Patrick: Welcome to the Business Spotlight. This is your host, Patrick Dougher. I have a fabulous show today. My guest, I met him actually recently. Paul Salfen is the co-host of the Drew Pearson Show. He produces it and does a lot of other work in that area as well.
He’s been an entrepreneur and a videographer, so to speak – a video interviewer – for a number of years. One of the things that’s been really exciting is to see how he’s been able to interview what I’ll call some of the greatest icons of our age whether it be Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Willie Nelson. There’s so many that he’s been able to actually sit down with, interview and bring some of the brightest moments to recorded history is what I’d say just because these guys have established so much of my generation. Thank you for being on the show.
Paul: Thank you for having me.
Patrick: One of the fun things about Paul is that he’s of what I’ll call the Gen X generation. It’s great to have, like we jokingly said before the show, the battle of the generations of boomers and Xers. You’ve made a huge impact and you’ve touched some of the brightest minds. How did you do that?
Paul: I went about it for better or worse on my own path. It all started in a broadcasting class in high school on accident when a teacher assigned me to do my final project to interview bands. What I ended up doing was going to all the clubs in downtown Philadelphia knocking on the back door, knocking on bus doors with this giant camera and asking if I could interview these bands.
What I did was I came back with this project that was cut together with a lot of bands that I looked up to, just giving me a chance to talk to them for no good reason other than they probably felt bad for me.
I put together this thing and the teacher in his wonderfully gruff self said, “That’s not what I meant. I meant bands in the school.” He goes, “But, good job,” just realizing that I was on to something and I had a lot of fun doing it. Here I was in high school at some of the best clubs in the city hanging out with the coolest bands.
It’s kind of like the film “Almost Famous.” They just kind of took me under their wing and said, “Hey, you ever seen the inside of a bus?” “No.” “Hey have you ever been backstage?” “No.”
It’s those kinds of things that were just priceless moments and I figured out how to carry that on throughout college. Then I started doing it on my own. I started my own business called Dallas Music Guide, which expanded into ten other cities for a series of city music guides. It was bought out by a company. It’s been a pretty exciting ride. I’ve gone on to edit and write for several magazines that I personally read. I have a lot of fun doing it.
Patrick: One of the coolest things about your journey is that you do what you love to do, don’t you?
Paul: Oh yeah. It’s great. Here’s a funny thing. One of the many things I do is I do travel writing and I’m a travel editor for a magazine called Scoreboard.
What I do is I go to all these great resorts in all different parts of the world and I write about how nice they are. It seems silly that they even would need somebody to do this.
Patrick: They actually pay you to go do this?
Paul: Yeah, isn’t that crazy? It’s like a free vacation. You can’t really look at it for the money.
Patrick: All I heard was I got paid to go on vacation.
Paul: Right. This is when you know you’re on to something good or bad: when the TSA questions you about this. I’m coming back from the Cayman Islands, which notoriously there’s some maybe suspect things going on there financially. They said, “What were you doing there?”
I said, “The Ritz Carlton and the Grand Cayman asked me to come and write something about them.” He goes, “Okay, let me get this straight. You flew in just to write about how great the Ritz Carlton and the Grand Cayman is?” I said, “Yep.” He just stamped and let me move on.
Patrick: How do I get that job?
Paul: It was almost like he didn’t believe me. When I explain to people that basically I travel around the world, and write about great places and interview really interesting people that you’ve probably heard of most of them surrounded by beautiful things and beautiful people, that’s pretty lucky. How could you not love it?
Patrick: One of the things that I’m so thrilled about our chance encounter and meeting you is that you had a moment when you had to decide what you really wanted to be when you grew up. All of a sudden things changed and you really began to go with your passion. I know that in this show we’re going to talk more about the journey that you’ve had, the people that you’ve interviewed, the ways that you have created what you do. Is there a favorite interview that you want to talk about as we go on?
Paul: One of my favorite people to interview, I’ve interviewed him a couple times is Tom Cruise just because he’s so laser focused. He’s so good. If you were to define what a movie star is and what they should be, it would probably be him or John Travolta. Those guys are just right there with you, especially Tom Cruise.
When you’re asking him a question, he’s looking at you in the eye and he’s using your name. Nothing else is going on. Any of these lights, the cameras – that’s not his focus. He’s focused on you and he thanks you for coming.
Patrick: This is the Business Spotlight. Paul Salfen’s my guest. I just want to encourage you to stick around because Paul has more stories of how he’s changed and created his life the way he wants to. We’ll be right back.
Patrick: Welcome back to the Business Spotlight. My guest today is Paul Salfen and one of the things that we’re talking about is how he’s been able to interview some of the greatest what I’ll call minds and celebrities of our age. If you think about Harrison Ford and all of the things that he’s been able to, in a sense – I’ll say teach – in the shows that he’s been involved in, or Tom Cruise or Willie Nelson or some of the other greats that are out there like Will Smith, Paul’s been able to interview them.
