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Facebook Re-Post

I posted this originally on Facebook, and believe I need to repost here to insure it’s survival

While I don’t post here often, and I know almost no one ever reads anything here, I did post something on Facebook that may be removed. It is possible that google won’t index my site and it will get sandboxed for this.

I have tried to stay out of politics, but somehow the CDC and Dr. Fauci have become major political players, and I think we need to get together on this instead of fighting over media hype.

The post:

I get yelled at daily from both sides at my “day job”. So before you scream at me for being “deplorable” or a “useful idiot”, please read this and fact check it if you don’t know me or trust me.
I work in a very confined and shared space. The Covid Rates at my day job are low because we follow the simple rules the CDC and WHO started us off with nearly two years ago.

Virus Facts:

Asymptomatic People can spread a virus.Vaccinated People can spread a virus.Symptomatic or (masked symptomatic) can spread a virus 50% faster and for many more days. Masks are most effective at blocking virus within 36 hours of symptom onset (ncbi published study). A mask “May block up to 80%” of exhaled virus.

Read Between the lines

Read the last two lines like an attorney. “Within 36 hours”, refers to the symptomatic person wearing a mask. This has been common practice in Japan for years. The next line says “May” and “up to” and “exhaled”.

The Culture of Courtesy Effect

Japan has only 15% vaccination rate and 1/10th our covid death rate. No where could I find that a mask blocks inhaled virus. Aerosol transmitted virus can enter through the eyes, and PLEASE don’t make us all wear face shields too. When the Japanese have a cough or runny nose and leave the house, they wear a mask. It isn’t a badge of shame, it is a badge of courtesy. They are respecting others around them.

Now consider those numbers like a statistician.

There are many “studies” saying that symptomatic people only infect 50% more people than asymptomatic. In all of the studies I have read the number of asymptomatic people varied from 18% to a high of 40%.
So even in those studies if there are 30% more people (average of the five studdies I read) with Covid that become symptomatic and they infect 50% more people each (study ranges were 44-77%), then the real answer is that symptomatic people are the cause of about twice as many infections as asymptomatic. That means if we can keep symptomatic (sick) people at home instead of giving them cold medicine and sending them off to school or work, we can slow the spread by nearly 67%.

Look Around and Get Real

Given that most people don’t wear a mask properly and take it off to sneeze or cough, I bet the real mask reduction number isn’t anywhere close to the 67% we could be getting by simply washing our hands and staying home when sick. Oh wait, washing hands wasn’t anywhere in any study about masks or Covid-19 specifically. So we could do better maybe.

The Handwashing Paradox.

Every study says handwashing helps, but there is no real way to know. What they do know is that in 1850 Dr. Ignez Semmelwieis stood up in Vienna and said three words that changed the world. “Wash your hands”. He discovered almost accidently that by washing his hands between patients, specifically mothers giving birth, that the disease and death rate of the newborns dropped dramatically.

A Trek across Utah and Zion

Trekking across Utah last week was great. St George was a wonderful place to visit. Not one mask in sight. I know a few people are going to disagree, but please read all the facts, not the media hype before screaming back at me.

As soon as I crossed into Nevada, I learned #maskstupidity was back. We ended up driving through Del Taco instead of having a nice dinner out.

So I Ask You,

Why do I need a mask?
Why do I need a vaccine? (#NOYB if I did or didn’t.)
Why does the highway sign say “Get Vaccinated, Get Your Life Back”, and yet vaccinated people still need to wear masks.
When SARS1 was here, did you wear a mask?
When SARS1 was here, did you stop going to work?
When SARS1 was here, did you get a vaccine?

Do you remember when going to a concert was an act of rage against the machine? Now New Yorkers happily show a vaccine card to get in? Concerts and rock music were a protest against “they” and “them”, now they and them are who we are supposed to trust? What happened? How did Hollywood and Music become “they”?

Why do people get ugly when someone doesn’t wear a mask and say nothing when half of the people walk out of a restroom without even looking at the sink. I don’t care what you did in there #washyourhands people.

What happened to “an ounce of prevention”?

