Stephen Perlstein: Building a Podcast Empire

May 22, 2019

Episode Six of Season Two. We interview Stephen Perlstein. Stephen is the Director of Podcast Network at the digital media company Studio71. In this role, he helps digital creators maximize the revenue streams of their podcasts.

In his spare time, Stephen is an improv comedy coach, and an avid social media user. He sits down with us to discuss his unique viewpoint about when to take social media seriously, and when to just have fun with it.

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A transcript of the episode follows:

Jon Pfeiffer:  I am joined today by Steven Perlstein. Welcome to the podcast.

S. Perlstein:  Hey, thank you for having me.

New Speaker:  You are the director of the podcast network and studio 71.

S. Perlstein:  Yeah, that's right.

New Speaker:  And you've hosted several podcasts yourself.

New Speaker:  True, guilty as charged.

Jon Pfeiffer:  And you coached Improv a million times and you've also been on Twitter for how many years? I think a full decade. I don't know if that's true or not, but I've been on it for forever. Now you, you said in a tweet the bid on for 11 years. 11 years. I, yeah, I got that notification from Twitter. That was like you've been on 11 years. I was like, what a nightmare. So I actually did my research and I found that Twitter launched July 15th, 2006. Yeah, it's only 13 years old. Early adopter. Yeah. I'm on all social media like pretty early. Uh, and I have my last name reserved on all of its all Perlstein.

S. Perlstein:  So like Instagram, Perlstein, Facebook, Perlstein, his snapchat, Twitter, all of them. I got them all. I'm just snatching them up. It's like a land of cell. I'm like, yeah, I'm going to sell them to a better Perlstein down the route. I've got this figured out, man, this is how I'm going to, this is my, this is my tire and account is this selling my Twitter? Then your kids are want it. That's true. Um, what drew you to Twitter? That's a, I mean, honestly there's, there's nothing I think I, I'm always just looking at and exploring a kind of new platforms just for the hell of it. Uh, and at the time, uh, yeah, I probably got onto Twitter and it's like, oh, this is a new thing that people are talking about and all the entrepreneurs and tech types I'll get on to and didn't do anything for years. And then kind of starting with a few within and going. Yeah. And then about a year ago you tweeted 200 used to be fun.

S. Perlstein:  Yeah. Man wouldn't change this amount. I do think that Twitter is like, um, when Twitter started, uh, and I think this is also kind of true of Instagram and maybe Facebook, although I have very vague recollections of Facebook. It was, uh, only the people, only the people that you followed ever showed up in your Twitter feed, not ads or PR stuff that other people liked or other people retweeted or whatever. And I followed a limited number of people, so I follow maybe a hundred, 200 people. And what came up in my feed was just stuff that I liked and now I feel like Twitter really favors or the way we interact on Twitter or use Twitter, just famers have constant flood of everybody's thoughts and opinions and half thoughts. And, and I, I, you know, that's kind of what it was before, but at least I think there was a, it was digestible, it was a digestible and people didn't have the incentive to over tweet.

S. Perlstein:  And now I'm just like, I'm like, this is a torrent. Get me out of here. Yeah, those, so I want to start with podcasts in general and then focus on studio 71 podcast. That's fair. Podcast podcasts are really hot right now. That's what everybody's saying. Well, they just announced, uh, this Spotify has purchased gimlet, gimlet anchor hair cast podcast podcast, and they have a $50 million acquisition budget for this year. Why do you think podcasts are hot? Um, podcast? I mean, it's tough because I think one, we're, everybody keeps on talking about podcasts as the next big, Big Boon in advertising. And um, I think a lot of people hear that and go dollar signs. Um, even Spotify is doing it for dollar signs, right? It's business. So I think we're seeing a lot of interest in it. I also think we're seeing a lot of irrational interest in it too.

S. Perlstein:  Um, I don't think that podcasts are as hot as the people think that they are. Um, and I think we still haven't fixed, uh, some fundamental problems with the technology and platform that can actually make all that business and interest relevant, um, and potentially fruitful. And I think we've already seen a lot of podcast networks and companies sort of crap out, right? Is the way to say it. Uh, and I think we're going to see even more of that and that people aren't. And when people aren't, you know, putting in sustainable business practices, uh, it's going to be, it's going to be some more, more bloodletting and the whole game we're at somewhere, even right now, most podcasts never get past the fifth episode. Yeah. That's probably, yeah, that sounds right. Yeah. A lot of people, you know, it does take time and it does take energy and um, you know, finding the audience is harder than probably most, uh, digital platforms, Twitter, Instagram, whatever.

S. Perlstein:  You know, at least youtube at least you can get on Hashtag search terms, whatever. But typically people aren't actually searching a podcast. I think that's a very rare behavior these days. When I first started listening to podcasts, you know, nine or whatever years ago, I would literally just type in words that I liked and kind of like, you know, I'd be like, oh, like comedy and like are like somebody I knew that I thought was funny. It'd be like, oh, Jason Man's Lucas, I'm going to see, find Jason Man Zoo. Cause and I find all the shows that he was on and I listen to all the shows he's on. And then I discover a podcast. But I still do that because it really, because if no other real way to find them, it's very, very, very hard. And that's what I, one of the, I guess technology issues that I think is going to impede podcasts, uh, incredible meteoric growth that where everybody's talking about is discoverability is a huge, huge issue.

