Entertainment Business Wisdom

with Co-Hosts Kaia Alexander & Sylvia Franklin

Discover how to fine-tune your career, chase your dreams, hustle, avoid pitfalls, and navigate the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood in each riveting episode of Entertainment Business Wisdom. Your hosts writers/producers Kaia Alexander and Sylvia Franklin shine light on this opaque industry, joined by legends and luminaries of entertainment. Special guests include renowned actors, writers, directors, execs, producers, showrunners, entertainment attorneys and more.

Entertainment Business Wisdom: Going beyond knowledge and skill
Kaia – and Sylvia Franklin

The OG Episode! Meet your co-hosts Kaia Alexander and Sylvia Franklin, who share a mighty passion for the gems of wisdom to be found in the entertainment business. As Sylvia says, “The entertainment business is a BUSINESS.” It’s imperative that above-the-line creatives understand how to navigate the challenging and ever-changing landscape of the industry for a life-long lucrative career. You have to know what mistakes to avoid, and also how the industry has shifted- and is continuing to shift. As both a woman and a black writer/producer, Sylvia brings her experience from the WGA in this crucial turning point year for writers, and Kaia puts on her development exec hat and digs in on how the business has changed for creatives, and how imperative it is for creatives to really understand business, from contracts, to negotiating, networking and more.

Juliet Landau: Persistence and strategic thinking pays off!
Juliet & Kaia

Kaia talks to her friend Juliet Landau who grew up in the entertainment business, but became successful all on her own (even in spite of the narcissists that surrounded her). She’s a multi-hyphenate powerhouse: actress, director, writer and marketer- and now also an educator. She opens the kimono to reveal some of things she wish she would’ve known earlier in her career, and how she has navigated her success, as well as writing/directing, and starring in her new, groundbreaking film A PLACE AMONG THE DEAD.

Deborah Pratt: Adapt, persevere and thrive!
Deborah Pratt & Sylvia Franklin

Sylvia chats with TV pioneer, writer, producer and director Deborah Pratt. Pratt co-created the iconic, industry TV sci-fi standard QUANTUM LEAP and is the author of the Vision Quest YA book series, set to be rereleased in 2022. Though Pratt’s enjoyed an enviable career, it hasn’t been without its setbacks. Through sheer grit and determination, she’s stayed true to herself, her vision and what she hopes will be a more equitable and inclusive future for other visionaries.

Mike Medavoy: The Changing Landscape of the Entertainment Business
Kaia ~ Mike Medavoy

Kaia talks to her friend Mike Medavoy about how to create career legacy, negotiate better deals (you can always get more money), and his perspectives on the industry after 4 decades of passionate devotion to film. He was one of the original 5 founders of Orion, and chairman of Tri-Star, etc His secret to success? You’ll have to listen to find out.

Karyn Usher: Network your way in, stick with what you love!
Karyn Usher & Sylvia Franklin

Sylvia talks with esteemed writer and producer Karyn Usher. Karyn has earned her stripes, working on a number of hit prime time TV shows, with all the pressure and stressors that come with it. Through the hits, she’s managed to stay focused, grounded and ready to get back up and dust herself off when needed.

Debbie Liebling: It takes luck and timing to succeed.
Debbie Liebling & Kaia

Kaia talks to Debbie Liebling, who has been a comedy taste-maker in the entertainment business since she discovered a little short film that became the hit TV show: SOUTH PARK. And newly, discovering and producing the magnificent Hulu smash hit PEN-15. Debbie is a doyenne in the biz, who broke ground with a career that began at a little scrappy start-up called MTV. She and Kaia talk all things comedy, life-work balance, and being a woman in the business. Debbie also shares her #1 secret to getting a show on the air!

Dianne Houston: Never Give Up!
Dianne Houston & Sylvia Franklin

Sylvia talks with award-winning writer/producer and director Dianne Houston about her incredible career, and the weighty wisdom she’s earned along the way. Dianne wears her profound experience like a champ – proud, thoughtful and ever-ready to share the gold.

Born and raised in Washington DC, Houston left home at age 16 to work in experimental theater in New York City. Her early work and study was with such theater greats as Liz Swados, Joseph Papp, Joe Chaikin, Peter Brook, La Mama, Woody King, and Ntozake Shange. It was this diverse background that laid the foundation for her immersion into film and television. In 1996 Dianne Houston transformed a forgotten Harlem Renaissance short story into the Academy Award nominated short film Tuesday Morning Ride, which she both wrote and directed. This nomination made Houston the first African American woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the Live Action Shorts category. Houston was nominated for the 2017 Writer’s Guild Award for her script Surviving Compton. Surviving Compton also won the 2017 Gracie Award and won the premiere night for Lifetime, reaching #1 for adult viewers. Houston’s script for New Line’s Take the Lead (starring Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, and Yaya DeCosta) earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination. Houston recently directed the cable pic Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, and wrote an episode of ABC’S miniseries When We Rise with Dustin Lance Black.

Maria Geise: Talent isn’t enough. The fight for diversity and inclusion.
Maria Giese & Kaia

Kaia talks with her friend writer/director Maria Giese about the way the entertainment business was designed to shut women out, and Maria’s tireless 2 decades of activism to make sure that women get gender parity in this exclusive industry with her campaign to involve both the ACLU and the EEOC in uncovering the injustice. Did you know that Hollywood was cited as worse than the coal-mining industry at gender inclusion? From #metoo to #timesup to the way that female protagonists on screen are re-shaping the world: hold on to your lens caps! You’ll never see the industry- and the mighty women in it- the same after listening to this ground-breaking episode.

Will Nix: Making Impact Entertainment
Will Nix & Kaia

Kaia talks to entertainment attorney/producer Will Nix, about the way entertainment business deals for creatives are changing with the rise of streaming. They discuss the importance of social impact in today’s media, and the value of entertainment that also educates. Will is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences and produced the Academy-award nominated animated film, THE PROPHET, with Salma Hayek, based on the spiritual bestseller from Kahlil Gibran.