good workout routine started just working on my own projects, talking to friends I haven't talked to in years and read 30 books and trying to make the most of it. So, so you basically just relax. You didn't do anything in particular. Now. It sounds like you used it wisely. That's, you know, there's, there's a couple of things I'd love to hit on, especially in the fight community because given that you're shooting a reality series and you're having to jump from two totally different scenarios where one, you have everybody isolated to one place and you can, you know, control the environment, I'm sure that you had to go into an environment where you were working remotely like we are right now, How how did that impact, you know, the overall experience for the fighters or for you guys? Well, at the time I was getting ready for a different television show, um, that I work on as well. And then that got put on hold. And then the tough part about the fighter part is we have been off the air for two years and we're just starting back, there's a lot of excitement for one thing and a lot of unknowns.
Um, and then a big part of my deal is casting. So I have to look all over the world and find the best fighters for this show. Um, and, you know, your your recruiting them, you're talking to their managers there, promotions, their coaches, you know, and then it's like, all right, we're gonna be on hold for a little bit on hold for a little bit more and they have other opportunities to fight in different leagues and things like that. So they're waiting, they're waiting, they're waiting to then everything stopped. And then everybody was on hold forever. And, you know, dealing with professional athletes, Yeah, that you have to really, you have to really walk a fine line when it comes to health and in all of those. Exactly. Um, and our protocols were crazy. And then, um, we had to just keep, you know, as this thing grew, our protocols grew, grew grew so it was like, we can't even do this, there's no way to wait. And then, you know, we have a very hardcore covid protocols this time that, you know, it was, it was nuts that we even got it done, but we managed to do it. But it was, it was crazy, I can only imagine. But just just out of curiosity, I always like to see what innovation comes out of it, What creativity comes out of these situations.
Did you see anything when you were working with your crew and there and trying to get through this, you know, big ordeal. Did you see anything that stuck out to you? Well, leading up to the show, realized that conversations like we're having to be had, you know, I have these dunes every day with the network with other producers with the fighters interviews. So, um, a lot of things we used to fly everybody to one location, you kind of realize that part of that could go away and you can really have a big reach. You know, getting people here, you don't have much of a use case for bringing people back in. It's rough, you know, um, I hate working at home myself. It just drives me crazy and it's not, I'm never off work, there's no separation. Um, so it did go nuts doing all these zooms once we got back up. But uh, I didn't realize that once it's going like you need people in the field, you need to be getting it done and there's quality, uh, people expect and there's other shows that are able to get away with like zooming in and, and putting a lot of that on the air, but you know, with a one of the biggest sports organizations on the planet on ESPN, you know, we have to make it look good and everything had to be top notch, so we had to wait as long as we needed to until we could get enough, you know, in one place to do what we had to do.
So you're, you're, you were shooting for quality, not, not just trying to throw something up on the air and I can respect that to add on to that. I think that you identified that you guys aren't traveling as much or weren't having to travel as much to accomplish. A lot of the things that you could have that you would have done in the past face to face. Do you find that, you know, gave everybody kind of a work life balance? I think everybody probably found their own balance. Um Some people went and worked even harder, never turned it off. Some people are able to turn it off more. Uh, in times it was rough because like everybody knows where you're at, I know you're not, I know where you Are. I'm sorry, I was at the dentist or I had to do this or that, which a lot of times it's true, it's like, hey, could you be on a call in 15 minutes? I can't say no. Like they know I'm sitting at home, like I'm not able to go and you can only say you've been drinking so many times before. It looks like a real situation. You can't come up with anything. Oh, that would suck. I don't even think about that. That's a leash.
Yeah. You know, and, and you know, working with ESPN there on the east Coast, we're on the west coast. So they're like extends both of our day because they need to get stuff done really early in the morning For us and we need to get stuff late. So if you're talking to somebody and it's, you know, it's 10:00, they're doing business, we're up at seven and you know, they're off at seven and we're still doing business late and it just extends both of our day because you get three hours on each side. Uh, it stretches on both sides. I used to work in consulting and I hated that those guys in the middle man California gets ripped to all the way across the board. So I want to, I want to jump to another, another thought here, given that they were, I started out with the pandemic and we're looking at your operations and how that kind of thing operates fighters, They're, they're at home and fighters do probably what fighters do? You stick them in a room for 365 days. They begin to meditate and train like animals am I am, I mean depending on where you were, you know, there was guys from California, all the gyms were shut down immediately, couldn't do much, you know, hardcore mandates and then, you know, at fighters in Minnesota or you know, the Dakotas or Wyoming and places like that where it really was kind of never affected as much interesting.