S. Perlstein:  Finding stuff that is tuned to you. Um, you know, nobody really has that figured out. Right? Um, what is it the future podcasts is? Um, I think one, it's getting a more corporate in a way, and that's to be expected, right? Like if they need type of a new media form, uh, people are realizing they can make money in it and then leveraging that and then that squashes in a way truly independent creators. Not that it think it becomes impossible for them to a truly independent creator to grow and break out or whatever. But, um, I think, I think it's going to, we're going to see a lot more pushing down of like the organic homegrown hits over the next five years. The other side of it too is somebody who's going to figure out a good way to actually recommend podcasts cause that's a huge issue.

S. Perlstein:  Um, but that's like a, that's a little bit of a technology thing. Maybe that's somebody pulling a Netflix style algorithm together, although the Netflix algorithm doesn't really work great. Um, but you know, maybe that's part of it. I think Spotify as well positioned to do that. I think Pandora thinks that they're going to do that and I'm very curious how they're going to achieve that. And then the last bit is going to be a lot like youtube and, um, for it to be sustainable, people are putting a lot of work into podcasts and, uh, having some of that effort get paid even in a small amount, I think is something that can like, that needs to happen. And if you have like, like right now, you know, there's this number out there in the podcast world that you need 20,000 listeners to really be able to monetize your podcast because that's when it's reasonable to spend time to do whatever.

S. Perlstein:  So, but, but for below that there's basically no money and getting to that level is a long road for many people. So finding a way to fill remnant, what I'd call just remnant ad inventory as a technology platform and some of them are doing it, a cast megaphone, whatever. But being able to monetize this on the way up is going to be a thing, a real game changer in it and make people get getting more into podcasting I think. In general. Have you done research on who listens to podcasts? The demographics of course. What are the demographics? Uh, it's, um, I, I think it's honestly like pretty easy to, I don't want to say like stereotype, but it is, but you know, it is, it's like you just kind of stereotype a little bit like who listens to podcasts? When do you listen to podcasts?

S. Perlstein:  That probably applies to who, the people who listen to podcasts. So, um, it's people who have commutes and people who walk their dogs or have desk jobs that can require, if you can like not be talking to him call all day. So it is, I think what that means is it can be, it's a lot of middle to upper class people. It's women are the growing like segment in it. Um, I don't think like you see a lot of like service workers, that type of thing. Uh, having those jobs, people who are living in, uh, with, without those type of things are, are rare. Um, and then it's all still fairly coastal. It seems like still very like a liberal leaf thing. I don't know if that's, I don't know if they know that's exactly a fair way to put it, but it's, it's fairly coastal.

S. Perlstein:  It's not, um, the, and maybe that's just who's making the podcasts or whatever, but it doesn't like seem to penetrate the heart of America quite yet. And maybe we just haven't had that big hit yet for this Peter Drucker book. You need a trucker podcast and go trekking across the country. Not a bad idea. John, what are you doing? Want some podcasts? It's incredible. It. Okay, now I want to shift to studio 71. Okay, fair, fair. Okay. First off, what is studio 71? Okay. So 71 is a, let's just say, Oh God, it's so fun because it's like we've gone through several different iterations as a company and we're just talking about it today. Uh, the president of our company, Dan Weinstein, really insightful and, uh, explanation of our business and what we're doing. And I'm like, yeah, say it again. Uh, can I take notes? I'm going to take notes.

S. Perlstein:  But the, basically it's a, it's a management company for digital creators. So whereas a traditional talent, will have a management company that maximizes their, uh, you know, appearance is movies and puts a career strategy in place and you know, helps expand them into other avenues. I think we in a way do very similar things, but for digital creators. And a lot of that is youtube first, but it's also people who are like Instagram influencers and now we're getting into podcasts. People are podcasting first. Um, and so what we're trying to do is help them maximize their revenue streams, whether that's through a finding better deals in ways to monetize on youtube. They're native platform that they couldn't do alone, which is a big part of the business, um, to bringing their content content to other platforms, like creating Roku or Amazon channels out of preexisting content and distributing it elsewhere or bringing stuff to other countries.

S. Perlstein:  Uh, that's, you know, like in China, they do not have youtube. So a lot of this content is totally novel and uh, and totally monetize bubble. And so creating those multiple revenue streams and where podcasts kind of comes in is where a way a new, let's just say like a new business venture or a new revenue stream that we're helping our creators get into. Um, and so we started with about 10, uh, about a year ago. The 10 podcasts and show shows you have now 30, I think officially the, the number is like 36. Um, but I feel like it's actually more than that. We have more signed in coming and ready to go. So it's quite busy. What is the most popular ones on our networks are on yours? Yeah. So we have a few that are like are, you know, um, our biggest handful a I usually, it's always the top.

S. Perlstein:  It's very top heavy, the top few podcasts, but we work with a creator, a podcast called something scary, uh, which is from one of our youtube creators snarled and Sapphire sandalow and it's a horror stories podcast and it's really great. Um, and it was adapted from a co a form that they, they did on their youtube and kind of optimize for podcasts. Audience just loves it. Just really, really great business for them. I'm really kind of revived that, that channel in a way, which we're very proud of. Um, and then also Caitlin's coffee talk, which is sort of a self help pepe pepe. I, I with the pet isn't the right word, but like pick me up inspirational speeches. Here's how to do your life, you know, we all struggle with these things. I'm in it with you type of thing. Um, and she's a great Canadian Creator who was in our network, uh, uh, talent. Um, and uh, shit they don't tell you is a really strong podcast that I like more of a comedic take on, uh, you know, everything that they don't tell you when you're becoming an adult. Like how to buy a house or a what it's like to live in having a long distance relationship and it's an interview and guest format and comedy driven and it's really great. There's a couple others, but those are the ones that immediately popped to my mind.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Why influencers? Why are they doing the podcast? Why are influences in it doesn't translate well, I mean, does a youtuber to translate well to a podcast?

