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Feb. 14, 2023

Before he was Vinnie P - a chaotic backdrop before becoming famous

As the oldest of 4 kids, Vinnie was a "troublemaker". Really, underneath this was an intense curiosity to understand the world.
When family life took a dramatic turn for the worse, Vinnie was forced to grow up faster than intended, as he became a support for his siblings.

If you love the show and would like to support it, please share this episode!  You can also Buy Me A Coffee! ☕❤️ As an indie podcaster, that would mean the world to me!


As the oldest of 4 kids, Vinnie was a "troublemaker".  Really, underneath this was an intense curiosity to understand the world.

When family life took a dramatic turn for the worse, Vinnie was forced to grow up faster than intended, as he became a support for his siblings.

Vinnie realized, as he was trying to go down a more positive path, that who he surrounded himself was crucial.  With the birth of the internet and chat rooms, Vinnie was able to build community and connections that launched a trajectory that would culminate in a Career at MTV and connecting with celebrities and future celebrities, and even having a hand in shaping their paths to stardom.

Today, Vinnie is an Emmy® Award-winning Media Advisor who helps clients leverage their media exposure, find fame, and make impact.

Vinnie is the Editor-in-chief of I Have A Podcast® and is responsible for discovering and amplifying the voice of independent podcasters worldwide. 

This is build on the back of a career as a network executive at MTV Networks (98-07) where he discovered talent and developed new ways to support their goals, pioneering the way brands and business owners could contribute to their public narrative by making them stars and producers of their own television series. 

Early hits include Punk’d, The Osbournes, TRL, 8th & Ocean, Wild 'N Out, & The Challenge.

The number of celebrities he has connected with are astronomical. Personal brands Vinnie has helped elevate through the use of original content include: 

Mandy Moore, Diane von Furstenberg, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé Carter, Ashlee Simpson, Carson Daly, Nick Lachey, Sharon Osbourne, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Wilmer Valderrama, The Simmons, Russell Simmons, 

Nick Cannon, Lindsay Lohan, TJ Lavin, Vanessa Lachey, Benji & Joel Madden, Aly & AJ Michalka, Kelly & Jack Osbourne, Tyrese Gibson, Molly Sims, Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Danielle Fishel, Carmen Electra, Sisqo, Dave Holmes, 

Susie Castillo, Damien Fahey, Quddus, La La Anthony, DJ Clue, Suchin Pak, Gideon Yago, Brianna Keilar, Tracie Strahan, Erika Martin, Sway Calloway, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Matt Pinfield, Tom Green, Ahmet Zappa, Pauly Shore, Jerry Springer, 

Snoop Dogg, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Morgan Spurlock,, Ebro, Andy Milonakis, Kelis, Aubrey O'Day, Hasan Minhaj, Patti Stanger, Chris March, Danielle Staub, Beth Ostrosky Stern, Audrey Gruss, 

Dottie Herman, Peter Thomas Roth, Tinsley Mortimer and Leah McSweeney.

Wow.  That's a list.  But that's not all.

Corporate brands VPE has worked closely with include Macy's, Samsung, Nikon, MLB, Peter Thomas Roth, June Jacobs Spa, Naturally Serious Skin, Kiehl's, Hope Fragrances, Ciroc, Dow, Lady Foot Locker, AARP, Prudential, and AllState. 

Vinnie is a seriously connected man.












Welcome back to between the before, and after a podcast, about the stories that shape us, I'm your host coach John McLaren, and each episode.

At bring you an inspiring guest, with a moving story, that shines a light on the power of the human Spirit.

I'm excited to share this story with you.

So let's Dive In.

Alright, welcome back to between the before and after I'm always excited for my guest, but today feels like an extra special guest because I've never had someone in Vinny on my podcast before.

And as soon as I realized that I was like I reached out to Vinny and asked if he could, he'd come on the show and he graciously, he graciously agreed because when he realized that fact as well, we thought we better, we better Rectify, this so many thanks so much for coming on the show today.

Men, yo, Mick learnin, thank you for having me like I got now.

I feel like I got to be as Vinnie as everyone thinks of it would be how you doing McLaren and Over there everything.


Because New York, has a fairly distinct accent.

And so people like expect cup of coffee or something.

Is that, is that New York?
That, that wasn't my.

You were like Mike, Myers.

Trying to do coffee, talk is looking better.


Then the accent is real, it comes out when I'm hungry thirsty, passionate or and you know anything Mixture of those.

When I do something, I can be anywhere in the world.

And if I hear someone from New York, may hear the accent mine comes out to.

It's almost like a calling card, right?

Oh that looks like my wife, my wife sir mr.

Elia and you know I joke that I ship her back to Australia every year to foreign accent refresher because living living in Canada.

You know it's inevitable the accent starts to wear off just a little bit.

There's always words that stay the same.

Like she always says tomato and it's just weird to me.

We get this also you get this like Like interesting Global accent where your overconfidence you're under compensating for the person you're speaking to your overcompensating your language, you come up with this sort of unique imaginary, almost acts as european-american Centric accent that.

Yeah well and so my wife is an actor and a performer does theater and stage and improv and whatnot.

And so she also when she starts hearing it, like somebody else's accent, like, will start to take it on unconscious.

Yeah, I need to watch that happen.

You know, I remember so I I worked at MTV in the late 90s and early 2000s and I remember Carson, having a conversation with Carson where he was aware, that dependent, you know, jokes and voice vocal and Tony.

They would change depending on who some of the artists were.

And I remember actually I remember it was cool because I remember him pointing that out.

And then and then working really hard to make it to be more of a consistent personality.

I saw Carson Daly working hard at being himself.

Elf and and I understood the importance of it.

The the the power in being transparent being omnipresent as a character and not having that character changed based on who's in the room.

But having actions change based on, who's in the room where the dialogue doesn't need to change.

But yeah, if I sit there and I'm talking to someone who's swinging, I started swaying.

If they're doing a two-step, I started doing the two-step.

Yeah, well, I think if you look at like the, the was it Whose book about influence.

There's some good Roberts, eldini.

I think it was there's any one of the ways that you can positively affect how somebody feels about you is to mirror a little bit of what they're doing.

