Posts Tagged Valerie Smaldone

My Day with VIP Talent Connect

When I was just starting out as a comedy writer, I didn’t know one person in the entertainment business.  I had to go out and meet each and every person I ever met on my own.  If I had known of a company that could arrange for me to meet people in the entertainment business I would have jumped on it, but it didn’t exist.

Now it does.  Alycia Kaback’s V.I.P. Talent Connect, does just that, in a very helpful and professional way.  This past Saturday. Dec. 14th, 2013 I spent the entire day at Carolines on Broadway, addressing and meeting with young people who wanted to break into “the biz.”

The day starts around 8 A.M. and goes until 5 P.M. and the attendees get to hear presentations from people like 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner, and #1 N.Y. radio personality Valerie Smaldone, award winning record producer Phil Nicolo, who has producued albums with stars ranging from Bob Dylan to Nine Inch Nails, and prolific Broadway and Off-Broadway Producer Pat Addiss, who has her name on so many shows including the longest running show in the world, “The Fantasticks”, as well as the new hit Off-Broadway show “Buyer & Cellar” starring the incredibly talented star from “Ugly Betty”, Michael Urie.

Jeffrey Gurian with radio personality/voice-over specialist Valerie Smaldone!

Jeffrey Gurian with radio personality/voice-over specialist Valerie Smaldone!

 

Broadway and Off-Broadway producer Pat Addiss onstage at Carolines on Broadway!

Broadway and Off-Broadway producer Pat Addiss onstage at Carolines on Broadway!

Michael was there as well to do a presentation, and I was so happy to see him again.  I had last seen him at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival when he made his directorial feature debut with the indie film ” He’s Way More Famous Than You”, written by Halley Feiffer and Ryan Spahn, both of whom were there, and featuring Ben Stiller, Mamie Gummer, Ralph Maccio, Natasha Lyonne, Jesse Eisenberg, and of course Michael Urie who co-starred as well as directed the film.

The marquee for "He's Way More Famous Than You", Michael Urie's directorial debut!

The marquee for “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, Michael Urie’s directorial debut!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ryan Spahn at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival premiere of "He's Way More Famous Than You", which was the opening night film!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ryan Spahn at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival premiere of “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, which was the opening night film!

Each of the speakers gave a 15 minute presentation followed by a Q&A while onstage.

Michael came to VIP even though he had a performance that afternoon in his one-man hit show “Buyer and Cellar”, at the Barrow STreet Theatre.   I was called to go onstage to do my presentation right before he was, and because I was concerned about him getting out on time, I cut my Q&A a little bit short, because I knew I could stay all afternoon to answer questions, and he had to leave and fight traveling in the snow.

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Urie at Carolines for the VIP Talent event!

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Urie at Carolines for the VIP Talent event!

I will definitely be seeing “Buyer and Cellar” right after the holidays! But you shouldn’t wait and should probably go tonight, no matter what time it is when you read this!  Even if the theatre is already closed!   just go!

And tell them I sent you! (LOL)

The playbill ad for "Buyer and Cellar" the one man show starring the tour de force that is Michael Urie!

The playbill ad for “Buyer and Cellar” the one man show starring the tour de force that is Michael Urie!

Despite a freezing snowstorm, lots of people showed up for this event, and the attendees got more than their money’s worth.  Aspiring models like Nina Tang, Kristina Beepot, and Ann Sekyiwah got to meet Ryan Colby from Colby KMM Models, and everyone gets a photo shoot and 8×10’s with a resume and bio to hand out to the industry speakers.  I personally met many talented young people who I know will be some of tomorrow’s stars.

Jeffrey Gurian with Ann Sekyiwah at Carolines!

Jeffrey Gurian with Ann Sekyiwah at Carolines!

As I said, I wish I had a VIP Talent company when I was coming up, but what can you do?  I had to do it the hard way!

 

Posted in: Books, Broadway Show, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Hot Models, Jeffrey Gurian News, Nightlife Events, Off-Broadway Show, Red Carpet Events

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Jeffrey Gurian Former Stutterer, Discusses His Cure For Stuttering on TV and Radio

I never know whether to write about myself in the first person or third person, but it’s MY blog, so I guess first person is fine.

People who know anything about my story know that I was a severe stutterer.  I started stuttering at about age 6 or 7 and it made my high school and college years miserable.  Only another stutterer has any idea of the embarrassment and humiliation a stutterer feels when not only are they stuttering, but even worse, when nothing comes out.

That’s how it was for me.  To this day, I’ll never forget the day in high school, when I was called on in class and I stood up to answer, which is what we had to do in those days, and absolutely nothing came out.  Not a sound.  And I felt the redness of embarrassment coming over me, and I can still feel it today. That’s how powerful the experience was.

I always knew a lot of kids and I didn’t let my stutter make me isolate, but it made me very unhappy.  I couldn’t even say my name which is a problem for many stutterers.  ( Not to say MY name to say their own names! LOL)

So when I got to college, and it was a huge college made up of kids from many high schools in NYC where I grew up, I made the decision to run for Pres. of the Freshman class, telling myself that if I could win the election and be President, I wouldn’t  have to stutter anymore, because it would prove to me that kids liked me, and that I was okay.

Somewhere along the way I must have picked up the idea that I was flawed in some way, and I had a very negative self-image.  Since I wasn’t able to say my name I appointed other kids as my campaign managers, and they introduced me to kids I didn’t know yet, and once I got a few words out I was able to speak.

Btw, my belief is that stutterers have a hard time saying their names, because your name represents your identity, so if you’re not happy with who you are, it’s not going to be easy for you to tell people who you are.

Anyway, I won the election and I was the President of the Freshman class of Hunter College and I still stuttered.  It was a great lesson for me.  It taught me that outside validation doesn’t work.  It doesn’t matter how many people tell you you’re fantastic, and gorgeous and talented, it matters what you think of yourself.

I became obsessed with stopping stuttering.  I had been to many types of therapy and none of them worked.  As a matter of fact it made me worse being surrounded by stutterers worse than myself. I took the next two years and worked on myself constantly.  I think that was about the time I was given the Grace to figure out that I didn’t stutter when I was alone.

Most stutterers don’t.  That means there’s really nothing wrong with you.  What a revelation.  If you can speak fluently some of the time, you can speak fluently ALL of the time. I created the stuttering problem myself!  And anything you create you can un-create.  It took me a few years of very hard work, but it was worth it.  One of my greatest accomplishments is being fluent.

I think about it every day and every time I speak.  I’ve been doing radio and TV shows for years and I challenge myself all the time, and stand up to the fear.  Stuttering is a bully that wants me to stay alone and not accomplish anything in my life.

With the popularity of The King’s Speech, which I thought was incredible, I was asked to do several public appearances to discuss Stuttering and my cure.

I’m including both of those video clips here, one on the Joey Reynolds show , ” All Night With Joey Reynolds” on NBC,  and the other on Valerie Smaldone’s show Valerie’s New York, on WOR Radio.

One of my greatest gifts is working with other stutterers to teach them what I did and how NOT to stutter.

If anyone who is reading this happens to stutter or knows someone who stutters, after watching the two videos in this blog, please ask them to read the Stuttering page on my website, at http://dr.jeffreygurian.com/stuttering.html and if it makes sense to them, which is important, because a lot of my cure is about knowledge, ask them to contact me at jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com

Remember – KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!

Posted in: Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, General Information, Point of View, Self Help Information

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