That sounds like washing your hands and staying away from sick people.

I agree with the WHO and CDC’s initial recommendation to beat this, wash your hands and stay home if you are sick. If you take cold or flu medicine don’t leave the house, you are sick. Masking the symptoms doesn’t make it better, it makes you contagious and hides the warning signs from other people. If you take aspirin, tyloenol or any other fever reducer because you are hot, stay home, call a doctor, but don’t go out and spread it around because you already paid for those cheap airline tickets or concert seats.

Sadly it appears we are too selfish to follow the simple guidance that actually works, and are too civil to send “sick” people away, so we all have to suffer. It makes no sense to me. I believe someone said once “In a perfect socialism, we all reap the rewards together, in perfect communism we all share the pain together.” I think I am beginning to understand this quote.
I don’t give a rats’ ass if you wear a mask. I won’t unless legally bound to, and will not eat or shop anywhere other than inside an airport if a mask is required. I think that the mask and the vaccine are both an infringement of my freedom and civil liberty.

Write your reps, end the stupidity, stay home when sick, send people home when they are sick. Masks and Vaccines should be a choice, not an infringement of our civil liberties because “they” say so.

Do your part so we can all move forward. The easy way out of “wearing a mask” isn’t working.

If you don’t know how to write your representative here is a free tool to find them.

(I have no affiliation with nor do I endorse commoncause.org.)

Find Your Representatives

Covid and an Election

There is a lot going on with Covid and an Election year.

The conspiracy theorists will tell you that there has been a major outbreak during every election year. I am not too sure about that, but I will say that I was better prepared after reading Porter Stansberry’s book “American Jubilee“. There is a lot of mud slinging going on. Sadly what I hear from the Biden-Harris camp is vague feel good political rhetoric with a lot af mudslinging.

Trump really doesn’t need to mudsling when cities are rioting and burning. Democratic led cities specifically in democratic states. Wouldn’t it be great if we could erase the party lines, and candidates could present real plans?

Even during “the new deal” there were “work programs” where the government put people to work until they could return to private employment. Now the right calls it a waste of money and the left calls it inhumane. Both sides hate it, while people need it.

Some thoughts to chew on this election season.

  1. Remove race and ethnicity from government forms. How about we all call ourselves and treat each other simply as “Americans”. Lets not only preach equality, lets start acting like it exists so it has a chance to exist. The French got this right after the revolution. Fraterity-Liberty-Equality is right on their seal.
  2. Free Education – Ok, I’ll agree that an education is a great way to get ahead in life. Lets start by teaching people how to ride bikes on the roads instead of on sidewalks going the wrong way at 25mph with their new electric bike.

    Now as far as getting an education for free. I don’t know of a college in this country that is begging for students. None of them are lowering tuition to attract more students. That said, if you do the work, I think you should be able to go. If you can’t afford it, the Government should offer some options.

    To kill two birds with one stone – Rising pensions of government employees and rising student debt – I suggest the following:
    For each year of school after high school, the student owes one year of government service. At the end of the service only 3% may remain on as public servants and earn a pension. The other 97% shall return to private sector (tax paying) work. If you go to a technical or 2 year program, you owe two years.

    These are paid government jobs like DMV clerk or parking patrol. If you become an MD, you can work at the VA, in the US Armed forces or other public sector health program for the years you owe. If you become an attorney, you will work for a city or county clerk, District Attorney or other related office.
  3. Free Health Care – While this is a great dream, it is in no way a reality and that is proven throughout history. There is a solution though. Yes there should be better access to emergency health care and we should also be a lot better at limiting the things that are dangerous for us. EBT cards should not be used for fast food any more than they should be used for cigarettes. We are creating our own problems.

    As long as the patient/citizen is held responsible for their end of the bargain it could work. If you only eat greasy fast foods and get heart disease, you don’t get a free heart transplant. Doctors must prescribe exercise, vitamins and other solutions and should be penalized for prescribing drugs when there are holistic options that are proven to work. The same would be true for surgeries. We don’t need another Doctor Moon.