S. Perlstein:  So not necessarily. I think that it doesn't, I don't think anybody necessarily just like can flip a switch and be do a good podcast. Um, I think the, the why for every creator is different. Like I know Caitlin is somebody who really cares a lot about our audience and wants to take in this format can take a longer time and do a deeper dive into various topics that you can't really do on youtube. Like a 40 minute youtube video as a little weird. It's a lot of editing. It's a little little crazy. Um, and it's a little more unfiltered and I think that that's something that people are responding to. Youtube has a thing called brand safety that it's very important. So if you said, you know, fuck on a youtube video, you might get, I don't know, Dee favored and its whole alcohol algorithms and it of, and it's just little things like that.

S. Perlstein:  Whereas podcasting, we don't have algorithms between, um, there are our podcasts and their fans. So, uh, when people subscribe to your podcast, they get it for forever. And I think that that's a real deep connection to an audience that's very unique. Um, Instagram doesn't do that. Twitter doesn't do that. Facebook doesn't do that. Youtube doesn't do that. That is, there's no really one to one connection to an audience that I can think of other than like a mailing list. And I think that even that is maybe, I think even podcasts are more impactful in a way because it does take, you aren't sitting intimately with your, your whoever you're listening.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I've been a longtime listener since it started and there are some shows I'll just pop back in and get through. It's like old friends. Yeah, yeah,

S. Perlstein:  100%. I think the number of times that I, uh, I've seen like this like meme on the internet or whatever, but like listen, like listening to a podcast and it's like, I feel like I just pretending that I have friends, uh, and you know, that's sort of like a herself, the feeling way to look at it. But I think too, like we have a lot of my favorite podcast and I think some of the podcasts even on our network are people bantering and talking. And it, it is, uh, it is, it's very human. It's all, what is your favorite podcasts? My favorite podcast, I think for me, God, I feel like I shouldn't shout out us to somebody one on one, but I'm not going to be disingenuous like that to your listeners, John, I'm not going to do that to you. Um, for me, I think my favorite podcast is one called high and mighty hosted by Jon Gabrus on the head Gum podcast network.

S. Perlstein:  And it's super funny and all it is is like this comedian who did upright citizens brigade and still does I think, and bringing on a friend to talk about stuff that they care about, they both kind of mutually care about. So other that's like long island, which so you know, he brought a guest on, he's from long line, long island, brought a guest on us from long island or sandwiches. There's an episode all about sandwiches a day drinking Las Vegas. Like it's all kinds of stuff. And it is, and that's the thing about it, you know, you talk about just like friends are listening, it is a podcast about nothing. A lot of times they didn't even talk about the thing they say they're going to sign and it's just, it's a conversation and you know, those things are jumping off points and funny and great. And at the end of it, you know, I laugh and I enjoy my commute and it wasn't so bad. Yeah. You tweeted, can podcast networks trade podcasts like it's baseball.

S. Perlstein:  Oh my God, that'd be so fun. I'm like that. So now my question is, what podcasts would you trade for it? I'm not asking you what your podcast you give up. Yeah, that's, that's a great thing. Yeah. So there's a lot of podcasts that I think podcast networks are tricky just in general because like TV networks, uh, usually build a brand and ABC does, you know, soapy adults comedy that's very polished but also like kind of irreverent and whatever. And NBC very much had a clear brand on the comedy side for a long time. Fox was being a little edgy. And you know, animation is a huge, so podcast networks typically actually don't have a very strong brand. And um, I think the few exceptions I can think of is like wandery and Earwolf, those guys are pretty crystal clear on what they're all about.

S. Perlstein:  But typically podcast networks and especially these days, there's more and more people that are kind of cash grabbing it, right? They're very agnostic to having a brand. So I think for a studio 71 I look at shows and go like, we are focused on millennials, young people, influencers and creators. And that's like our host and the audience of reaching to his younger people. People who've never listened to podcasts. Just a quick aside, like I think it's like 51 in a, in a small sample, but about 51% of all of the people who was nor podcasts have never listened to a podcast until they heard a studious first time guest. And that's extremely rare. Most people, it's like listening to like seven or eight podcasts and how do they, how does to do 71 get that kind of audience? How do we get it? And it's, it's converting from influencers.

S. Perlstein:  So that's, that's part of it too, is we're bringing a new generation of listeners to podcasts. So that's a long winded way to get to my actual answer, which is there's, there's a few podcasts where I see that's the key, the key demographic that we're going after in a way. And that we have a unique ability to tap into. And so, you know, I think there's podcasts like pretty basic, um, bitch bitch session, uh, is the thing that I think we'd be pretty good at. There's a podcast called two girls and one ghost that I think we'd be a really helpful partner with. Uh, and there's a handful more. But yeah, I think those are just a few that kind of popped to mind. Just told disclosure. I didn't tell you this is a pretty basic because I represented Aleisha no way. Oh, so, oh wait, no, I do know that.

S. Perlstein:  I did know that we talked about that. Yeah. And full disclosure, he didn't tell me to say that and this is, but yeah, let's just go ahead and slide the money across the table and call it a day. Uh, we're going to get this flooding money. Yeah. How, how are podcasts monetized? So Abe revenue. Yeah. I think that's like the largest way to do it. Um, and I think the, yeah, I mean it's, it's all ad revenue at the end of the day. I think there's one big chunk of it can be direct support from Patriot Patriot on some apps or a podcast apps or introducing like tipping a and being able to directly support the creator, um, because you know, again, covering that gap between the effort and the huge scale where it makes sense to monetize with traditional ads. Um, but you know, that, that's the main two.

