“The Moment” with Brian Koppelman
I almost never do interviews. But I went out of my way to do three, in New York, over the past ten days.
I’m gonna take this post to talk about the first one, with Brian Koppelman, on his podcast, “The Moment.”
Here’s the link via Stitcher (though you can listen in other ways too.)
Have you heard of Brian? He’s one of the co-creators (as well as a showrunner and writer) of Billions, in its fourth season on Showtime. He’s also a screenwriter and director, a former music industry exec and producer, and a lot of other stuff. He co-wrote and co-directed one of the most underappreciated movies of the past decade, Solitary Man, starring Michael Douglas and Susan Sarandon.
But his podcast is his true labor of love.
Because for all his success, Brian remains a soldier in the trenches. He struggles. He beats his brains out. He’s had ups and downs that would’ve taken the heart out of anybody.
But he loves this racket.
He’s a real writer, and he’s got the psychotherapist’s bills to prove it.
Brian calls his podcast “The Moment” because he’s fascinated by writers’ (and other artists’ and entrepreneurs’) stories of their own inner turning points.
When was THE MOMENT when you finally saw the light? Turned the corner? Got it together?
What hellish ordeals did you go through to get to that point?
When did you make the decision to “turn pro,” even if it was only inside your own mind?
I’ve known Brian for about ten years. I wanted to be part of a back-and-forth with him because I knew he would ask hard, probing questions and I knew he wouldn’t let up till he’d gotten real answers.
“Talk about when you were most miserable. Where were you? What were you doing? How did you get there? How did you get back?”
“Did you ever give up? What was that like? When was it? What made you hang on?”
Then he’d tell me his stories of his own darkest hours.
In the past few months Brian has interviewed a bunch of the people I respect most—Rosanne Cash, Seth Godin, Tony Gilroy & Scott Frank.
I found myself telling Brian things I hadn’t remembered, or even thought of, in years. Including the story about me and the gorilla in the parking lot of a banana importing company in New Orleans (tune in for the full version.)
Before we started recording the podcast, I asked Brian who his audience was—and what they were hoping to get from our conversation, or any conversation.
“They’re very intelligent. Highly educated. Creative. Some are young, just starting out. Others have long successful careers, in all kinds of fields, but maybe they’re not completely happy. They’re struggling. They’re trying to break through, not just in a creative or commercial sense, but on a deeper level, a soul level. They’re on their ‘hero’s journeys.’ They’re in the shit and they want to know how other people have handled their own time in the shit.”
I was nodding my head.
It sounded a lot like me.
Anyway, here’s the link to the podcast again. The conversation is about an hour long.
It’s a good one, thanks to Brian being a great interviewer.
Take a listen if you get a chance.
And thanks, Brian, for making it happen.