Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

February 21, 2022 Moira Sutton Season 3 Episode 48
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast
More Info
Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Feb 21, 2022 Season 3 Episode 48
Moira Sutton

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Health & Well Being
Passion & Purpose
Travel & Adventure
Freedom and Fulfillment

Marlene is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl. Firmly ensconced in LA life, Marlene is top dawg at Pink Poodle Productions and Head of IP Strategy and Acquisitions for Rain Shine Entertainment. 

Formerly, as Producer TV Series, at Sega of America, Marlene worked on much more than Teen Choice Award-nominated Cartoon Network series SONIC BOOM. For example, her extensive Hedgehog duties took her to the heights of nerd-dom as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist. She also consulted on the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog feature film.

As a freelance journalist, Marlene concentrates on pop culture for noteworthy fan destinations, such as GameDeveloper.com, DOGTV, ToonBarn.com, Geekified.net, and CultureSonar.com. As a short film auteur, she has snagged recognition from many Film Festivals.

Marlene has experienced her own firsthand encounters with bullies, plus the resulting depression and anxiety; her adventures as a stand-up comedian who has reverse-engineered unpleasantries into comedy material for mass consumption; and her collaboration with entertainment industry retirement community residents and with young adult animators on the autism spectrum. These endeavors suggest that bullies, anxiety, and depression do not discriminate based on age. With PEARL, Marlene hopes to serve that message in a manner akin to administering medicine with sugar, and effect change accordingly.


Gifts: https://moirasutton.com/connect/
First 5 people who reach (above line),  will have a unique cartoon image created for you from Marlene

Free Resources: https://moirasutton.com/connect/

Moira's Website: https://moirasutton.com/

FB Community:  https://www.facebook.com/CreatetheLifeyouLove1/

Long Distance Reiki Healing Sessions:

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Show Notes Transcript

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Health & Well Being
Passion & Purpose
Travel & Adventure
Freedom and Fulfillment

Marlene is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl. Firmly ensconced in LA life, Marlene is top dawg at Pink Poodle Productions and Head of IP Strategy and Acquisitions for Rain Shine Entertainment. 

Formerly, as Producer TV Series, at Sega of America, Marlene worked on much more than Teen Choice Award-nominated Cartoon Network series SONIC BOOM. For example, her extensive Hedgehog duties took her to the heights of nerd-dom as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist. She also consulted on the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog feature film.

As a freelance journalist, Marlene concentrates on pop culture for noteworthy fan destinations, such as GameDeveloper.com, DOGTV, ToonBarn.com, Geekified.net, and CultureSonar.com. As a short film auteur, she has snagged recognition from many Film Festivals.

Marlene has experienced her own firsthand encounters with bullies, plus the resulting depression and anxiety; her adventures as a stand-up comedian who has reverse-engineered unpleasantries into comedy material for mass consumption; and her collaboration with entertainment industry retirement community residents and with young adult animators on the autism spectrum. These endeavors suggest that bullies, anxiety, and depression do not discriminate based on age. With PEARL, Marlene hopes to serve that message in a manner akin to administering medicine with sugar, and effect change accordingly.


Gifts: https://moirasutton.com/connect/
First 5 people who reach (above line),  will have a unique cartoon image created for you from Marlene

Free Resources: https://moirasutton.com/connect/

Moira's Website: https://moirasutton.com/

FB Community:  https://www.facebook.com/CreatetheLifeyouLove1/

Long Distance Reiki Healing Sessions:

Support the Show.

Intro  0:03  
Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom podcast, a journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools and strategies to inspire and empower you to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your host Create The Life You Love, Empowerment Life Coach, Moira Sutton.

Moira  0:59  
Welcome to season three episode 48 Turning Lemons Into Lemonade with our very special guests entertainment industry pro Marlene Sharp. Marlene is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans, but is now a San Fernando Valley Girl. Firmly ensconced in LA Life Marlene is top dog at Pink Poodle Productions and Head of IP Strategy and Acquisitions for Rainshine Entertainment. Formerly as Producer, TV Series, at Sega of America, Marlene worked on much more than Teen Choice Award nominated Cartoon Network series Sonic Boom. For example, her extensive Hedgehog duties took her to the heights of nerd-dom as she puts it as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist, and she consulted on the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog feature film. As a freelance journalist - this lady is talented - Marlene concentrates on pop culture for noteworthy fan destinations such as GameDeveloper.com, DOGTV, TuneBarn.com, Geekified.net and CultureSonar.com. as a short film auteur, I think I'm saying that right. She has snagged recognition from many many film festivals, more than I can name right now, but it will be in her bio. 

Marlene has experienced her own firsthand encounters with bullies plus the resulting depression and anxiety; her adventures as a stand up comedian who has reverse-engineered unpleasantries into comedy material for mass consumption; and her collaboration with entertainment industry retirement community residents, and with young adult animators on the autism spectrum. I'm so fascinated by all those. These endeavors more or less suggest that bullies anxiety and depression do not discriminate based on age. With pearl, which we're going to dive into, Marlene is going to explain what that is. And she hopes to serve the message in a manner akin to administrating medicine with sugar and affect change accordingly. Whew! So without further ado, it is my deep pleasure to introduce you to Marlene sharp. Welcome Marlene.