S. Perlstein:  I think we're seeing some, let's say like platforms, Spotify as a really good example. They are focused on cross collateralizing. It's not just add resident revenue, it's also bringing people to that platform so you can kind of afford to, let's say maybe lose money on a podcast and I'm putting that in quotes because you can, you're gaining by having more users on the platform. Um, and we've seen some apps do that too to varying degrees of success. But yeah. I want to shift gears. You love it. You do improv check first. Define Improv. Okay. So improv, or at least in the sense that I did it is kind of the art and science of making up comedic scenes, uh, on the spot based on a suggestion. Uh, from an audience. So I would think, you know, a lot of people think of Improv as whose line is it anyway and I think that's a fair starting point for it.

S. Perlstein:  But I'd say just remove a lot of the prepping and talking about rules and here's the game and here's what you do instead. It's more like trying to create a Saturday night live skit or a Saturday night live sketch that's a few minutes long, three to five to 10 to 20 minutes long or whatever. But, but just coming up with the whole idea and what's funny about it and the characters based on the first word, the suggestion that the audience gives, what is your favorite SNL skit? Okay. Favorite SNL skit. I mean, listen, you've got to go back to like some of the classics. Sweaty balls. That's a fantastic one. I'm not going to say it's not, I like Schlitz Gay. You can tell him exactly how old I am because I like a lot of the nineties sketches. But then, you know, lonely island killed it for a hundred years and I don't know if there's a better song in the world, then I'm on a boat.

S. Perlstein:  Uh, so, you know. Yeah, there's a bunch of good stuff. So I want to go back to the Improv. So when did you start? Um, that's a good question. I think it was like 2010. Yeah, it's about 2010 and I was dating a girl at the time and she just was like, we should do something night. And I was like, I may fine what is there to do? And she said, there's this comedy theater I've heard about called that part, citizens brigade, let's go. And I went and I was like, this is amazing. This is the type of slacking off that I want to do. Uh, and so I took a little bit of time after seeing the show and decided to sign up for a writing class because it was too afraid to perform. And I did a couple of writing classes than it did some of the improv performance classes.

S. Perlstein:  And then I did it for a hundred years and now we're here in the year 2000 110. You have, you have haven't, I don't know if you still do teach improv. Yeah, I used to for a while and I've kind of stopped doing that so much. But yeah. Yeah. How does one teaching glove, I mean how if somebody is not naturally yeah, I mean funny or spontaneous. Yeah. How would you get that piece out of the Shell? Oh my God. Well I wouldn't, uh, so I mean I think, I think one thing that I would say is like there, I worked a lot around the, this community of Improv called upright citizens brigade as well as the Improv space and a little bit at second city. And so they have classes that are like the basics, the one oh ones of Improv and that is a very delicate and hard time for improvisers to get into.

S. Perlstein:  I mostly did what I guess the Slight Delineation would call it coaching, which is people have learned sort of the basics and now we're trying to improve their skill at it overall. So I don't, I never really had a lot of people who straight up were afraid to do it or didn't think of themselves as funny in one way or another. Uh, so that question, you know, I have my thoughts on it, but I'd say you got to pass that on to somebody who was more qualified than me. I'm not gonna I'm not going to answer. What's your favorite book on improv? Oh God. There's actually very few good books on Improv. It's actually sorta crazy. Um, my favorite book, uh, it would be from bye bye. Will Hines "How to be the Greatest Improviser on Earth". Uh, it was a very silly title and he pointed out, I think it's the funniest thing.

S. Perlstein:  That book can only work for one person because once you've been the greatest improviser honors, it didn't work for everybody else who read it. Um, but that is actually a very like, and that's a fairly advanced book. I think that's, there's some books out there that it exists to get people from let's say zero to one on their improv skill, which would include like the UCB, the upright citizens brigade. I think it's like manual I believe is what it's called. Um, improvisation manual. And that's a very like you have no skills at all, you know, nothing about Improv. This is how you do the basics of it. Uh, whereas will's book is a little bit more of what I think of as like maybe a five to 10, like how do you get to literally being the best in the world. Uh, but it's, it's much more advanced in depth.

S. Perlstein:  But yeah. Who is your favorite comedian? God. Um, I mean that's such an unfair question. Of course it is because uh, well so I mean I have to default back to just people that I watched doing improv. And I think it's probably people that are less heard of and known just in the world. Uh, because Improv is a relatively small community and an art form and not really like, like stand up just on a national level. But you know, if we're going to say people that I really just admire, love and can't stop watching people like Eugene core narrow who's currently on Tacoma, FD, it's a new TV show that's just out. Eugene Cordero is like one of the funniest improvisers are people on Earth as far as I know, like Paul. Well, she was like incredibly funny and like also relatively not well known. There's like Jessica Mckenna, who's this like musical improvisor has a great podcast called a off book, uh, with Zachary now. Also really great improviser. Uh, I have a lot of people that I really, really love. I love comedy, I care deeply about it and spend a lot of time

Jon Pfeiffer:  doing it. So like, it's just not a fair question. Let me ask another unfair question, Sarah. Clear, in your opinion, is the best place to watch comedy in it in La. Oh, okay. So I mean, you know, that's that again, that's actually a tough one because I spent all

S. Perlstein:  my time, a lot of my time watching like Improv. So it's where, where I saw a lot of it where I preferred is, is unfair because it's just a small space that I've gone to regularly and that ultimately is just upright citizens brigade on Franklin a UCB sunset. It's not as fun to watch shows that I used to watch a lot of shows at io. It was never good to watch his show there. Second city's got an okay space, but they charge too much. Uh, in my opinion, I've been to like the Hollywood improv Improv spaces. Okay. Um, you know, I've been to a bunch of them, but I still have to go back to that person this week.

