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Some of the sweetest gifts come unexpectedly, and meeting kindred spirit, Cindy Cowan was certainly one of them…a welcomed treat to the start of my day in Los Angeles.
For those unfamiliar with Cindy… she is a successful American film producer and songwriter and is the former president and co-founder of Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), a leading film production and foreign sales company. IEG is responsible for many of the amazing movies that you and I love, most notably the Oscar winning movie Traffic (staring Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones). Yet when her career in the business was booming, Cindy did the unconventional and chose to walk away from her grand achievements to create a different path in her life, choosing to sell IEG to Splendid Films for a modest $10 million.
Yes, Cindy is still successfully surfing her Hollywood dreams… but these days her intent to swim in the Hollywood sea is balanced with an approach to spotlight her charitable work. Cindy proudly sits (and has sat) on the board of several non-profit charities such as Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization that provides free instruments and lessons to under served public schools.
Like Cindy, I believe that those of us who have the ability to spread hope into the world must act accordingly. Just look around. It’s so desperately needed. Like WTF is happening to our political system and how did we become so separated as a nation? As we all know the world (even with all its beauty) seems to be fighting a bad case of the “bad human being flu.” And Cindy, one of America’s Hollywood queens has a few prescriptions we should all listen to regarding humanity. Her call to action is simple: “do something, anything… but do your best to spread the love however you can.”
In an age where separatism seems to be the norm, Cindy’s viewpoints are deep rooted. As an empathetic and compassionate individual, she seeks to intelligently optimize and influence Hollywood’s direction while simultaneously giving back to so many. She recognizes that the film industry is changing and that in today’s world, human-interest stories are sadly trumped by comic book heroes and modern day social media influencers that are created by younger generations.
In my opinion, she’s right. Think about it…why does a women’s faceless YouTube video of her opening presents receive over a whopping 2 million views? Why are we so intrigued by cultural social disparities? I guess when I wasn’t looking, it somehow became uber cool to watch people making fools of themselves, totally crazy, right?
It seems humanities quirkiness has somehow become fashionable – and we are sadly paying less-and-less attention to the real life content e.g.: sappy love stories Hollywood traditionally puts out)… in favor of quick escapes (fixes), via high impact fantasy worlds (e.g.: Marvel) and silly online videos (the list goes on!). Escapism or a reflection of our culture? To this I salute Cindy for bringing awareness to it, as I felt sincere authenticity in her viewpoints. Whether talking about life or the entertainment business, like Cindy…we should all be more about caring for humanity rather then just simply selling out.
That said and in our discussions, we also discussed technology. Here I echo and applaud her for recognizing that YES, technology makes our lives easier… but we are becoming more separated by it. Let me take you back…
I remember living in NYC when Apple first put out the iPod. If you’ve ever lived and walked among the hundreds of people on your way to work then, one thing was for sure, more than 50% of people (including myself) walked the streets with headphones on. Slowly but surely it has become the norm to plug in and tune out.
Today we see our nation’s younger generations growing up in somewhat of a virtual world with little to no empathy for those outside of their own virtual existences. The question to ponder is, “where is this all going?”
For me, living in a tiny home while traveling the globe with my children is one way to expose them to realities beyond the social constructs we were consumed by back home.
In the end, Cindy impressed me. A classy and caring “Hollywood executive” with a fine head on her shoulders from the start. As she would say, a “southern girl,” who broke away from the “expected norm” (like me and my family) to find fulfillment in the greater good … thankfully she reinforces my optimism for humanity.
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