As we go back into this interview, I want to know how you’ve created what you’ve done. In other words, what I’m asking is what you’re doing to create this incredible success for yourself?
Paul: I’ve done it all my own way and I don’t know if it’s necessarily the right way. I’ve done it all in a kamikaze way. I don’t have a journalism degree. I don’t have an English degree. This is not what I’m supposed to be doing on paper, but it’s what I enjoy doing. It’s what I grew up seeing.
My father actually, among other things, is a film critic. He’s done interviews so I’ve watched this go on a lot. He’s a wonderful public speaker. I’ve just stumbled into it like I told you with the high school story and then going in through college and then starting my own business.
That caused the attention of newspapers, magazines, and even TV shows. All this was done in a completely nontraditional path. It’s hard for me to say if it’s right or wrong, but it’s worked out well for me. Like I said, I have probably the best job of anybody I know. It may not be the most lucrative, but it’s the best job.
Patrick: How are you attracting the people that you’re interviewing?
Paul: I think when you do these interviews, it just attracts the other one. I can see the montage go up and basically you look at that stuff and you figure okay. You think about the way the publicists look at it or the agents and they go, “Okay, you’ve interviewed all these other great people, you’re fine.”
It depends on what publication you’re doing it for, what you’re doing it for and what you can offer them. They see that you do all this stuff and they’re like, “Oh yeah. You’re fine.” It’s sort of like once you pass the test, then you’ve got acceptance in that world, so to speak.
Patrick: Funny story along those lines of a guy that wanted to borrow money from Rockefeller. He said, “Well hold on a second. Walk next to me, hold onto my arm and we’ll just chat across the floor of the stock exchange.” He walked back and he says, “Afterwards people will run to you. They’ll loan you money because of who you’ve already been around.” Is that what I’m hearing?
Paul: Sure. I would say about 95% of the work I get I don’t get from applying for things or going to interview with people are that kind of stuff. It’s more, honestly, social media’s a big part of it. People see this stuff and they see, “Oh here’s you with Bill Clinton. Here’s you with George Bush.” They don’t know the context of it but they just see that and they know that I have something good going on and they want to be a part of it. They want me to bring that to their business. As a consultant, it’s probably helped me the most.
Patrick: That’s really good. Marc Harty is back on the air. I’m so glad to have you here, PR Specialist. One of the reasons why you’re on is to talk about how the guest is always in the media and then how they can get more.
Marc: One of the questions as I was listening to you talk, Paul, is just like this show where Pat is making you the star, you make your interview subject the star, like Pat said in his introduction.
My question is what do you do for yourself, for your brand so people get to know you in terms of attracting those extra interviews or articles or other clients? Because I know you do some consulting as well.
Paul: That’s the hardest thing, honestly. Because I’m so used to talking to other people about what makes them great, why they’re so good at what they do and when it comes time to talking about me, sometimes it’s like a deer in headlights. I don’t mind talking to you guys off the air about it or in a circle of friends or those kinds of things, but to try and promote myself, that’s not just my natural way of doing things.
I have a great web guy by the name of Preston Howell and he has taught me to come out of my shell in that way and just except, “Hey look, you’re good at what you do. People like what you do. They want to see it. They want to hear from you.” He tries to make sure I’m well indexed, so if you Google search my name you’ll be able to see a whole bunch of articles. You can see videos. You can see pictures.
That in turn attracts everything else. It’s like I was saying that once people see that’s what you do, they want you to do it for them.
Marc: Absolutely. I did Google you. We always like to Google the guests, because with any business, your business is you and your personality, what you bring to an interview and one of the things that I like to see is a clean reputation when somebody Googles a name or a company on the first page. I looked through the first page. I didn’t see any incriminating photos, Facebook shots or anything.
I saw all your social media channels and everything aligned so there isn’t going to be something incongruent when somebody looks and says, “Hey, what’s the story. Paul’s a great guy but I saw this weird thing on line.” What you’re telling me is that is not accidental.
Paul: No, thankfully I’ve never been arrested for anything and I’m not in any trouble for anything that I know of so I don’t really have anything to hide. But you want to make sure that the best stuff comes up, if that means hiring a good web guy to help you out with that. But I think you should be able to naturally be indexed well. I think as best you can do that.
Patrick: Paul is a man that’s been able to interview some of the greatest folks that I think I’ve ever seen on the big screen whether it be Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith. The list goes on and on. He’s been able to have their attention and really share their story with the world. Paul, thank you so much for being on the air again.
Paul: Thank you for having me on.
