The Interview

After 16 years in the Media & Entertainment business, Michael Manning has built a significant portfolio of newspaper, magazine, radio and television interviews ranging from actors and musicians to CEO’s in the world of business and much more.    

What distinguishes “The Interview” from many Television and Radio programs of the same genre, is that Michael chooses to casually “visit” with each Guest, (many selected from his Blogroll) as if they were having coffee at a café and just sharing conversation casually. "In this setting, my Guests are much more relaxed and encouraged to be themselves, and the result is usually having the honor of spending some quality time with someone in a more reflective mood", said Michael. "I have been on both sides of the table, and that experience has allowed me to pose questions with the utmost respect and care to my Guest  without depriving the audience of gaining a sense of their personality. In comes the warmth and often humor resulting in a meaningful experience that really stays with you for some time. And that's what the experience should be!" he said.  

 Please join Michael for his newest segment, simply called: "The Interview".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

THE INTERVIEW: CONNIE DOUGLAS & SHNNOOGLE! (PART 2 OF 4)

Connie & Obvious Shnnoogle Fan!

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Book 1 in the series: Feeling Your Shnnoogle!


Connie's Second Book...

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Douglas: Angie is the character. I darkened her hair because I thought more people of different cultures would be able to relate to than the perfect little blond girl. I changed my canvases and the more I worked on my canvases, the better my health got. I mean daily, weekly, I was consistently getting better. The stronger I got the more direction I got. By the time they did the spinal tap on me, I was feeling pretty darned good and that was about a month or two into it (the diagnosis). The spinal tap set me back and really sort of set my symptoms off worse.
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Manning: Very invasive...
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Douglas: Yeah, it was very invasive. Anyway, Shnnoogle wasn't originally part of the package--the little character Shnnoogle. All I knew was that I was writing a story about people helping one another, thinking of how the Nurse, the Mother Bunny in the story is very much like parents who must come to the hospital just feeling devastated--'I can't help my child, I just can't fix this. I need help'. And then one by one, different people come in and play their part. Everybody shares their Shnnoogle or their light through love and helps out. Together they are able to accomplish something that one person cannot. When I finished the canvasses and the story I thought, 'What is this about? What can I name this? What can I call this?' And I thought, 'There isn't a single word that puts that into perspective'. I had just finished reading the Harry Potter series. She makes her own words. That moment, my dog jumped on the bed and I said "Mocha must want her morning Shnnoogles". There it was....
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Manning: ...Ah, the breakthrough where it all begins to come together!...
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Douglas:...because it was loving and hugging and attention, affection and self worth--that's really what it is!
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Manning: Self esteem! Very powerful! And I think a very loving tale you just shared.
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Douglas: That's where the word 'Shnnoogle' came from and I knew that 'Shnnoogle' was our light side--the positive part in all of us that we really need to share to be compassionate and have empathy. Then I thought, 'How can I illustrate the light?' I started seeing this little character. This is originally my first Shnnoogle drawing (shows me her artist rendering of a small white character). And then from there Shnnoogle gains size and so on...

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Manning: Okay, so originally there was just the girl and her name is...
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Douglas:...Angie.
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Manning:...and she's the girl with the eyeglasses and the hair. How did she come about? Was the character of "Angie" inspired by somebody you saw or knew?
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Douglas: Well, originally, as I said, she was a little blond girl and I had taken the basic idea of a little blond girl from a another story I had done with another friend of mine. Angie probably came about because of me! She has a scarf in her hair as I often wear, and I wear glasses to read and then I painted the brace on her leg--largely the one I had when I was affected by the MS, I had a lot of weakness in one leg and I couldn't walk a straight line without holding onto somebody to keep me guided. So, I think when people say, 'You know, Angie looks like you', she probably is!
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Manning: Ha! (laughing) I never made that connection until this second! Just glancing down now at your book, I do see what you are saying. (mutual laughter) She's looks like a fun-loving character, and I can see now how the "Shnnoogle Squad" really came together. What was the single driving influence in your life as a kid and later as an adult?
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Douglas: I would say that my father was a driving influence. He was a really good man. He was a really good person who used to philosophize to all of us kids. Sometimes, we would stay up late talking at night about the bigger picture--about caring for others, doing things, about how a truly selfless person is someone who would do good things for other people, because when you do good things for other people, you're also helping yourself. But I think I was a sensitive kid from the time I was little. I was the one who was always saving ants drowning in the bath tub (laughter). My cat would catch a lizard and bite off his tail and I would be the one to get a band aid and tape it back on.
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Manning: Were you drawing as a kid, always?
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Douglas: Yes. I loved to draw from the time I was young and I used to create little critters like this butterfly and spiders with top hats and shoes. I loved to draw animals and I would also draw children on swings, children running around trees. And I love to draw horses and animals. By the time I reached high school, the Art teacher saw that I had talent and they shipped me off to a specific school--a composite high school (similar to American trade or vocational schools) for half-days in grades 11 and 12. That's really where it began for me.
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Manning: I know all too well as a media person just how difficult both the media and publishing worlds can be to a deserving artist who has a message to share. Tell us about the path you've chosen to get your message out to the world and what that message is.
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Douglas: Well, I would have liked to get Shnnoogle published, and I did get an agent who got it off to places like Simon & Schuster and Random House and they did take an interest in it immediately; they loved the illustrations and they loved the concept. But they asked for changes over a period of eighteen months to two years and I made those changes for them. Back and forth and back and forth. Then the last word that my agent heard from both publishers, due to the state of the economy there were many layoffs sweeping through the publishing houses. Not knowing the future of books, they were holding off indefinitely and not committing to new projects. In fact, they were cutting back production of children's books by seventy percent. There was Shnnoogle just sitting on a shelf and unable to reach out. It's about empowering children to realize the magic they have in their own sellves and making one by one--we can all make the world a better place.
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Connie and I continue our visit tomorrow!


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