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Eminem stood up. And said, “I’m out.”

“He wouldn’t look at me,” Brian Grazer said.

They just met.

And spent a half-hour in Brian’s office. But Eminimen didn’t say a word.

“I was trying every way to engage him,” Brian said. “He got his hand to the door…”

Finally, Brian said the right thing… “Come on. You can animate.”

Eminem turned around.

“I don’t know what happened. But he came back.”

So I dug into this story. And others from Brian’s new book, “Face to Face, the Art of Human Connection.”

Brian produced the movie “8 Mile.”

He also produced “Splash,” “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

And my favorite TV series, “Arrested Development.” Plus other great TV series like “24,” “Empire,” “Sports Night” and more.

I wanted to know how he got so many yeses.

How did he get people to sign up for one vision after another? After another?

Part of it is storytelling. Part of it is curiosity. But the biggest part for Brian is just being connected with himself.

That makes him genuine.

He said, “People are intuitive animals… If you feel someone’s energy, then you start to feel their intentionality… If you have a good heart, if you don’t want to hurt anybody, if you don’t want to screw somebody over, if you’re genuinely a well-intentioned person, people feel that.”

I felt that with Brian. And I guess Eminem did, too. And all the other actors, directors, writers, etc. who work with him.

Being liked is a skill.

But Brian doesn’t see it that way. To him the skill is one thing:


Here’s my full interview with Brian Grazer, someone who created the culture I grew up with.

  • Why making money on the side doesn’t have to be difficult – [0:00]
  • Episode preview – [1:20]
  • Brian Grazer and I talk before the interview. And he asked, “This is totally confidential, right?” He wanted to tell me a Hollywood story off the record. But I got him to share it on air. Without some names for anonymity – [4:52]
  • I introduce Brian Grazer, one of the top producers of all time. – [6:30]
  • Brian says how he got Richard Pryor to say “yes” to working with him – [8:37]
  • Brian’s battle with dyslexia. And how he learned to overcome the feeling of shame – [11:15]
  • How Brian taught himself how to learn through “curiosity conversations” [15:06]
  • I ask Brian, “What was the hardest conversation you tried to have when you first doing these curiosity conversations?” – [15:58]
  • The first step of a curiosity conversation is to learn some of the language. So if you’re talking to an entertainer, learn some of that language. If it’s a doctor, learn some medical language – [16:25]
  • I ask Brian to describe the meta-grammar of complicated industries. He says the common thread is you have to be able to give value – [17:19]
  • TV recommendation: “Sports Night.” This show changed the sitcom. It was fast paced. And I don’t like sports. But I just loved the show. And recommend it – [18:29]
  • “Tapping into your authentic voice, whatever that truth is, that truth that lives inside of your soul someplace, being able to connect to that source is the thing that has the most value.” -[18:51]
  • Brian gives an example of following your authentic voice. He wanted to make a mermaid movie, “Splash.” Everyone laughed at him. But he did it. And it became successful anyway… and this made it so that Brian didn’t have to guess what people were thinking. Or wanted. “I just have to be plugged into my inner truth. And manifest that.” – [19:21]
  • Pitching = storytelling. Brian had to learn this skill. He was rejected over and over again. Brian says how he got good at pitching. – [21:59]
  • Why eye contact is the bridge to trust – [24:30]
  • Don’t have an agenda. When Brian had Eminem in his office for the first time, he didn’t pitch him a movie. He thought, “I have to make this the best date for the person I’m inconveniencing.” [25:18]
  • How Brian got Eminem to go from dead silent. To an open book. [27:39]
  • A quote from Brian’s book, “Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone” – Bill Cox [29:27]
  • “Getting outside of your comfort zone forces you to up your game.” – Brian Grazer – [30:42]
  • I ask Brian how being outside of his comfort zone has changed his life in the last 6 months – [31:00]
  • Brian says he’s proud to work with the people he does. This is key. He tells me some of the documentaries his company Imagine is working on. They’re making 15 new documentaries. – [32:55]
  • The oversaturation of content. – [37:41]
  • How to get anyone’s attention – [40:40]
  • Brian is working on an upcoming TV show with Malcolm Gladwell based on his book, “Outliers.” – [44:37]
  • “If you have a good heart… if you’re genuinely a well-intentioned person, people feel that. And then they forgive you for spelling. Or punctuation… People love honesty. So you’re allowed to screw up.” – Brian Grazer [47:45]
  • Brian decided to master public speaking. Because a professor once told him, “I suggest you drop out.” – [49:32]
  • How to gain trust: start with small bits of honesty. Brian shares how lying leads to bigger and bigger problems – [52:45]
  • The power of persuasion. How Brian uses passion to convince people to share his vision – [53:47]
  • I ask Brian how he gets things made. Because it’s really difficult to bring an idea to life. And yet Brian has made so much – [55:17]
  • Brian says he’s in the feelings business – [56:06]
  • We break down the arc of the hero and apply it to Brian’s vision for “Splash” – [58:43]
  • Brian says which visions don’t work… “You can tell when phony stuff happens.” – [1:01:12]
  • I ask, “How do you push yourself to go past ‘good enough?’” – [1:02:44]
  • I thank Brian for coming on the show. And recommend his new book, “Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection.” – [1:03:41]

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