Using real-life, behind-the-scenes stories from major pop culture success stories, I speak to creative solopreneurs looking for ways to walk the precarious line between art and commerce and stand out in an infinite marketplace where everyone wants to—and has a chance to—be a star. Along the way, audiences don’t just learn lessons they can apply to their own creative businesses—they also have fun, watching clips from great comedies and learning their trade secrets.

Talk topics include:

What Seinfeld Teaches Us About Succeeding in a Creative Business

Seinfeldia_031Seinfeld pulled off an unusual combination of feats during its dominant 1990s run on NBC: It was regarded as unassailably cool, but it was also a massive hit with tens of millions of viewers. It was risky, but mainstream. It was almost canceled at least twice, but it went on to run for nine years and change television comedy forever, a story I tell in my bestselling book Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything. That’s why it has a lot to teach us about innovation—lessons that can be adapted from their ’90s origins to today’s crowded marketplace of ideas. I walk through five major ways Seinfeld creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld made the most of the opportunities they were given to create one of the most enduring sitcoms in TV history—lessons anyone can apply to stand out in today’s creative fields.


What Sex and the City Teaches Us About Succeeding in a Creative Business

Jennifer+Keishin+Armstrong+Celebrities+Visit+zCgv6ARN-F9lYou don’t become the show that helped build HBO by being ordinary. Back in 1998, Sex and the City—along with its soon-to-be network sibling The Sopranos—made original premium cable programming not just a thing, but a prestige thing, a story I tell in my book Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love. As the world shifts again, this time to an onslaught of streaming, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha—who became a worldwide sensation by talking dirty, dressing spectacularly, and giving us major friendship envy—can still offer us lessons for standing out in a cacophonous international media landscape. I walk through four ways Sex and the City distinguished itself—lessons any creatives can apply to their own journeys through a crowded marketplace of ideas.

What The Mary Tyler Moore Show Teaches Us About Succeeding in a Creative Business

Becoming a memorable classic TV show is no easy feat. In any era, it requires balancing commercial and artistic interests. Even a classic show from the 1970s like The Mary Tyler Moore Show teaches us something about how to break through the cluttered media marketplace of today. I walk through five creative lessons, which I learned while writing my book Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classicfrom the series that taught us we really were going to make it after all.

For booking, contact me here.

Past bookings include: 92nd Street Y, American Writers Museum, Book Culture (New York City), Book Soup (Los Angeles), Boswell Books (Milwaukee), Gaithersburg Book Festival, Hevreh Festival of Jewish Books and Authors (Berkshires, New York), The J Jewish Community of Louisville, Hemingway Foundation, Nitehawk Cinema, Politics and Prose Bookstore (Washington, DC), Printers’ Row Book Festival, The Shop at NBC Studios, The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, Triad Theatre (New York City), Westchester Jewish Center, Wheaton College, WORD Bookstore (Brooklyn)