Ep. 11: Prepare
ON THIS EPISODE:
Today we explore about vegan ice cream, wax museums, dancing in the streets, and riding carousels. We also explore the art of preparation and share our experience of exploring Warner Brothers and Sony studios this past week.
I’m Morgan Hansow and this is my husband, Dave - we’ve spent the last 20 years on a wild adventure that’s taken us to Africa, the Oprah show, and Hollywood.
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns… a podcast about giving ourselves permission to chase our dreams, explore our faith, and figure out who we are, all while trying to keep our crap together!
As Creatives, Humanitarians, and Parents, we’re learning (sometimes the hard way) that the hustle and pursuit of the elusive unicorn will never satisfy.
Each week we explore what it looks like to live authentic, passionate, and connected lives while being a part of a movement that’s trying to transform the world through story + grace.
Overview of today’s show -
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns! Today we’re talking about vegan ice cream, wax museums, dancing in the streets, and riding carousels. We also explore the art of preparation and share our experience of exploring Warner Brothers and Sony studios this past week.
and take it back to ‘80s PBS television programming.
Oh this is going to be fun! I’m excited!!! I think we’ve mentioned that 11 is “our“ number - it’s been re-occuring in our lives EVERYWHERE for the last 5 or so years, so I have high hopes for Episode 11 today! Also, we want to say thanks for patience. We ended up driving down to Los Angeles last week and we brought our mics and recording gear in hopes of recording a ‘Travel Diaries’ episode of the podcast - Babe, you even planned out a Q&A and then the logistics of finding time and a space to actually record on the road didn’t really work out. We’re excited to be back home and back with you this week and we’ll definitely be giving you some updates on our LA trip throughout today’s episode.
How about we start with “Be Kind/Please Rewind”? - This is a segment where we connect with our inner child and give ourselves permission to drop the Adult BS to talk about and try things that add beauty, joy, wonder back to life.
This week we thought we’d share a few of the things that we did on our recent trip that very much felt like we were intentionally dropping our adultness in order to connect with our inner child. Morgan and I needed to have a meeting, which we’ll talk more about in the ‘Home Office Huddle,’ so we decided to make a last minute trip to LA and bring the kids so we could make a little vacation out of it.
True, and really, we had PROMISED our kids we’d take them to LA for our next business meeting. Over the past 4 years, we’ve had 3-4 work trips to LA for meetings, workshops, and one trip was for premiering our show at the Hollywood film festival. Every time we left our kids with family and after last summer’s trip to meet up with some Producers, the kids made us promise that they’d get to come on the next one.
Right, well instead of going down to LA on I-5 which is a 8-hr straightshot, we decided to take a couple days and go out of way to see some of Central California that we’ve yet to explore. We went to Santa Cruz the first night and then continued south on Highway 101 stopping in San Luis Obispo and then staying the night in this magical Danish town called Solvang and continued on to LA along the coast that passes through Santa Barbara and Malibu. It was pretty incredible drive!
Well, let’s be real, incredible minus the first day of driving in which Jadyn was an absolute pill and made the 4 hours of driving miserable for everyone in the car AND the morning of our meeting when Jadyn was upset with the outfit we told her she had to wear and the tension in the car was palpable - those were extremely unpleasant times, but we dealt with them and she came around and changed her attitude. I don’t know if any of you have preteen daughters in the home, but we got some hormones or something going on that lends itself to these moments where Jadyn can just get a rotten ‘tude, especially when she doesn’t get what she wants or the plan she had in her head is not what pans out in reality.
Yeah that is true, I actually snapped on the way to the meeting and yelled so loud that I pretty much lost my voice for a day. I never do that but I’d had it and I was driving on a busy interstate so I didn’t know how else to handle it. The car was pretty silent for the rest of the drive, but when we got to our destination I had a good heart-to-heart with her and apologized for yelling and she apologized for her attitude, and we were good (and she was great the rest of the trip)!