When did I do a show called Street Outlaws for the Discovery Channel as well? And we ended up into Wyoming and Nebraska for I was there six weeks, they were there about three months total because there was no covid up there were able to just post up in middle of nowhere, put the whole show in a bubble and get it. And then it was beautiful to, it was very, it was very pretty up there for sure. Um, a lot of work, but very pretty. But those fighters had the same thing. They were in a small town and kind of a contained jim, you know, they could work out with partners and everything. Uh, max Holloway, one of the best fighters in the world. Zoom trained his whole camp and went and had one of the best fights of his career and you know, that's what I love, that's how you innovate. That's how you adapt and overcome and you, you take a situation and you create something completely different out of it in new ways I this it's got to be like the industry right now for, you know, crossfit and Yoga and all those types of things have got to be completely upside down with the way that people are able to take their classes live on all these different platforms now and again, I think it it creates a work life balance.
I'm big on that. I know I've said it like several times, but I've done the 24 hour a day travel around the world work and man, that'll uh that'll wear on you quick. Yeah, I'm working on that myself. Um the good thing about this business is it's kind of like you could take a gig or work on the show and you get murdered for 2356 months, but then you cannot take the next one, you have three months off and that's kind of, it's it's different than how most people do it. But the hard part is taking those months off when you get offered a good job and it's a lot of money and like sometimes the jobs don't line up so you go some months without being able to take one. So it's hard to be like I'm just going to take this time off, you know, because you know, early in my career I would do that sometimes and then you don't get a job for five months and a little different now with the position I'm in. but when you're just starting out like those little break burn me. Yeah, it's like a slinky. You're just going, you know, into and just shifting through there, man. That's that's uh that's an abuse on the mind after a while it will take its toll. Yeah teaches you how to prepare for the rainy day, you know, and you don't always do that when you're a young kid.
But I got to figure that out as you grow. You know? That's that's a great point because I can tell you the way I came up if probably up to maybe 40. I would say that I probably wouldn't have been able to have lived in one of those uh budgeting scenarios where I had to plan for a rainy day. I've been a I've been a I need a salary and a check every two weeks kind of guy since day one. That was deep into my 30's before I got that to myself. I would have been eating ramen for about three or four weeks prior to the next thing happens definitely. It definitely happens. Yeah. We used to do that in the army whenever I had a new private. I would tell them, you know, every paycheck go by uh go buy a case of ramen because you're going to run out of money before the next go around. I would have a case dash just in case you never know right. I don't care. Anybody says it's still good. It's sodium investments not healthy, but it still tastes fine. Fine. I'll see that couple of noodles there sometimes, you know, craft service or sometimes they'll have it and if they put them up, I don't care if there's all millionaires on the set or people making $100 an hour or $2 an hour those go first.
Absolutely. See the deputy of eating one in his office. Guy drives a family to work every day and we will beat them two. We see that we're like that's going to be good. And the microwave, there's a line gets rid of anger. Quick Robin is one of those things that once you slurp down and immediately gets rid of hunger. There's no ifs ands or buts about it. And I got hooked on putting cheese in it when a long time ago, egg and cheese in there and stirring it up. Just make it super unhealthy if you're gonna, we went through that game in college and after when I was no living with 100 people in a two bedroom apartment, you know, whatever was in the refrigerator that we could jazz it up with, we would try for sure you grew up poor. You start figuring out how to fry everything because everybody asks why, you know why poor people like to fry things and it's because frying actually gives things flavor without it being something else. So if you try to fry it at least then it's not half as horrible as it would be on its own, like a slice of cheese, Good slice of fried cheese.
Amazing. You know, I'll never eat bologna My life, I don't have to, but it was fried right there right now and I probably 100% regular. There's zero chance. Yeah. If you put a slice of bologna on some bread in front of me, I might actually punt it or throw it into the ground like spiking a football because of the horrendous cold sandwiches that I ate as a child with polonium. Think about it. Yeah, exactly, exactly. So you're, you're in this situation where you're at home and you're finding new ways to work on uh, your different endeavors, what happens, you know, with you creatively with the downtime, You, you know, you get this opportunity because you're a creator, you know, that's at the end of the day, you know, producer of, of tough and working with, you know, Shark Week and Mike Tyson, which is amazing just to be able to say that no matter what happened just Shark week and Mike Tyson in the same sentence is amazing. But at the end of the day, you're a creator and so there's got to be something that that really came out of this for you.
