Getting somethin’ done | December 1, 2021

My husband, Kyle, is a hockey agent.  My little sister, Erica, is a movie/television casting director.  Both of their jobs are about finding talented people and putting them in the right place(s) to maximize that talent.  As everyone in the world has talent in some shape or form (not just related to acting or men’s hockey), I am going to share the one piece of advice that they both regularly give because it basically works across the board.  And as my talent is stretching a story long beyond its necessity, I shall do that, as well.

Half of Kyle’s job is finding hockey players to represent in his agency.  He does this by going to a billion hockey games a year.  In the old days I would go with him and say, “I like that #21.  He’s zippy.”  To which Kyle would say, “He’s pretty good but isn’t watching the puck.  I like #9 because he’s smart and makes plays happen.”  And then I would say, “No, #9 takes too long to get off the ice on a shift change.”  Then we would fast-forward ten years into the future and #9 would be playing for the Boston Bruins and #21 would be happily and zippily living his life not in the NHL.

The other half of Kyle’s job is taking those #9’s of the world and developing them into professional players.  He does that through a billion phone calls a day to coaches, scouts, leagues, parents, and players.  Agents are usually lawyers because of contract negotiations and the NHL CBA, so sometimes those calls are the stereotypical business transactions that we all know and love.  Other times it’s the type of conversation you’d imagine you would have with a 17-year-old boy like this:

Player: Can you find out if I can get my girlfriend into the game?

Kyle: Sure.  What’s her name?

Player: [pause] Taylor something?

Like Kyle, Erica spends half of her day on the phone with agents, producers, directors, and other casting directors working to match up the exact right actor to a role so that you and I, the viewers, will be transformed into the virtual world provided by them.  If you’ve seen – I dunno, basically every story ever told about acting – you’ll know that actors will do whatever it takes to get those roles.  This means sometimes my sister will have conversations like this:

Erica: I’d love to use so-and-so for a part.  It says here that she lives full-time in North Carolina; is that correct?

Agent: Yes.

Erica: Great, because they need her on set at 9am on Wednesday.

Agent: Actually, she’s only in North Carolina over the lunch hour every-other week.  Can they postpone the shoot until next month?

The other half of Erica’s time is used for finding those actors.  You probably won’t be surprised to hear that she does this by watching a LOT of content.  Some of that content comes through casting sessions.  I once got to sit with her while she reviewed a bunch of very, very good-looking (and completely identical) men for a boy toy-type character for the series lead.  After about the twelfth super-hot guy did a bang-up job reading the three-sentence script, I said to her, “I don’t know how you’re going to pick the best one; I’d say hire them all and let them say one word each,” and she said, “The second actor is perfect for this role.”  The producers cast him, and he must have been perfect for other roles, too, because I see him on TV every once in a while.

Anyways, one of the most common questions both Erica and Kyle hear on a regular basis is this: “How can I get noticed?”  They both have the same answer: Go out and do good work and people will find you.

Their point is that you can’t make something happen for yourself if you’re not making things happen for yourself.  Or, in other words, get somethin’ done.

In Minneapolis, there are a few teams that get a lot of scout and agent attention, but not every good player has the resources to join them.  One of those players decided that he wouldn’t be held back by this fact, and (politely) called Kyle a bunch of times while we were on vacation (I was happy about this, as you can imagine) to ask if he would come watch his game when Kyle got home.   Over the next couple of years this kid had setback after setback – the hockey program was cut at the first college he committed to, for example – but he always kept his great attitude and work ethic and used every opportunity on the ice to get somethin’ done.  Now he’s the top scorer on his college team and on his way to a pro contract.

Here’s another one: Erica once saw a little hole-in-the-wall stage play in Los Angeles and liked one of the actors so much that two years later she recommended him to another casting director for a movie lead and now he’s such an actual, legit superstar that I don’t dare put any details or his name in this because I’m afraid his lawyers will get me.

I am sometimes asked for marketing advice by friends who are in the early stages of building a business.  As both a marketing director and someone who loves telling people what to do, I will give them said advice.  Roughly 80% of the time, my friends will say, “Oh, no, I can’t do that.  I have this excuse and that excuse and this very good excuse and this REALLY good excuse.”  To which I’ll say, “Get somethin’ done.”

If you’ve been feeling held back, use this last month of the year to go out and do good work for yourself.  Baby steps are still steps, hole-in-the-wall theaters are still opportunities, and one setback does not equal failure.  Then email me and tell me what you did; I look forward to sending you my favorite thumbs-up meme.

As I noted, it’s Kyle (and Erica)’s job to find people, which means that I have spent many date nights and vacations “just popping in for a period” of a hockey game to check out the players.  The photo above is one of such pop-ins.  (By the way, if you’re ever looking for a scout or an agent in a crowd, their unofficial uniform is usually a black wool coat.)