Okay, we’re digressing, but bringing it back to fun and joy, we thought we’d give you our top 5 most childish and ridiculous moments:
Number 1. In Santa Cruz at the historic Boardwalk amusement park, Morgan was trying to convince us to take a ride on the Carousel. We happened to go on a Retro Night so all rides were $1.50/per person and she was persistently telling us three that this carousel was different because you tried to grab a brass ring and it was ‘fun’ because she had done one like it as a kid. Of course, all of us were like, “C’mon, once you’ve done one carousel, you’ve done them all!” But she’s really persistent and we gave in and it was actually SO much fun, every time you passed this metal mechanism that released brass rings, you’d try to grab one and immediately try to throw it at this huge mural of a clown on the wall. If you got the ring in the hole where the clown’s mouth was, a buzzer would go off. We were all laughing hysterically and Jadyn ended up winning - she got 2 rings in. I got in one and Morgan how many did you get in? Haha! Very funny! So the moral of this is to give things that seem childish and ‘old hat’ a chance because you never how much fun you can have and the memories you can make.
Number 2. If you’ve traveled to some bigger cities recently you’re probably aware that electric bike and scooter rentals are ‘a thing’ - you download an app, log-in and rent these geo-tracked gadgets. So in Santa Cruz, after our shenanigans on the Boardwalk, we decided to rent these motorized bikes and ride down the Wharf at 10pm, you can only rent one bike on a device and since we’re the only 2 with cellular we could only rent 2 bikes. All the shops were closed and so we decided to let the kids ride the bikes down and Dave and I walked - it’s actually the longest pier on the West Coast - I think it’s like 2,700 and something feet long. As you’re pedaling the motor picks up and these bikes can haul butt! Everything in me wanted to ‘be safe’ and get concerned about helmets but there were no cars driving down the wharf so I said, ‘screw it!’ On the way back Dave and I decided to double up even though they weren’t designed for that - so we each drove a bike and had a kid sat on the back and wrap their arms around us and keep their legs out. We were all laughing and giggling and the kids yelped as we went over bumps and their butts hit. So permission granted to let loose, break the rules a little, and live a little on the dangerous side, whatever that looks like!
Number 3. In the magical and quaint Danish town of Solvang - seriously, look it up on a Google - it’s the Danish Capital of America and all the buildings are true to Danish architecture. It’s like you’re transported to Denmark... There’s cobblestone walkways, no chain stores, and a bakery on every corner with the most incredible pastries! Seriously, it’s like stepping into a Disneyland village for adults. We walked down from our hotel and got some danishes and were heading to the candy store when Morgan broke out singing ‘Belle’ from Beauty and the Beast along the sidewalk, utilizing flowerbeds steps, and porch posts. There wasn’t anyone directly around us on our side of the street but I’m sure there were people across the street but she didn’t care. We were all laughing and Jadyn even followed her lead and jumped in to join along... there’s nothing better as a dad watching your daughter who can be self-aware once in a while, let go in the moment. Yes we’re adults, and parents, but we’re also just big kids! So don’t be afraid to be silly because if we want our kids to have a zeal for life we have got to give them the example of what it looks like to live free without fear of what others think!
Number 4. Instead of doing theme parks on this trip to LA we decided to do the LA GO card - you purchase the card for a specified amount of days and then you can cram as many attractions from their list in a specific city into that time frame. Check them out because they have them for several cities. We only did a day single day pass and we did both studio tours (Warner Brothers & Sony) - The WB tour is a well-oiled machine and it’s fun to see the sets of Gilmore Girls and Friends but we liked the intimacy of the Sony tour better and Dave and Asher scored bigtime when we walked onto the set of one of their favorite sitcoms - The Goldbergs b/c they’re currently in between seasons - gearing up to start filming season 6! Dave and Asher were freaking out and it was SO fun seeing some of the behind-the-scenes-magic and all the illusions of filming a single camera show on sound stage where the stairs lead ‘nowhere.’ After the studio tours we promised Jadyn Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. It was kind of like the carousel - she was trying to convince us all and then it ended up being really entertaining. The art of it is insane - they look SO real!!! We took tons of pictures and laughed a lot and when we loaded in the elevator to get to the next floor RuPaul’s song ‘Supermodel’ was blaring (Work, turn it to the left...). We were the only ones in the elevator and it was mirrored and SO slow so we all took the opportunity to have a random Hansow dance party in the elevator. We were all laughing like crazy. So once again, another reminder that you can let loose, you aren’t too old to dance and be ridiculous and you’re not too to fanboy and geek out when you get to do something that really floats your boat.