Jon Pfeiffer:  And for Citizens Brigade theatre La Franklin, should all Twitter users be required to take an Improv class?

S. Perlstein:  Um, no. I do think that all, uh, Twitter users should maybe be forced to like, yeah, maybe take like a writing class. I don't know about Improv. I think that most people could benefit from an Improv class, but just understanding like that you could trim some of the words out of your tweets would be like incredible for a lot

Jon Pfeiffer:  people. You tweeted goes, oh my God, you're reading my tweets. I feel like it was a prosecution. Yes, it is. Those who don't believe any great Los Angeles, never find the great Los Angeles Bagel. Yeah. Do you believe in a great Los Angeles? Have you found a great lesson? I did. I found it's the promise land man. No, you got, I can't tell him. You got to just believe. Listen for me, it's, it's Sam's Bagel on Sam's bagels on Larchmont. It's like my favorite bag. All it legitimately great. And I, I was walking, I was eating a Sam's big aisle, walking out from there,

S. Perlstein:  or like every Saturday or Sunday you can find me there, just like kind of bleary eyed and I'm ready for the weekend. Uh, but I was walking down there and I saw a sign that was like very generic. Like, if you don't believe in, um, you know your goals, you'll never find your goals or whatever it was. And I was like,

Jon Pfeiffer:  okay. You also tweeted on December 22nd, 2018 I will be working through the government shutdown. Actually laugh out loud. Funny John. That's great. Okay. And then you tweeted, it's funny because I don't actually work in the government and people were like, oh, like people have to work through the government shutdown. Isn't that so brave to them? Like I'm also working through the government shut down for the record. I would like a high five

S. Perlstein:  family are government workers. I very much respect and hated that government shutdown continuous. Sorry, tweeted. Seeing people post on social media

Jon Pfeiffer:  always reminds me of what my mom always said. You're doing that wrong. Yeah. Okay. What are they doing wrong? Ah, that's so funny. Well, it's your line. Yeah. I no, no, no, no. What, what are people doing wrong?

S. Perlstein:  Social media. My God. Well, how long do you have? That's crazy. I think to me, the thing that I don't like about social media, and this, you've seen me on Instagram too, or sorry, linkedin too, and I'm a monster on that thing, is because people are either disingenuous in a way that I feel like we should all just see through and be bored with. Or the other thing that's really common that this is very common on Facebook these days, but Twitter and other ones I'm seeing it is pity. Or like I'm seeking pity from everybody and that will get me, my heart's in my likes and my retweets and I'm just like [inaudible] like blue man B, come on. I the, the, the hearts from the stranger shouldn't be the thing that makes you feel better about being in a bad situation or whatever it should be. Your friends and family and support group and the things that are

Jon Pfeiffer:  real. And uh, John John's like waving, cause the lights just went off in this like motion detector room, but now they're back on. So we're all good.

S. Perlstein:  But I think if I remember correctly, that's all I was thinking. I was like, I'm tired of people's little pity parties on Twitter.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Shifting gears again to your own podcast and you're like, vin diesel, you can't, you can't get it here. You should, you had a podcast, you participated in podcasts, you should love wrestling. That's true. Tell me about that. Yeah, well first of all, you will.

S. Perlstein:  I hate wrestling. I strongly hate wrestling. Come listen, listen to that podcast. I think I really are thinking really knocked down some barriers there. Um, so, uh, you should love wrestling as a podcast. I did with my buddies. Uh, Nick Liger and Joey [inaudible]. Joey cliff did it for awhile and um, but then kind of stopped, moved onto some other things, but they're friends that I worked with in the comedy space. We, we sold a web series and we did a bunch of stuff and we wrote a, an album together and uh, good, good, great, good friends and collaborators and um, they, those two loved professional wrestling and to the point where we'd be meeting and working and I'd be like, oh, rewriting all joke or whatever. And then they'd just like start talking about whatever the fuck happens with like, I don't know, the, the MSLs are, and like the middle of like a conversation.

S. Perlstein:  I'm like, guys, we're working. I don't like wrestling. I don't understand. You're like actively excluding me from this conversation. It's evil. Um, I'm sure I'm blowing higher levels. I'm so sorry everybody. I'm a very passionate person. And so we thought it was just funny how much I hated wrestling. Uh, and we were like, oh, what if we did a podcast where we force you to talk about wrestling and watch wrestling for hours every week? And we did that for a year. I'm almost a hundred episodes, I think, uh, are probably more than a hundred episodes and a, it was a lot of fun and really weird. And I learned a lot about wrestling and I think they learned a lot too from me. If you like wrestling, it's a great podcast. If you don't like wrestling, it's painful if you like. See, that's also, can I tell you how fundamentally flawed this idea of what it actually did a really well as a podcast overall. And I had a lot of fun doing it, but so fundamentally flawed as this premise is, who is it for? You should love wrestling. It's a, you're like, okay, if you like wrestling, why do you want to hear some asshole to say negative stuff about wrestling for like an hour every week. But we did it anyway. Uh, and it was real fun. You had a podcast. I love you and I like you a parks and recreation podcast with my wife,

Jon Pfeiffer:  dude. Siri nailed it with the yes. And I think you're pretty great too. That's pretty funny. That's pretty damn fine. Yeah. I did a podcast with my wife, my wife, I love, you know, like you have parks, recreation, podcasts.