    Deductibles could be based on income. The more you make the greater your deductible. Yes it’s a tax, I get it, and I am rarely for more taxes. The biggest problem I have is the bureaucratic bloat. If private insurance still remains in place as it does now with the “exchanges” then we not only pay the profit of the insurance company, we add the expense of the state run “exchange”. Those two factors are most of what drives up the cost of health care.

    You could also earn lower deductibles by staying healthy and exercising. “From those who can to those who need” is a simple statement but it is pretty clear that if you can you should, and I think when it comes to taking care of yourself, that is a requirement. I have seen vets with both legs missing take better care of themselves than most Americans. If you want universal healthcare, universal responsibility needs to be part of the package.
  4. Voter Identification – I really don’t get why this is a hot button. Should the whole world be allowed to vote in our elections? I don’t get to vote in France or Mexico. Someone clearly is voting twice. Why an ID requirement for voting is such a hot topic tells me someone is cheating and knows it. I need an ID to buy beer, it isn’t unrealistic to need an ID to vote.
  5. Vote where you are taxed. If you own property in two places you should be able to vote once nationally for the president, congress and senate. You pick where. Then you also should be able to vote on local elections anywhere you are paying taxes locally, either by working there or owning property there. I think “US Citizen” should be on your drivers license or ID and that allows you to vote in the national election. The address on your ID allows you to vote in that local election. If you want to vote somewhere else, then you need a paystub showing you paid tax there or a property tax bill. If your taxes are paying for them, you should get a vote.
  6. Congress, the Senate and the President shall abide by all laws. Being an elected member of the federal government does not put you above the law.
  7. Ban Mudslinging – Facts about what a candidate said and how they voted can be published. The rest is off the table. Let’s be civilized about this. Creating anger doesn’t make this a better country.
  8. Ban Opinion News – Newspapers, Magazines and Public Broadcast mediums should not support or endorse any candidate or policy. They can report the facts and expert views on the potential effects of a policy or candidate. When doing so, both sides must be given equal opportunity. Why people listen to CNN or Fox baffles me.
  9. Let the Punishment fit the Crime – What happened to “hard labor”? Why do prisons have color TV’s and Gyms? If you make the inside nicer than the outside, what is the incentive to go straight and stay out? Prisons are a huge private sector business, and that in itself is part of the problem.
  10. Aw hell, that is enough for one day. If enough people flame me for this, maybe I’ll write more. My bet is less than 100 people will spend the time to read this and even think about the opportunity that we have for the future.

If you got this far, thank you for considering my opinions about Covid and Elections this election year.

To Buy or Rent an RV or just Hotel it.

The question that started this month was to buy or rent an RV or just hotel it?  I received some funding for a documentary that until this point was being funded out of my pocket.  I landed a couple of critical interviews so I would be on the road for six or seven days.  

Ducey's Bass Lake California
Ducey’s on The Lake – No Pets

At the same time I needed to visit my in-laws since my mother in law just had her second knee replaced and was immobile.  I also needed to visit the parents of my high school best friend who recently chose to leave us behind.  My trip just grew to 10 days.

Using a hotel website that allowed cancellations, I started booking hotels, but none of them were close to where I needed to be each day.  This meant unloaded and reloading all of my stuff, camera gear and reloading once or twice every day.

My neighbors had a very cool Class C RV for sale at a very good price.  For many years we rented a Class A for “roughing it” during 24 hours of LeMons races, and we kind of liked the idea of just loading up once for each big trip.  The Class C was just small enough to give me pause so I rented one.

Renting the RV was both a blessing and a curse.  We learned right away that if you get a small RV you really need to know exactly what you want.  The big Class A’s have way more than two people need and really don’t leave you wanting for much.  The Class C looks like all the same stuff in a smaller package.  It isn’t.

The single most important thing I can tell you about RV’s and hotels is that the bed is the thing.   The second most important thing is blocking the light and sound.  A cheap hotel and a cheap RV have bad beds and don’t block light or sound well.