And last, but not least, I love my wife…(ahh, thanks Baby). She was an ice cream freak this trip. She was on a hunt to find the best vegan ice cream in LA so she looked up all these spots and mapped them out and anytime we were close to a location (and sometimes when we weren’t so close) we’d make a stop, one time it was twice in a day. We made at least 5 stops, but it could have been 6 if you count the one in San Luis Obispo where they make the ice cream in front of you on a frozen tray and then roll it before serving it. So vegan ice cream just means ice cream made with nut milks (almond, coconut, cashew) and because of Morgan doesn’t mess with dairy she’s always on the search for tasty alternatives. I think all but one of the spots also had dairy options for the rest of us but I tasted hers at all the locations and they were all actually really good and creamy (well except for that one place, it didn’t taste that good because I think it was only sweetened with dates, it was too healthy - I took that off my favorites, I wouldn’t go back). Well yeah, that and the girl serving had the personality of a block of wood! I mean she’s serving ice cream, you’d think there’d be a sliver of joy in that! But yeah, some days we were eating ice cream before dinner and we all got on board with her hunt for the best vegan ice cream - it actually became comical as it turned into a family affair. I don’t know what it is for your family, but pick something and go all out and over the top for something. Be ridiculous and lavish and abandon reason (I mean reason would’ve definitely said that our bodies (and our waistlines) didn’t need another scoop of ice cream - but it was only a 5-day window and our kids are most definitely gonna remember eating ice cream 6 times in 5 days!
What about you? We know we’re not alone...We want your stories...Tell us about a time when you engaged your inner-child and acted ridiculous or silly in public!
It’s time for our ome (Office) Huddle in which we Talk about what’s surfacing in our current pursuits—both personally and professionally—as a Husband/Wife duo and today that centers around the topic of risk..
These past few weeks our conversation has revolved around preparation. If you listened to Episode 10, you heard us talk about risk and the risk we’re currently pursuing in trying to get permission to tell a true story by writing a screenplay and then hopefully getting the story picked up for production. It’s our biggest dream and our most ambitious endeavor and even though we feel like we’re biting into an elephant (which don’t you think that’s such a weird analogy? because really, who wants to think of eating an endangered species), but yeah, it’s definitely an elephant-sized project that could take the next few years.
True, and one of the main reasons we went to LA this last week was to have a meeting with the guy whose story we want to tell. We meet him for lunch and got to know him and then we ended up spending the day with him. It was really good and there’s nothing like meeting in person - He’s an incredible guy and we learned even more about his amazing story. There’s still no definite answer yet because he has to talk to his family and his board and I’ll be clear, we’re asking for permission, we’re not asking him for ownership of his story, we’re just simply asking for exclusivity for the next 18 months. If he agrees, he’s basically saying that he won’t give permission to anyone else during that time so we can work on it.
So here’s the thing, yes it’s a big project and even though we’ve spent the last 8 years in documentary filmmaking, stepping into narrative storytelling is new so we have some skills we need to acquire. Just like with any new goal or ambition or endeavor or challenge, you’ve got to research, get advice, train, learn, and develop new skill sets. We’re hopeful and believing for the best and training ourselves even before we know it’s a sure-thing - 1) One, because if we’re honest, it’s always been a desire in the back of our minds to do narratives so if we start to acquire these skills and this project doesn’t work out now, we still have the skills to keep moving in that direction. And 2) Two, because we think there’s some power to believing and visualizing yourself before it’s come to be. So what does that prepartion look like practically speaking in our scenario? Dave, you want to share?