S. Perlstein:  Um, and uh, yeah, we were just talking about the television show, parks and recreation with Comedians and when my wife and I and I was fine. And then you had a lot of episodes on the improv obsession pop get hi. Yeah. And that's kind of where podcasting just for me started in a lot of ways and all the ways is I wanted to do in my little Improv community that I was a part of and wanting to learn more about and just voraciously trying to consume more about, I felt like there wasn't enough of a interview style podcast are talking about Improv and nerding out about it. There's one in New York, it called the long or no, it was the UCB in New York podcast. And I was like, Oh man, they should do that out here in la. And then they like kind of did it for like two episodes, like right when I was starting to figure this out, how I was going to do mine.

S. Perlstein:  And then I was like, oh, well maybe I'll just do my own anyway. And I did that for a while. Uh, and how a lot of fun doing it and um, learned a lot about Improv and had a lot of really great conversations with honestly, some would like the funniest, smartest people in the world when it comes to improvisational comedy. Matt Besser, Ian Roberts. Matt Walsh is people who are founders of that price, citizens brigade theater, and truly created, I think, what is a new art form and help foster a new generation of comedians that are like unlike any others. Lennon Parham, who's on television, Eugene Cordero, the man I mentioned before who I think is one of the funniest people was on there. Uh, Chris Kula is on, or Billy met. Like the people who have been on that podcast are like insane heavy hitters. It's a good podcast. Check it out guys.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Uh, it is a good pocket. Thank you.

S. Perlstein:  Okay, so heavy your own podcasts and running podcasts for studio 71. What's, what makes for a great podcast? Okay, that's a tough question I'm going to do, I'm going to answer it though and it doesn't matter cause nobody's gonna listen to me. Uh, people don't, people don't believe you when you tell them what makes it good. But it's, it's a, it's a, a good comment. Let's just say like, I'm thinking of the standard two people talking conversation podcasts as opposed to maybe a cereal or whatever highly produced that's, you know, all that is what that is, is a good story. And how you find those stories, that's a bunch of different ways to do it. But we're conversational. Podcasts are a more loose podcasts. It's a marriage. It's a really important marriage between what the host or creator of that podcast has a deep knowledge of and their ability to talk about.

S. Perlstein:  Um, because we have to have these conversations for so long, uh, for so many episodes, if you think of a year of podcasting is 50 hours of conversation, you have to have such a deep well of information and knowledge and passion for our thing to continue it. Uh, very, very far. So I think that's one, the thing is like something that a host has a deep knowledge about. And then now I'm thinking of as studio 71 is what they also have, uh, an authentic brand that they've built around that subject matter and an audience that's connected to it in some way. So, um, I think it's possible to have a deep passion about something that nobody in the world could possibly care about. Um, I used an example of somebody wanted to do a podcast about quilting fabric and bad ones and how they were bad and I was like, but who is it for like a, are there, do you imagine a lot of people just want you to say that this quilt fabric is bad and what are they gain from that?

S. Perlstein:  Who is that for? Um, and you know, it's, anyway, I've kind of ranted but creator and concept a and a deep passion that they have for that can ultimately do the things that all media does, which is either inform people, entertain people or inspire people. And like if you can't really see how that podcast does that, um, then it's probably not going to work. Like every one of our w about once a week we spend time doing a really deep dive on one of our podcasts and going, how is it, how is it doing? What does it supposed to do? What is this podcast supposed to do? Caitlin's coffee Tuck is very clearly supposed to inspire and inform people. Are we positioning it that way when we share it out in the world that it is, that's the intention of it. Or are we telling this people is an entertainment podcasts or maybe we're not telling them it's anything.

S. Perlstein:  Uh, and without effectively kind of aligning on that, I think, you know, we're lost. And I think that's honestly where most people who are to talk to me, who I have a podcast, it's not really working. That's where it's not working. Yeah. What advice would you have for somebody that wants to start one? Um, I think, I mean honestly, you know, John mentioned I had three podcasts, so you know, that tells you something, just start some stuff. And um, I, my, my anecdote because I used to, I used to, I think like starting a podcast in my little comedy community of people who are highly creative and funny and interesting. They all wanted to do a podcast, no, sort of unique cause I done it. And um, people would come to me and go, Steven, how do you, how do you do podcasts? Like, how do you, what do you, what do we do?

S. Perlstein:  And they'd be like, oh, well I bought this microphone and I paid for this service. And then I did this thing and then I had a podcast and they'd be like, cool. And then they'd never do a podcast. And then that happened and happened and happened and happened to happen again. And then one day I had a friend come to me who I really liked. It was a very close friend of mine, came to me is actually an influencer now came to me and said, Stephen, I want to do a podcast. Uh, how do we do a podcast? And I said, you know, friend, I won't name names. Uh, a lot of people have come to me and asked me that. And I just don't think I, I think I'm doing something wrong by telling you. I think if you wanted to do a podcast, you do a podcast, you figure it out, you just do it.

S. Perlstein:  So I dunno. Um, and he goes, yeah, yeah, but like what equipment? And I was like, all right, it's this. And then he never, he didn't do it for like two years. Like it was like two and a half years. And then one day he did it. And so, you know, if you want to do a podcast, do the podcast. And I have had people come up and ask that same question and I'll say the same thing. I'll, the first time I sat down and it's been five minutes walking through it, you have to do. Yeah. I didn't realize that was five minutes my life. I'll never get back. Yeah. And it's, and I think that's fine. I, you know, it's um, you know, you do a podcast called the creative influencer and I think I understand how precious and fragile a creative ideas are and how hard it is to just throw it out into the world.