Marlene  3:10  
Thank you, Maura and thank you for that. I know that was a marathon bio. So thank you for reading it in its entirety. You are amazing. Thank you.

Moira  3:21  
Well, you're welcome, and what I said it was very hard for me to take all - I didn't want to miss stuff - but of course I do take other stuff out so under the show notes, which we talked about at the end of the show, I'm going to put in more of an extensive bio, and they're going to know where to find you and your beautiful talent and wisdom and your inspiration which I know the listeners are going to receive today. So let's let's just start there. Like you know, you're a producer, writer, director, creative executive, consultant, stand up comedian, freelance journalist, micro influencer and so much more. I'm just like, wow, I'm just like, off the charts you know?

Marlene  3:58  
Well, it helps to have your fingers in a lot of pies if you want to be employable in the entertainment industry especially. With all the emerging technology and then new people coming into the business new stakeholders, it seems like every time you turn around so it's very advantageous for the person who wants to be in the entertainment industry to continue to to update his or her or their skills and try to fit in, try to find new places to fit in.

Moira  4:33  
I think you fit in a lot of places. A lot of talent like, you know, like really, let's just start where, you know, how did you start in this career? Did you know that you were going to go into the entertainment industry? Did you have this as a you know, a young girl is..

Marlene  4:48  
Yes. Ah, yes, I wanted to be an actress ever since I was old enough to learn that film and TV was not made in the town where I grew up in New Orleans. So I remember asking my mom when I was about two or three years old, if we could go and visit Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird on Sesame Street, and because I thought they, they were local and, and I and my mom had to explain PBS syndication. Yeah, we would drive past the PBS affiliate. And I would see the logo on the outside of the station. And I'd say, but that's where they are, because I remembered the the logo, the station ID and whatnot. And so my mom in laypersons terms, to try to explain all that to me. And so then I got it stuck in my head that oh, okay, that's, that's the business I need to work in. It means I can mix and mingle with Oscar the Grouch, and Ernie, and Bert, and so forth. And that's, that's the job for me.

Moira  5:56  
That's the job for you. Wow, I studied on Sesame Street for one of my university papers, and how city do children really learn with that? It's, you know, it's fast paced. Is their brain taking that and it was really fascinating.

Marlene  6:09  
Oh, I bet I bet. Yeah.

Moira  6:11  
So did you start acting in school? Did your parents you know, at one point, you know, say, you know, like, did they encourage this? This? No,

Marlene  6:21  
Not at all? No, I do not come from a show business family. Although that being said, I do have two cousins who are in the business, but that we operated in silos. So there was no, there was no intersection of our of our careers at all. But no, my parents are very down to earth, practical people. My mom was a school teacher and my dad worked in computer programming. And he worked for an oil company, and then for the federal government for a number of years. So I was this weird kid who just loved show business. And I think one thing my parents did, my mom especially took me to theater from when I was a very young, from a very young age, I went to children's theater and stuff like that, and I loved it. So I don't think she was intending to indoctrinate me with a show business, work ethic or anything like that. It was just meant to be entertainment. And it it really made an impression on me. So. So that's what happened. Yeah, that's what happened.

Moira  7:36  
So when was that moment that aha moment that you decided to make that big move from New Orleans to LA and you know, now become as you put it how did you call it as? Oh, a San Fernando Valley girl. I like that Yes. Could be a song, you know?

Marlene  7:53  
Yes. Well, it was the, you know, the Valley Girls phenomenon of the 80s. That's where I live. I now live in that. That hallowed place of the San Fernando Valley, where all the stereotypes and cliches started. So I, as soon as I was old enough to realize that most of the TV film industry was centered in either Los Angeles or New York, but much moreso Los Angeles for film and TV, I knew that that's where I wanted to be. I just knew it, it was just in my DNA. And so, so some of it - I did feel most most of my life in New Orleans felt like a fish out of water, because there wasn't a whole lot of that type of thinking, in my immediate circles. And so, and even as a kid, I would go to the library and check out books on how to get your kid into show business and show my mom. I'd be like, I need an agent. And she's just puzzled, scratching her head. And then, um, let's see, I was always trying to get into show business in New Orleans, you know, whatever, whatever that manifested, like. Whatever opportunities, so if it was a school play, or the talent show, I was into that. But then, as I got a little bit older, my friend's mother actually got got very intrigued with meeting celebrities. And so she used to take us to whenever there was like a filming happening in town or a conference, we would go and we would essentially crash the event and try to meet as many celebrities as we could. And then and then I did some some fashion show modeling. I took some modeling classes when I was like a tween and I mean it was it was as showbusinessy as I could get in my surroundings. And then When I was on the, on the brink of puberty, there was a giant casting call for the movie version of Annie. And I was so excited because they were doing this nationwide talent search. And I told my mom, you know, this is, this is my chance you can take me to this hotel, and I won't bother you. But you know, this will be my big break, and I'll just be off and running. And I'll probably move to Hollywood, and you'll, you won't need to deal with this anymore. And my mom said, she's like, they don't want you. They want somebody who looks like they're 12 years old. And when I was 12 years old, I pretty much look the way that I do now. I mean, oh, I was I was the same height, I was five, seven. I had a woman's body, not a little girl. And so yes, the character in Annie was 12 years old. But you know, she was a very young 12. And I was the opposite. So, so that was a wake up call. And I never really was the classic Hollywood beauty or even, I didn't fit the mold of a Hollywood type. And I guess that was my mom's effort it instilling some, somewhat of a reality into my life, but so I didn't audition for Annie. But um, but I knew that I wanted to, at least try to go to school in Southern California. So it didn't really work out for undergrad. 

