Actress and comedian Heather Brooker gives you an honest and funny look at what life is like as a parent in the entertainment business. Featuring interviews with celebrity guests, producers, writers, musicians and anyone who loves to talk about movies and TV as much as Heather does. From red carpets to diapers rashes, it's all here! And there's some salty language so this show is just for grown ups.
‘HSM’ Star KayCee Stroh on Dancing, Body Positivity and Mom Life
I am embarrassed to admit that I am one of those weirdos that has never seen "High School Musical." That is until I saw the most amazing woman on TikTok just slaaayyying her dance moves. I did the completely normal thing and Googled her and found out that KayCee Stroh played Martha Cox in all of the "High School Musical" movies. So I watched the movies and now feel completely qualified to comment on this pop culture phenomenon that millions of other people have known about for decades.
I'm old, people. Cut me some slack!
KayCee Stroh as Martha Cox in 'High School Musical'
I had the best time talking to KayCee about her unique audition for HSM and the inspiring thing choreographer Kenny Ortega said to her that stays with her to this day. We talked about what's it like to be plus size woman in Hollywood, and the crazy things people have said to her about her weight. Seriously, what IS wrong with people? KayCee also talks about her life long love of dance and if her little girls, Zetta and Lettie caught the dance bug.
HOLLYWOOD - MAY 13: (L-R) Actors Kaycee Stroh, Monique Coleman, Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Zac Efron and Lucas Grabeel attend the after party for the DVD launch of "High School Musical" on May 13, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
KayCee currently lives in Utah with her husband and 2 girls and after our conversation I was really wishing she lived in LA. I know we would have impromptu dance parties with our girls and sneak out for coffee dates on the regular. For now, I'll just continue to be her biggest fan on TikTok (we are both addicted) and look forward to her next visit to LA.
You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Don't forget to subscribe and leave a review! You can follow KayCee on TikTok and Instagram to dancing along with her!
‘Miracle in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of the Salton Sea’ Documentary
I have a slight obsession with the Salton Sea area. There's something so fascinating to me about this area that was once the playground for the rich and famous and is now in ruins. Through a series of ecological disasters and land mismanagement, this part of the Coachella Valley is desolate, and facing another ecological crisis. The Salton Sea is drying up and the toxic dust that's left behind will leave a devastating impact on the surrounding communities, even reaching as far as Los Angeles and San Diego.
Channing and I visited the Salton Sea in July 2020
This impending disaster and the history of the area is explored in a new documentary called "Miracle in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of the Salton Sea." I spoke with writer/director Greg Bassinian who tells me why he wanted to tell this story and raise awareness for what's happening in this community. And before you write it off as a Southern California problem, the documentary explains how the impact is as far reaching as the federal government.
"Miracle in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of the Salton Sea" documentary is available now.
You can read more about it on NBCLA and I highly encourage you to watch this film. It's a heartbreaking look at time gone by, and peek into a very costly ecological disaster that's looming over the state of California. The film is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and YouTube. Go to miracleinthedesert.com for more information and a list of places you can watch.
'The Boys' 'Cobra Kai' and 'Teenage Bounty Hunters' Should Be on Your Watch List!
Chris Brooker is back and we're diving into our favorite topics: TV, and our kid! With so much content to watch lately it can be overwhelming to choose something you like. We have some recommendations like "The Boys" on Amazon Prime Video, "Teenage Bounty Hunters" on Netflix, and Cobra Kai on Netflix just to name a few.
We are also opening up about what's like to start distance learning. Chan has been back in school for about 2 weeks and it's as sad as we thought it would be. She sits in front of her computer for 6 hours a day bouncing from Zoom meetings to independent study. She has almost no interaction with the other kids in class. This has been so hard to watch because Chan is such a social kid. She misses her friends so much and they aren't even in her class this year. She's in a new class with none of the friends she made in Kinder or 1st grade and no way to socialize to make new friends.