Sure. Well in order to write a screenplay we figured we better start reading screenplays. In the last 2 weeks, you’ve read 6 right?
Yeah - I found a blog that’s revolves around reading 30 days of screenplays. I can’t do 30 in 30 days but I’ve read Witness, Fargo, American Beauty, Toy Story, The Shawshank Redemption and The Sixth Sense. And I’m about to start Die Hard.
And I’ve read 3 - Lion, MoneyBall, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. A Screenplay is typically a page per minute so most screenplays are 90-120 pages and it’s really like reading a novel. All the screenplays I’ve read, I’ve already seen the films for, but Morg, the first one you read you hadn’t seen the movie of right?
Yeah, I hadn’t and it was intriguing, you have the dialog and then some character descriptions and minimal actor directions. Like you said, it was like reading a book and I found myself wanting to finish the script so I could figure out what happened in the story.
And just so you know, pretty much any screenplay/script is available online. You just google it and you can find a PDF somewhere to view so if you have any interest you might want to check out one of your favorite films. In addition to reading screenplays, we’ve also signed up for a couple online Screenwriting course, we’re ordering books about screenwriting and storytelling, we’re learning the language of screenwriting, we’re researching the legalities of life story rights, and we’ve also listened to some seminars about story, character development and the hero’s journey.
Yeah, we’re diving in deep! It’s no joke! Of course part of the reason is to learn something new, but I think a huge reason is we know—especially after visiting the Studios a few days ago—that we have a big and long road ahead of us and if we want to see this story make it to production and transform the world then there’s no messing around, we have to hone our craft (and our passion) so we put ourselves in a position to get read and noticed.
I think it’s crucial to point out that the preparation is the least sexy and least glamorous part of a project, but it’s by far the MOST important. It’s easy to start out with some fuel for something new because it’s exciting and well, new, but that ‘newness factor’ can quickly fade and that’s when it becomes about self-discipline and choice. I experienced this back in my body-building days… the fun part was the competitions and showing off the body I worked so hard far. But I couldn’t stand there in confidence without all preparations - all the bland and tasteless protein-packed meals, all the twice-a-day cardio workouts, all the exerting muscle-building sessions, and even all the tanning and skin preparations. And even before the doing there was a season of preparing by learning the practical how-tos - learning muscle groups, learning what exercises target certain muscles, and even learning nutrition and researching supplements. It was different preparations at different parts of the process but it was all a crucial part of the process. And after the newness wore off, it was all choice and self-discipline... to eat the 4th chicken breast in a day, -to get up at my 5am alarm to go do cardio before school, -to say ‘no’ to a friend’s invitation to hangout so I could go to sleep so my body could repair itself. All that say, it’ll be like that for us in the future too (and for anybody stepping into something new) - at some point the sexy wears off and we have to fall back on our preparations so we can make the choice to press in.
Yeah, that’s good. And it’s probably also worth mentioning that equally as important as the physical preparation and the practical ‘how-tos’ is the mental preparation. I mean that might even be more important?