My parents were very influential in my life, and they just really didn't want me to go away to school and in New Orleans, like, people who would go away to school, a long distance away was like going to LSU going to Baton Rouge. So that that was like, nobody went out of state at that time. And my parents didn't, they're like, We don't have the money. You know, don't that's ridiculous. Forget it. So I went to Loyola in New Orleans, which was fine. But then I was so antsy the whole time to get I just couldn't wait to get out of New Orleans. I just didn't, I just didn't like it. I'm a terrible ambassador, I'm sorry, deep down, but I couldn't wait to get out. And so so you know, I stuck it out at Loyola, which, again, was a fine school. But I really, really wanted to go to UCLA. And then for then I decided to go to graduate school for an MFA. And so, I did apply to UCLA, but I did not get in. So I ended up I went to San Diego State instead. And I got an MFA in musical theater. So I was I was a lot closer in proximity to where I wanted to be. But still not not quite in LA. So I moved to LA after grad school. And that's, that's what happened.

Moira  13:14  
So did the people that came into your life and the people that you met in the new opportunities? Did you really have to work that for opening opportunities, because I know that one of your models that I when I was researching for this is a former employer once concluded that to Marlene, the word 'no' means maybe. It's true, if you know that whole idea of letting when somebody says no to you, you still are looking at those doors opening another way to you know, go to that new experience, go to new heights, do what you want to do. Because I know that on my own path, like I had a television show and it - and we can get into the this part for sure that - you know, it was on Rogers. It was on a network it went on five networks versus just one area and I worked that show. I worked before I did it. I paid somebody to learn how to write scripts. I you know, I did a photo shoot, I would drive to the studio every day to learn right on set because it was live on set. I would learn how to do you know the intro the outro, create content? And literally if there was learning behind it, it didn't just drop in my lap.

Marlene  14:24  
Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's a lot of work. Yeah. Yeah. And

Moira  14:27  
and, and this is one area I wasn't going to get into bullets go first here. I'm so excited to say I want to go that's my little chunker coming out of me. So I apologize. I do things organically anyway. So that whole thing about people explore courageously and for you 'no' means 'maybe' tell me what that means for you.

Marlene  14:48  
Well, it means that if I would be the type of person to accept no as an answer, I would just stay in bed all day because no is the default answer that I get all the time. I mean, like, that's, that I'm usually told no and, and it, it started, I guess, with my parents. my parents were very strict. And like I said, I was a weird kid, I, I didn't fit into the rest of my family. I didn't fit in, I had trouble making and keeping friends. I was bullied a lot, and so forth. And so, um, you know, and then I was also very studious in school, like grades were very important to me to the point of being obsessed about getting good grades. Because I wanted, I wanted everything to be perfect. So that when the time came for me to break out on on my own, nobody could say no, to me, because I had screwed up like, oh, no, you don't have this. You didn't make good grades, or you didn't do this, you know, I wanted to follow all the rules. And and, and still, though, people said no, to me and continue to this day. But yeah, if I accepted, no, I would not do anything, I would just I would, I would just be like, in bed all day, because that seems to be what I'm told all the time, in work and in life. And especially in the entertainment industry, people tend to be very capricious, change their minds a lot. So even even if you're told no, in a forceful way, minds can change, like the wind. And so it really doesn't, it really doesn't mean anything; it means that someone's perception, or that's their answer in the moment, for whatever reason, but even within a conversation, people can, can change their minds. And so it's just, it's just a matter of being persistent with with what you want, not not just what you want, just going about it willy nilly. Because not not everything that a person wants is good for them or good for the world. But if there's something that you feel strongly about, and it's, it's, it's one of your convictions and you feel like it has value, then it seems worthwhile to stick with it. Until at some point, if it's if it's harmful to you, because it's, you know, causing you a lot of stress or pain and suffering because of the obstacles, then you have to reevaluate whether it's worthwhile to continue. But but yeah, I, I figured no is just the point for jumping off for negotiations. That's the opening. That's the the opening bid, and then it's negotiable from there. So

Moira  17:51  
I think that's great. Tell, let's go deeper into those experiences that you have. Because, you know, bullying and anxiety, depression, what wisdom? Jim, would you share with the listeners, if they're experiencing that today?