I realize we aren't the only people in this position. Millions of parents around the U.S. are juggling work and school at home, trying to figure out how to keep their kids safe and maintain their education. All I know is that I would rather have her setback a few months in school than sick, or worse, dead. It helps to put things in perspective and Chris and I dive into why it's important to us to keep her at home for now instead of in the classroom.
Thanks for listening to this episode and don't forget to subscribe and leave a review!
The Alliance for Women in Media Executive Director Becky Brooks
I've been working in the media for more than 20 years. Even though that pretty much reveals how old I really am, it's something I'm very proud to tell people. I'm a journalist who started out as a reporter in the small market of St. Joseph, MO. I was a "one-man-band" meaning, I carried all of my own equipment, shot and edited my own video and wrote all my own stories. Cut to 20 years later, and as the first ever digital entertainment reporter at NBC Los Angeles, not much has changed. I still do all of those things, but now I have the added element of posting all my stories on social media. It's a lot of work but I really love it!
Becky Brooks shares that same passion for media. She is the executive director of the The Alliance for Women in Media, including journalism, digital, film and television. She says their mission is to connect, recognize and inspire women across the media industry. They do that through annual events, an interview series, the AWM Foundation, and the annual Gracie Awards, named after Gracie Allen, a media pioneer who embodied the character of the awards.
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MAY 21, 2019: AWMF Board Members at the 44th Annual Gracies Awards, hosted by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation on May 21, 2019 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
The Gracies, as they've become known, recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. They also acknowledge the individuals who have made inspirational contributions to the industry.
There's something so beautiful about women supporting women especially in this field. Media, film and television can be competitive and it's wonderful to see an organization who's goal is to encourage and lift up other women. If you'd like more information about The Alliance for Women in Media visit their website, allwomeninmedia.org. Please enjoy this interview with Becky Brooks and don't forget to leave a review!
Must See Central California Road Trip Ideas and Destinations
It's been a hot minute since our family took a true road trip. Quick trips to Palm Springs and Laguna Beach don't really count. I'm talking about packing up the pets, stocking up on road snacks and mapping out destinations. That's what we decided to do to get our safe, social distance road trip in for the summer. We decided not to go with an RV like a lot of families are doing for a few reasons. One, both times we tried to rent an RV it fell through. And also, we were planning to travel some narrow and winding highways and didn't feel comfortable doing that in our first RV driving experience.
Sunny Cove Beach in Santa Cruz.I have always wanted to visit central California. I sounds so dreamy and I imagine the photo opportunities would be off the charts (always thinking about my Instagram). So we started in Santa Cruz which was about a 5 hour drive from LA. We drove through a ton of farmland and had lunch in Gilroy, the garlic capitol of the world. Then headed north to Santa Cruz. I have to say, we weren't super impressed with Santa Cruz. I thought it would be more of a beach community but it was really run down in the areas we visited. Maybe there was a more picturesque part but we didn't see that.
The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz.Our first stop was The Mystery Spot! This kitschy destination has been on our radar for a while and we finally made it. Here's how the website describes it:
"The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz, California. It is a circular area of effect around 150 feet or 46 meters in diameter. Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned. But don't take our word for it, come and decide for yourself!"
Wear a mask if you go The Mystery Spot while coronavirus is on the loose!We had no idea what was happening inside but I took a fun video and got great pictures while we were there. Channing was fascinated and thought the whole thing was really cool. Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area especially because it's only $8!
Santa Cruz Boardwalk, July 2020.We went to the Boardwalk but almost everything was closed because of the coronavirus. We stayed at a cute hotel near the beach called Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages. We got the "suite" because it was the biggest space but it definitely wasn't roomy. It was quaint and had a great front porch area with faux grass.
Sunny Cove Beach in Santa CruzIt was also a short walk to Sunny Cove Beach which we thought was lovely. But at night a lot of sketchy characters were starting to fill up the cove so we left as the sun was setting. Overall not a bad place to stay and pretty far removed from the more public beaches.
