Misty is a Creative Producer & Theater Nerd
Misty Megia returns to the podcast from episode 23 to talk about her shift in theater work as a director and producer. She also talks about how her work in theater has influenced her in the office to help executives make engaging presentations and be thoughtful leaders!
• Moving away from musicals
• Some of her recent projects
• How her theater work has influenced her career
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Welcome to Episode 278 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also to hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details or sign up for my exclusive list and you’ll be the first to know when it’s coming out. Please don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-up Friday is no different with my guest and friend, Misty Megia. She’s the CEO and Creative Producer at Misty Megia LLC. Now, she’s with me here today. Misty, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Misty: Oh, always a pleasure. I can’t wait.
John: Oh, I can’t either. This is going to go off the rails so fast. It’s going to be a blast. No, it’s always so much fun catching up with you. This time, we get to hit record, so there you go.
Misty: Oh, yay! Awesome.
John: Let’s start it out with the rapid-fire questions. We got seven here right out of the gate. Here’s the first one: Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Misty: Ooh, Game of Thrones.
John: Okay. How about a favorite TV show of all time?
Misty: Oh my gosh. Oh, that’s not rapid-fire. That takes me too long to think. I guess I’m going to have to go with Friends for now.
John: Friends is a solid answer. Yeah. No, that’s a solid answer. How about brownie or ice cream?
Misty: I can’t say both.
John: Both is an option. That was actually a trick question. That might be the right answer. À la mode it is. Very good, very good. How about oceans or mountains?
Misty: Oceans for sure.
John: Yeah. That’s a hard one too. How about diamonds or pearls?
John: Pearls? Okay. All right. Two more. Kindle or real books?
Misty: Behind me, I have a library, a whole wall of just books. So if it’s a book that you can’t get, obviously, I have to go there which a lot of my theater books are, but Kindle for when I’m laying down because holding a book sometimes gets just so heavy and turning those pages —
John: Right. That’s why my book is a very short — it’s a coloring book, five pages. No, no, it’s just — it’s not but I wish I had done a coloring book because it’d be done by now. Last one, toilet paper roll, over or under?
Misty: Over. That’s the reason I married my husband because he changed from under to over.
John: Wow. That’s impressive that you worked that magic. I know there’s a lot of women right now that are like, “Where can I meet this, this Megia, and learn her ways? Yeah. That’s impressive.
Misty: I knew he’s the right man for me when…
John: Right. That’s awesome. It’s got to be something, right? I mean why not? Yeah. The last time we talked, I mean way back when was theater. I know that you’ve been doing it forever, so it’s still a thing that you’re still passionately and actively involved in. Anything exciting in the last couple of years since we last talked?
Misty: Well, I’ve been directing obviously a lot over the last handful of years and been doing a lot of really invigorating theater. My last few productions have been non-musicals. I’ve been a dancer all my life and theater, so musicals were my jam. But I actually studied theater to be this really serious actress. So coming back to theater that is just a script and not musical numbers and all this huge production has been really life-changing and reaffirming of like, “Oh, I’d love all theater in every capacity.”
John: Yeah, because I mean I guess you get wrapped up in the bigger productions and the songs and the ones that more of the general public, people like me, go to watch, but then you get that smaller scale, just really emotional deep play and it reinvigorates you for that. And that’s cool.
Misty: And it stretched in different directions which I really appreciated. I think all the stages in my life in theater, I went from being on stage and being a performer to then taking risks as a director and going and getting my directing degree after I’d already been directing. And this, to me — in the musical world, for so long, I almost forgot how to stretch those dramatic scenes.
So I did Red, which is a play about Rothko, an actual artist that had at the time in his life had gotten paid the largest sum of money to paint a series of paintings for a restaurant in New York. All of a sudden, after months and months of working on it, he just said, “Nope, I’m not giving my art to you.” And nobody knew why. So the play, Red, is based on the hypothesis of what they feel would happen. There were all of 1these moments in the show that getting to create were so much fun. He had an assistant. It’s just a two-person play, which most of the theater productions I’ve been doing are 35 plus people.
John: Right. That’s on stage, let alone the behind the scenes and all that.
Misty: Right. Two people was just like, “Oh my gosh, I sent out invites and everybody said, “Yes, we’ll be there.” And both equity actors, which was professional actors coming in and ready. But they have this foil in the show of his apprentice learning his ways but also stretching him because Rothko is very stuck in what his concept of art is. Here, you have the up and coming artist who is challenging him a little bit, but also, he’s somebody that he looked up to, so he’s very careful. And Rothko just like beating on him constantly about like, “You don’t know art,” and all this stuff. All of a sudden, his apprentice turns to him and just finally stands up for himself in the moment. And Rothko just sees him all of a sudden. It’s like, “I respect you and I totally get what you’re saying.”