Yeah. Within the jobs that I normally do, I work for great companies that trust me a lot and I'm able to be pretty creative, but you know, there's a lot of rules with networks and you still have to the framework of whatever show you're working on and in a number of people to answer to. So there is some creativity that that I, you know, I can get out there, but it's maybe 20%. So, you know, I I like to paint, I mean the music um you know, I write a lot, it's it's always something, you know, it's just it's always a hobby of mine to just do that. And I go in phases where I do, you know, I do the different things. Um and I have a lot of friends that are super motivated and creative as well in this business and others. So we started talking and Just started going through our hard drives and, you know, every one of us has 10 million shows we've pitched throughout the years, or ideas or four sentences on a document that, you know, you forgot about. So, um they started finding those, sending them to friends um and start picking up like, we really like this one friend would like that we start working on things together. So, um it was really cool except friends all over the world. Although we're going back to the 90s that are in this business and we all kind of at least talked about if not already doing projects together right now.
So it helped a lot. I think that that's something that really flourished during this um, entire situation that we've been in, that creators were allowed or able to collaborate in ways that they never did before. You saw everything kind of come to a screeching halt because it's, I mean it's a shock to the system, nobody's expecting it, but it's amazing how everybody starts crawling again around the planet and and reconnecting and saying, all right, well look, yeah, we can't be on set but we can put 10 people on a zoom call and we can create this or you know, you can have a bunch of people acting within their own home and patching them together and coming up with different ways. The stuff that people were doing was amazing. So you get in there and you start digging through and I know that you had something that you had sent over to me that I really liked when uh when you send it over and I think I think it's a super cool concept and it was a a show or a pilot or or something along that lines called Not Uranus, can you tell us about Not Uranus.
Yeah. Besides the amazing name, Yeah, it's the name with sound bites are good from here on out uh takes people into the wrong direction. I would say this is actually more men for, I wouldn't say Children, but maybe teenage slate, you know, early teens. Um and uh probably a little over 10 years ago. I was in downtown las Vegas pre Uber and and lift and all that. I got stuck down there after party with some friends and stuff like that and I was waiting for a cab, someone across this taco place. Um, and I'm waiting and there's these kids, you know, neighborhood kids with graffiti written all of their backpacks and they were playing with the guy that owns the taco shop and it was just like, I don't know what it was, I just picture of that and I was like, this is, there's a story here, you know, so I started just observing with like thinking about what it could be. Um, there's a lot of stuff about illegal aliens in the news and stuff at that time and have a lot of, you know friends and family that were affected by that. So um the group was very diverse. I mean it was almost like someone had cast it, you know, like, like the burger king kids club.
Yes, totally, you know, a black and white kids and it's big bank in the little skinny kid that seemed to be tagging along and just watching it and you know, I had some drinks in me jews and that kind of a like night of partying, but I'm, you know, thinking I go home and start writing it down, you know, probably type for an hour or so that night and we're kinda little day and kind of made these characters and I totally forgot about it. Never never thought about it again for 10 years until I found it on the hard drive, you know during this whole downtown, I gotta tell you, I I read it and I thought it was pretty amazing and what the reason why it really stuck out to me is that it didn't feel fake, it felt like there was some really strong ties with whoever wrote it with or identified with the characters very deeply. Is there is this uh is this where you grew up, is this the kind of people that you wanted to be around or the kind of people that you were around? Well a little of both. Um you know I grew up in Cleveland where it was white and black people sometimes very segregated, not very many neighborhoods where they were together but um I have never had any friends that were asian or hispanic or from other countries really uh you know just in Cleveland, people don't move in and people don't move out a lot so you know and it's either like really really poor or kind of poor you know, you know for the most part so uh you know had white friends and black friends were into graffiti and hip hop and that was our whole life growing up and so that was like part of it but we never had the diverse you know group of friends, you know, so we brought some stuff to the table that was different, but we're kind of all the same.
Um, so once I moved to Las Vegas for college in the nineties, I met all over the world, every different ethnicity and stuff. And that's when I really started having all these different types of friends. So it's kind of a hybrid of how, you know, I think we are the best in the world is when we have all the differences and bringing together and we don't act like we're not different because we are what we bring those little cool things from all of our different cultures and our ways of seeing things and just mash it together. And that's the best, I think. Yeah, I I absolutely agree with you. And, you know, everything everybody talks about, they put you through classes. That's a diversity and inclusion and whatever. And they have you looked through these little slide shows and things like that, but we're describing his experiences. So it seems like, you know, you had you were only in that situation by location alone because given the opportunity, you did want more friends of different cultures and and get out there and it seems to fit with, you know, your profession, if you're a producer, you've got to know people, you've got to know the human experience.