To make matters worse the RV we rented had just returned from Burning Man.  If you have ever been you know the sand out there is like sheetrock dust and gets in everything.  The owners agent tried to clean it, but we still woke up the next morning looking like lightly tanned ghosts.  I stopped by a friends RV dealership and they removed four pounds of dust from the interior and washed a sea of tan from the AC unit on the roof.  

Class C RV At Bass Lake
Class C Sprinter Diesel at Bass Lake California

Day two was a little better but the bed just didn’t cut it.  After seven days I was in need a a good bed and sucked up the cost of a great hotel.

Day eight we were in a campground next to a nice couple that had a unit one smaller than ours.  He was well over six feet and she was looking me eye to eye in flip flops.  I am 5’11”.  I finally asked how they can sleep in that little RV.  They said they ordered it with a custom bed.  They agreed, if the bed is wrong the experience is terrible.

What I learned is that if you are going to buy an RV, rent the exact same model first and make sure it works for you.  Since I found small campsites and hotels are much easier to find than Class A sized campsites, it is between a nice Class C unit or a very nice GT car.  The CruToys Jeep is great for a few days but the roof whistle and road noise are fatiguing after about three days of road tripping  

The Jag F-Pace is a great road car but doesn’t carry enough luggage for long working trips like this one.  I just saw the new Land Rover Discovery, and it looks like a contender.  The Bentley GT does too, but the $250,000 price difference between the two makes me think I might try the Land Rover first.

Each of us travel differently, and I admit after 20 years on the road with the US military and another 15 on the road with the airline business, I am not a fan of any hotel that doesn’t start with Four or end with Carlton.  Clearly the same is true of my RV experience.  When I started pondering the question to buy or rent an RV or just hotel it, I didn’t expect to be promoting the hotel option.

The folks at AirStream tell me they have a Class C that will rock my socks off for my next photo-video adventure.  If they drop it at my door, I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until then, I am voting for a Class A motor coach or a first class SUV or GT car to hit the road.  For now, I’ll just take the CruToys Jeep JL and a surfboard around the corner to the beach.

How To Make More Money

aka Why Are Some Things So Expensive?

Have you ever wondered why some things are so expensive and other things are so cheap?  This is something I look at all the time.  Deciding what price to charge is a very difficult task for any business owner.  What is the competition? What do they charge?  Why should we charge more or less?  All of this comes into play.

Working with a bakery offers a great example of how something that looks the same can have a hugely different price.  Do you think a $12 cupcake is expensive?  How about a four pack of cupcakes for $3.99?  A six pack for $1.99?  

At then end of the day they are all just sweet bread with frosting aren’t they?  They can all be made better with ice cream, so why should I spend $12 a cupcake at one store when I can get six for $1.99 at the local warehouse center?

What Goes Into The Product Matters

What goes into the cupcakes makes a difference, and the shopping experience does too.  A big theme park near our offices, famous for a mouse really has $12 cupcakes and yes, I buy one on occasion.  There is also my clients bakery with a $6.00 cupcake which I buy a lot more often.  Sometimes I break down and get the $3.99 four pack but that is my bottom line.

Why?  I read the ingredients at each location except the place with the mouse family.  There I know I am paying for the experience and just suck it up.  My clients six dollar cupcakes have just five or six ingredients.  The gluten free version has eight.  More importantly I can pronounce and buy all eight of the ingredients without a chemistry degree.

I once read the list of twenty plus ingredients on the cupcakes at the local supermarket.  I have no idea what is in them after wheat and sugar.

Convenience Matters

In Europe Bakeries dot every little village.  The village buys just about all of the bread from the local baker.  We don’t do that any more in the United States.  I don’t know why, but we seem to think we can save a buck at the local grocery store so we go there.

In Huntington Beach California we still have a small dairy, a real meat only butcher shop and a couple of small bakeries that make bread fresh daily.  My wife doesn’t like to stop at four shops because it isn’t “convenient”.  I’ll do it to support the local small businesses.  Whole Foods won’t even know I wasn’t there.

We also have four cupcake shops within four miles of our house.  If we forget dessert for a party, we’ll run to the closest one, pay $4-6 per cupcake and load up simply because it is convenient and rarely do we have to wait.