I think is, you know, and so maybe maybe it comes naturally before we dive into your story because you got a really cool kind of crazy Baxter.

I only know a little bit of I didn't want to cheat too much.

I always like to just yeah I like to discover people's stories while we're talking and realized you know I had a podcast interview recently with another lady, she's a doctor who had like a brain injury and what It was, it was cool story but what came out of the story was, she's like, at 16.

She had this crazy car accident where she was flipped over a median and rolled down a Ravine and stuff and somehow survived knows.

Like that's not a nearby.

Oh, but it was it's super fun to discover like these sort of unpredictable nuggets of think, you know about your story.

So I'm looking forward to discovering that before we dive in, though, what are you up to today?
You know, if we just give you a little nutshell, like what you do today, because I'm going to figure out the road that led you to getting to this place.

Oh yeah, I appreciate that.

Immediate visor, I help businesses and people stand out in media.

Yeah, some of those people are small, business owners and founder LED businesses.

Some of them are Talent Brands who identify as podcasters or journalists TV hosts.

Some of them are celebrities who are viable Global, you know, namesakes and are looking for ways to continue to make impact in media and I take a step back, I look at the resources that you have.

We take inventory of the pop tuna T's and possibilities and we go for it and we make things happen.

And I'm happy to connect people to fame if they're looking for fame to leverage impact, television used to be in a dress that I was happy to get people, you know, to write nowadays.

It's all about the action that comes from these stories and characters.

So that is that is a really fascinating statement.

You just said there though, I'm happy to connect people to fame, but because I think you here, Of have had a lot of connection to fame and we'll get in touch with your story, but perhaps you yourself are not exactly a household name.

And so, does this mean that you like to exist a little bit more behind the scenes, but you just have this, you have this eye for like spotting it like an IT Factor was somebody go.

Okay, there's something there.

Sticks out to you.

So fine.

Why did you choose not to?
Maybe move the Forefront yourself if you have access to that?
It's so funny.

How being on the peripheral makes people question that the point?

I love being, I love being off camera.

I love working in private media.

I got into television because the audience was there.

I stayed in television because the talent was there when those two people left but I wasn't in 2007 television.

No longer was the Charming Lord that it was to me.

I was lucky.

So first off I'm a database guy like I'm data, okay?
So I created a database Send it was a database that got me into casting and and long story short, ultimately, I got hired M TV to help create the talent development department because I can I could help organize a want to be a VJ contest where thousands of people are going to be, you know, interviewed and make sure every piece of data is organized and well kept and use it and call on it.

I cast the news team for a Chooser lose 2,000.

I think was the first big assignment that I had for MTV.


Which is Is MTV's approach to politics.

So that's, that's how we're going to, you know, and educate the, the MTV demo, which was, you know, Millennial and Gen X Millennial, you know, audience back then a really cool time to be in media, but there were a lot of people in media, when I was there.

A lot of new networks, a lot of Executives, but no one was in town to development, like I was listening to talent, I was coming back, I would be in the room with new vijay's and the people that I Higher.

And that gave me access to more Talent.

By the way, I was.

And I remember hiring a host of EJ, we call them be a jockey at.

So I went down to the set to make sure that that Jim was well taken care of.

And it was his first day at said, he I think he was interviewing he was interviewing William, and I remember at the end of the 30 minute, you know, show will turn to his manager was like wait.

So like if I could I'm the number one video and I'm on the show for a two minutes.

But if I host a show so I can be in the show for 30 minutes using, we're going on here to host a show and I was in the room.

It was my job, right?
Every kind of looked at me and I was about to call you kidding.

I know who to call and make that happen.

I called my boss.

They called their boss and quickly.

We now had a 30-minute block of programming that will went and hosted and now that I have that that opened up the door for other people.

Mandy Moore right on TV.

At first Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson in fact, Jessica Simpson auditioned And I was going to say believe it or not I think you'll believe it reading off.

A cue card.

Wasn't her skill set, you know, it's really hard like you card in and do all the performer e things that it takes Mandy, nailed it, Mandy was consistent.

But Jessica, Jessica was cut from a different was made from different materials and different cloth.

And you know the media loved to pick her apart because she wasn't what they wanted her to be and really wasn't newlyweds was the 30-minute window that you know, let her Or have the time and space to grow into who she is.

So the people can find the charm in chicken to Anna of the sea.

And, you know, somebody's gonna put my network on the map, you know what I mean?
Yeah, absolutely.

So yeah, so but you yourself decided to hell when I want to stay in the periphery?
Because for me it's more, you know, it's more fascinating and you have an eye for talent but connecting it to data and that really makes makes your wheels turn.

Yeah, I don't know, you know.

I mean as a kid sure I was I did theater and music.

So I have a music scholarship and like I sang in college and that's how I was able to afford.

Going to school and stuff theater was really what I wanted.

You know, I wanted to produce theater or be in theater.

So me, going to MTV as a result of living in New York going to Times Square meeting the casting director on 45th and Broadway and then my life changing because across the street was Was, you know, is the Marriott Marquis with the, you know, right?

Probably theater in the elevators that go up and down in tubes and everything like that.

Then, mr.

Peanut sign, you know, I'm talking about early, early 90s, right?
Like we think of that thing, you know, and then on the other side was MTV, this brand-new cable network, and it was interesting and neat, and they liked me, and they trusted me, and I prove to them, that I could do things, I had some technical skills, it's weird to say this.

I had some technical skills that people in.


Didn't you would think that this is, I could wire to VCRs together and I could edit on to VCRs?
That was something at MTV that they hadn't figured out yet.

So they were spending thousands of dollars.

In edit Bays editing things that you know, just for presentations.

So I came into casting and I said wait, how do you what do you do just know?
You're going to lose a little bit luckier.

If it's VCR the VCR, you're going to lose a little bit of quality here.

That's of.

I'm so unfortunate.


There's lines in between everyone face but I can see her as an assistant and edit.

I don't need to spend thousands of dollars downstairs when I can be up here answering the phone booking, all the shows you want me to book casting, making sure the castings are happening.

And edit, I can do that from my desk with a database and be organized.

That's amazing.

So it's like you jam.

Yeah, that's cool.