You've got to be able to see it. So you get home and pin goes to paper immediately. Yeah. And I just, you know, I just have, you know, a lot of people in my business or in any of these creative arts, just whatever it is, it's little post it notes or little one page things or email myself like whether it's a rap lyric or an idea for a painting or an idea for a pilot, just like sending it to myself and then I have so many to get lost and get busy. So Um I wrote a couple of pages on that and I don't remember exactly what I was doing at the time, but I was working on some shore another and then probably got slammed and then 300 other ideas. I never thought about it again. I've got music like that sitting in folders that I started different, you know, different songs and stuff like that, you know, different beats. And then I pull it open and like, whoa, okay, I remember making this, that's what this was. But what I liked about this and just to give an explanation or if you want to give like a brief synopsis of this, what what I what it is is uh an orphan child in your anus or on Uranus come the sound bites um an alien, if you will living there and I think that you had said that it says that the planet was losing all of its resources and he was an orphan.
They were gonna use him to come to earth to report back to your interests whether or not it was a livable or inhabitable planet after that year. Yeah, so I was kind of thinking of it like he was going, you know, it's always like, what do they do? The aliens think if they came here and saw this? You know, I've always thought of it that way, like we're in a bubble and everyone's watching us like the Truman show, like what is that? So this kid is, you know, he's recruited from the planet of Uranus, he's an orphan, so they don't really care about him basically. You get dropped off in America. He ends up in downtown Las Vegas. Um and his his mission is to observe everything and report back in a year if it's worth them, you know, with their limited resources, they're coming here to assimilate because he looks like a human right, in this particular instance. Right? So, and he's an artist and he has this futuristic like ipad and that's all he does is draw and head down. And so he ends up in, you know, meeting these kids in the neighborhood that are graffiti kids, hip hop kids that are a very diverse group. It's a little contentious at first like any group in, you know, they don't want outsiders coming in until they make sure they're cool, but um you know, they were questioned him and everything and uh you know, the one thing they told him when he came to the, to the earth was never tell anyone where you're from.
You have to lie, You can't tell me you're from Uranus, right? Question the question, the question, he gets nervous and they say where I'm from and you just broke up, not your honest. That sounds like something I would accidentally say. So that's all that, it's the name that you're honest. Oh, and if you're a bunch of kids tagging, you love that, right? Exactly. And so they start breaking his balls, like all kids do and you know, that's his name and the kid says, hey, I don't care if your name is, your name's not Uranus forever, that's your name. So, and he, they start calling him new and you not Uranus. So basically that's where I got it from. You know, it's, he's not Uranus is kind of the funny part that I think will hook people and hopefully get them to watch. Absolutely. How could it not? I mean, just just to play on words alone is is just amazing that that said um with the diversity and the way that you bring everybody together in this. I think that you're going to tell a story for people to see that kind of a couple of different things.
It's not just the diversity peace. It's the judgment piece that comes with kids that are tagging kids that like, you know, hip hop kids, you know, don't fit that stereotypical mold And I like the idea of an outsider's perspective because what we don't realize is that we do look different to other things or other species or other, you know, animals and stuff like that. We look insane for the things that we do day in and day out when there's no particular outcome to be obtained. And the idea of somebody seeing, you know, finding that inclusion in a group like this right away is super, super fascinating. And I love the fact that he doesn't know that they don't want him to come back. That that twists the entire thing, right? He has no idea. And you don't know how, you know, it's so early that there's gonna be a big story arc. So I don't know if it's he's gonna want to come back, he's not gonna want to because he knows, you know, if he goes back there, then that's part of the end of all his friends and and uh you know, so I'm trying to could be nobody there.
They were looking to go somewhere else. Could be anything and, you know, it's a why go back at that time, but, you know, that's where the writing and everything and I have some friends that are gonna help me that are really good writers and we're trying to figure out if it's going to start just as a graphic novel or if we're gonna try to do a series with it, but um I started doing the artwork and everything like that. Yeah, I saw the first set artwork. I'll put that up on the site. I thought it was super cool. It's I was talking about it at work on Street Outlaws and one of the guys that I work with, one of the production assistants, he's a really good artists. He's like, you know, I'll take a crack at girl on the cover for him. Like that would be super dope. He whipped that shit out by the morning and it was somehow exactly in my brain, I didn't tell him anything. I gave him pretty much just the one page of the characters and like a thing and uh he whipped it out and one day and I'm like holy shit, like you need to do this for me. Like, I don't care if you want to be my partner or I pay you or you tell me that you know that you want. And because it just, I don't know, it was weird because it was just what I pictured and I'm like a decent artist, but nothing like this so I can never execute that myself.
But it was just like, boom, that's it. Have you endured life's tragedies, trials and tribulations? Did you adapt and overcome? Do you have advice for others to pay forward and want to be a guest, The emails, some brief, two to three minute video to show at the tragedy Academy dot com and tell us how are academics can learn and grow from these experiences. Thanks again for your support. Now, back to class. Mhm. You like the best art, the best creations come out of spontaneity or from from points of mindful moments if you will. Um I firmly believe that we're writing our own future. Um I think that creators right our future um every single day, no matter what the medium is. Um you know, if you're a producer with tough, you're you're still writing the futures of people through the creation or through movies or through tv and things like that. And I feel like when we get those moments of inspiration, that's when we put things, you know pen to paper or you know, we play an instrument and we come out with an inspired piece, no matter no matter if it is called not Uranus, that you know, is part of the inspiration behind it.