Earlier I think I said it’s important to visualize ourselves and our projects in their glory before they come to be. Which is also why we bought a coffee mug that says ‘Writer’ and ‘Producer’ from the Sony Studios store - so we could keep something in front of us reminding us of who we are and where we’re going when the doubt and lies start to creep. I don’t say this out of any new-ageism or self-help ideology, but out of Truth - I think our Holy Posse really wants us to chase our dreams and passions because the glory of God is man fully alive. And sometimes we have walk in professing and declaring where we’re going and who we’re becoming outwardly before we actually arrive and become it inwardly. It’s setting our minds on the higher truths - the things beyond our current circumstances so when the doubts arise and the gremlins (like Brene Brown calls them) come to try and get us to question our abilities and call our dream stupid, we can stand firm in belief that we are qualified and we have what it takes to keep on our journey and moving towards our goal. We can’t quit! We heard a speaker say one time, “If you don’t quit, you win!” I think of that often. I think mental preparation and putting physical things around your environment (quotes, messages on mirrors, Bible verses, or even decorations and physical reminders like coffee mugs) - these things help keep our eyes and our minds focused on the goal and the promise when we have days where we have to rely on choice to fuel us instead of passion (and we’d be lying if we said that we haven’t already had those days - even though we’re only a month into this journey we’ve already had the naysaying voices in our head saying it’s too big and it’s stupid and we’re not qualified, although momentarily it might ‘feel’ true, we have to push through that BS and stay course because we know we can’t give up on the passion and dream. So there you have it - that’s our life of preparing! What tips do you have on preparation? Or tell us about what you are in the midst of preparing for and how you’re doing it! We want to hear from you. Dave...you ready to take us on a Deep Dive?
Deep Dive with Dave…
Today’s deep dive is a bit more of an observation that I am in the middle of, versus a definitive statement. I also think I could be wrong about what I’m about to say. Actually… there’s a good chance of it. :)
“There are seasons in life where we are meant to speak up, and there are seasons of life we are meant to listen. I happen to think it’s a 90/10 split. 90% of the time we should be listening, and then only when it’s absolutely necessary, or needed, we give our 10%.”
I’ve also learned that most of the time, the smartest person in the room is not the one sharing their opinion, but the one quietly listening. Now, of course, this advice is evidently useful for anyone on Social Media in the last few years, but I also think it’s useful in our everyday life. So often I tend to think that in order to change the world, or at least peoples’ opinions of the world, I need to share my point of view. This of course can be true. But conversely, I have seen as of late how most of the smartest, and most compassionate people I know don’t share their opinion on topics everywhere they go. I want to be more like them.
In the last few months I’ve been involved in a Facebook Group that is meant to be a safe space for people of color to share their experiences, their point of view, and ultimately be a kind of safe place to bounce ideas and sometimes hurts off one another. At first I loved being in the group because I felt like I could add something to it, being white msyelf… but having a black daughter, I thought I could understand where people were coming from. I was learning all sorts of things that I previously didn’t know. It was not only educational, but incredibly eye opening for me. But then there would be discussions that I’d disagree with. Or comments that I would feel offended by. I’d begin to see long threads between tons of people whom I had great respect for, that I didn’t always agree with on face value. There have been some days when I honestly didn’t know what to do with the conversation and my natural instinct was to leave or simply think I didn’t have a say in the matter, because of course I am white. But over time I’m realizing that I’m not in this group to be heard… I am in it to listen. Overall it’s been a huge honor to be a part of the group, even if it’s from the sidelines most days.
And that’s why I share this story - because I believe that the 90% of listening will one day give me something of value to share when it’s my turn for the 10%.
We all know the world is full of people spouting their opinions left and right. Sometimes we’re the people giving those opinions, and most often we’re the recipients. My hope is that when it finally comes time to share, we have something of value because we’ve listened well.
On the Screen - in which we visit and review what we’re watching this week
If you’re a regular listener you know that we’re a movie-going family that makes use of the MoviePass which is a card that allows you to see a movie a day at pretty much any theater across the country for a set fee of $9.99/mo. And in these past few weeks, we’ve seen a few new ones!
Well before we left for LA, Dave and I went to see ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ which is a documentary about the life and work of Fred Roger - most notably his beloved show, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ which aired on national television, on PBS for over 33 years! We had several friends who had seen the film and told us we had to go see it but we had to wait a couple weeks for it to come to Redding and you don’t want to miss this film, especially if you grew up watching the show. I have fond memories watching the show growing up. My parents had a black/white television when I was born and it wasn’t until I was 3 or 4 that my uncle gifted my family with a color TV because he wanted me to know the smurfs were blue! I remember sitting on our brown patterned couch with a small red box of raisins in the mid-’80s watching my daily dose of PBS broadcasting which included ‘Sesame Street,’ ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ and occasionally, ‘Captain Kangaroo.’ Did you watch that show Babe?
