I was turning 40.
I looked at my life and needed something to give me a kick in the pants. Something to excite me. My wife and I just had a kid; having a second was not the solution. I needed something special, something that was mine. Something I could get the creative juices flowing around. Something I could share with the world. I enjoyed podcasts, I’ve listened to a bunch of them for quite a number of years. Maybe I could start a podcast? But on what? What do I like that I could share with the world?
I made a list. It was a very short list. Turns out I’m quite boring. Only thing on there was wine. I literally could not think of one other thing I liked to do besides breathing and snuggling with my wife. A show on breathing would be super boring because I think everyone has kind of already mastered that skill and if you haven’t, well, anything I could teach you would probably be extremely unhelpful at this point in your death. On the other hand, snuggling with my wife is very exciting. So exciting, I don’t want you to know anything more about it.
So wine it was. I’ll do a podcast about wine. Because that’s only mildly boring. Unless you like wine. Then it’s extraordinarily interesting. Turns out I’m one of those people who thinks it’s extraordinarily interesting because I listen to a bunch of podcasts about wine. It’s how I learned about wine when I first got into it. Three podcasts specifically were my favorites – Grape Radio, Three Wine Guys, and Wine Library – and between religiously listening to all of them for many years while doing massive amounts of homework (aka drinking), I learned a ton about it. I became decently knowledgeable in it, at least to the point where I could readily admit I knew nothing about it. Wine is one of those subjects where the more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing.
This was a perfect premise to start a podcast on. I want to learn more about something and the best way for me to accomplish that is to do it more. By starting a podcast, I’ll be forced to learn more and truly educate myself. How awesome is that?
But then I realized I needed an angle. As I looked at all the podcasts I listened to – and all the ones I didn’t – I figured out pretty quickly I needed something that would differentiate me. Something that said to an audience, “Hey, that looks pretty fun. I’ll hang out with that guy for an hour each week.” And that’s when I realized I had one other skill that made me different than everyone else who had a wine podcast – I work in entertainment.
See, I’m a producer and I enjoy my job. It’s fun. I make stories for a living. In doing that, I also meet a ton of fascinating people. So, I thought, what if I marry my wine podcast with my relationships in entertainment? Ok, that’s fun. That’s different. But I didn’t want it to be fluff. I didn’t want to keep conversation light and on the surface. I wanted this show to offer audiences something more. Something they’re not going to get anywhere else. Lots of shows with entertainment guest stars focus on what that person is promoting, including themselves. I wanted to give you more than that. I wanted to lift the hood on the business and give audiences a Ground Zero perspective into the industry, it’s people, and it’s changing face. I wanted to humanize a business many people feel is inaccessible and I wanted to showcase it’s struggles to adapt to the world we now live in, one that is constantly changing course and motive. All while drinking wine, talking grapes, and getting the tiniest of tiny buzzes. I mean really tiny. Like pinkie finger tiny.
I recruited my friends “G’Day” Scott Kay and “Montana Mountain Man” Tom Mullen to help out.
Scott was a trader at JP Morgan on the Derivatives desk when the global economy went to shit in 2008. Like every other American who lost everything they had in that financial disaster, Scott left the finance world to become a Restaurateur and wine snob. Because that’s what everyone does when you’re poor and lose everything. Oh, wait, Scott didn’t lose everything. Duh. He was the trader. Cha-ching!
Tom, on the other hand, really did lose everything in 2008. That’s just a joke. Tom’s from Montana. He doesn’t have money. He has chickens and guns. But he also has mad scripting skills as a screenwriter (currently writing a script for Ice Cube to star in) and as an ex-reporter for the AP. Tom also knows absolutely nothing about wine – a perfect foil to be our show’s “Everyman” and “Question Man.” (That’s a fancy way to say “Interviewer.”)
And there you have it. HOLLYWOOD & WINE Podcast. Recording weekly out of Scott Kay’s restaurant Wood & Vine (shameless plug). I’m feeling good about it.
And I think I’m going to like turning 40.