Marlene  18:05  
Well, I would say that comedy and especially stand up comedy is one of the most positive ways that you can process that. Because it's, it's terrifying, and, and somewhat difficult to try to defend yourself, especially if you're being ganged up on. Or if it's if it's someone old, older or stronger than you. And, you know, of course, if there's violence involved, you want adults or someone in authority to intervene. But um, but sometimes the bullying is more insidious than that. It's it's gaslighting, it's psychological manipulation; it's telling you you can't do something, because just because you know you, because you're a certain way. And what you want to do is, is opposite, so therefore you can't do it because someone tells you you can't do it. And so if you can find ways to write down and write, write down what the the issues are, and there are classes you can take on on stand up comedy. There's, there's a bit of a formula to creating material, where it's like you, you write a premise, and then there's a payoff. And, and there, there are different ways you can work on that. And then the great thing about taking class in stand up comedy is that you've got a safe environment to try out your material, but really, most of stand up comedy is, is complaining, it's complaining and it's making fun of stuff that's wrong, either wrong with your self or wrong with the world. It's it's very personal to the comedian, usually. And it's it's their way of dealing with the problem, whether it's like, you know, mimicking something that bugs them or challenging it in some way. And so, so I think that's one of the most positive things you can do. Because you can you can turn it into something that will entertain people and maybe help other people process the absurdity of life as well.

Moira  20:34  
Mm hmm. I know that I added in my life, I don't know where it came from. It was just in the last few years. My my husband would read every week to his father who just passed this year at 104. 

Marlene  20:46  
Oh, my Yes. 

Moira  20:47  
And but he read to him for about seven years, every week from a book because he couldn't see well, and he would read to him from different books. And I'd go into the bedroom where he was reading to him on the phone. And I was start doing improv. So if he said, 'He walked down the stairs', so what, you know, pass the bed down to my knees, and then we took a gun, or he did this, and I would do all the actions and it was just fun, you know? 

Marlene  21:12  
Oh, yeah. 

Moira  21:13  
I thought, Where's this coming from? I don't know. But, you know, it's just to try something new. And, and, and also, that's the other part like in your life, like you're saying, you know, this whole bit about 'no' to 'maybe' that when you have dreams that I totally believe to go after them. And, you know, they're your dreams. And yeah, this whole shows about creating the life you love your best life on your terms. So, because again, when I was little, I saw spirit. No one really told me what to do with that. It was really scary. My family told me don't tell people that you do that. So that being different bit, but I liked being different. I didn't want to be like, the the norms, you know, it just it didn't interest me.

Marlene  21:57  
Yeah, right. Right. That's another thing. It's like, why why be like everybody else? Well, there's like a funny funny, saying that, you know, don't don't be like everybody else be yourself. Except Batman. If you can be just like that man. That's like the funny corollary. So somebody put that funny spin on it, and I like it. I like the snark a little bit. Yeah, a little bit of snark is good.

Moira  22:29  
Yeah. And there's only one of each person in the world. Like we each have our unique gifts into bring that out into the world. 

Marlene  22:35  
Oh, yeah. 

Moira  22:36  
Let's jump into your Pink Poodle Productions and your beautiful Bichon poodle dog, Blanche Dubois Sharp. Tell us about that. In your this. This is your family. And

Marlene  22:49  
Yes, she's my family. Although she's inside right now. I am sitting in my car due to unforeseen circumstances that happenned inside our building today. But usually she's she's right here with me but um, she's the first and only dog that I've ever had. When I was growing up, we didn't have - well, we had a parakeet for a few months. And then it was discovered that my brother was allergic to it so we gave it away. And then we had some fish and a turtle for a period of time. But those weren't. Not the same. They're not cuddly like they're not a dog. Yes, yes. Yes. Yeah. So and I was really scared of dogs growing up, when in my neighborhood, there were a lot of stray dogs or not necessarily stray dogs, but people would let their their dogs roam the neighborhood. And sometimes, excuse me, sometimes the dogs were hostile and and I was, I was scared. Yeah, I didn't want to encounter a mean dog. So I kept a distance. And then I don't know, I think at some point, I just really wanted a baby. And then I figured, well, I'm not married. And I don't want to embark on that adventure of parenthood by myself. So but maybe I can handle a dog. I just want a little you know, furry something to love. And and I do like, as I've gotten older, I like dogs especially like the the adorable purse dogs like those are my favorites like the I love little little things like Kohei the Japanese idea of a little cute, stocky, adorable things. So, so I thought okay, well, maybe I can handle like a little dog on my own. And that'll, that'll be that. And so I adopted Blanche in 2009. And so she's just turned 13 in December, and she's been my my only child, my constant companion, my life partner everything since that time. So...

I love how you put it that you collaborated on several projects for DAWGTV? And 

Oh, yes.

Moira  25:13  
And even an award winning indie short film, and that she's also the Chairwoman of the Board and mascot.

Marlene  25:22  
She wears a lot of hats. Yes, she does. 

Moira  25:25  
Like you, she takes after her mom. 

Marlene  25:28  
Exactly, exactly.

Moira  25:32  
I'd like to get back into this, but we mentioned in the beginning about Pearl. if you can really explain what that is, and that, you know, your hopes to share the message, as we said, again, in the beginning is in a manner akin to administrating medicine with sugar and effect change accordingly. Can you expand on Pearl?