Patrick: One of the ideal things I want to get into is your ideal client. Who you’re looking to talk to. Then one of the things that I want to integrate in there is how you use social media, which I think is part of your process already. I know we’ve got Cathy Brand in. She’s a social media guru.
Who are you trying to attract?
Paul: I guess it depends, because I do such a wide variety of things. I was just explaining that my schedule in a day doesn’t make sense to anyone, including me. Right after this I’m going to consult with one of my clients, Winston Supper Club. It’s a night club downtown. Following that I’ve got a planning meeting for an app company that I’ve launched.
Then I’ve got to go work on a couple of interviews that I’ve done. I’m an editor for Flavorpill, so I’ve got to put in pics for that website and then I’ve got to write an article for Scoreboard, which is a sports magazine, and then I have to do some planning for the Drew Pearson show.
Patrick: That’s the end of tomorrow afternoon already. You haven’t slept yet.
Paul: Right. I’m off to Sundance Film Festival this weekend, and then the following weekends are completely booked with the Super Bowl next weekend that I’m going to, and then the Grammys and then All Star weekend. It’s all fun stuff. It’s all fun stuff. It’s all great stuff, but it’s all work too. Now that we’re so mobile I can work from anywhere.
That goes into the social media thing because part of it is people will see these things. They’ll see that I’m on the TV show today. They’ll see that I’m going to be doing a really great interview on Thursday with the stars of Warm Bodies. Then they’ll see that I’m at Sundance. Those kinds of things, people go, “Okay, this guy has something going on.”
Being well indexed in social media, making sure that every post ends up on Facebook and on Twitter and on Tumblr and Instagram and wherever else it needs to end up, those are the important things. I can’t stress to you how much, even if you don’t understand it, even if you don’t feel like you really care about it, it’s important.
Patrick: That is absolutely true. Cathy?
Cathy: I’m excited to meet you, Paul. I really like the way you handle the interviews with the celebrities. I really enjoy your personality. You’re very real. What I got from looking at you online and looking at your videos is I didn’t get to see enough Paul.
With Eva Mendes, I watched your video and I got to the end of the video and I’m a huge fan of hers so it was a really sweet interview. I got to the interview and I wanted more Paul. No disrespect – it was a great interview and so at the end of the interview I was satiated with the star but I wasn’t satiated with enough Paul.
Then I went to your Facebook and there’s a lot of Paul there that’s just awesome and wonderful and all that, but still your face on video. I got the pleasure of seeing you speak last week. Then I watched your video. I really like who you are on film, who you are on the camera, and I’d like to see more of that. That’s the only thing that I actually saw that was missing is we just want more of you.
Paul: That’s one thing the producer of the Drew Pearson Show, Tom Stokes, he’s really hammered that into me because, again, I’m not a natural. I don’t try and push myself out there. That’s not what I wake up and think about, but it’s something I’ve had to adapt to. That’s one of the things he keeps trying to tell me is, “There needs to be more of you. Why haven’t you done this? Why don’t you do this?”
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself and go, “Am I doing everything. Am I getting out there?” Because if you’re doing all you can and the results are the results, then okay. But if you’re sitting there thinking, well, why don’t you have your own show if you’re so good at this? I went, “Well I don’t know.”
If you’re answering most of these questions as I don’t know, it’s probably time to set some goals or put some things in motion and it’s harder than it looks. You also have to have that self-confidence. Part of me is that I just don’t really care to be on film as much as my interview subjects. I always tell the camera guy, “Okay, do an establishing shot so that they know that we’re in the same room and then the rest of the time, focus on them.”
It’s about them. Maybe that’s the wrong thing. Maybe there should be more back and forth, but I’m still learning, every day.
Cathy: I think it’s really exciting. I like what you put out there. But that was the good news. That’s the only thing that I see is missing when I went and looked at your entire online footprint and then I had the opportunity to hear you speak.
We just want more Paul. What you’re doing on Facebook with your photos and your events, bring your camera. Maybe some behind the scenes. Some of that dialogue. But that’s it. Thank you so much.
Paul: Yeah, thank you. I will certainly try and put myself out there a little bit more and inject a little bit more of maybe my personality into it. I realize that there’s always more stuff you can do to improve.
Patrick: It’s really funny because I so relate to this. I have a guest. I make the show about the guest. It’s not necessarily about what I’m doing, but it really is what are they doing to create such success in the area. That’s the real secret to the Business Spotlight is it’s telling your story.
If you’re a business owner, it’s telling your story in the market place and then publicizing it everywhere. If you want to be on the air you should call us. I’m Pat Dougher.
Patrick: Welcome back to the Business Spotlight. We have really enjoyed a great show today. This is the fourth segment and this segment with Paul Salfen, he’s going to talk more about really how to connect to him. We were joking at the beginning about the battle of the generations, boomer, Xer.
