Hollywood Coaching • Career Coach Los Angeles, Life Coach, Executive Business Coach

The New Hollywood Leader

My Question For WGA President Patric Verrone (And His Answer)

by David Brownstein

I had the pleasure of doing a web-radio interview last week on one of my favorite topics: Hollywood Leadership and the Writer’s Guild Strike. Hosted by Coach Tom Floyd, guests were Patric Verrone, President of the WGA, Jonathan Handel, attorney at TroyGould, Coach (and friend) Sherry Ziff Lester and me.

The Leadership Learning?

Of course I’m always listening for the leadership opportunities and ways we can do things differently in Hollywood. In the beginning of our conversation Patric was explaining the events and months preceding the vote and decision to strike. Obviously lots of frustrating time passed that led to the lengthy strike.

But Here Was My Question To Him

Patric, obviously, it was a successful strike and you got great things. With what you learned by the end of the strike —if you could go back in time now—what might have worked differently in July that you discovered in January?

Well, I think the key thing was the involvement of the CEOs. When we were bargaining from July through October, we were bargaining with what Tom referred to as the AMPTP (The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers).

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David Brownstein, Top Thought Leader

by David Brownstein

In the midst of hunkering down to write my new leadership book, I got notice that I’d been selected as a Top Thought Leader by Leadership Excellence Magazine.

Read on for my full press release on the matter.

"Top 100 Leadership Minds, David Brownstein, Develops Creative Leaders and Careers"

Los Angeles, California. January 14, 2008: David Brownstein is one of the top 100 thought leaders in the field of personal leadership development, according to the world’s leading executive advisory magazine, Leadership Excellence, founded in 1984 by Ken Shelton, Stephen R. Covey, Ken Blanchard and Charles Garfield.

Brownstein shares the spotlight with such recognizable names as Robert Kiyosaki, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Phil McGraw, David Allen, Patrick Lencioni, Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, Tony Robbins and Suze Orman.

Ken Shelton, editor of Leadership Excellence, chose David Brownstein to be one of the Top 100 Leadership Thought Leaders, “…precisely because he represents an antidote to what commonly ails Hollywood… David’s coaching is based on natural laws and timeless principles, not on cosmetic quick fixes…He gets to the root of personal and professional problems.”

Brownstein is thrilled to be on a list with many of the people whose books sit on his reference shelf. “Many of their ideas have greatly influenced my own,” said Brownstein.

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Coaching And Therapy

by David Brownstein

At the ICF conference in November, I had a great conversation the Dr. Carol Kaufman, a therapist, coach and Ass’t Professor at Harvard about a whole bunch of stuff, but I was moved by this articulate statement about the differences between coaching and therapy.

“The role of therapy is decreasing depression, the role of coaching is increasing well being.

Therapy follows the trail of tears with the goal of healing.

Coaching follows the trail of dreams with the goal of optimal living.

In Coaching, healing is a side effect. in therapy that’s your goal.”

Very poetic, clear and honoring of the tools and intentions of both paradigms.

What do you think?

Creative Career Workshop - 1/26/08

by David Brownstein

The Strike Isn’t Changing Hollywood…

The deep changes we’re seeing and contemplating have been progressing for years in quiet, lava-like slow motion. These changes ARE being highlighted and accelerated by the strike.

The internet has existed for years. The studios have been owned by big corporations for years. People have come to Hollywood with talent, a dream and varying degrees of a business plan for years.

The WGA’s choice to strike, and the AMPTP’s choice not to negotiate have combined to create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and stasis few of us have experienced in our professional lives. (Who knew the AMPTP would negotiate like suicide bombers?)

And yet the uncertainty was here all along. The shutdown of production, development and awards shows has simply unmasked the great uncertainties that have always been upon us.

The Big Questions

  • What am I doing in Hollywood?
  • What do I want out of my life?
  • What sacrifices (or choices) have I made in my life to have a career in Show Business?
  • Is my career going where I want it to go?