So this piece of this lighting that has always been lighting Rothko’s work, I had pivoted it just a little bit. So we had that light just slowly glow onto his apprentice because he was being seen for the first time in Rothko’s of like, “I see you. I get you.” So I just got to have fun with all of these other elements and ways to underscore moments. That just made me happy.
John: Yeah. That’s super fantastic. I mean what a great idea because I mean then, it’s — maybe for the more creatives or the theater people, they would already be putting that spotlight in there themselves. But for other people, you’re now basically spoon-feeding them, “Okay. This is why this is important,” sort of a thing. But it’s just a little accent there to accentuate what it is, the meaning behind these words.
Misty: We have this one moment where they did everything on stage. They painted the paintings. They built the frames for the paintings. They stretched the canvas. So it’s very tactical show. At one moment, the apprentice is building the frame and Rothko is just in this hiss about his artwork being displayed in the restaurant where people aren’t even paying attention to it because they’re so busy eating. He’s just on a rant. But he also goes on a rant of art in general. And you could just see that he is not thinking outside the bigger picture in some areas, so I actually had him step into the frame to show that he was not thinking outside of the box anymore.
John: There you go.
Misty: So he was in argument. We lightly lit it. It was really fun. It was so subtle. Afterwards, I had conversations with the audience and I’d point these things out. They’re like, “Oh, I didn’t even notice that. But it was such a cool moment and I didn’t know why.” That was like, “Aha, I love it.”
John: Got you. Yeah. That’s really cool. It’s just one of those things where it’s just thinking it through and just doing something really small and really simple but it has a big impact going forward. That just shows that you care and you thought about it a little bit. That’s super fun. I mean are you still sharing theater with everyone you meet, even strangers in the grocery store and everywhere? Because I mean everyone knew how much theater had played a part in your life before.
Misty: Yeah. I do share a lot of it. But I think one of the things that you and I discussed in our first conversation, which honestly, John, has led me to such a life aha moment, was how much theatre was influencing my career and the choices I was making for being in like conferences and all of these other things that had production marketing elements. So I had this aha, and I thought, “Oh, this is why I want to be a creative producer for the high achieving leaders that, when they do presentations, want to do something that moves people profoundly.” So your conversation with me is one of those stimulus things of, “Why am I separating my art and my career and why am I not blending that more?” And that’s when I started the company that I’ve started.
John: That’s awesome. Well, you’re welcome. No, I’m teasing. I’m totally teasing. I feel like it’s like Stephen Colbert. I gave you Colbert Bump.
Misty: Exactly. Exactly.
John: No, no, not at all. It’s all you. You’re living it anyway. And it’s so exhausting to keep them separate. I mean it’s walking around trying to lift the heavy thing with one arm. It’s like, “You got the second arm right there. Why don’t you use them both in both areas?” type of a thing. That’s so cool to hear that what you’re doing — and helping executives to see that it’s not always what you tell them. It’s how do you make them think about it, how do you make them feel in the moment. It’s such a big thing that people don’t really think about it because it’s, “Well, I’m really smart. And I need to use all these big words and make sure that I drown them in all my smartness.”
Misty: Yeah. “Let me give you a thousand data points so I can make my point in a variety of different ways.” And people leave overwhelmed instead of really understanding what you’re trying to say.
John: Exactly. Then they do nothing. It’s like, “Well, we could’ve just not had the meeting.”
Misty: It can often paralyze people or support your end point.
John: Right. That’s exactly right. I just think it’s so fantastic of what you’re doing now and I mean the impact that you’re going to have on — not just these executives but more importantly exponentially on their audiences, which is such a huge deal. I mean that’s your magic. It’s going to be awesome to see as this continues to grow for sure. Do you have any words of encouragement to anybody listening that has a passion that they think has absolutely nothing to do with their job?
Misty: Absolutely. I think everything, whether we realize it or not, has phenomenal impact because it’s bringing our whole self to any situation. When you leave a part of you aside and try to just fit in to what you think the world is, it’s not as authentic of a human being as you are. So bringing your whole self, all of your hobbies, all of your goofiness, that’s what’s going to bring the right people to you. Yes, turn away some people but those aren’t the right people for you anyway.
John: Right. Totally.
Misty: All those people that are attracted and have interest in what you do and even if they don’t have similar interests but they’re like, “Ooh, John, I really like his comedy. He’s funny. I am not a comedian, but hey, I can appreciate comedy.”
John: That’s exactly right because I mean even if people don’t do theater, they’ve never been an actor, they’ve never trained, they’ve never been on a stage and still like, “Hey, Misty, what shows are you directing,” or “What have you been a part of,” or, “What are you acting in,” all that stuff. I think it just shows that people care about you more than just, “What can you do for me?” It’s, “How are you,” type of a thing.
Misty: Amen to that. I so agree. I think a lot of times, we go into spaces. We’re so focused. At least in the corporate world that I was in, we’re so focused on the end goal and the KPI and what we’re shooting for that a lot of people don’t take that step back just to check in with their team and see how you’re doing and what’s going on in your life. Having those moments are what makes a team want to achieve those KPIs, right, because they’re like, “I want to do good for this person. They inspire me.”