Selection Matters

For many businesses, the cost of a wide selection of products becomes prohibitive.  When I ran the Home Theater Stores and Home Technology Centers, I almost bankrupted the place trying to carry everything.  The inventory, staff training, service support and sales goals eventually became completely unmanageable.

Eventually I partnered with a competitor and we tested out some “packages”.  We narrowed it down to three items per category.  Basically a good, better, best.  Yes we would lose a few people who demanded a certain brand of the week they saw on TV or in a magazine.  Once I realized those were not my clients, I could breath and actually find the people that were my clients.

The things you choose to sell or services you choose to offer will narrow or widen your market.  Going to wide without very deep pockets normally isn’t possible.  With a bakery, gluten free in California is almost a given, but how much?  Most stores have two or three flavors and they rotate them to add variety.  The supermarket has one flavor occasionally.  Convenience also matters in selection.

Cake Tahoe Cupcakes

The Experience Matters

The last component sets the price in stone and that is the experience.  The least experiential way to buy a cupcake is in a box of 24 at the local super warehouse.  The most experience heavy way to buy is either a very unique bakery with coffee and bistro tables or of course that theme park hosted by the famous mouse. 

You might be thinking that you don’t have a way to make everyday objects more expensive, but you do.  Look at Candlesticks at the local discount home store like Home Goods, Tuesday Mornings or even Big Lots.  Then go look at the candlesticks at Tiffany, Waterford and Baccarat.

Baccarat has long been a favorite in our house, and most people can’t tell the difference.  Recently the high end crystal candlesticks on our dining room table went back in the box.  The top of my dining room table now has a piece of wire with 8 glass cups and votive candles.  It is hand made by a local artist, and fits the room perfectly.  She took a piece of wire, and $8 worth of glass candle holders and turned it into a candleholder that out priced Tiffany and pushed into Baccarat territory.

Every business has a way to create a better customer experience and charge more for it.  The next time you wonder why things are so expensive, remember this list and ask yourself, “How can I charge more?”

New Kühl Toys Video Up

Today we had some technical issues and the new segment of Kühl Toys is up a little late.  If you are considering the Amazon Echo, which we call “Alexa”, take a quick peek at the video at KühlToys.com to see what we found.

We also had a headlight start to fail from the first segment, and the manufacturer is saying since we didn’t buy it directly from them it isn’t under warranty.

Back to the drawing board on that one!

Kühl Toys – Can One Help You Sleep Better?

This week on Kühltoys.com, I compared two models of the Jawbone Up, a fitbit model and a smart watch.  Why?

Well, like many of you I am sure, I woke up one morning during the new year and finally got the courage to step onto a scale.  The damage?  Twelve pounds.  The weather has been bad so I haven’t been running or surfing as much, and I have been spending a lot more time in traffic and in studios.  Not a good formula for keeping the weight off.

Two years ago when Dr. Goldberg and I made a small wager on who could lose twenty pounds the fastest, I grabbed a Jawbone Up24 and used it to track running distance and calories.

I discovered the Jawbone Up24 had a side talent of being able to help me power nap, and for anyone in todays world a proper power nap can be the key to a successful day.

When my Jawbone Up 24 button died, I picked up the Up3 and my wife chose a fitbit model, thus began the challenge.

You can see the results on KühlToys.com.

Which Microphone Is Best For Home Recording?

Voice Over Artists, Internet Marketers and Podcasters and even actors are always asking, the same question. If you are reading this, you must have the same question too.  Most of this is in the podcast too.

The question they ask is , what is the best microphone to use for home recording. What they really mean is How do I get better sounding recordings at home. So today join me for a moment and step into the world of audio recording and let me show you the secrets I’ve learned in 15 years of designing and working in the world of sound.

Today I am going to quickly cover microphones and some basic acoustics. For demonstration and listening, I will read the same paragraph using three different microphones, and then read it again with a pop filter on two of them. Finally I will read it one more time with a microphone shield. A pop filter reduces the “plosive” words that have a p or a b.  I pop without one and you’ll hear it in the podcast.   The microphone shield just eliminates some echo, not much though.