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The Writer's Strike and Small Business…

by David Brownstein

I was interviewed yesterday for Fortune Small Business News, as seen on CNN.com.

Read It Now

The article says that “Writers’ strike cripples small businesses.”

Here’s the "good part." (where they finally talk to me.)


The strike has required businesses to come up with new survival strategies and creative solutions to the cash crunch, said Hollywood career coach David Brownstein. With their production projects on hold, many of his clients are taking the time off to brainstorm about new financing options and think about their career trajectories.

"They are now forced to look at where there are new business opportunities," Brownstein said.

HRTS Network Chiefs Luncheon – The Lessons of Bad Leadership

by David Brownstein

Just returned from the Network Chiefs Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. On the panel was Stephen McPherson of ABC, Dawn Ostroff of CW, Kevin Reilly of Fox, Ben Silverman of NBC, and Nina Tassler of CBS.

This annual event brings together the top creative executives of each of the broadcast networks and is truly has the potential to hear smart, creative, opinionated leaders discussing what’s happening in Television at this particular moment.

Unfortunately, the moderator of this event was Barry Sonnenfeld, film director and exec producer of “Pushing Daisies.” Here are my brief comments on the event.

1) Barry Sonnenfeld: Worst moderator ever. Here he was sitting in front of 1000 people moderating a discussion with among most powerful TV execs in Hollywood and he could barely get out a question. He talked primarily about himself, was not very knowledgeable about the business, and worst of all, barely gave the panel a chance to talk. Except for the occasional wisecrack or quip.

A journalist at my table said, half joking: “I love Pushing Daisies but now I almost want the show to fail.” I know what she means.

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LEADERSHIP SALON: An Open Discussion about Leadership.

by David Brownstein
  • Who are the most effective leaders in Hollywood Right now?
  • What leaders at which companies seem to be the most leadership challenged?
  • What do we mean by Leadership anyway?

The Hollywood Coaching Leadership Salon is a facilitated conversation among Entertainment industry professionals.

We’re dedicated to growing the mystical and misunderstood art of leadership in Hollywood to a fine, masterful art.

We’ll do this by beginning a conversation about Leadership that will challenge you to think, wonder, pontificate, act and become more aware of the concept, role and power of great leadership in Hollywood.

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If I Were Coaching Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Beyonce or Angelina Jolie . . .

by David Brownstein

I was recently interviewed by email by JAPANESE VOGUE MAGAZINE for an upcoming issue. Since we may never see the replies in English, and because she asked some fun questions, I’m going to post some of my replies.

“Q#1: If the celebrities below were your clients, what would you like to advise them? Please give three advices for them in short words.”

  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Britney Spears
  • Beyonce
  • Angelina Jolie

If I were asked to coach Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, I would not give them advice, but would ask them these questions:

  • What do you really want to create or experience in this next stage of your life?
  • What dreams do you have that you haven’t had time to achieve?

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"The Inner Game of Hollywood" Live in Studio City, CA.

by David Brownstein

I’ll be at “Jennifer’s Coffee Connection” in Studio City at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 25th. Come on down and say hello.

My topic will be: “The Inner Game of Hollywood: How to Juggle Your Goals, Fears, Dreams, Strategies and Blackberry.”

Coincidentally, this is the name of my newly revised, remixed and re-edited book. Amazing!

“The Inner Game of Hollywood” is learning to navigate our careers and creations while balancing our elaborate strategies and plans with the non-linear, sometimes non-sensical logic of a cryptic Zen-master or a 5-year-old child.

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Master How To Win Over The Most Intimidating VIP

by David Brownstein

(I was interviewed recently for this article below. Only one major factual error but basically this is what i said. See below for my comments/correction.)