Marlene  25:49  
Oh, yeah. So um, I do a lot of work with a company called Rainshine Entertainment, which is an a conglomerate, and under the banner of Rainshine Entertainment, there are several subsidiaries. And so I have a title within the company, Head of IP Strategy and Acquisitions, which just means that I am a talent scout. Essentially, I look for intellectual properties that the company can turn into film and TV and podcasts and various forms of entertainment. So yeah, it's really, it's a wonderful company, and I enjoy working with them. And the home office is in Mumbai, India, and then there are four of us that work out of the Los Angeles office. Well, the Los Angeles office is, is, each of us our home bases. At this point, we don't have a physical office of the moment. But anyway, we still continue our work. And because it's such a small team, we all serve many purposes within the company. So and also I have a background in creative development, which is working on all the aspects of a production that happen before the shooting takes place before the before you get on set, or before any animation takes place, or anything like that. There's all kinds of development, meaning, working on the scripts and working on the art and the visuals and so forth. So so I've had a chance to do creative development with Rainshine. And so a big part of my background was working in kids and family entertainment. And so I was tasked, as were my other colleagues, with coming up with some new ideas, some original ideas for children's content. And so I had submitted several premises and the upper management in India picked this one that I called Pearl of Wisdom, which is about a middle school girl named Pearl. And she's, she's very she's she's very much like me, I guess, at that age. And I, originally, I kind of envisioned her to be on the autism spectrum. Because A, I, I have another pursuit where I work with autistic young adults who are studying animation, and I've never been diagnosed with autism, but by golly, I feel like I that was a misdiagnosis for me, because I see, I see a lot I see; I have a lot of common ground with the students that I work with. So I envision pearl to be a neuro-diverse 12 year old who is, is the subject of bullying, but she also she, she doesn't she she tries not to let it get her down. And she processes things by turning them into comedic material. So shows so her aspiration, she really wants to be like a touring comedian, when she grows up. And something happens at her school where the guidance counselor has to take a leave of absence because he's, he's ill, and she appoints herself, the sub - she decides that she's going to be the guidance counselor during his his absence, and she's going to try to help kids that need counseling by teaching them stand up comedy, and so she has this unofficial club at school. And so it's kind of like a therapy group really where they meet at lunch, they talk about their problems, and then they try to come up with funny sketches and various other forms of comedy that they can perform for family and friends or, you know, wherever. So that was that was the the premise and so I worked on it for several months. And then I wrote up a sample script. And

so what happened was, one of my colleagues had a conversation with a children's programming executive at Apple at Apple TV. And he, he only just really mentioned the concept of Pearl of Wisdom, along with a laundry list of other things that the company was working on. And this particular executive said, 'I don't get it, like, kids don't do stand up comedy, like what? Why would you guys waste your time on that?' And also, James Patterson, the author is is pitching a project that he wrote a bunch of kids books about a young girl stand up comedian. And he pitched that, hey, this is James Patterson, the crime novelist, also is a children's book writer now. So he, he's got this whole series of books about a middle school girl who does comedy. And she's like, Yeah, James Patterson was here pitching his thing. And I didn't get that either, and blah, blah. And so my colleague was so freaked out. But feedback that we got from Apple, you know, he relayed that to upper management. And they're like, Okay, well, we won't pitch this. We won't try to do anything else with it. So So the project was essentially shelved, but, but I asked for permission to submit it into film festivals and contests, which is what I did. Excuse me, and I, I was able to get in some of them. So so that was good.

Moira  31:47  
Oh, that's excellent. That's you having the 'no' again, turning into an opportunity. I worked in the field with special needs children for many, many years. And autism was one of the areas I worked with autistic children and hearing impaired children and a lot of different special needs children, and it was very, very fulfilling.

Marlene  32:10  
Your Oh, yes. Yeah. It's very rewarding. It's a wonderful experience.

Moira  32:15  
You're also drawn to the retirement community. What is that about? Yes, that is so brilliant.

Marlene  32:23  
Well, um, I, in 2013, I had a really bad year. I, I call it my nervous breakdown. I, there were a number of things going on that year. The end of a relationship. My boyfriend and I had been together for nine years, and we broke up. And I was employed by a really crazy company that stopped paying us essentially and absconded from town, leaving everybody without paychecks for several months and weeks. And it was it was a very bad year. And so I wanted to make a huge change in my life. And I didn't know what to do. So I don't know how I got it in my head to go volunteer at MPTF which is the motion picture home it's the retirement community for people in the entertainment business, excuse me, I need a little bit of a coughing attack. Hang on for one second.

Moira  33:31  
For sure. I'm gonna take a sip of water we'll take a little break

Marlene  33:44  
Okay, sorry about that. I don't know. No worries, I think cuz I'm, I'm outside, I'm in my car, but I'm outside and there was a - the trash truck is kicking up dust in the in the neighborhood. It was also a leaf blower and I think somehow particles must have.... I don't know you should see me I have tears streaming down my face....

Moira  34:09  
More more material for your comedy write-up just from today.

Marlene  34:12  
Exactly. I know it's non stop, non stop. Or maybe yeah, maybe just talking about 2013 was getting to me because that was a rough year. But anyway, I, I really don't know how I did it; some kind of way I maybe had a spontaneous conversation with somebody who mentioned MPTF I don't know but I somehow found about out about their volunteer program. And I, I just went to their volunteer training workshop. And it turned out to be a really wonderful experience and I, I worked with a number of residents, so it's a it's a residential community. And they have this wonderful TV station. Excuse me. On campus. And I worked there with the residents. 