Lover's Park in Monterey Bay.We headed out the next morning and drove through Monterey Bay, Carmel-by-the-Sea and headed south on highway 1 towards Big Sur. We were in the clouds or a thick fog bank for most of the drive but it was still very pretty. And cool! I couldn't believe how cold the weather was for early July. But I think that's because we are used to sweating our pants off in SoCal from about May to October.
Ribs platter at Big Sur Smokehouse.We had an excellent lunch at Big Sur Smokehouse right off the highway. It was pricey but some of the best barbecue we've had in a long time. So, worth it.
Pfeiffer beach in Big Sur.After lunch we went looking for Pfeiffer Beach, a hidden beach off the highway that's only accessible via a one lane road. You have to veer to the side as much as possible in order to let other drivers pass. And if the small parking lot at the end of the road fills up, you're out of luck. You can go down the road if there is nowhere to park. We got lucky because 2 cars were pulling out as we were going in.
Purple sand on Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.If you don't know about Pfeiffer Be
NBC Development Exec Demystifies the Network Development Process
I have always been fascinated with television. I consume hours and hours of it each week and have since I was a kid. I was an 80s baby raised by a single mom who worked full time so the TV was my babysitter a lot of the time. And since I was little I have dreamed of being on TV, making people laugh and being a part of their family week after week. And while television has changed a lot since the 80s, my dream hasn't. The feeling I get when I watch a great show hasn't changed either.
When I first moved to LA I immersed myself in improv and comedy at the Groundlings. I thought the best way to get my own show was to just be funny and work with great people and eventually I would get cast. Hindsight is always 20/20 but I wish I could tell myself to become a producer and develop my own show. That's where I want to be! Now that I know more about the TV development process I understand just how little control and power actors have, unless you are also a producer.
Brenda Milinkovic is the Director of Development and Programming at NBC Universal.
I'm so thrilled to have Brenda Brkusic Milinkovic on the show this week to help demystify television development and shed some light on how a show gets made. Brenda is the Director of Programming and Development at NBC Universal. She works on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" and "Access Hollywood" to name a few and has several projects in development that she can't reveal just yet. She previously spent 13 years at PBS SoCal where she was responsible for directing the development, production, national distribution and marketing of programs on PBS. You might be familiar with her PBS shows like "Variety Studios: Actors on Actors" where actors interview each other.
Brenda Brkusic Milinkovic is photographed during Governors Portraits on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in North Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
Brenda has won 10 Emmy Awards, and has had 15 Emmy nominations. She currently serves on the Daytime Emmy Awards Committee and previously served as LA Area Governor on the Board of Governors for the Television Academy as well as Co-Chair of the Governors Ball for the Primetime Emmys and Co-Chair of the LA Area Emmys. To say she is a proactive member of the television community would be an understatement. She is entrenched in the development and creation of ideas for TV. So of course, I had to ask her what she thinks about the rise in popularity of streaming content over the last decade. We talked about how traditional broadcast is learning to pivot to keep viewers tuned in while streaming platforms surge.
I've always been curious about how producers get in rooms with development executives and if the traditional method of going through an agent, pitching and signing a deal is still the norm. I love what Brenda has to say about this in terms of finding new talent and ideas. She recently discovered someone on YouTube and liked them so much, she started developing a show with them. How amazing! This is why I tell people to never stop creating because you never know who is watching.
Brenda Milinkovic is the Director of Development and Programming at NBC Universal.
We also talk about the demands of working for a major network like NBC and juggling family life. She is a mom of two and, like most of the country, has been working from home since the stay home orders were put in place. She says despite the industry shut down, they are still constantly working on developing new ideas and content for programs. This was such an inspiring conversation and really gives us a glimpse into how television gets made, and what someone looking to get into development or develop their own show can do to get a leg up. The next time you're watching a great show on NBC, you'l have a better sense of the people behind the scenes who took a nugget of an id