And I feel like as creators, we have to own those mindful moments that we've been gifted to be able to create. We have to use them every day to you know, live to pay the, you know to pay the bills, that kind of thing. But at the end of the day there's nothing more fulfilling than those times when there's no paycheck at the end, but it was still just as fun to do and that's that's where I think that we have to own that and take responsibility for it. And I think something like this is a great way to monopolize somebody's time with your creative mindful moment. That's just my opinion. Yeah, I mean it's the thing is, is time and this gave us all the time with our friends that we didn't have to just get on calls like this and and shoot scripts and ideas. And I started working with rappers that I've worked with 18 years ago and we're doing music again and started working, you know, with with people all over and just even if it's not something I'm working on, I gave them an idea, they're running with or they gave me an idea and it's always in a deadline and you guys have two weeks to come up with this and then we got to shoot that and this is the shoot schedule and then it's over and got six weeks to edit it and it's got to be, you know, so the creative process is like, you have two days to think of this and then you better have something instead of like just whatever, spitting ideas out bullshit and you know, taking a little idea and expanding it, which you don't have time for normally.
So it was good. I feel like once you add the word process to creative, it's no longer it's no longer creative. Yeah, I agree with It takes it takes that out of there and that's not to say that there's not a, you know, so many things that we have, they come from art, They come from, you know, that inspirational point. But of course, you know, we have to capitalize on everything that we create. So it's a double edged sword and it's uh it goes back to the graffiti thing too, because we, you know, you have 45 seconds to put something up before you might get shot and ran over, train might be coming too. So it's like, you know, but now when you see these, you know, there's these legal walls everywhere and there's amazing places in downtown las Vegas where you have unlimited. I I love that the art is crazy. You know? Well, the first part that you said you you said that there was a finite amount of time to do your piece of art. And I've never actually considered that when thinking about graffiti, you just look at the end point and whether or not you want to complain about it or say that it's something that somebody gifted did or whatever.
You know, that's pretty much how society looks at it. But if you were to isolate that moment, there's got to be in order to come out with some of the art pieces, because let's let's face it, graffiti is fucking beautiful, some of the art is just amazing, but to think now that it's coming out of a moment that is so small. What um what is that like, you know, as a kid because you're obviously trying to find some kind of outlet, you need it, it is, it is a passion because I grew up, you know, not in a inner city, but I grew up, you know, in a very remote poor area where there were as many opportunities to have creative outlets. So what is it like when Gary sitting there, you know, and he's got the stopwatch goes and you want to put it put a piece of art on the wall, how does it go? I mean it was, it was exciting for one thing and then we didn't have any outlets really, like there is today because we're talking the 93 94 9500% that's my right, so you know in Cleveland we had three channels on the tv local newspaper, we read four different magazines probably, and that was it.
So just to put something up on a train or over past and like know that people would see that we were never going to art galleries or anything like that for a long time and you know, we're all in the hip hop music and doing little shows here and there and starting out and that got bigger as well, but you know, the coolest thing would be like, you know, to run into another writer somewhere in a different neighborhood, I saw your shit out there, that was dope or you know, or you would be driving to school with your mom, the train goes by and like we don't lie and say we saw our shit, we really didn't know I saw it went by of course of course stopped right there. Everybody is pointing like no, they weren't, you know like you know, but that's what you do right. You know and you know, I had friends that were robbing people that night and, and, and out at those hours selling drugs and doing a lot of other shit and you know, I didn't always do the right. It's either, but when I was out there painting was usually in an abandoned building or a crappy train or under you know under past that didn't look good anyways and you know, I wasn't shooting people, you're not tagging the, you know, the local cold stone creamery, you're, you're going somewhere where you, because it's not meant to disrespect you know, and and people that tag like in cemeteries or unlike monuments or you know when you go to like from Grand Canyon or you know Mount Rushmore and people tag joanie loves chachi all over all the shit did you say Jodie loves chachi gets fucking amazing.
Who is the guy that's doing that one. I want to see the one that's putting joanie loves Chachi, I want to meet this guy, I want to have lunch with me, I need to know this dude shit, you know, it's, it's some of its like destructive for sure and like depending on the situation may be, but you know it's for the most part were just, it was some form of excitement, some people did it for the thrill hanging off the top of something and you might die and and you know part of it was that you know it's sitting down to my house and painting, it's a completely different experience and experience when I was younger, you know when people chasing you and the cops come in or being in somebody else's neighborhood and not knowing who's around the next corner or you know just whatever could happen at four or five in the morning. There's an addiction to that, to that heart flutter that you get in those situations when you think you're about to get caught or when you can hear footsteps behind you and you're moving, you know or you're running faster any of those things you can get addicted to that you know to a certain degree.