Moira  35:14  
Well, yeah, see, I was thinking, as you're talking about that I was thinking of the show GLEE, which used to be one of my favorites with music and dance. I have a dance background, and I love dancing, and music, of course, and movement and all that stuff. And there was one where I can't think it was like a Betty Wild or somebody, but it wasn't her. But somebody older who came on and was dancing and all that. So I was in imagining that when you're talking to hear the retire people that were in the entertainment.

Marlene  35:44  
Yeah, they absolutely. It, a lot of them really, never wanted to stop working. They and and, and they're, they're essentially retirees, but, but it's more, it's more that because of their physical, physical limitations, that's why they're living in the retirement community, not so much because of their brain power. And so the TV station there, and there are a lot of activities that give them a chance to be creative, on a smaller scale. And it's, it's, it's funny and sort of heartbreaking to in that a lot of them don't want to do things on a small scale. Like, I worked with this one gentleman who had produced a ton of variety shows and television specials, you know, along the same lines as like, an award show where there's a lot of singing and dancing or like a Super Bowl halftime show that that kind of thing. And so he, he came up with an idea for something for us to do at Channel 22. That's the name of the TV station. And he's like, yeah, so. So we can call the audience company. And we'll need about like, 200 to 250 people in the audience. So we'll, we'll fill that up with, you know, there are services where you can cast people in the audience. They're paid audience members, so and we didn't have nearly that kind of capability. I mean, we were more like, a high school or college TV station, you know, we had limited budget. MPTF is a nonprofit. And it was not like, we had all the money of like a TV network and everything. But this gentleman was, was thinking along the same lines is like these huge specials that he produced for like, I don't know, Frank Sinatra, or whomever back in the day, and we were like, 'Okay, Jerry, we need to take it back, take it down.' Because we can't have 500 people in the audience and you know, a warm up person to, to get the audience all excited beforehand, you know, we, we just couldn't do it. But um, but MPTF has done a lot of really great stuff over the years, and I've become less involved. I was I was really active from like 2013 to maybe like 2016. And then then I got a job working as a producer for Sega, the video game company, and I was working on their TV and film projects. And that was just so consuming. I didn't have time to; I didn't really have the time to spend at MPTF at that time. So but I still keep in touch with people there. And they've done wonderful things. And they they won an Honorary Oscar for all the stuff that they've done, like, I think it was was either last year or two years ago. They got the Oscar but they've been making short films and putting them in festivals. And the TV station is closed circuit on the campus. And I believe that also the TV station broadcasts to the UCLA health care centers. So UCLA, the UCLA hospital, and Medical Center, all of that is integrated with MPTF. So they have like satellite clinics and that there's a I don't know if they merged or what the relationship is. But I believe that all the programming that's generated by the residents also shows on closed circuit TVs, like if people go to these clinics, and they're, you know, they're in the waiting room, they watch the content. So it's really cool. And it was great to see them recognized for all that.

Moira  39:51  
That is cool. That's very healing for people who are watching it and give them a purpose and we were just talking with somebody the other day - my My mom's 94, she's a walking disability - and we had somebody into do her hair, who works with seniors and people like that. And she was mentioning, she couldn't work anymore in one of these seniors homes, because they would just have a lot of people sitting in their wheelchairs falling asleep sitting there and nothing to do. You know, and it's very sad, I would have a, I would have a hard time with that versus what can you bring in, bring an animal and, you know, have hire somebody, whatever if you can, like you said, volunteer, like people that can do that there's so much that we can do to help even in a little bit, you know, a little thing to help and pay it forward. And you can say, or, for me, it's starting a snowball effect, you know one act of kindness that can make, you know, go to another act of kindness. I truly believe in that. I love what you were saying about that. So with your personal journey, re you're in regards to your hedgehog duties, you talking about taking you to, to new heights or heights of nerd-dom. Yes, at the San Fran San Diego Comic Con 2017 panelists, and as a freelance journalist, you know, you you've just done some heady online fan destinations. What would ...how did you see yourself taking your Nerd-dom? Which I love your terms and things? Thank you. And top dawg. Y, not  Y? Y wg top dog plays on words I love.