The three microphones I have chosen are the Apogee MiC, the Audio Technica AT 2020USB and the Microsoft LifeCam with built in microphone. All three are under $200 and available online and around town. All of these are budget minded microphones with USB connectors. No digital converters required.

If you want to take it up a notch, an Apogee One and any directional microphone to get better sound. Everything tested here combined is less expensive than the Apogee One.

The Apogee mic has the distinct advantage of being able to connect digitally to an iPhone or iPad as well as using USB to connect to a PC or Mac. You can set up a complete home recording studio with a Apogee MiC, iPad, and a mic stand with an iPad holder. All of this can be found for under $700.

The AT2020USB comes in two models, the standard and the PLUS.  The AT2020USBPLUS has the ability to plug in headphones right into the mic.  This gets rid of the delay when you plug a USB mic into your computer.  If you like to have headphones on to hear what you sound like when you record, this is the winner.  Having headphones or “cans” on while you work is how most professional studios work, so even though it is a bit more expensive, this option might be worth it.

One quick thing to understand is the difference between microphones sold at the office center for home and office use and pro microphones. Most home microphones are designed for Skype and are omnidirectional.  They hear everyone but they all get that talking through a tube sound.

Microphone Basics:

There are three basic microphone types, Cardioid, Omni and directional.  Omni is short for omnidirectional meaning they pick up sound about equally from all directions. The echoes are all picked up equally and that is what gives you that talking in a tube sound.

Directional mics are sometimes called shotgun mics.  They are great for sound booths, and radio announcers.  Film and TV boom mice are also shotgun mics.  They only pick up what is right in front of them eliminating unwanted noise.  Shotgun mics are harder to use because you can’t move very far without hearing a big change in the sound.  Unless you have a lot of practice, I don’t recommend this for home use.

Cardioid are the most common.  The Apogee and the Audio Technica tested in my podcast are both Cardiod mics.  These are easy to use and still sound better than an Omni in most situations.  Cardoid mics have two different pickup patterns and use electronics to clean it up.  You can move a little while you talk without “fading away”.

The Room Acoustics:

In every room, The echo you hear is the sound bouncing off the walls. The more furniture, carpeting and stuff you have in a room, the less echo or bounce you get. A microphone shield prevents a little bit of that bounce as well. A sound booth used shape and special wall panels to eliminate most of that bounce.  The shield I used in the test is quite small because my wife’s office is pretty quiet.  Bigger shields cost more and do a much better job.

So lets get started and at the end we’ll see if you can tell which mic and setup I used for the intro. The microsoft life cam is an omni mic with very high sensitivity so it picks up everything. See if you can hear the difference.

The room is my office. I do have to pause for airplanes flying over and trucks coming by and even my refrigerator. Even though it is a very quiet refrigerator, it shares a wall with my office and causes a hum through the walls that the mic pics up. This is just home recording reality, my office isn’t anything special, no big acoustic treatments, just an office with two chairs a wood desk and a bookshelf. Something you might be able to create in your own home. I am even recording this sitting down which most voice coaches don’t like. Standing is the best way for you to sound good.

For each test, I am setting the mic up to have a room floor of -50db. This might not mean much to you, so I’ll explain. The room floor is the sound of the room with nothing happening. just the sound bouncing around the room or leaking in from outside. by adjusting each mic to -50db the test is more fair. At this setting, my refrigerator reads a -36db. Even at home you should see about -45db or quieter for home voice recording or auditions. Studios shoot for a -60db or better which is very difficult in most homes.

The bigger the negative number, the quieter the room. At some point you get a dead room. When you walk in you hear yourself breath and it can be very uncomfortable for some people. You can cheat and lower the gain or input volume of the microphone, but then you lose some of the sound in your voice as well. The trick is to find a balance.

Recording Software:

The program I am using to record is Audacity because it is free. It is a little harder to set up to save your files in other formats though.  I don’t like garage band because it is too difficult to record “clean”, and it occasionally loses files if you save in the wrong order.  Twisted Wave is another great choice, but the price just went up to $50, so I am not using it here.

