Go Day! is Dynasty Typewriter’s monthly dose of enchantertainment™, designed to excite and inspire you to GO into your life with gusto! It's a free event for our community where we have artists, creators, and entrepreneurs that we like come educate and inspire our audience. This month we had an amazing line-up of speakers including comedian/speaker/change agent Brian Neufang (Even his IMDB is impressive!), Ice Cream Tycoon Laura O’Neill (Van Leeuwen Ice Cream), and Barry McLaughlin (Game Night in a Can). As always, it was hosted by Jamie Flam + Vanessa Ragland (Artistic Directors at Dynasty Typewriter). Sarah Jane Irwin (Irwin Management) was in residence to take notes for this edition.
GO DAY (APRIL 6 RECAP NOTES)
HUMANS MADE THAT!
An elaborately choreographed hula hoop dance video played. It was as if the Rockettes were 80's moms dancing with hula hoops in tight blue leotards. The Revenge of the Nerds' Talent Show broadcasted next, and the hosts said, "Isn't Booger cool? Weren't some of those costumes problematic?" Yeah! HUMANS MADE THAT! It started with an idea, and here it is!
Trust your instincts and the power of gratitude! Work on being welcoming, but curate who and what is in your life with solid and fearless boundaries. We feel hurtful when we have boundaries and use them, but we have to move beyond that. When you're nice, you want to give and help others, but if the person you help isn't thankful or doesn't have gratitude, what's your work even for? It would work if a show was doing okay and the people doing it were gracious, but if the show was losing money and the people weren't gracious, why would anyone want to continue that show? Good communication up front is WORTH IT. After the communication, any and all feelings are valid. If relations don't feel good, trust your gut and be as clear as possible upfront. Have no fear! The world needs more "releasers." You don't have to say "yes" when people ask you stuff, and don't expect a "yes" when you ask people stuff. No one is entitled to anything. Release your expectations when helping another or asking for help. Part of doing things is just doing them.
TALES FROM DYNASTY
There once was a one man show with a lot of wigs. Cole Escola, from "At Home with Amy Sedaris," sold out his first show at Dynasty, so he got six shows! It's important to actually see shows and enjoy life because you don't always have to be working. Magic can happen with a little bit of tech! Remember and unpack what made you excited in the first place (like after a show), so you can take it with you in life. An example for me, right now, at Go Day: I want to work here and grow as a comedy manager even though I just made myself a comedy manager by making a website and interviewing managers. I'm excited about comedy, and I take that with me in life and am making it into a career. The takeaway is, say thank you, be genuine, and have a personality in your emails.
INNOVATIONS? MORE LIKE DYNAVATIONS!
Dynasty got excited with their popcorn treatment. They made updates to boring popcorn with new combinations of foods, flavors, and textures by adding various toppings to popcorn: jalapenos, Cheetos, candy, chips, or nutritional yeast. They got excited and got original. They also got magnetic name tags and jars for their popcorn toppings to give Dynasty a more "apothecaric" vibe. They got those things from Amazon at 2 a.m. What can you get on Amazon at 2 a.m?
BE OPEN TO UNLIKELY PEOPLE DOING UNLIKELY THINGS
Eric Raymond is the building manager that Dynasty pays rent to. Eric happened to have new DJ equipment, so he DJ'd a successful show.
You don't have to make a small problem into a sensationalized, catastrophic Trumpian headline.
Man sent kitten GIF to rekindle with an ex! (Jamie's cutesy offer of communication ended in a great relationship).
Theater owner loses sleep while pregnant woman derails day! (Vanessa went to a doctor's appointment on the wrong day after shuffling her schedule around to compensate for it).
Theater owners hide from Psychic Ostrich Man they hired! (The Ostrich Man expects and actively works to get attention. Why else would he be an ostrich man? He worked in a pretty inappropriate way, while a little drunk, by interrupting 2 people's comedy sets at Dynasty.)