Let's dive into the, how kind of how you got there.

So are you born and raised in Brooklyn Staten Island?
So sort of stuff.

Yeah, it was it.

There's five boroughs, right?
Brooklyn and I'm like, I don't even try to list, looks like the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn wait, Brooklyn Bronx, Staten, Island, queens and Manhattan.

There we go.

Okay, that that, that's that's than all those names, like, stick out in people's minds.

New York is a pretty pretty remarkable City, but growing up, maybe didn't have this idea that, hey, I'm going to be like a talent development.

Do not gonna Scout or did you know who's doing that back then, right?
Yeah, because you're, I mean, you, look relatively useful, but I see a little A bit of gray in the beard there and so I'm guessing you're somewhere near my age bracket.

I'm 41, so 45.

Yeah, I'm 45 77, or you can I wear this like a badge?
I grew up and I grew up entertaining, the people born from like 89 281 like that's my sweet spot in terms of like eating viewership for sure.


So what was growing up for you?
Like as the oldest of four?
Unfortunately, my parents divorced, there was a lot of alcoholism in my family so we lived me and my siblings lived with my grandpa and my grandmother for a little bit.

And really, really, you know, learned how to make things meet, make things make sense.

When it doesn't seem to make sense, I think I tapped into this skill set of levity to cope with reality.

So many coping mechanisms, turn turns super power to not only minimizing my emotions allows me to now have be a little bit more of an over explainer.

But also in over-explaining, I tend to have more words to be able to get to where I need the room to get to.

So it's not about my journey But the rooms understanding of that journey, I say it that way because you know, putting something on paper and Now we are in podcasts and audio and video so we're capturing emotion, you know, raw early to mid 90s.

I'm putting in motion, I'm putting funny, I'm putting sad, I'm putting diversity and putting these these raw tactile things on paper and I need to make sure the network Executives.

This every step of the way for it to get green light for it.

To hit are so can make the impact that I wanted to do.

Of this really stems from your childhood experiences.

And, you know, because you know, I think that the tagline show here is like the stories that shape us.

And so what will you probably won't put up your hand to go through some of what you had to go through in childhood and maybe being thrust into sort of as the oldest sibling a bit of an adult, kind of role may be before your time looking out for your other siblings and whatnot, that led you down this path to getting your kind of kosher.

Yeah, I mean, I learned I learned not to want anything.

They can minimize loss or disappointment, I learned how to prioritize other people's goals.

I learned, we moved around quite a bit and I learned how to quickly make friends and win them over, you know, because sometimes I only had like one after 9/11 after night school, basketball session with you.

And I didn't, like, I don't, like, not knowing the people around me.

This is, by the way, I'm you doing this.

Right now and podcasting.

So if you were to, if you were to ask me, how do I build my brand and podcasting, is with people pop.

The, I can't tell you an easier way to build your brand.

The perception, your reputation of yourself, then one on one with people, I was lucky at MTV.

That was my job was to interview people.

One-on-one I did one on one interviews with Christina Aguilera and Mandy like all all of the artists that you saw on TV.


I met them in conference rooms and into small Talent showcases and I listened and I gave feedback and the, and the let work, and the label both on both sides listened and that really helped the helped create, you know, new realities for other people.

That's something that that's like, this isn't my MO is making things happen for people.

And so, how do you, how do you go about making friends quickly?
I lead with love to be honest, I hadn't had my friend Alex my friend Alex Sanfilippo.

He owns pod match and comes out with an amazing tools report Master episode 100 Alex's story.

So is it Al why don't you toss is guy by the way, Alex said to me then he goes Vin, you know, we're sitting around talking about podcasts and strategy.

He was, you know, a lot of strategy, a lot of content makers, a lot of guests and I've heard just about everything, but I've never heard anyone and the Castaway that you do.

And how my face turned bright red.

I was because like, because this is not something I'm doing intentional.

So I'm like, rut Ro what am I, what am I doing that?
Yeah, he's like, well, at the end of it.

You said, thank you so much.

I love you.


And I was like, oh I love that I can first off.

I'm as I said, I can either over explain it but I'm a very connected to now I've lost too many friends to Suicide or other things.

Did not allow me to experience the now I appreciate reality TV for the now.

I even appreciate reality TV for the re now meaning if we don't like it we can do it over again.

You should do that in life more often.

By the way, we ask for Second Chances, when we screw up majorly but like let's ask for a second chance.

You know, if I if I want to shake your hand and I didn't quite get it in there, I might say who can do can do it again.

I'm capable of giving you a better engine.


You know you you got me at the wrist.

The event and I want to just let you know how present I am and that I see you and that matters to me.

Some people will say, well, you don't get do-overs in life and I'm like, but why not right my parents did my parents, I certainly had to subscribe to that as a child, by the way.

Yeah, sorry we're in rehab but sometimes that happens.

There's biological reasons.

There's so much ice.

Sociological reasons, psychological reasons.

I wanted to be a psychologist.

I went to school by the way, as a side G major with music scholarship.

And then I realized it's a weird thing but it is tonight and marketing psychology and chemistry men.

So thanks to your strengths.



You gonna make things happen, right?
And I got their nose to come on.

Maybe a psychologist.

You know how serious that is changing people's lives.



And I got 10 TV and I was like, and I'm Gonna Change Your Life.

We change Persona and career and you get the opportunity to do it again and do it yourself.

Your way and wish your way is not going to not even drink your way, but with my editing and our money, right?
Right, right.


And ax is going to tell you and you know what are what are, you know, depends and you know, weird Millennial, you know commercials brands are going to, you know tell you what you should have body sprays and things like that.

Yeah, that's why I'm so passionate about right now where we're at in media, our ability.

Own content.

Our ability to own the IP, and have an IP seen, and have that IP include our voice in our likeness, and our stories.

That's powerful.

You know, I mentioned some names.

I name drop for sure.

None of those people own.

The shows that we talked about, right, part of the reason why.

Now, am I doing this to be really honest is because of you.

Yeah, I worked at networks and I've worked for people who work for people who work for people networks are Are on the stock exchange.

So that though they report do a board of people who report into thousands of you know, whatever and you lose control at a certain point.