Yeah and you know uh my mom will kill me for telling this story but I will tell it anyways there is a Some low income housing right by our house and they just painted the whole lobby brand new. So I don't know why we decided to do this but we find the whole thing, I mean wall, the ceiling, whole thing driving, I think I was 15, maybe 14, get pulled over his paint all over us, you know my buddy, I was just, I said, Hey, I'm the most pain on me. So I said, Hey, it was all me. I just got in the car with these guys. Like they're taking me home, let them go. So they did. So they arrested me. My mom comes and picks him up at three in the morning or whatever. Finally, they let me go. Just got a shitload of cleaning supplies in the back of my little brothers in the no, go there and clean the shit out of that place to like six in the morning. We found some other paint and like painted over. It's perfect. Next day. You know, I'm supposed to go back and check in and they're like, no, we couldn't charge you with anything, maintenance got there before. We could take pictures for evidence and they must have painted over everything. Oh, like, yeah, we can't charge. They're so pissed. They're like, you know, we know you did it.
I'm like, I didn't do anything. They get paint all over you. You imagine if you had not your mom and not taking you down there. Wait, it could be a different life. Yeah, it was, it was a minor one that would have just been a little bit, you know, that, that was just, uh, she, you know, I paid for that. She, uh, she worked for the church at the party center and they had all the events, their members in trouble. I had to wash dishes and bus tables every friday and saturday night, which was a lot of those. Um, so it started off when I was like 13 for breaking the car window down to like 18 like working at all today in my garden. I spent, I spent so much time in trouble growing up and you know, I think uh it's good to see that there are opportunities now for kids that are from, you know, inner cities that have natural gifts because let's, let's face it, every single person is a creator, it's whether or not there, they believe that they can or if it's fostered or if it's, you know that lens is not put over their eyes saying that you are not capable for whatever reason and you get all these kids in there that are, you know trap with no ability to have that outlet now they're getting those, like you said, those big walls that they can tag or they're doing, I mean anybody can do art now.
You can do it on a phone for God's sakes. It's so much different now and everything, you know, with all you need is a phone, youtube saying dance cook clean. I mean whatever you want to do, you can create something and you can put it out there. Um and there's a lot of different types of created, you know, creativity to my brother is an accountant and you know, and other people like that when I give them a budget to work with the way that they're able to make the numbers work and everything is not how my brain works in any way, shape or form I could barely add and I'm like there's no way we could do it if we move this here and move that there and cut half a day here and put this day in the end here and you know, we could probably get a gear rental on this that will lead into the next week. So we only charge oh what a beautiful mind. And I'm like, is it gonna work? That's I was gonna say a beautiful mind. My my brother in law was like that he's an engineer and he sits down in front of his cell and starts just going nuts. And me I look like a pig staring at a wristwatch, it's not fucking working out. I'm like what is this guy doing? But you're right, it's still art, it's still creativity and we need to be grateful for that.
I think that's that's one of the things that were not a lot of times I stand standing in the shower and same thing you said there are so many different things that our creativity and I was just looking at, we had a piece of stone tile there and it was like, you know shaped like a seashell, right? And it was etched into the wall and I thought about it for a minute and I'm like, somebody went to work, somebody put pen to paper, somebody toiled over this. Somebody was told you need five sea shells by fucking next week. You know, whatever somebody got yelled at about, you know, that kind of thing. And I'm like, and I, and I just look at shit every day and pass on by it, but there's a creator and everything. Yeah, I think that way about a lot of things. I don't know why it's like my step dad, it's a metallurgist. I think I said that right? But it's very scientific guy and we were pretty young, like a metal scientists, whatever, you always touch shit, you know, and like I picked up on and I'm like, why you touch that. I just, I just want to see what that's made of, you know, kind of thing. And like it's stuck with me and I always like, you know that structural, if it's like a being met, like it looks like, you know, the, the new arena for the UFC, they have these big beams, it looks super dope and I just had to know if that's holding up the roof for that's just or whatever.