I of course grew up knowing who Mister Rogers was, but I didn’t consistently watch it.
I’m sure there are some of you that are too young to know about that show (which makes me feel old) b/c I think it was cancelled in the mid ‘80s but I loved that one and the ping pong balls that would rain down on Captain Kangaroo’s head with Mr. Moose! So back to Mister Rogers...this is an absolutely fantastic film! It’s so rare for documentaries to get a national theatrical release but of course with 33 years on air, Fred Rogers touched SO many lives in the 70s,80s,&90s. His message was really revolutionary and centered around Love and acceptance and making a safe space for children to process the ups and downs of life. And until seeing the film I had no idea that Fred was a Presbyterian minister because his message never came across as ‘religious’ but looking back, of course, of course his message of love and acceptance and inclusion and joy and valuing children was seeped in the Gospel! How about you Babe? I know you loved this one too…
Dave - I LOVED it!!!! I couldn’t say enough about it. Morgan Neville did an incredible job with this film and we highly recommend you see this movie. It’s powerful and inspiring and for those reasons we’re going to give this a rating of 11 horns!
Out of 11 Horns! So 11 Horns on the 11th episode - double elevens! Whoot Whoot! But seriously, we’re not crazy, b/c Rotten Tomatoes gave this a 99% rating from the critics and a 97% audience score so we’re right on track!
Yes, it’s really SO good! And as filmmakers and producers who want to create media that adds beauty, connection and understanding to the world, it’s so encouraging to see a film like this do so well at the box office! Okay, so continuing on. We couldn’t be in the heart of the movie industry and not go to the movies so we went to 2 movies while we were in LA last week. We saw Marvel’s ‘Ant-man and the Wasp’ on the biggest screen we’ve ever watched a movie on and we loved it! It was entertaining and honestly really fun - and funny - l loved the humor. I’ve always been a Paul Rudd fan and then Michael Pena’s character in this is so funny! I’m a sucker for a good laugh! For a marvel film, it was just refreshing to watch - a good blend of action and lightheartedness and if you stick around until after the initial credits (as you do in all Marvel films) you’ll get the little easter egg that ties this film into the greater Marvel universe. I’m gonna say this is 9 unicorn horns, do you feel good about that rating Hun?
Yes, I’m totally tracking with you!!! So our last movie experience was more about the comfort of the lush oversized reclining seats than it was the the actual movie. In LA they really go crazy with movie promotion for premieres - in addition to billboards and buses, they plaster posters ALL over - trash cans, fences, concrete medians, etc. (in fact, here’s a little inside scoop we’ve heard from some friends in the industry… ) Skyscraper premiered last weekend and we saw Dwayne Johnson’s face ALL over LA and so between going to Erwin McManus’ church, Mosaic and meeting some friends for dinner on Sunday, we decided to go see it. I was in heaven with the fully reclining seats. As for the movie itself, it followed the typical Hollywood film blueprint of ‘The Hero’s Journey’ to a T, it was action packed, actually it was a little too action packed in my opinion. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong and I found myself needing a little breathing space but you know, Dwayne’s physique is on-point - I feel bad that he can’t enjoy donuts and ice cream in life. I wonder if he ever gets sick of having his health so tied to his career?
I don’t know, this was just about as predictable as a film gets… The problem is that Dwayne Johnson has been in a billion of these movies - and once you’ve seen one movie with The Rock, you’ve kinda seen them all. This is basically Rampage but with a building instead of a gorilla. I’m gonna give Skyscraper 5 horns.
As always, We love hearing from you!
And we love seeing you share this podcast on Social Media. Thanks to so many of you who have done that. And thanks to those that have reached out this week letting us know how you’re bingeing on Chasing Unicorns while on your cross country travels. It’s incredibly inspiring to hear all of the dreams and projects you all have going on.
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