And what I love about podcasting is that no one, no one owns podcasting as the industry.

You got a lot of experts coming in here from all different backgrounds.

That's exciting to me.

I grew up in TV, as a, as a professional.

All those people were in it for 20 years before that, and they tried to make me pay all the same Jews that they Had to pay.

And like, yeah, it's not a funny mindset.

Like we had a heart.

So you, you need to have a hard to.


And I'm the guy.

I'm like, let me just make a, let me make it easy for you.

I don't EV by the way you would think this is weird to say Adam TV as a casting associate.

Assistant coordinator VP, whatever.

I ended up becoming throughout my years.

The thing that brought people to my office, the number one thing that brought people to my office, I had a unlimited.

I had a Willy Wonka Anka, gold card.

I had a hotline, I would call and say, they won't believe me already deserve you, what would you like?
And I would put in my order and I'm getting it took candy.

I had to literally bribe.

I mean, that's, you know, I'm creating an experience.

I want you to come to my room, come to my office, get some Nerds Rope.

I'm gonna hit you with a couple of.

Hey, you see this comic, this comedians, hysterical.

Did you see her?
When she did implant and see, I'm giving you the Sugar Rush the Endorphin?
I'm playing but I got to make it your idea.

You know, for a provide that Creativity is, it's the, it's connecting, it's taking it from here and getting it out there.

And that's that right now, we're doing it individually in the way you do.

It helps us scale.

Like what I'm doing is focusing on building this with you trusting that you figured out how to take this to for it to hit a, you know, a larger audience.


That's different than TV that that's not how TV we know works.

But I will say one thing that I learned how to talk about TV, that's like a little You'll like, I don't know, a fugazi, a little who got some people strategy about about repurposing content because I come from TV.

So like, when you deliver an episode for a TV show you deliver a 15-second spot, a five second spot, a 30 second TV ads because there's inventory where you know, that that's going to air and I'm very confused about how why people are so surprised when they're done recording their podcast episodes, and they go to, you know, Put it on on, they publish it, that maybe they'll go to social media, you know, and maybe they'll use maybe that might be one of the ways that they'll amplify the message.

But it's almost like they're not, they're not sitting down creating relationships with, you know, 55, not even 10 but like five people on Instagram who are waiting for your information who are going to Champion it, and support it, and building that relationship and rapport with them, I didn't realize that That was something I Did It MTV.

Well was was like not when I had a project I didn't necessarily go out looking for who I needed the cast.

I went out and found the people that I knew could take me there and I let them bring them in and I was able to cast shows because I didn't run around America looking for what I was looking for.

I had her strong network of people who would bring me Concepts and ideas and I would reward them very well whether directly as producers or with VM a ticket.

Or access.

Sure, and be whatever.

I, you know, had, and I didn't realize it because most people think selling a TV shows, like, how do I sell the show?
I'm like, no, no.

How do you network the show, right?


All about networking.


So before MTV, you know, because there's a journey to get there and you know, how did you come to this path?
You see, like you got there, you know like you obviously cares what happened?
Yeah, an interesting technology.

She and tinkering and things like that.

But somehow you found yourself here, you know, I was good to get away needed basis on a Microsoft Access.

Like I was like, I want a glossy database, you know, and I wanted to be surrounded by Talon.

It was October of 98 that.

I had this idea that I'll take out an ad on something called backstage, which is still now where you go, where you go to look for non-union opportunities in media.

And I said, My name is Manny Parra Steve-O and I'm looking for people who are looking for work.

I have none now and I'm looking to build my files.

If you would like to be considered for future projects, send me your head shot and resume.

One campus Road, Wagner College student bucks.

57 said, I didn't even create like the to think of creating an LLC for my production company.


Didn't even come to mind until two days later when we started getting hundreds of responses and probably by the end of Of the year.

I had about seven hundred responses.

I turned to my database, it took all that information and I started connecting with these people.

I worked at the computer center so I would read backstage, I would see an opportunity I thought was right.

I would go through the system.

I'd pick the people.

I thought, might be right for and I would shoot them an email and then one day I saw this thing and it's an MTV 45 and Broadway three PM, Whitney Houston come by, we're shooting and I worked.

It worked for my schedule.

Is that Wagner?
College and Staten Island school.

I grabbed three of my friends, my roommates.

We went into wagon.

We went to the MTV, you know.

I got this bro.

A solid thing.

We're here at the I get picked to ask questions of Whitney Houston which is kind of sick.


What was it like recording with Mariah Carey on The Prince of Egypt, soundtrack?

And when, when Whitney came out to the studio and the stage manager points, me out the hot.

The lights are on me.

I feel in the moment.

Yeah, she says this.

Is the guy who's going to ask the question and when he says, I'm not answering that question.

No way.

Not that.

Not that question.

I'm like, no, this is making.

That's exactly how I reacted in the casting director.

And I said, if you ever need any, this was great.

Thanks for the experience.

And I got to practice and I never held a mic before with a little, you know, MTV on the mic Q.


Very important.

If you ever need anything, I have a database of like 700 actors.

People looking to get, you know into media let me know and that casting director was like what is inside, how many people and who's in it and and to be honest that database and that guy first took me to the Food Network and to Fox News, Fox News is a new network and it worked on a show called Hannity and Colmes.

So I got to tour the country.

Interviewing people Republicans, Democrats filling the audience and picking people to ask questions, okay?
And it was that experience.

Ants and my little database that that Guy brought me back to MTV and I was asked to cast the news team for choose or lose and MTV was doing these big casting.

Things like I want to be a Vijay like giant Nationwide.

Searches were hundreds of thousands of submissions were coming in and my little database was equipped to handle that and then I showed them how I would created a celebrity database for the talent we're working for so that I can quickly export MTV Spring.

Break1 sheets and called something.

Yeah, I had some real infrastructure that I didn't realize that that solved problems.

Creatives were having that didn't have the technical skills and I had.

So I did not get hired by MTV because of some brilliant casting news Talent regularly.

I learned that from the best of the best in the industry but what I did step into that, into those walls into those hallways with was an understanding of how to move media.

Like, I went to school 95 to 98.

I was there when the hard drive became Obsolete and floppy disks became obsolete.