S. Perlstein:  And, you know, maybe improv helped me with that because it is, do you just throw it out in the world and then it dies, dies on that stage and nobody ever sees it again. So that's okay. Um, but I think that I would, you know, like you just throw out an idea and if it works great and if it doesn't work, that's okay. It can just die and nobody would really care. Um, and you know, or the people who did care, it will be nice, like you should love wrestling. People still tweet at me about that. Um, and you know, that's, that's been off for like a year or more. Um, it lives on iTunes for if it lives there forever and, you know, it sticks, it sticks with the people who connects with, and if it doesn't, for the ones that don't, and I think that rarely and hopefully never are you truly marred by a failed creative project, failed or not, not famous creative project, but, um, hopefully you can learn from it and continue and move forward.

S. Perlstein:  Yeah. Yeah. Um, shifting gears again, my vin diesel movie. So we're, where are you from originally? So I'm from a town called Vacaville, California, which is northern California, right between Sacramento and San Francisco. Famous for our prison. That how's Charlie Manson? Because I think he had syphilis and we had a medical unit at our prison that could help. It's a unique, I guess in the federal prison system. Um, and then also a our outlet malls where you can get clothes that don't quite fit for a reasonable price. Yeah. When did you move to Los Angeles? I came out for college in 2006. Uh, August, 2006 cal state Northridge in the valley sweaty moving stuff in, carrying a fridge up the stairs. Brutal. And if you've been in southern California ever since. Yeah, I have. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. I want to talk to you about some of the things on your journey to Studio 71.

S. Perlstein:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Um, what is the midnight show?

S. Perlstein:  Oh God, the midnight show. That's so funny. Um, I forgot about the midnight show. Uh, the midnight show is a sketch comedy group based out of La, uh, that had a bunch of different members at various times. Uh, Heather and Campbell, who's now writing for various TV shows and wrote for the twilight zone, the thing that's on CBS, all access really super talented comedian Eric money. Penny, who wrote for bugs bunny and the Eric Andre Show and a bunch of other stuff. Very funny. And towns, the community. Joe Wang, commedia Joe Wagner. Uh, I'm gonna, I'm gonna forget all of them. Michael Bush would have, they had, I'm like, you're thinking for your Emmy. Yeah, right. I know there are, it's truly God. I hope I premier prepare more for Miami speech. Um, they wanted to do a comedy album, kind of an old school one and the vein of Adam Sandler.

S. Perlstein:  And he used to do these comedy albums that were really great. The, I think Adam Sandler maybe featured more, maybe not, but were standup comedy. But anyway, yeah. So, uh, Eric moneypenny reached out to me. I had been in one of his writing classes at that point and it goes like, hey man, hey man, uh, he was like, can you, can you help me record this album? I want to do it. I don't know anybody else who like knows how to record stuff. And I was like, okay. Uh, and so I helped do that whole thing for like, uh, you know, we, we worked out of a, one of the member's houses for like days, which they just rented this crazy house in the hills that I dunno, like nine of them lived in. It was just like this crazy yeah. Place. Uh, and we recorded there for days and I cut together and mixed and mastered and uh, worked on this whole album with those guys.

S. Perlstein:  And there's a lot of fun. It was a really cool project. Yeah. And then, uh, you worked for bugs bunny. Yeah, man. That's how you put it at least. Yeah, it works for, I worked for, I worked for the big man bugs bunny. Um, I was a, I wrote on bugs bunny and I wrote, uh, a few episodes of that. And a couple of more outlines that never went anywhere. Um, and I, yeah, that I wrote for the show. Yeah. Super Fun. And you wrote for TV as a rep for the classic and much loved, uh, reality television series, dance moms. I was telling her, he was talking to [inaudible] about the interview and he said, cause I, I mentioned that you worked on dance moms. I said, I thought it was unscripted. Yeah, well I worked out a lot on the reunion specials and those were a little bit more scripted on the cue cards and stuff, but we're, you know, all of the shows, I'll reality shows have, we call it kind of like story producers and a really that's a writer with that on every show.

S. Perlstein:  Excuse me, that can be very different. Like Duck Dynasty was straight up written, written word for word. You say this, um, I should guess I shouldn't speak out of turn on that one. I'm ducks, I've duck dynasty and whatever. I don't care. Um, and, and then other ones, you know, it'd be like story areas like, Oh, I want think you can actually talk about this. And, you know, whatever. And so we're kind of like inciting interesting things for what I did for dance moms. It was a lot of like prepping the cue cards and prepping uh, the talent to talk about the things that they were going to talk about. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Hey, they, those girls can do more than I can. I can tell you that much. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Um, you had mentioned earlier Linkedin, your Twitter photo in your linkedin photo is a picture of you lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill. Yeah, man. How did you pick that?

S. Perlstein:  Um, I, that's so funny. A lot of my life, uh, has then, you know, if you've listened to this long like good on you. Thank you for your lessening. A lot of my life has just been about what I think things are funny and silly and I think that right. We um, maybe overthinking, okay. Produce ourselves on a lot of things and photos and Instagram and whatever. And so it just sort of made me laugh. The idea of being like one of those like cigar chomping executives where it's like I, I know nothing about money, which cause that's not in line with the reality of what I am. And anybody who knows me knows that's not in line with reality. So I just did it because it made me laugh. Uh, but yeah,

Jon Pfeiffer:  I did. Especially Linkedin, it takes itself seriously.

S. Perlstein:  It's extremely serious. My Hope, my hope profile, maybe even a reason for being there. It's just confusing for everyone.

Jon Pfeiffer:  You have a linkedin post. I have 10 calls today. I have 10 calls today. Yeah, you got comments people saying I have more calls every day.