Producer from Loud Village motivation and positivity man, Brian Neufang came up to bat with a happy, "I'm a releaser; Happy Go Day!" Brian uses his creativity to overcome personal blocks by teaching others what he really needed to learn himself. He taught breathwork (one word). Breathing can be conscious, but we do it around 20,000 times a day, so most of it is unconscious. Our bodies are instruments, and our meditation or conscious breathing is our hygiene. We can harness the power of breath and focus on today with breathwork (similar to life force energy, chi, pranayama, or source.) To help PTSD and mental health Brian taught a holotropic breathwork and then a shamanic breathwork for active meditation. Our breathing muscles are attached to our posture muscles, so we did a belly breath for wellbeing. He instructed us to not care what anybody thinks and ask ourselves, "How am I managing my energy? Am I leaking it after stuffing it or am I conscious about how I let it out?" Energy is always in motion and manifests itself as our thoughts or feelings. When you think of something sad or embarrassing that happened to you, the posture is burying your neck with your shoulders touching your ears; you pretty much become a turtle. When I think of my own grief and anxiety, my body posture reflects that in a shy, hunched position, and I never realized it until I heard Brian speak. If I get reminded of suicides or my dad's relapses, my whole body shrinks and stuffs into itself. Brian told us how to train your brain to free your mind, and the only way out is in. Taking time to open up physically will change you emotionally, and he asked, "What do you want more of? What do you want to let go of?" We were instructed to breathe in the rhythm of our body and to hold our tongue behind our teeth to help the energy flow.
Put your judgment hats to the side and sit tall. This breathing will help people get better sleep. Breathe through the nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and breathe out your mouth for 8 seconds. I used to teach this to new mothers struggling with mental health and addiction issues at my old non-profit back in Alaska, and it really did help them sleep.
This trains your nervous system. I usually breathe shallowly, all in my chest, and I'm tired all the time making it hard to focus. Knowing that, I can use this technique by breathing in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, breathe out for 5 seconds, and hold your breath for another 5 seconds, and repeat. You can do this out your nose or out your mouth.
*Breathwork to take you to space*
This breath helps build confidence and is hypoventilation in forcefully inhaling twice quickly, then relax and melt with an exhale out your mouth quickly, and back to the two short and powerful inhales, all through your mouth, for the duration of a song. This will generate heat, may tingle your fingers, and may change your body to a more alkaline state. We all have the power to create and to be who we want, and Brian asked, "What shift happened during this breathing exercise?” For me, during the whole song, I felt like I couldn't keep the breathing up and I took a few little, regular breath breaks to relax. I was afraid I would pass out, and it says a lot about the amount of fear and anxiety I hold onto. Most people think about life in that we all want to be comfortable. Pushing past that comfort is the only way we'll really change, and I want to try to do that for an entire song without stopping when I’m alone. Brian said the technique helped him stay grounded and that the word inspiration literally means breathing. He encourages us to email him about your experience!
GAME NIGHT IN A CAN AND MORE GAMES AND TIPS
Barry McLaughlin, co-creator of Game Show in a Can said he didn't trust the Cheetos in the popcorn Dynavation because Cheetos are too corporate. Jamie agreed, "Go on, be critical; that's how we grow!" Vanessa endorsed the Cheetos with the fact that, "They'll help you go on a crunch journey." Some people in the audience said that they didn't like spicy, but they love crunch of Cheetos in the popcorn. Cheeto tangent aside:
Barry's games got rejected three times, so he changed the packaging and made a 60 second video for Barnes & Noble in hopes of selling his games there. He learned how to edit from, "Editing for Dummies,” YouTube videos, and a pirated editing software (that pays for). He preached to market yourself in memorable ways, and how Lyft drivers always have ideas for his games (that he actually appreciates hearing). One Lyft driver was adamant about a comic book trivia game about superhero's names. He’d ask, what hero name, alter ego name, and actor names are from each hero. Barry wanted to invent games to inspire creativity rather than playing games within the rules and bounds of other people's creativity (or names?). With the example of cards against humanity, we're limited to their choices of funny cards to insert; Barry would want to see a cards against humanity type game where you put your own choices to fill in the blanks so you get to invent what's funny. He did a Kickstarter for his first game and raised $20,000. After that, he was able to call factories to figure out how he was going to get games to all of his backers. Then, he got profitable and shared his three hot tips for fun and profit.