He's like one year where I had to take music from your computer and put it into your iTunes.

In the next year we were we were already on Napster or trying to share.

Yeah it was an intern.

I'm on, Gio City's, building communities for people.

Like I'm all about that connecting piece.


But it was that database that got me into MTV and it was that hard skill of editing VCR to VCR.

To be really blunt the home, when I got to MTV, they had me go around the offices and show all the assistants, how to do that?
And because now, people can create dailies or like Quick Cuts.

Yeah, and send it up without having to spend thousands of dollars in edit.

How did not hard skill like that really helped me tremendously but to me it's again I knew no one when I got into the game and really most people think well you're in casting you must have known somebody know like I just got good at meeting people.

That's what a casting person does is Well, I can say it two ways, some casting people just like I'm not throwing shade as I drop some caching people just like to recast the people that we found 20 years ago.

I think that's exciting and I appreciate it because it makes my work all that much more relevant.

But I would have never went to MTV if I had a recast all the same people that everyone already did if I didn't get the pill Beyonce and her first film or bring Mandy Moore to TV.

If I didn't get into a mood of those types of people, you you wouldn't have, you wouldn't My attention.

I wouldn't, I didn't want to be a service of media.

I want to be a servant of the people, you know, in media, you get paid for episodes.

Not for impact and that's the difference in what I like doing now with people and brands that own their content.


So you hadn't had you had much in the way of, like, let's say a brush with fame or brush with celebrity.

Other than that, time to ask what he was in a question prior to prior, to any of this, you want to know.

I did something called, you know, the landmark forum.

Yeah, I do.

I've heard of that.

So I did the landmark forum with Robin Quivers.

Who is famously?
Howard Stern's co-host and on it?
Okay, yeah, which is weird because I tell people, you know, in the 90s I'm looking around on television and we all like to look for, you know, ourselves and weren't certainly weren't out gay men, you know, the 90s for me to for me to Aspire to and I finally saw the show, Howard Stern and I finally saw myself right there.

Robin Quivers.

And I know, even I think about the Muppets like I didn't want to be Kermit.

I wanted to be scooter the stage manager, you know.




Elliman, I'd rather be Gelman than Regis, you know, on Regis and Kelly and and and her her experience in my experience in that landmark forum.

And that track is what made me take out the add-on backstage, it is what moved me to take inspired action.

Reaction to start living and look what I soon became the new sort of newer version of who I am.

It was in shedding a story of what I who I thought I was and all how I thought I had.

This story figured out for me and I thought I was positioned as the hero as as most victims and brave.

But you know, underdogs think they're building that way.

And I was really lucky because she's not a person who Does Big Red Carpet flashy like it wasn't.

It wasn't about the celebrity of, it was a, it was it for her, it was about making the content being part being in the room.

The responsibility of keeping that job and keeping the momentum that she has now that she and that was, that played a big role for me.

Also, I got to MTV in 98 so 95 to 98 is when yo MTV Raps comes out.

Michael Jackson is now added to music daytime culturally.

There's a tremendous.


I got to MTV, you know, when they when companies fix problems it's usually like a lot all at first and then it's literally right.

Yeah, I learned how to do it a lot all at first and it never stopped.

Yeah, you know, diversity is something that I see out of the gate.

That's how I land on inclusion.

And that's something that I'm so honored to say, I learned from the people that, you know, at MTV that even launched the network and then were brought in to keep the network to what it was.

To bring those people into the room.

There's there, there are two meant there to there was dirt too.

Many cultural decisions that I got to be a small part of.

Yeah, yeah.

My ten years at MTV that made such impact in and the Desi communities in smaller communities that, yeah, I don't take that lightly.

Did you recall the first the first celebrity that you interact with one-on-one, like, in your office?
Or were you in tracking people who maybe weren't yet, celebrities?
And then, that's interesting.

Help them.

Um that yeah that's more well.

So a little bit of both at MTV.


So at MTV I think Mandy Moore Kellogg like some of their kind of famous now and you know them now but then I'll say it this way when I got to MTV I wasn't working with Madonna or Cher or prints.




You know, I Lenny Kravitz, even, you know, I eventually Kravitz as a VJ didn't get to work.

With, you know, some some of the rock Legends but Steven Tyler, but I did get to interview his daughter for DJs and I remember me, I mean, I spent a lot of time with Mandy Moore in the office because she was like 15 16, she had school work to do in the office.

So she was young, she was often around, and we there was no, there was no roaming place for people to sit down, so we would share a space.

In fact, I remember Or because you think I'm never gonna have a real job.

And so with and acting and dancing, I was like to answer my phones for like a little bit and see how that goes and looks like a sure.

And by the way, we did it in the her label called and I got in trouble like you're making her answer your phones.

Like no she and she said, she just wanted to answer.

You just want to know.

It's don't Hume, don't turn it into that.

I just want to say.

So this point can help with what she already producing music.

This point.

Like she was already.

Yeah, yeah.


And it's so you You've got to interact with a lot of celebrities, like in a different setting because I think the average person, I'm probably, average person's, I'm really not that connect to this celebrity culture in a sense but the average person, like I was not right?
It's a celebrity culture.

Yeah, they have the certain perception about celebrities and you get to see them in a completely different way at the cameras are off, you get to see them just as they are and and kind of Being Human and you probably discover the like or already knew like they eat sleep.

Go to the bathroom just like the rest of us, you know?
And probably Of them may not know.

I don't know.

Maybe a lot of them wrestle with like imposter syndrome this idea of being put up on a pedestal and they're like well what if someone like finds out and they meet me and they realize I'm actually a normal person because this idea, you said, you know, you can help people.

I forget the exact wording but like kind of move into Fame if that's the one and they want to make an impact.

And that's quite a powerful statement that you, you know, you can take someone who has a talent and say I'm going to make you famous, you know.


And what we're going to use it and we're going to put it and we're going to make change.

Yeah we're going to celebrate it.

That's being a celebrity by the way, is being celebrated.

He did what I like to do is find people who want to celebrate, you who are going to go, the extra mile as we even working with Ashton Kutcher.

We're kind of going with this.