S. Perlstein:  Rick Sila over it, a Himalaya or wherever he has now decided to tell me that that's not that many calls. Yeah. It just sort of makes me laugh. Like again, how we, how you present yourself on Linkedin I think is a great example of it. When people talk about their successes are the number of times I've seen the story like, Oh, this employee had no idea that the person he was working with was actually this. And then they did this and it saved that person's life and you're like, Whoa, what is this like an inspirational news hour? Get me out of here. Um, and so I don't know, it's just like to go like I had 10 calls, my life's a nightmare. Like what is this? Why don't we have 10 calls today? Back to back to back. The tag

Jon Pfeiffer:  blind on your linkedin page says I bare hand caught a line, drive foul ball once. And that's what I'm most proud of in life.

S. Perlstein:  Yeah. Cause he always got to share. Oh you just don't care. I got one, a nightmare. See this. And this is the thing is like, I think people might see that and go like, he's extremely unprofessional. It doesn't know what he's doing. But I do, I do care about that stuff and yeah, I'm going to get in trouble for all this, but it doesn't matter. But again, you see that, you see those headlines always closing super focus businessman. Like you're like, oh, what do you wait puffing yourself up for? Like, I dunno, I just, that drives me insane. Okay. Leaving linkedin. If you

Jon Pfeiffer:  could could star in a movie, who would be your Costar?

S. Perlstein:  God I think would be like a funny coast for me. You got to have a contrast cause like I'm a skinny, boring white guy. Um, I don't think I should be at a movie first off. I would say like just a cast to other people. Uh, that, that, that step one. Um, but man like, okay, fine. Like Cedric Yarbrough. I think it would be like an interesting pairing for me. Uh, who's a, he was on reno nine one one, a big tall black guy who I think is like the funniest person in the world. I want him to be with me in a movie. I Love Cedric Yarbrough. What's your biggest pet peeve? Um, I don't know. Um, cut cutting burritos and half cut a burrito on half and serve it to me. I'm like, you've destroyed a perfect thing. You cut a Burrito on half. Are you insane?

S. Perlstein:  It's like a perfect vessel for food. And just to cut it in half, this is like so flagrantly disrespectful to the whole idea of what it is. Why not just cut my mail and a half when you deliver it to me? God, that drives me insane to think about it. I've got a lot of pet peeves, John, but what piece of entertainment do you wish you could do race from your mind so you could experience it again for the first time? Oh my God, my friend did a movie about that. Maureen Barrachos called movie movie. Wait, was it movie mind machine? She did a movie that was that she could race mood. They could erase movies from their minds so they could keep rewatching it and enjoy it again. Um, that's a tough one. I mean, what is a, it probably ended up to be like some stupid comedy from back in the day where it's just like, I feel like it'd be like Talladega nights are like Elle for something. One of those like will Ferrell ones. It was like so much and they're still really fun to watch. But that first time you see like will Ferrell stab himself in the leg with a knife and then stab himself with a second knife to get the first night out. And I found that's, that's the next level. Like I died or walk hard. Oh, walk hard is the funniest thing in the world. Okay. Continue. I'm sorry. Let's just talk movies. What are we doing well, what's a question you wish people would stop asking you? Huh?

S. Perlstein:  Um, yeah. Okay. Uh, a lot of it cause I work in podcasting and half for awhile. A lot of, especially lately. Did you hear this very obvious podcasts news? Did you hear that? Spotify? It's like some company. Yes, I heard it. I knew about it. Everybody knew about it and over it. Uh, that one happens to me a lot. I get emails and stuff. Did you hear about? Yes, I know, I know. Everybody know. I don't want to say I know everything cause it's very obnoxious but that's, that one takes up a lot of time and I feel like I have to like re entertain people every time I hear it. How do you keep up with what's going on in the industry? Um, I talked to people is like one big part of it, right? Like, I know a handful of people and just in the podcast business, um, and we all like to swap stories and entertainment and uh, you know, whether that's talent or business or advertising and stuff like that, just so we can keep a pulse on it. And I also, you can maybe avoid being gamed by people who aren't saying things that aren't true, uh, through, through intermediary. So, uh, yeah, that's one to be part of it. And then I, I follow, I follow all the, um, the podcasts, newsletters, pod, the Belo collective pod news, um, a couple of others, but yeah. Two last questions. Okay. Man. Are we, are we good? How are we doing on time? I'm really impressed on worldwide. We're good. All right. Because I could go for days. He got me.

S. Perlstein:  What are you working on right now other than work? It's a pet project. Yeah. I uh, I have, I'm just coming out of the last pet project I did, which was, I built a coffee table and then I built an end table, uh, out of wood and kind of hardwood, hardwood. And we did it out of at this, uh, community wood shop called Allied woodshop downtown. Um, so woodworking is like pet project and right now I'm trying to figure out what my next pet pet project is going to be feeling. I need to like work out and feel like I've haven't been carrying a little stress on my shoulders and they need to do like work that out at the gym. So, you know, I think that's going to be my next pet projects. I don't have anything to majorly pet project he right now. Last question. How can people find you on the Internet? Uh, at Perlstein I'm everywhere. Literally everywhere at Perlstein, snapchat, Twitter, linkedin. Uh, wait, no, I do have linkedin is Perlstein uh, Instagram, Facebook, a tick tock. I'm on their Perlstein. That's me. Uh, but you know, I just seem something sometime you don't have to find me. There's nothing that interesting going on. I'm just sitting there, you know, throwing, throwing spitballs from the corner going, this is all silly. Why are we doing this? This is all silly. Thank you. Fun. All right, I tried.


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