BY MOREY STETTNER INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY Sometimes it’s hard enough to convince your best friend. Yet winning over a haughty VIP can prove far tougher. While some bigwigs are perfectly polite, others can bully and bluster their way through a meeting. They may skip the niceties and strike a stern, disapproving attitude from the moment you enter the room. “They’re thinking, ‘Now amaze me and make it quick,’ “ said David Brownstein, president of Hollywood Coaching in Los Angeles.

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Executive Coach, David Brownstein, is Developing Hollywood Leaders

by David Brownstein

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Los Angeles, California. October, 2006: “Hollywood is great at developing products, but not so great at developing leaders,” says David Brownstein, founder and president of Hollywood Coaching.

To this end, Brownstein announces Inside the Leadership Studio, his step-by-step coaching program, which develops essential leadership skills for executives, management teams and companies. To head writers, show runners and their teams, Brownstein brings the aptly named, War and Peace in the Writer’s Room. In the words of a recent client, “David is like a wrecking ball with heart; like having in one person, an Olympic trainer, a therapist, a dance partner, a guru and a member of the Spanish Inquisition.”

Designed specifically for the entertainment industry, Brownstein’s executive coaching and leadership development programs are changing the way writers, executives and producers define what it takes to be a leader in Hollywood.

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Coaching on The Today Show - Media Blitz Continues

by David Brownstein

The Daily Show, The New York Times, and now The Today Show. The media blitz on Life Coaching continued today with a great interview from Laura Berman Fortgang on the Today Show on NBC. They did a wonderful little set up piece with a clip from Nip/Tuck showing the strange life coach played by Famke Jannsen, and then cut to a live interview by Al Roker with the great and powerful LBF.

Laura’s a great coach who’s been an inspiration to me and many others. She’s really clear, direct, and able to speak great about life coaching, what it is and what it isn’t.

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New York Times and Hollywood Coaching

by David Brownstein

Hey! Coaching for Hollywood has made the New York Times. The holy grail of press, respectability and uptown acceptance for a former NY-er like me.

(here it is)

While I’m excited to read about this great new trend called life coaching, I actually believe that coaching can have a huge impact on not just the lives of the rich and famous but more importantly on the lives of people who are impacted by the work that emanates from Hollywood.

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Coaching Skewered by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

by David Brownstein

File Under: No such thing as bad publicity department.

Jon Stewart’s Daily Show did a "hard hitting, no holds barred expose" on my profession. We, the hard working underappreciated "Life Coaches" of the world. Are we as easy targets as Jon’s "Trend Watch" correspondent portrayed us?

Um, well. Probably. Ok. Definitely!

Truth be told, I laughed through the entire segment. I felt sorry for the poor life coach being "interviewed" by the young, sarcastic cynic/comic, but there’s no getting around it. It was funny, and for a variety of reasons, even the phrase "life coach" can easily be made to sound silly. And the absurdity of coaches coaching coaches to become coaches is an unfortunate, but true irony/tragedy of our industry.

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American Idol?

by David Brownstein

Had a brief phone call with a writer from WebMD today. Her editors wanted to know if participants  on American Idol were unstable.

Au contraire, I believe.

American Idol participants are exercising their Constitutionally Granted rights  to take the risk  of going for their dream. And we get watch them on their  journey and hopefully they inspire us to take some grand chance in our  life. And hopefully we’ll have someone as supportive as  Paula Abdul finding nice things to say about your performance or our  dance moves, before Simon knocks us down with the cold water of cold, but possibly true, waters of reality check.

Over the course of the 12 weeks  or so of a season, we get to see people improve, learn, risk, fail, cry and rebound. We get to see what happens when a person with raw talent and potential work  hard to create the vision of themselves that they want to become.

I believe, that it’s actually unhealthy to sit at home, telling ourselves that we can never have the lives we want, that we can never reach the heights we want, that we should sit down, shut up and not  take the risk of going on TV and possibly  making an American Fool of ourselves.

Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, and  William Hung sing for all of us, whether we admit it or not. We all want our moment in the spotlight, whether literally or metaphorically.

Long live the United States of American Idol.

Check out the WebMD article here.