I remember, you know, Ashton was a household name as an actor, he that's 70.

Show is already a huge hit, I think.

Dude, Where's My Car might be like the biggest move ride.

That big movie, though.

They are that the other guys Shawn.

Oh yeah, yeah, exactly.

What's his face and then and then actually culture that we all have trombone You know what Ashton wanted from MTV was the opportunity to show the world that he could create something that was meaningful.

Punked isn't punked.

Isn't a prank show.

Punk'd is the audacity of a prank of a prank show.

And when we were developing at, there were many different iterations of it and one of them included him as the host and he really fought back.

He did not want to be seen, he did not need to be seen as a host or a VJ on MTV.

If anything I'm cable versus you know, that could be What he did was create space, a black room with a single stool with a couple of locked cameras, where he controlled what happened in that room?
He talked in his own way and he, with his little trucker hat on what existed it was gonna happen.

He was kind of like getting in from inside his head outside and we deconstructed the role of a host for that show.

So that he could walk us through what we really wanted to host to do, which is like walk us through the audacity of this prank.

How could this?
How could we as a society believe this that were here.

Yeah, and giving people giving people what they want to be honest.

When they're that intentional under that clear Ashton Kutcher was one of them and seeing how they leverage it.

That's powerful.



What this was do you have a favorite celebrate that you kind of got to interact with that?
You thought like this person is very memorable.

I really enjoyed my, you know, time because I'm sure you got to know and like all of them and maybe there's some surprising ones to really cool.

It didn't expect that from them, you know, and we don't want to throw anybody under the bus or anything like that.

You know what hear that.

But so let's say, who is your most enjoyable to work with.

Who really surprised you, oh, to be really honest.

They're, they're all who all my kids are enjoyable.

Fair enough.

Yeah, it was really cool to work with nas as an executive producer on the first TV series that he ever executive produced and pardon my ignorance is he, is he a hip-hop artist?

Yeah, not as that.

I hit the rap artist and he is a Content maker and creating great content is resonating.

I bring him up that it was a great experience because it was a horrible one.

Unfortunately we did when we did his newlyweds.

Basically so him and police got married, we followed them and unfortunately that that relationship didn't stand the test of time.

But I worked on a project in its entirety and then it never saw the light of day.

And I was really devastated that the project went away even before anyone can even see it.

So it couldn't, it was it didn't fail because of his never given an opportunity to go kind of stung a little bit is that, you know, in television, there's only a certain amount of time.

So no matter how good our project is, if there's not time on the grid, it's not going to be seen the project that made the grid was a project that I also cast.

I've always been a little bitter about that project that's it.

It's still one of those shows that people you know it's on Netflix right now.

I think actually in the top 10.

It's annoying but the the empathy, the empathy, the human component to creating something that and then it not going.

It was a it was a hard lesson to learn.

Ultimately unfortunately, one of the lessons that pushed me a little bit away from MTV and yeah, it was that and I wanted to do a talent Showcase with podcasters and they wanted me to do a talent Showcase with YouTubers and I just didn't see going in that direction.

And we had different them.

I wanted to do it, like, a reality series, with Katy Perry and they didn't, they thought I was crazy and all these things, you know, perception of the, our definition of talent changed.

Let's just put it.

Right, right?


Well, actually in 2007, the definition of talent was I never said this.

The definition of talent was changing because look at what talent includes now actors.

And I mean it's not just actors and singers and creatives.

Accountants and the body of people that work for companies.

That's again that I think that's really speaks to, you know, the evolution of towns and what we're capable of creating.

So you would have, you would have probably seen some interesting like life story arcs.

You got to watch somebody come in with with talent but, you know, nobody knows who they are.

Watch them become famous, watch them wrestle with what it's like to be thrust in the spotlight in the pressure that comes with that.

Maybe watch them have a kind of a fall from grace because they're there.

They're not really able to handle what's being pushed through way and then maybe see, like kind of a rebirth and things like that.

Is there anyone in particular kind of stands out to you like, that was, that was because we as human beings.

We actually in Jessica Simpson.

Is it, you're just, you just describe those two women to the T, by the way.


Ashley more than Jessica because Ashley was really young and the mess up that Ashley made was on Saturday Night Live on SNL.

There was a life Mormons and the wrong track played.

I actually spoke to her father about this.

The drummer usually has a switch that starts, you know, on the down beat that starts the song and it was, it was on the wrong song.

And in some of that is the error, the team made because they were really young, it was her first live appearance.

Straight live to are.

Like, in television, there's life to tape, which means you could make maybe a mistake, but don't if you curse you.

Keep it out live to air, there's no going back and right.

Yeah, like we're live stream right now.

So yea, exactly.

There's no going back, right?
You can fix it in the edit but still there's a virgin out there.

She didn't rebound well from it, you know, the media, the media and news were really hard on her anyway.

She was one of those people that people love to hate and love is love to tune into, but the perception that she was getting the stuff handed to you on a silver spoon because she had a famous sibling, or because she's attractive or like what Y is, It the drove the media to like maybe want to hate her.

Oh, that's a great question.

I really don't know.

You know what?
I'm gonna ask her that question.

I'll ask her what she thinks.

I don't know the answer to that.

I don't think she had it easy.

And by the way, she has more, you know, Jessica Simpson has more songs and Ashley who actually has more number one hits interested than Jessica.


Ashley has a really strong writer and often better to be on the show here.

Yeah, and meaning and they've all those Simpson women just their strong Business women and they have a strong sense of self and you know with actually I don't know what's interesting about actually but she was the only, you know, we would get these phone calls that MTV.

Hey I want to hey I'm JoJo I'm getting ready to come out with an album I'm like, but if you already recorded the album that we miss the show.

So yes so long trying to figure out at that point.

I need to meet someone at that moment and with Jeff because Jessica Simpson is Jessica Simpson.

We have these larger conversations and I remember With, with the label that actually signed to that, you know, they were like, well if you are, if we sign her, are you going to support us and like we can't agree to that.

But also we were like well if you sign her, are you going to support her?
And they're like we can't really agree to that but there was inherent talent and we had to get it right?
And there was a couple of artists, we try to follow that, didn't quite get it, right.