We both do the same thing. We interview great people and make the light shine on them. The Business Spotlight is about the business owner being able to tell his story in the marketplace. It’s Paul Salfen literally telling his story and making other people shine. I so appreciate that about you and I appreciate your heart that you want to do what you love to do always and you’ve created that.
As we go into this segment I know one of the things I’m real thankful for we’ve got some video that you put together. We’ll roll that at some point. But the big thing here is how can people connect to you and what’s the experience when they do?
Paul: Part of being well indexed is being easy to reach, and hopefully I’ve done that. PaulSalfen.com is the website and I’m pretty sure I’m the only Paul Salfen out there. Actually I shouldn’t say that. There is someone that I could possibly be related to in California. We haven’t quite figured that one out.
Anyway, if you Google Paul Salfen, that’s me. My website’s PaulSalfen.com. On Twitter I’m @Paul Salfen. I’m on Facebook. I’m on every social media, LinkedIn, everything that you can think of. My e-mail is Paul@PaulSalfen.com.
I’m very easy to reach. Inundated with a lot of stuff so sometimes I might be slower to respond but I do try to get back to absolutely everybody. I get pitched so many things. But I love to hear from everybody especially if it’s something nice.
Patrick: Let’s go the roll here of his video. Tell us a little bit about what’s happened here. These are interviews that you’ve been able to do.
Paul: Sure. There’s Megan Fox and Edward Norton. I’ve been told, once again, that I need to have more of me out there – more of a reel, so to speak. A friend of mine helped me put together this little thing, which has just clips of me talking to a bunch of people along with different events that I’ve done. The biggest complaint that I’ve had is “We can’t hear you.” You can’t hear these great questions. If you see this video on YouTube, what you’ll notice is that it’s just music in the background. I’m actually actively working on one where you can see some questions and answers.
But basically this just kind of shows that yeah, this is what I do. Part of that is the legitimacy factor. People want to know that they can put you in front of their talent and they won’t be embarrassed and you’re going to ask the right questions and everybody will have a good time.
Patrick: That’s really good. I’m still wondering how you got Chevy Chase to dance for you.
Paul: We were talking about doing the dance and I said, “Well I have only one move and that’s my poor white guy dance.” He said, “Oh, like this?” and he actually did the dance. He’s known for being a little stubborn and slightly humorous so to see him actually do his white guy dance was pretty cool.
Patrick: I don’t doubt. I know as you look through that montage there are so many leaders in thought today and the way that you’ve been able to touch them. In the next ten years who do you want to interview?
Paul: What’s really nice is I’ve actually got myself down to a very, very small list. I think I had a list of the top five. One of them was Arnold Schwarzenegger. I recently got to talk to him, which was pretty cool. He was on there because he’s sort of to me the definition of the American Dream. He came over not even really capable of the language and started out as a body builder and ended up being the biggest movie star in the world and then the governor and then back to being a movie star.
It’s pretty amazing. That’s what I like. They’re these really good stories. That’s why I’ve liked talking to Richard Branson and people like that.
On the very short list is Steven Spielberg. I’ve never encountered him. The Dahlia Lama I think would be really interesting to talk to. And a sitting president. I’ve been able to meet three presidents, but I’ve never actually sat down and interviewed a president and I think that’d be really nice.
I’m sure there’s a couple others but I’m just interested in people. I’m interested in their story. If they have a good one, I want to hear it.
Patrick: That’s really good. I know that whenever you run into people that are being able to do what they really are designed to do, that makes all the difference. I just commend you. I think it’s so exciting to see what you’re doing, to see the different aspects. One more time, how can people connect to you?
Paul: They can reach out to me at www.PaulSalfen.com. That’s the website. Or they can email me at Paul@PaulSalfen.com or they can find me under my name on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or anyway they’d like to. Or they can just stop me on the street.
Patrick: They don’t have to go through an army of gatekeepers.
Paul: No, they just have to get through an army of e-mails that I’ve yet to read.
Patrick: They’re in line but you’ll get to them.
Paul: Oh, of course, yes. It’s more of a time management thing than anything. I think I’m more of a management problem, which makes me more of an entrepreneur than anything. I love to hear from people – especially if it’s good stuff.
Patrick: I love it. As we’re finishing this show, Paul, thank you so very much. It’s an honor to meet you. I know you’ll probably meet and talk to those people that you had on that list. I’d like to just follow all the interviews you’ve already done and do those.
This is the Business Spotlight. I’m Patrick Dougher. If you’re a business owner and you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth or the Houston area, then give me a call. Call me and we’ll find a way to interview you and get you to tell your story and then show you how you can populate the universe with your story, whether it be on the Internet or social media. I know that we even have a six week campaign where we’re promoting a guest for that time period.
We’ll talk to you next week. I used to say, same bat time. See you then.