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".

Friday, July 17, 2009

THE INTERVIEW: CONNIE DOUGLAS & SHNNOOGLE (PART 3 OF 4)






Manning: What would bring you the greatest happiness and fulfillment as an artist with this project?
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Douglas: I would love to see it reach children around the world. I would love to see children identify with Shnnoogle as a positive...you know, there's so much negative going on in the world today. We have to get back in touch with the positive that's inside of all of us and empower a positive movement in society and in children because they are part of our future.
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Manning: Well, Connie you've had a varied career as an artist that continues to flourish. It's quite exciting. I know you're a young mother of two boys, and certainly your focus is compassionately reaching out to children and leaving them with a message of hope. In your view, what are the challenges facing children in today's fast-paced society?

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Douglas: I think there's a lot of lacking of human contact, even with children and their parents. Everybody is just so pushed and rushed to work. There is no stopping and slowing down to really feel what the important things are rushing through life. What inspired me about my friend's son is that the family was very present in the moment in hearing and listening to one another an d not just burying themselves in Ipods and music and faces glued to computers. It's like we have no human contact with touching and feeling and being conscious. We need to love and we need to be loved and we need to do good things with and for one another and not losing touch with each other.

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Manning: With the publishing world being distressed, you've really selected an interesting new platform with Phoenix Children's Hospital to put down roots. That was not your original plan. But how is that coming along?

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Douglas: That's a new experience for me. I found myself getting sad and somewhat depressed over the idea that nothing was happening with the publishing houses and that I was counting on somebody else to help get Shnnoogle out there to make a difference. And I just thought, 'Well, all I can do is what I can do as an individual person'. I started with it in the hospital and I can go to the hospital and I can read the story to the children in the hospital there to some of the children who get stuck there on the wards who don't get out and so forth. I can share with them the thought or the idea of Shnnoogle and share Shnnoogle cards with them and people get excited about that! 'Ooh, what is that Shnnoogle power? and Ooh, what's my Shnnoogle power and Oh, to be loving or giving or forgiving and it was fun to see that they did that.

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Manning: Since this is a BLOG site and not television, Connie, please explain the Shnnoogle Power Cards and what this concept is that you've introduced to the kids.

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Douglas: The Shnnoogle power cards is almost like a Fortune Cookie. Some people will think of this as Angel Cards that some of the shops sell. On the back of these cards are positive attributes of a human being. Love and Kindness, Bravery, Joyfulness, Inspiration, Inspiring, Kind, Fun--it's the different positive things we're all capable of. I've arranged all of the words in English and in Spanish on the backs. I've got an array of different positive attributes. So, it could be being Compassionate...
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Manning: ...And if for example, I was a child who picked up a card that said 'Brave', what would I have to do? Would I be given an assignment or how does this work?

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Douglas: Unfortunately at the hospital, if I go back the following day, I might not see the same children. What I would like to see done is at the school room at the hospital is for children to pick up a card and then take it for twenty-four hours to be Compassionate, or to be Thankful, or to be Extra Loving or to be Kind and then come back the next day and talk about the previous twenty-four hours of extending yourself and how did this affect your life?

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Manning: What age range are we talking about with the children and the Shnnoogle Power Cards?

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Douglas: They could be anywhere from 3 or 4 to 11. It's something I've just started at the hospital, so this is a learning curve for me too. When they pick a card, I'll ask them: 'What did you get? Do you know what that means? Go and do that. See if you can do that for a day and see how it affects your day'.
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Manning: So here I am interviewing you right after you've had your first dry run--so to speak. How was it?

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Douglas: A little nerve wracking, actually! (laughter). It was positive. The kids got into the story. They wanted to know what happened to the Baby Bunny and they really liked the Shnnoogle cards. Scott is my assistant on this project and he had a Shnnoogle blanket made for me, so we put the Shnnoogle blanket down. It's a five foot by seven foot blanket he made for me. So, we put the Shnnoogle blanket down and we told the kids: 'Okay, come sit around the Shnnoogle blanket, the Magic Shnnoogle blanket' and they all got excited and sat around the edge. First, I ask the kids if they've ever seen a Shnnoogle or if they know what a Shnnoogle is?' One kid said 'Yes!' And I said, 'Well, you probably all have it, you just don't know it'. I talk to them a little bit about Krudgel, the opposite of a Shnnoogle. He's the fear and doubt side of us who makes us horrid or selfish or mean to one another.

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Manning: This is so timely. I've been blogging to my readers about the fact that everything in the world is fast, it's frenetic, nobody has time for anyone or anything.

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Douglas: Right. It's like an illness.

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Manning: It is! That's exactly how I see it--an illness! You know, one of the pet peeves I wrote a newspaper Op/Ed article about concerns people who don't bother to return phone calls. I am by my own admission a sensitive person. I return calls. I do write follow up notes. I will send a card in long hand. But that's really becoming a lost art. How do you balance your work with the need to remain physically healthy as well? It seems to me a wonderful tonic to make you feel better and for being just genuinely positive. And children are perceptive about if you are genuine and who you are...

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Douglas: ...Whether you are shallow...

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Manning: ...How do you keep your batteries charged?

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Douglas: It's interesting, because I find the more I do it, the more that I am positive and friendly with somebody in the grocery store or the person bagging my groceries. Earlier today, I was out buying sugared Ginger and I asked my woman checking my groceries, 'Have you ever tried this?' She said, 'No, but I've always wanted to.' So, I said 'Here. Have one!' Some people may think that I'm a little bit strange possibly, but I find that the more I reach out and the more that I do something kind, it feels good and it brings out the kindness in others and that's nice to see.

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Manning: But if that isn't forthcoming, how do you handle it? I guess you just have to not own it?

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Douglas: Yeah, I can't do something with the expectation that some body's going to do something back for me. It's kind of like the movie Pay It Forward. Maybe it doesn't come back to me personally from that person. But maybe I've fractured a shell, maybe a hair line fracture and it's got to start somewhere? The that fracture can grow a little bit bigger and maybe somewhere down the road they may do something kind for somebody else.

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Manning: How do you handle set-backs? And I ask that because trying to get books published is lengthy and it's expensive, it's demanding it's draining. You wait and wait. There's a lot of rejection. How do you handle it?

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Douglas: I just believe in what I'm doing so much. I just believe that it's needed out there. The world needs more positive reinforcement and I look at Shnnoogle and anybody who see's Shnnoogle just thinks, 'Oh, my God!' They fall in love with him and they want a stuffed Shnnoogle. It feels good and I see that and I think, 'People are all the same whether it's you in a broadcasting booth or playing guitar, or a child I'm reading a story to, or brokers or clients and so on and everybody gets happy over this. They're no different'. Publishers are no different. People working in publishing houses...we're all just human beings. We all have children. We all see the hard that are going on right now and the lack of compassion and how caught up the world is and people want to be back in touch with what matters because there's an emptiness. There's something missing. Our humanity and our society has been pushed aside, and driven over top of and it's who we are as people that makes us human. I've often thought, 'If Oprah (Winfrey) would just look at this!' Oprah is just another human being like you or me. She's just in a position where people will look at her and if she got behind something it would take off. It's her position where she's at. But she's no different than you or I.
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Connie concludes her amazing visit with me tomorrow!
Please stop by.
Michael


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