Marlene  41:28  
Oh, thank you. I do love puns, that's for sure. But, um, yeah, I Well, early, early in the time when I moved to Los Angeles, I started temping. That was that was my big break into show business was registering with a temp agency and then getting sent on these one day or two day or one week assignments at various companies that needed administrative assistance. That's what people do when they don't have friends and family in the business who can help them get a foot in the door somewhere. So at least it was when when I first got to town. And I landed rather quickly at a company that was instrumental in bringing the the franchise Power Rangers to the United States from Japan. So Power Rangers is a hit television series, as well as all kinds of consumer products, toys for for kids and video games and comic books and whatnot. And so the gentleman who I worked for had retired from the toy company behind Power Rangers, and he had a consulting agreement with them. And so I went to work for him. And so I gotta say that was that it wasn't like the angels were singing when I got that job. I was kind of humiliated, quite frankly, because I was not into boys action properties from Japan. I liked cartoons well enough. But and actually Power Rangers is a live action show, but it has a cartoony aspect to it. It says people in costumes playing monsters, and it's kind of silly. But anyway, it was it was a big hit with kids. And you know, I worked at that job for like five years and a lot of the shows we did; so my boss was coming at it from the toy angle. So the the kids and family business is a lot about selling toys to kids, and other stuff, but mostly toys. And so I didn't know that going in. I got an education on the inner workings of the business. And there's a very close relationship between anime, various other intellectual properties that come from Japan. And then also like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Comics, like comics and manga, anime and various other fandoms that manifest is animation or like these big action movies with a lot of caped people saving the world. That's kind of the - it's inspired by comic books. And then it's, it's, it's become much more than that. But Comic-Con and these these fan-cons, these big gathering places where people go and talk about all the things that they love as far as entertainment. That that started way back, I think in the 60s or maybe 70s and grew into this huge phenomenon where now there are all kinds of cons there's like Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con is probably like The biggest most famous one, and, and so, so nerd-dom and fandom, that that's it's all kind of interconnected and, and a lot of grown men who watched Power Rangers as a kid there now there's the nostalgia factor. So there's a lot of like, certain properties like Transformers or like we said Marvel DC Comics characters. Other stuff that people remember fondly from their childhood can fit into that whole nerd geek aesthetic. And that's where most of my career has been working in kids and family entertainment, but a lot of it has originated from Japan. I've worked for a number of Japanese companies and, and then other other miscellaneous franchises. And so at first, you know, years ago, when I first started, I was embarrassed by it. But through the years, I've come to embrace it, because also people recognize my name and my face somewhat from different things that I worked on. And that's one thing that's so endearing about the fan community, fan communities around like video games and

boys action properties, like Sonic the Hedgehog. The fans of those of those properties really want to know about the employees of the companies that make those things. And so so when I was at Sega, a lot of people got to know who I was. We did a live stream for Sonic the Hedgehog. And I was on it a couple of times, not like some of my other co workers who are on it every, every episode, but just from that, the fans went crazy. So I still have people who I met five years ago, or so when I was at Sega, who contacted me and they, they they want to know if I have any secrets about Sonic the Hedgehog, I can share with them or just like random, mostly random young guys. And so I don't know, I just changed my thinking about it. Well, when I when I first started working on Power Rangers and and the those early shows, nobody knew who I was. I had it was it my, my role was very small. And I didn't have a big presence. But then as I became more, I guess, as I got older and became more outspoken on social media, and then, you know, you just live long enough you meet people. And then people started finding me online and I just embraced it. So. So yeah. That that's what I mean, when I say I've gone to the heights of nerd-dom to be on a, an official San Diego Comic-Con panel is quite an achievement for people who run in those circles. So so now I brag about it.

Moira  48:10  

Marlene  48:12  

Moira  48:13  
What would your advice be for people who are interested in getting into the game development field or become you know, an aspiring media mogul? Or, you know, where would they start? What would be one, just a couple of gems? Because I know there's lots of things. But yeah, - first come to your mind.

Marlene  48:29  
Well, any anything where you can have control over your output, so like, like writing for an online platform where you can interview people, and then you can publish your your work, whether it's starting a website, or like just publishing stuff, cool stuff on social media. LinkedIn has a publishing platform. And especially if, if, if you can find a way to bring value to other people's lives, like people that you admire. So if you can, that was that was one of the reasons why I started writing. And it wasn't for like a big paycheck. It was it was basically pennies. But it gave me a chance to proactively communicate with people who I admired and potentially wanted to work for. And then I could offer them something that they would pay a publicist for under other circumstances. You know, like, high profile business people, celebrities, they will engage a publicist to find opportunities for them to get interviewed on TV or online or wherever. And if you approach them as a journalist, even if it's just, you know, a free publishing platform that you work for, or that you essentially created your own opportunity. It doesn't matter that people love to be interviewed and they love to talk about themselves. So if you can, if you can find ways to get your material out there. But yet bring value to someone else, that's, that's kind of the... everybody wins, I think. Otherwise, I mean, the opportunities can happen in random places and under non traditional circumstances, but if you want to feel like you have a little bit more control over your destiny, and you're not just waiting around for someone to choose you, or whatever. If you can create your own momentum, and I just found interviewing people was a great way; what kinda like what you're doing Moira, the way you're interviewing people for the podcast.

Moira  50:44  
I also have the, well, again, it's the bigger vision of the show to not only bring together people who are wanting to create in the business life and you know, give back and all the rest of it, but it's really about raising the vibration, the consciousness to heal the planet and humanity for me. You know, so unity consciousness in a good way. 

Marlene  51:06  
Yeah. Right. 

Moira  51:08  
And here, here we've met, you know, and it's so cool, 

Marlene  51:11  

Moira  51:12  
Talk to you and get to know you. And, you know, our paths across and I'm sure it's gonna pass, you know, you you make other friends, you in, you grow your circle of trust. Let's say that - that comes from that movie, The Fockers, circle of trust? That's a fun movie.

Marlene  51:28  
Yes, right. Right.