I think Ashley actually took the brunt of actually out of all them again being the strongest.

Ocean she is, I hate that it's that that one thing that she did that gave her the snowy Vanilli.

You know that impression was that lip sync, is that what it was and then they cut to an advertiser's.

You know, unfortunately advertisers that's you know, they don't if they have if they Complain if they can get their money back, if they can point it on something.

And by the way, also in the early 2000s, they're going to blame a young young female for, of course, and I mean, to generalize, but like first under media and news was not very kind as we see with Brittany and a lot of other females and media than so, we're Janet, Jackson to be honest, I can go, I don't want to turn this into a conversation about sexism, although it is blatant and only imagine that two days.

So but yeah and so ultimately though they can point in time where you you parted ways with MTV and all people would be like, wow that seems crazy like you have this position, you have all these connections that are but you realize, hey, there's there's something more that I can do.

Those more impact.

I want to create, and this is actually, we're now the place where the starting to stifle maybe my, my creative Outlet of my eye.

And my gifts, I want to do something different.

So maybe you were a little bit of a little bit of a clairvoyant there.

Yeah, I appreciate that.

I didn't know, you know, at MTV we Like now production companies make TV shows and everyone, I think understands that production companies make shows for networks at MTV, we were the production show, right?
I physically was in The Osbournes home or like I was the one getting my job on Punk'd by the way, after casting after casting the actors to my job was to get the celebrities to sign the releases because I was all about relations and some of those didn't go.

Well, Well, yeah, some people didn't find the humor in them and it was a real opportunity for me to listen and make change and I know that and that's a fascinating thing to think about just that in itself, right?
Because of course, you think about these celebrities who have this carefully crafted image and to me, like an the concept of Sudbury is a really fascinating one because we craft an image around this person and project it onto society as a whole.

So we have this shape perception and all of a sudden, this one thing happens, it's like a little pin hitting hitting Do of glass and it goes in.

The mirror has gone through.

There you are and it looks bad costly.

Yeah, I remember learning.

There was an MTV up front.

So we do this thing called up front and advertisers come.

So basically, it's like the biggest show MTV can put on for other Advertiser, we spend, you know, hundreds of thousands of hours when we make millions in, you know, in that week that's not.

So all the celebrity Talent from our networks are there in fact at that point, it's Viacom.

So it's all everything from Nickelodeon Nick at Nite VH1 MTV.

Like the hallways are magical and I remember a conversation between Nick Cannon Diddy and Ashton.

We're Nick and Diddy pulled Ashton.

The side.

And they were like, never ever under any circumstance.

Punk us.

Like not.

This is not like, not a threat, by the way, but like, we're just eye-to-eye.

Like, never ever under any circumstance.

Would you would we ever want to or should it ever happen?
And there, by the way, there's plenty.

So, how Punk'd works is, Ashton really wouldn't punk people.

If he thought they knew it but we got plenty of phone calls of people trying to, you know, Punk their favorite, you know.


Those trust me Nick and, and did he had their fair share of people who are willing to do it, but Ashton stood by it.

And I saw that sort of I thought maybe back then I saw that bro.


But it's exactly how you're saying carefully created, impressions of who we are, that they can change overnight and they have the ability.

Bility to do that.

And I think that, that's what I like most about podcasting is like, I trust this podcasting space because we have so much more control over the content we own.

You have so much more over the control of your content, that you own then, MTV would have owning its content trying to figure out bundling deals and marketing deals and syndication.

And, you know, amplification all the different ways to make money for media.

I'm not saying that that we make more than that, obviously they make.

Because there's more quality, there's more quite sure for sure of media, but the the nimbleness that we have abilities can happen to speak.


So here's what I'm curious about because, you know, we're talking about the work that you do and other people's lives, but a lot of people listened to your story and the work that you've done and the people you've had to work with and the access that you have, and I imagine there might be like, some degree of Envy like, wow, you know, this is so cool.

If any has all these people and is like, you know, you could just dial up, these famous people and have a conversation with and they were Being appreciate you.

What through this like particularly since 2007 leaving an MTV, you know what has been like the most difficult thing for you to go through because imagine it hasn't been like us a smooth Road.

Like it might sound like again when we present these stories and images.

Yeah, I appreciate that.

Doing what I feel called to do and doing what I'm good at.

They don't always have to go hand-in-hand and they don't have to be mutually exclusive if I don't have strong self-confidence.

If I'm not secure in who I am and what I'm capable of doing, I'll start doing what other people want me to do and what that looks like is me casting shows based on.

Yes, I can find people, but I don't want to find people based on who they're dating or not, dating or married or all the other social constructs that The Blake.

And I realized I realized that I can do more good with my skill set outside of Television than inside it, because you can own your content and if I can pull people together and I'm hyper mindful of opportunity.

So I have podcast now that are currently being developed by Netflix for unscripted and HBO Max for scripted and my podcast is called.

I have a podcast were distributed as a till television show, I have a podcast on On TV and trust me so annoying that I also have a radio show and it's of course, called I have a podcast on the radio.



I called my podcast, I have a podcast because I'm signaling to the people.

I've already worked with that.

I have a podcast and I'm keeping it really, really simple.

That's not something I would have done 10 years ago.

I might have called it some crazy name try to you know, blah blah blah blah.

Build up this like crazy Persona.

Instead of stripping back you know, the Me would have said, 50 weeks, 50 guests.

I'm going to show everyone in the world who I know and the new me says, well, you know what?
I'm so lucky to have these 1215 people in my life, for years for 20 years.

And the way that that's something that most people don't have, most people might meet somebody through Cameo or have a couple of your relationship, but sure.

Yeah, 20 plus years, I gotta show this world.

Not not what I'm capable of, but who, who, who I was Capable of being in the iteration of that.

I felt like my podcast would be better served if I had a cast of repeat characters coming back.

So jamie-lynn Sigler and Mandy Moore.

Christina Milian.

Hopefully, I've hopefully Diane Von Furstenberg Nick Cannon.

I'd love to get Beyonce.

Obviously who wouldn't be on saying I shared a really cool moment in casting that forever changed my life and my career.

And and if I can Because on those conversations.