This week’s news has a daily story, 5,000 pounds of sneakers, and somethin’ for the singles ladies (and men).  Read on.


Fargo’s Amanda Grant reads a children’s book online every day at 2pm. (Fargo Forum)

Concordia Lutheran Church in Jamestown handed out 742 Thanksgiving meals this year. (Jamestown Sun)

Minot’s Melissa Maasjo has been redistributing used clothing and household items to 20-30 families weekly. (Minot Daily News)

WalletHub has named Fargo and Bismarck on the top 100 “Best Cities in Which to be Single.” (KX Net)

White Shield’s Monte Yellow Bird Sr., a member of the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa nation, recently participated in the Dubai Art Expo with a piece “that spoke specifically to the spirit of peace and conversation shared by the native peoples of North America and the Arab World.” (Minot Daily News)

The Lake Region Figure Skating Club is holding a “no-purchase” fundraiser in order to collect 5,000 pounds of athletic shoes. (Devils Lake Journal)

Nice news of the week – July 2, 2020

Happy Almost-4th of July!  Did you know that Prairie Public has created a two-minute video on life in North Dakota in 1776?  You can check it out here.

And you can learn all about the nice things going on in the state voted “The #1 Place to Be in the Event of a Zombie Apocalypse” (cabletv.com) in this week’s news.  Read on, and have a safe and relaxing weekend!


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Two ninth-graders from White Shield School are spending their summer building an earth lodge. (KX Net)

Valley City residents created a beautiful garden in honor of a fellow community member. (Valley City Times-Record)

Elbowoods’ Melvin Klaudt is being inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. (Minot Daily News)

North Dakota is one of the U.S.’s top 10 job markets (specifically, number 10) weathering the pandemic, when looking at unemployment, change in employment, exposure to industry sectors, and number of job seekers. (Grand Forks Herald)

Despite the fact she’s not the totally ideal candidate – she has donated only to find out her iron levels were low – Minot’s Paula Bachmeier has been giving blood for 47 years. (Minot Daily News)

Before he passed away, Fred Hector Jr. created The Hector Foundation to help “ordinary people or the common man” in North Dakota. (Fargo Forum)

Forth Berthold’s Lauren Good Day has been featured in Vogue for her clothing line, titled “Matriarch” – which she says is “cultural appreciation, not appropriation” and open to all.  As a bonus, all of her models are from the MHA Nation. (Grand Forks Herald)

If you’re going to be near Devils Lake on July 3, check out Max’s Gordy “Crazy Fingers” Lindquist at Stump Lake Village! (Devils Lake Journal)

Dickinson’s Richard and Joan Hintz celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary with a vow renewal, courtesy of CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care. (Dickinson Press)

Fargo’s Joseph Lewis is organizing campfire chats to discuss racial equality. (KVRR)

Bottineau’s Miranda Schuler has put together a military display honoring PTSD Awareness Day. (KFYR TV)

“Fossil Country” is coming to soon to PBS. (Bowman Extra)

The Killdeer Rodeo will have a record-number of participants – over 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls – at this year’s event, starting today. (Dickinson Press)

Happy 100th birthday to Wyndmere’s Eleanor Bommersbach! (Wahpeton Daily News)

Nice news of the day – September 17, 2018

Monte Yellow Bird and Butch Thunder Hawk exhibit Indian Ledger art in Bismarck (Minot Daily News)

In the late 19th century, supplies of ledger books made their way to the Midwest from traders, missionaries, and the Plains Indians put the paper to use by evolving hide paintings to a more commonly-available medium.  Today, artists like Monte Yellow Bird (AKA Black Pinto Horse) continue this tradition with their own unique flourish.  Monte Yellow Bird, of White Shield, graduated from Minot State University and has received a number of awards and accolades for his work, and is the owner of the Black Pinto Horse Fine Arts company, which has been showcased around the world.  Butch Thunder Hawk, of Bismarck via Standing Rock, has taught tribal arts at United Tribes Technical College since for 46 years, and has his work on display at the Harvard University-Peabody Museum, the Thomas Jefferson House Foundation, and the James Monroe House Museum, and was asked to reproduce the Horse Memorial Effigy in Kansas.

Kat Socks releases children’s book about a “flood dog” (Bismarck Tribune)

Hundreds of animals found a temporary home at the Souris Valley Animal Shelter after the Minot Flood of 2011 – including Pickles, a one-year old Border collie mix.  Pickles was adopted by Kat Socks’ mother-in-law, and is now the subject of the Socks’ first book, “Pickles the Dog – Adopted in North Dakota.”

Linda Renaud discovers love of watercolor wax batik after cancer diagnosis (MyNDNow)

While Linda Renaud has been a painter for most of her life, she discovered watercolor wax batik – a layering process of wax and paint – while receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer.  Now in remission, Linda has received several awards and exhibitions for her work, which is inspired by natural wildlife.

photo by so flow