Moira  51:31  
We talked just briefly at the beginning that I just read an article recently by John Hewa, Carol McGrath, on global news regarding how gamers are helping - in this sense, it was COVID-19 fight. But, you know, I wanted you to share a bit about this. Because, you know, gamers do a lot for a lot of organizations and help a lot of people and they really care and what would be your take on that that you'd like to share?

Marlene  51:56  
Well, I know that there is a lot of outreach to underserved communities through gaming. So for instance, when I was at Sega, there was a lot of internal support of children's nonprofits like health care. You know, organizing activities, where we, we would bring voice actors for various from various video games and cartoons into the hospitals, just to see children. And there is a company that, and this is just one I'm sure there, there are more, but there's a company called Humble Bundle that is really very active in in not only supporting nonprofits, that that would target young people who probably love video games, but then they also are having some kind of physical hardship, but they organize the rest of the industry. So it's not just for their employees. They they organized like, it's like a telethon within the gaming community, where we're I think it's a 48 hour marathon session of gamers on Twitch and gamers meaning the gaming company. So it's actually these big corporations that are putting time and energy into content, they live stream on Twitch for 48 hours to raise awareness, and then also have people in real time pledge money to various children's causes and things like that. So and I think we're also seeing more companies come about that have social consciousness in their gaming. I've seen I've seen more companies, especially in people that I'm connected with on LinkedIn, people getting new jobs or, you know, changing positions and I'll learn about another socially conscious gaming company, through friends and colleagues and haven't explored them in great detail. I've just noticed that there seem to be more of them surfacing.

Moira  54:14  
I think that's wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Marlene, what's in the future for you today? Like, like, what would you if I like I have a lot of great things I want to do. And, you know, we just moved to Nova Scotia six months ago. I have herb gardens I want to do, I want to landscape, I want to get a kayak and I want to cook more and I want to dance more and meet the community and give back like all these things I want to do. And I'm writing. I have to put that on the calendar. I am also going to be writing another series around the fairy realm. So that's a whole other thing, which I'm excited about.

Marlene  54:43  
Oh my goodness. 

Moira  54:44  
Yeah. But what's what's what does the future hold for you right now? What do you see? What's the bigger picture?

Marlene  54:50  
That's a good question. For today, I would love to take a nap. That's good. That's a good thing. So more sleep is definitely a priority. And get rid of this, whatever it is that I have that was kicked up by the dust in the complex. Those are the those are my immediate concerns and goals. But what else? I would like to be involved with great projects that have amazing inspiring collaborators. So I'd love to work with people who are doing things that I've never done or that I feel like if I can learn from them. 

Moira  55:41  
Yes, yes. 

Marlene  55:42  
And yeah, just and also just to meet as many people as possible and have as many human connections, human experiences as possible while I'm, while I'm on the earth.

Moira  55:57  
Also share. I have the seeds in my book, the current one I'm writing. it's all about creative creativity, connection, collaboration, contribution. You know, it's yeah, all these there's more seeds, but that's just a few of them.

Marlene  56:11  
Yeah, those are those are beautiful.

Moira  56:14  
Yeah, Marlene please share with our listeners. You have a very special fun gift that you'd like to gift them with today?

Marlene  56:21  
Oh yes. So I love to take people's photos and turn them into caricatures. So occasonally I'll put a little bit of animation in in to these creations if I feel so inspired, but for the most part they're to just 2d, cartoony images of people based on a photograph. So that that is my gift for the people who show interest. And Moira has a couple of her own.

Moira  56:55  

Marlene  56:56  
So she can give a personal a testimonial on the products.

Moira  57:01  
Thank you, Marlene, it was it was a lot of fun. And I sent you some pictures. And I appreciate that, that you did that for me. It's very gracious of you. And I was I showed it to my mom, I showed it to our son. It's here, I might post it.

Marlene  57:16  
Sure, that's what they're meant for it to put put on your social media or your website, or you can make greeting cards out of them that the possibilities are endless and are and they are very, they're conversation starters.

Moira  57:30  
Yes, they are. And I believe in unlimited possibility, potential, and passion. So all those things. The links for you to reach Marlene and to receive your gifts are going to be below in the show notes and her longer BIO is going to be in there so you can really see what this girl has been up to. This beautiful, epic personal journey that continues with so much that she's bringing to the world and I want to invite people if they enjoyed today, and the inspiration and wisdom gems that you received from Marlene in our heartfelt conversation you know to like, subscribe, share the link to the show. This is you've become part of this growing community for people as we said to raise our collective vibration and consciousness to heal humanity and our planet. Marlene, thank you so much. This is so much fun for sharing from your heart and soul your wisdom on turning lemons into lemonade and I would love I would love to have you back in the future. Namaste. 

Marlene  58:26  
Oh, please. Yes, I would love it too.

Moira  58:29  

Marlene  58:31  
Thank you.

Outro  58:35  
Thank you for listening to the Heart Soul Wisdom podcast with Moira Sutton. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Please join our community at moirasutton.com and continue the discussion on our Facebook page, create the life you love1. You will be part of a global movement connecting with other heart centered people who are consciously creating the life they love on their own terms. Together we can raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and for our planet.