And while I'm sharing experiences and insights, I can really be showing you what networking looks like on a high level that that yeah, I work with my friends, like I feel bad saying, yeah, I work with my friends.

I love it and I'm lucky to get to do it and it's a choice and I don't, I don't agree with all my friends.

By the way, I don't have to agree with all that.

Fine, I'm friendly with lots of people that I do not vote with and agree with and, but I understand and Empower and and can create dialogue and energy with these people.

That's doesn't, this is, this is so missing.

In today's world, the ability to hold a different perspective and be like, I still see your Humanity, because I see a lot of people wanting to, if we can dehumanize, we can then feel righteous and Justified and trying to tear them down because we are sense of it.

Any feels threatened because they hold different perspective.

And, you know, I create another show.

The never really got off the ground.

I made about ten episodes called, it's not so black and white.

It really was about holding Will discourse with people who dis who hold different perspective, to my own to broaden my own perspective.

But also show that it's possible to have these conversations and not some fascinating ones like a radical communist came on.

And I was like, well this is interesting or talk to this guy, you know?
And so it was it was it was quite something.

But that that I you know, I value and I treasure and speaking of value, you know, I really value your time and I also appreciate you took time to have this conversation with me today of any.

It's been.

It's really a pleasure.

I'm like man there's so much more I want Ask, but it is make learning.

Are you kidding think?
I'm gonna pass this up.

Like a coach and learning?
I was like, man.

I say like, you know, yeah, McDonald's had a school and I was a teacher.

You'd be McLaren and so that's it.

That's how you remember.

By the way, that is enough for me to jump to the five-star review, section this conversation and make sure what is how cool, what a gift and what a, what a cosmic gift.

I got to be honest for you to do what you do and how that energy around your name.

For it to be you know, to roll your tongue Valley poetess TiVo is not I don't got one of those easy last names but I didn't realize this until I got into podcasting but I really appreciate when people because I say many POTUS TiVo my family says potestivo, I really appreciate hearing people ask me.

How do I say?
It really is.

So weird to say this it really makes me feel hurt.

Seen when people say, I don't know your last name.

They don't just there aren't just okay to butcher it.

They stop and say I want to get it right.

How do I How do I say?
And I'm like, oh my gosh, well I believe I didn't I haven't actually said your last name Once on This episode because I realized before I've done this three episodes in a row where I forgot to ask the guests, the correct pronunciation of their name and says, whole episode of him like man, I can't say his name because I don't know the pronunciation yet because it matters a lot to me.

I hate, I'm a traveling English teacher, and I hate butchering.

Well, we jumped into some small talk and connected right away and this has been a long time coming, so I get it.

Yeah, that by the way, it's like I say it's a level 2 of Super Mario.


You know, when they got to go.


Dungeon my name goes Vinnie, Potter Steve-O Vinnie, I love the clothes on your own.

You have your own jingle, man, that's it.

Yeah, I think it's a Mario games Mario.

Oh yeah, yeah.

Plane up.

That Italian thing even though you hate Greek.

Yeah, exactly 23.


That's all Mediterranean.

You know, it's all well, I'm like British Viking.


All right, I had no hope of ever getting a tan in my life.

All right, I'll just go with the red beard thing like it's just gonna happen that way.

So pericle woman, if people were to take one thing away from this conversation because of your story today, what is it?
You would like people to take away from this?
Oh, I would say, especially right now, I the input, dictates the output.

I would never want someone else to have to go through what I went through.


But also, I would it's weird to say this 100%.

Go through what I went through already because I know I could survive it.

Now, make now that I know I can survive it.

Are you kidding me?
Like yeah, that, of course, I can go through that, you know, in a heartbeat again.

And, and if it weren't for those inputs, if it weren't for those experiences, I don't think I would be in anywhere.

Close to the person I am today, the input dictates the output.

Also is something nandi more talked to me about on a one of my episodes.

I have a podcast about content, if you're making content, you want to use the language, the energy, the music, the characters, you want to talk to people, you have to use their language and reading news, consuming podcast, watching TV shows.

That's all part of the.

That's all part of the job.

For me, I want to be in podcasting.

I have, by the way, I'm hyper in tune to the input.

I'm I'm scrutinizing everything.

Podcasters do as posts.

So cool, right guys?
Like, yeah, because I know how to create something, but here I am.

I feel like In as like a chef on Thanksgiving and I'm your guest work.

I know how to cook and I know how to do love watching the process.

And I've learned so much in TV.

I was trained to network up.

VPS sdps EVPs president's podcasting is so lateral and horizontal and 360.

And if I'm not learning from my peers and the people around me, if I'm not learning from a 20 year old grad student, who is now a podcasting because they have success in Math and I'm like, there's just so much expertise in this industry that I had to show up myself and and do this, the input, dictates the output even with just chat GPT a, I think that's out there the input.

What you tell it to do?
Dictates the output, don't leave out a motion.

If it's not fun to make, it will not be fun.

And rewarding you're going to enjoy having with see Margaret lightman's book.

I'll just plug it here because I read the book.


And and I loved, it's really about storytelling.

But, you know, the last thing I want to highlight, is this what you said?
They're like, you wouldn't take any experience out of your past because it's why you are who you are today.

I feel the same way, you know, people who know, me know, my story know what I've been through and and I wouldn't take anything out of my past because it would not be doing what I'm doing through the lens.

I'm doing this today if I hadn't gone through that and so maybe that's the note to take this episode home on is to say you know whatever you're going through.

It sounds very cliche to say this but it's like Ask that question.

You know, why is this happening for me, as opposed to?
Why is this happening to me that little shift their can help you get through?
Like what are some of the most difficult experiences and help you?
I've never met a remarkable person who had an easy life.

And so I know you've been through a lot because you're a remarkable gentleman reached in debt.

Again, it's truly been a pleasure.

See Mom, I told you thank you again man.

I've Loved this conversation.

Yeah, thank you.

Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before and after if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape, who we become and I love human potential.

I love the possibilities that lie within us.

So, whatever you may be up against.

I hope these stories inspire you because you're still here, your story's not done yet, so, keep moving forward.

Vinnie PotestivoProfile Photo

Vinnie Potestivo

Executive Talent Producer