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CBS exec: George Clooney “not a leading man” or why you should never listen to “experts”

“The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how high you raise your foot.” ― Benny Lewis

Heard a funny story over the weekend. As you know, if you’ve seen my travel blog, I have a thing about George Clooney. I like his politics, his sense of fun and you gotta admit, he’s not too bad to look at.

I was listening to a couple TV writers who came to Lawrence for a big arts festival over the weekend. One of them, a writer for Bodies of Evidence, an old homicide drama from the early 90’s, told us that Clooney was considered for the leading role of Lieutenant Ben Carroll, but a CBS exec was pretty clear: “He’s just not leading man material.”

Instead, the part went to Lee Horsley and George, in one of his pre-ER roles, played the sidekick, Ryan Walker.

So next time, your brilliant idea gets rejected or your dream hits a snag, just remember, “Experts and authorities don’t know everything.”

Another great George story came to me before my talk at the Awakened Expo in Atlanta in May. I’m new at speaking (as I’ve said several times, I call this “My Year of Speaking Dangerously”), and I mentioned my jitters to someone who told me this great story.

When George Clooney first went to Hollywood from Kentucky where he grew up, he stumbled into auditions, like every other newbie, scared and wondering if casting directors would even like him.

Everything changed, he said, when he made this one little tweak. He strode into auditions with the attitude that he was “the answer to that casting director’s dream.”

Tell me in the comment sections below what dream you’re the answer to.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

“If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?”—Jim Carrey


“When you move past your fear and go after your dreams, you become free.”–
LL Cool J

I was in Mexico City when the World Cup began, so I had little choice but to get swept up in the excitement. I even wedged a World Cup schedule, distributed by my Mexican publisher, Grupo Planeta, into my Course in Miracles as a bookmark.

So I love this story about U.S. player, Kyle Beckerman, who made the World Cup team for the first time. You can’t miss him. He’s the handsome midfielder with the dreads. He looks just like Slade, one of the six characters from my TV series, Off the Grid.

Ever since he was a young boy, Kyle dreamt of representing the United States at his favorite sport. He put everything he had into making that dream come true.

His parents were teachers and he’d often leave them notes, “Down at the park playing soccer. Be home later.” And then he’d sign his entire name, Kyle Robert Beckerman, USA #15.”

He may not have known it at the time, but he was calling forth a vision, paving the way for a dream.

It took him 20 years, but this time when U.S. coach, Juergen Klinsmann put together his World Cup delegation, Kyle Robert Beckerman, USA #15, was on the docket.

Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.

From struggling single mom to multi-millionaire

“In dreams there are no impossibilities.”
–Janos Arany

Caryn Johnson always knew she wanted to be an actor. In fact, she says her first coherent thought was, “Man, I’d love to act.”

Even though she grew up in the New York projects, theater and what she called “pretending to be somebody else” was a big part of her life. This was back in the days when Joe Papp brought free Shakespeare on trucks to her neighborhood in Chelsea. She also watched lots of movies with her brother, Clyde, and her mom, Emma, who was raising the two kids on a single salary.

“When I saw Carole Lombard coming down some stairs in a long satin thingy, I thought, I can do that,” she says. “I wanted to come down those stairs and say those words and live that life. You could be anything, up there in the movies. You could fly. You could meet alien life forms. You could be a queen. You could sleep in a great big bed, with satin sheets in your own room.”

By the time she was 8, she was acting for the Hudson Guild Community Center, a children’s daycare/theater/arts program, also near her neighborhood.

Her life took a detour in high school when her dyslexia caused her to get mistakenly classified as “slow, possibly retarded.” She dropped out of school, became a junkie and forgot all about her acting dream. By the time she was 19, she was a single mom herself.

The good news is she HAD kicked the drugs. In fact, her daughter’s father was the drug counselor who helped her get off the junk. But the bad news is he wasn’t cut out to be a father. He split a few months after Alexandrea was born.
Caryn was a high school dropout with no skills. In fact, the only thing she knew how to do was take care of kids. She took a job as a nanny and moved to Lubbock, Texas with the friend who hired her. Eventually, the friend moved to San Diego and Caryn and her daughter gladly followed.

When the relationship went south, she found herself stuck in California with no money and no skills. She didn’t even know how to drive, a major hindrance in freeway-happy California.

“I had no high school diploma,” she says. “All I had was me, and my kid.”

Oh, yeah, and that “Man, I’d love to act” dream. During the day, she learned to lay bricks, went to cosmetology school. At night, she played around with an experimental theater troupe. For a while, she did hair and makeup for a funeral home supplementing her income with a welfare check, “worrying about how to get my kid more than one pair of shoes, or how to make $165 worth of groceries last for a month.”

Through it all, she continued to believe that “anything is possible.” She continued to believe that she could be like Carole Lombard, floating down stairs in satin.

“Acting is the one thing I always knew I could do,” she says.

Her unwavering belief finally unlocked the door. In 1983, famed Hollywood director Mike Nichols happened to catch her performance in an Berkeley experimental troupe, the Black Street Hawkeyes. He was so blown away by the characters she played that he signed her immediately for a one-woman performance, the Spook Show, on Broadway. Steven Spielberg caught that show and cast her as Celie in The Color Purple. By then, she’d changed her name to Whoopi Goldberg.

“No one ever expressed this idea that I was limited to any one thing, and so I think it terms of what’s possible, not impossible,” Whoopi says in her memoir, Book. “I knew that if you come to a thing with no preconceived notions of what that thing is, the whole world can be your canvas.

“Just dream it and you can make it so. I believed a little girl could rise from a single-parent household in the Manhattan projects, start a single-parent household of her own, struggle though seven years of welfare and odd jobs and still wind up making movies.

“So, yea, I think anything is possible. I know it because I have lived it. I know it because I have seen it. I have witnessed things that ancients have called miracles, but they are not miracles. They are the products of someone’s dream. As human beings, we are capable of creating a paradise, and making each other’s lives better by our own hands. Yes, yes, yes…this is possible.

“If something hasn’t happened, it’s not because it can’t happen, or won’t: it just hasn’t happened yet.”

Pam Grout is the author of E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.