The Setup:

When I test the mic, the loud parts of me speaking should not go above 0db In fact I am trying to target a peak of -6db leaving a little headroom. Listed to the podcast and see what you think. There are some other things you can do as well, recording in a walk in closet that is filled with hanging clothes or offices with lots of books and odd shapes. The worst place to record is an empty bedroom with no furniture and flat walls. Echo city.

By now you should have listened to the podcast.  I read just enough of this post to give you a baseline, and then recorded with the three different setups.

So which mic and set up did I use? My personal setup is the AT2020 USB with WindTech popgard pop filter, I had the Apogee MiC and my wife took it for her work. So, which did you like better? Let me know at Scottbourquin.com

 

Thank you for listening and come back soon.  

Making It Look Easy Is Hard Work

One of the great secrets to making things look easy is to practice.  I don’t agree that “practice makes perfect” though.  If you practice doing something wrong, you simply train yourself to do it wrong.  This is why every successful athlete, business leader and political leader has a coach.  They might call the coach different things but behind the curtain is a coach.

A coach is someone who can stand back, and evaluate progress without the bias of pride or pain.  If something hurts to much, we might stop because it doesn’t feel right.  A coach might tell you to keep doing it because it is right, you just need to build the right muscles.  Alternately, you might think something is great and take pride in it, and the coach will break through the pride to show you where it is wrong.

Ego is the biggest obstacle to success.

If you let your Ego get in the way and block what your coach says, you won’t learn or grow.  If you let your Ego tell you that a coach is a waste of time, you’ll spend a lot of time doing things the hard way.

Depending on what you want to do in life, you may need a lot of different coaches.  You can be the worlds greatest running back, and then get a speaking coach so you can get more TV time and endorsements.

As a public speaker, acting and speaking skills are critical to my growth.  The truth is most people watch me to see the story unfold.  It took along time for me to push me ego out of the way and figure this out.  Looking back some of my early public speaking must have been pretty dull.

I have heard several actors say that Casting Director Workshops are a “waste of time”.  Waste of time or not, they are part of the game.  It is up to you to take the information and learn from it or grow with it or not.  If you don’t get anything out of it, then you are right, it is a waste of time.  Never waste time, it is the only thing you really have and you have no idea when it will run out.

This weekend, my wife and I spent nearly nine hours at Igloo Studios with ten other students, an engineer and Ned Lott.  This was a little more than a “Casting Director Workshop”.  Ned called it an “intensive”.  He was right.

In nine hours, ten people were transformed.  Some like me walked in with almost no skill in character speaking or voice.  Honestly I thought I would never need it until recently.  My ego clouded blocked my growth.

A couple of others came in with a skill level closer to the level I left with.  They left even better.  The day was simply eight hours of practice and techniques to get to another level.  As an added bonus, an animated short was being recorded in the next studio.  The director wanted a female to record some “scratch” and instead of waiting for another day or letting one of the men record it, they walked into our class and auditioned the women on the spot.

A woman who is under 30 and has a life history that makes mine look a bit dull nailed it.  We all knew it and sure enough they picked her. Normally auditions are a very private and personal thing, this was in front of class.  Our teacher, as well as the writer and the director for the new show and your competition all sitting right there.

Imagine having to audition in a public forum.  Had we not all be doing the same thing for the previous five hours, the audition might have been a lot more nerve wracking.  A cold reading audition, and not one of the women flinched.  My wife had never done anything like it, yet she stepped up and took a shot.

Just a few hours of intense work and seven women made this on the fly audition look easy, one of them made it fun.  She was the one they picked.

Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect.  And as Rob Dyrdek recently said to me, “perfection is the enemy of greatness”.  I don’t know where he got that but he is right.  Intentional practice with a purpose and a coach will make it easy, and maybe even a little fun.

Isn’t that what you really want anyway?

Kelly Bourquin In the Booth at Igloo
Kelly Bourquin In the Booth at Igloo