So I always like thinking about how shit is made and you know, and then as I got older and became a businessman, I'm like how much that cost, you know like, yeah, that's, that's the, that's the next, the next level of measurement. Your set is really cool. Like I've been looking at the brick wall and everything since we started and I'm like in my brain I'm like she make that for is that real break? Is that, you know, like, like, like that looks really dope. Like just thinking about like how much would that, you know, it's like, I don't know, it's a weird thing and you know, who do I know, where do I know to get that acts as a producer? You like your job is to know the people that know shit, you know? And that's, that's all that I do. It's like I can't actually do anything. Dude, I used to, I get it. I used to have a job as a solution architect. I don't talk about this much, but when somebody asked me what that job is and this is gonna sound horribly disrespectful, but I used to tell people I was a nerd whisperer and like the fuck does that mean? I'm like, I get people that know a fuck ton more than me to put stuff together and bring it to me the way that I wanted so I can put it together and they're all smarter than me that you have to know that's, that's, that's that one, you know, you have to know who's better than you are smarter than you have these certain things and trust them and earn their trust to get it done.
But you think, you know everything, that's the quickest way to fail in this business, That's for sure. Absolutely. Well in anything, I mean, once you think that you know everything, you've already failed your your your beyond, you're beyond help. There's a there's a third set of measurement in there and I think that happens a little bit later in life for depending on what that situation is, that that creates it. But that that next measurement is say you're standing in your home and you've you've sat there and you've totaled things up in dollars and cents, right? You're looking at that tv, this piece of art, you know that particular, by the way, I saw a video of you, you have wu tang clan pillows. I thought they were badass. Yeah. There they are. But you you would look at me like, how much is a wu tang clan pill again, Where do you get that out? Right. Play if you were to stand in your own home and pull out a calculator, but change what you were calculating to time and walk through and look at every single item and say, okay, this routine can clam pillow cost me two hours.
This one cost me or this particular thing cost me three years that cost me, You know, and you just keep adding up. Fuck you go over to storage or if you've got some stuff you're not using and you start hammering out those numbers, right chick, it's real messed up real quick. It does and I think that way the older I got to, I'm a huge sneaker head and I have a ridiculous amount of sneakers. And our friend chris he told me that he said you loved sneakers, it's always been my thing. I couldn't afford to have the cool shoes at all when I was a kid and always begging my mom and it would be you know maybe every couple of years, you know you can get a pair of jordans if you did, you know really good like whatever and it's something I always wanted and then you know it's just always been part of the hip hop culture and and I don't know, I don't know what it is but my mom always said you know we were kids, you're not gonna have the nicest stuff but you're gonna match, you're gonna be clean and it's gonna you know, so we have generic views but they match my shirt so we'd always be neat and clean and everything fit perfectly. It just would be cheap and you can get away with wearing some cheap stuff if it's if it looks good, you know like a cheap suit that fits you perfectly, looks a million times better than Armani suit that's all hanging off your ass and it doesn't look right, you know this is true, if you look like you're a hangar, it ain't working.
So I always have the mentality and then it just, it just grew and then there was a lot of years I was making money off of it, you know, had some connections and how it stand in line for hours when I didn't, it wasn't working and you buy two pairs and you sell one for twice as much and then you get the other pair of free kind of thing and you know, for years and now it's like, it's an addiction like I'm not buying any more shoes and then we'll put something, not that I always wanted and shit, just one more, it's, it's something that was created in your childhood. It, you know, a lot of times, you know, for me, socio economically when you think about this, there's a hierarchy of things that will bring you happiness and if you start out from the bottom you're rungs of happiness, you're not going to be Car Mac book trip to, you know, Cancun or whatever, it's going to be things like name brand cereal, it's going to be, you know, it's going to be a para Nikes, it's going to be a fresh haircut, it's going to be, you know, a watch, things like that and people think that that's, you know, something that someone's trying to show off or they, it's actually used to ridicule people in those situations, the ones that get the Cancun trips and things like that.
But the fact of the matter is it's just the level with which there is to be able to obtain things and why not who gives a fuck. Yeah and it's like you know the more the older I get you know I don't be the old guy that's like kids these days but you know what you know what they need to be happy as compared to what we needed. I mean it's like when I grew up in the eighties I might as well be in the fifties we had a couple of channels on T. V. We have bikes, I went outside and that's that's what we did, you know it was minus 10 degrees in Cleveland, my mom yelling at I'm inside because you know it's like you wrote you jumped on your bike and rode around, you've seen a pile of bike somewhere or you went to the park or you went to the store that everybody kicked in front of and then it was just like hey what are we gonna do today? Let's figure something out. Might have been good, might have been bad, might have been nothing. But if you figured it out and you thought of things to do and you know now it's like if you don't have the new game that everybody's playing like you're sitting at home by yourself and your four friends are fucking playing fortnite 37 or whatever it is and yeah there is like too many of those things you know and it's like even when I got grounded, I was so annoying that my mom eventually just go outside, you know, it'll be like a 100% every single time just go get out, that was every time one more day, you know?