*Tip numero uno*
Have nuggets of personality, because you're always pitching (insert baseball joke)! He wore a shiny blue jacket with a metal around his neck that didn't look completely wacky but just different enough to be noticeable. His persona was building a planet that he wanted people to visit (just because). He also gave people medals when they bought his games, and once, while he was putting a metal over a woman's head with thick braids while a song played, he couldn't get the metal over her hair (super awkward). After that, he just handed them out. He made personal videos like the Barnes & Noble one that highlighted that he cared about and wanted to work with that company, so in his video, he inserted his own product in their stores and made a commercial-like video stating, “Hey B&N, we like you!”
*Tip numero dos*
Make friends with everyone and offer your talents for free (to the right friends of course). He noted being memorable and being funny helps. He offered his services of hosting a paper airplane contest to a toy association convention, and people remembered his service and thought it was funny. Those people mentioned to women from Viacom that he made games, and those women went back to him and said, "You're welcome to any of our Viacom property to make a game out of." He picked Anchorman, and they're working on an Anchorman-themed game that inspires creativity now. That golden opportunity wouldn’t have presented itself if he wasn’t “offering his talents for free to the right people.”
*Tip numero tres*
Get organized so you can be your best creative self to do your creative stuff; be ready for opportunity as soon as it comes!
THE PRETTY DETAILS OF VAN LEEUWEN ICE CREAM
Laura O'Neill started from a one page business plan with a cute ice cream truck with as much attention to detail and design as Dynasty: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream! They just open their 16th store and are about to open 6 more before summer ends in places like Rockefeller Plaza (and in LA, NY, and NJ.) Starting out, she looked for a lease by asking, "How much is the shortest amount of time can I lease this for?" Now and she looks at leasing for the long-term asking, "Can I have this for 20 years?" She started with well made, simple ingredient ice cream. Her background is event production, and said you can really do anything with enthusiasm, hard work, design, and friends. VL started with friends and credit line of $60,000 and opened the first small fleet of ice cream trucks. She realized people wanted chunks rather than the simple flavors they started with. Even their Instagram had a clean and beautiful detail which attracted the attention of Pentagram Design. Pentagram asked VL what they could spend on design, Laura said what she could spend, and Pentagram agreed. VL started with 3 employees and now they have 200+ and focus on keeping employees matched well with their culture by treating them respectfully, nicely, and transparently (esp. about their struggles with customer service). Laura shared how are the "King of Coffee" slashed the VL truck's tires because they were selling $4 lattes while the King sold cheap, plain cups of coffee. VL was transparent about their struggles with seasonal products even though of course we could eat their ice cream year-round. For them, it was important to have an alternative to a bar that people can hang late at, so some of VL's stores are open until 2 a.m. while each customer gets the best treatment. VL lets guests try as many flavors as they want and focuses on having their employees be present with each guest. VL wanted to save people from mediocre ice cream and even have quality vegan ice cream that's not just an afterthought. VL puts just as much intention and variety into the vegan flavors, making sure they have chunks of candy/dough/chips/etc. because, "People love chunks!" It's true, even at Dynasty with their popcorn with added chunks of greatness, people do love chunks. VL was inspiration in action as Dynasty bought a special freezer to sell VL ice cream with the inaugural ice cream party after Go Day! I wish I didn't have to run out; I was literally buzzing with inspiration and excitement after seeing successful people explain how their ideas became physical things. Thank you!
No need to stress over inconveniences or the unknown; you can’t control an ostrich man’s disruptive interruptions, but you can hide from him; breathing can take you to space and change your life; make a video of what you’d like to see, and send it to who you’d like to be seen with; ice cream is better when the ingredients and design are simple; and of course, people love chunks!
Brian: Twitter @NeufangsThangs
Laura: Twitter- @VLAIC
Barry: Twitter- @GameNightInACan