But it's it's it's different, the interactions are different and uh there's some good and so bad, you know, I could talk to so many agreement right now, you know, and I only knew the kids in my neighborhood for almost most of my life, you know, and they're all great people, I love them and I'm really, really glad for it, but I'm also glad that I got out and moved and met people all over to um and I think I personally think I did the best way I grew up somewhere that, you know, might just not be the nicest place or whatever, but had great people, great friends, you know, great environment for the most part have those roots there and then I was able to travel the world and meet people from everywhere and and some of that I bring home to my friends and family back there and they try new things or have a different perspective and they keep me grounded and I'm proud to be from there, so it's kind of like it were a couple of ways I can appreciate that, you know, um I think empathy and a lot of creativity, producers, things like this um I think that it's born out of struggle. I think that when people come from struggle they have a much better ability to understand the human experience and be able to place things and put things in certain ways.
I think that that's uh that's born of that scenario and you have to be creative you know any of all the money in the world, it's more difficult in some ways. You know I'm producing the Ultimate Fighter which is a multimillion dollar T. V. Show for ESPN the biggest network on the planet and and it's a huge thing. And then the next week I'm trying to do one of my own projects and trying to make it look really good for like eight grand as opposed to millions. And so that's got to be rough. You have a toy store and then you you get you have to stand outside of it to make your play with your own toy. Exactly. You know. But then my business partners are all cinematographers That do all these things and they're they're Emmy award winning and they're the best of the best but now we're doing small projects so it's like we figure out ways to use this $3,000 camera instead of the $100,000 camera and you know we don't get huge lightning trucks and everything. We got eight lights and rent to and borrow four from a guy we know and then someone comes in and helps us out and then before you know it, it's like, aren't those the better the better of the, the projects when they're done. So sometimes when you go and you have to white knuckle it through it, but you're doing it because you love it for sure.
That's that when that turns out, well that's, that's the best um you know, and it's, it's, you know, we stay on set all the time, like we just want to make cool shit with our friends. Like it's, it's come full circle. Um you know, my best friend got me in this business almost 20 years ago and he's big time and won a couple Emmys this year and has films in Tribeca and he's as big as it gets and the heart, most hardworking, dedicated guy. No, and then, you know through this we started working on little projects together and we haven't worked together in over a decade until this last weekend and we're best friends into the same business, but he's, you know, doing much bigger things, life happens and but it's great because you know, like we're back like wanting to shoot music videos and shit again, like we did in the nineties in college and like, but AMP it up and and like that's when we had the most fun seeing, I believe that life is a circle, I think that you're born with a specific set of talents and gifts that you are supposed to bring to the world, right? And I think that we deny ourselves those that we go through the human experience and we stifle all those abilities until a certain point where we've now got enough experience to revisit what we were supposed to be from get go because you said you you got your teeth, you or you cut your teeth, you know, promoting for hip hop, Right?
That's probably the first thing I would do. It is you know, I grew up wanting to be a rapper and wrapping and you had all these little groups and we did a couple of shows with bone thugs and harmony in Cleveland in the 90s, which is like what, Whoa, you can't just drop that manhole cover that wasn't a dime, You dropped like a manhole cover, you, you did a show with but we did a couple and you know we'd be at the mall with them and it was a normal thing till they blew up. And then uh it was, it was, it was weird, I could send you some pictures, it's funny. I looked ridiculous. Oh please do man, I don't want to hear it. I grew up with like he harville country, middle of florida, it's like southern Alabama at one point I had a mullet, I had you know, I did the, I did the, it went in phases and it was what through like late eighties, through the mid, up through the mid nineties and it went mullet and then mullet with the ladder on the side of the ladder. Then the mullet came off except the middle, you left the rat tail, right, yeah, we're in sections then rat tail was snipped off but you went up higher and it was shaved up from the back and the side.
So you got the surfer cut like zack Morris or something that was go ahead. That was similar to mine but with a lot of braids and other designs cut in. But I definitely had the step mullet before this step mullet I think, I don't know how those trends spread before internet and everything, but everyone can have them three things. God they were so stupid. All had that. Hey academics, thanks Again for attending another class at the tragedy Academy. You can show us some love by subscribing, downloading and rating us five stars on apple podcasts, Spotify and stitcher or ask amazon Alexa to play the tragedy Academy podcast. You find links to all major podcast platforms and past episodes at the tragedy Academy dot com. You can find us on all the majors of social media on instagram at the tragedy Academy 2019 on Tiktok at the tragedy Academy and on twitter at tragedy underscore Academy where we'll post our clips of upcoming shows, updated info and thoughts If you'd like to be a guest, send an email to show at the tragedy Academy dot com, keep an eye out on instagram for tragedy.
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