John: Yeah. That’s super ironic about that, isn’t it, where it’s the more you hammer, the less likely you’re going to achieve those goals. And the more that you embrace and just love the people around you and care, then the more likely you are to achieve those goals.
Misty: I agree.
John: That’s super awesome. It’s only right that I allow you to be the host of the podcast and rapid-fire question me now. I’m also super, super nervous as to what you’re going to ask.
Misty: No. No. I’ll try to make them easy for you.
John: Sure. Okay. No, I’m just kidding.
Misty: All right. Here you go, rapid-fire questions. When I dance, I look like…?
John: Oh, someone having a seizure. Is that an answer? I don’t know. Or like those blow-up things in front of car dealerships that are like —
John: Because I’m all long and lanky. And Ryan Hamilton is a super funny bit about that, super funny comedian. Yeah, probably like that. I don’t know. Yeah.
Misty: It’s a good visual.
John: It’s the beauty of being tall.
Misty: Oh, speaking of which, my next question is about being tall. What the best advantage of being tall?
John: Just getting things off the top shelf. They’re right there. I don’t have to climb on a counter. I don’t have to ask someone at a grocery store. On the other side of that, all the time, “Hey, can you help me get something off the top?” And it’s like, “Sure. I don’t need you climbing up. This isn’t a jungle gym. These are napkins. I’ll get them.” That and also finding people in a crowd.
John: Yeah. But I’m also like — I mean 6’3” is tall enough. Anyone taller than me, I’m like, “It’s weird,” because what car do you drive and how do you sit on an airplane and all these other things. Then everyone can see you for sure. Six three is like, well, not everyone sees me immediately.
Misty: Right. Did you get asked about sports a lot being 6’3”?
John: Yeah. Well, the funny thing is I didn’t grow until in college. When I graduated high school, I was 5’10”. And I grew five inches in two years. Yeah. I went back to my high school and my basketball coach was like, “Where were you when you were a student?” I was like, “I was on the soccer field with all the other short kids.”
Yeah. People think that I play basketball and I don’t or if I play, I know how to be the point guard, I don’t know how to be inside. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff. I want to shoot threes. I’m out here like — it’s so confusing. Yeah. They also think I’m a runner and I’m like, “No.” Anyway, I just answered 17 questions that weren’t even asked.
Misty: No. Those are all my internal questions. You just read my mind so well.
John: Right. Oh, we’re both in a world of hurt then.
Misty: Truly, truly. Yeah. Stop. Don’t do it.
John: Right. Exactly. You got one more?
Misty: I do. Favorite show to binge?
John: Oh, wow. Yeah, goodness. I mean Seinfeld’s always good. It’s always good and always so well written in that it always buttons up at the end. Like something happened in the beginning that at the end makes total sense. There’s a reason why it happened. It comes full circle. It’s not just — it’s like, “Ah, there it is.” Each show is its own little pod. So Seinfeld’s always great.
Then, I don’t know, for some reason, I just loved Breaking Bad. Maybe it’s my meth addiction. I don’t know. No, I’m kidding. No, but I loved Breaking Bad because they threw that character at you. You had to decide, is he bad or is he good? It was up to you to decide. In one episode, it’s really, “Man, that guy’s a terrible person.” Then the next episode, it’s like, “But he’s just trying to help his family. He’s got cancer.” So now, he’s a good person. It’s just —
Misty: Yeah. hero. Where are we landing here?
John: Exactly. So that yo-yo and keeping me on edge on that, I enjoyed that. A lot of the characters in there were both good and bad at the same time. You had to decide. Because most shows, it’s like, “Okay. Here’s the good person. Here’s the bad person.” Then they’re going to fight till the death or whatever. Where this is, “Well, I don’t know. I kind of understand.” Then the next episode, you’re like, “Holy crap, this guy’s crazy. This is nuts.”
Misty: Yeah. I mean obviously, that’s pushed to the extremes and raising the stakes as we call it, right? But I think that’s so much more realistic in life. We’re more rounded human beings than all good or all bad. We have our days of ups and downs.
John: Speak for yourself, Misty. I’m 100% good. I am nothing but – no, if anything, it would be the opposite. You’re like, “No, John.”
Misty: We know.
John: Exactly. No, but you’re exactly right. I mean given the circumstance, I don’t know. I might do that or whatever. I mean each different scenarios that are thrown at you. But obviously, when it’s pushed to the extreme, then it makes it for good TV.
Misty: Exactly. Exactly. That’s pushed to the extreme.
John: Exactly. No, but that’s awesome.
Misty: With bad days, it’s like we shake our fist.
John: Right. We don’t go blow up a drug cartel.
Misty: Yeah. A little bit different.
John: Right, just a little bit, just a little bit. I feel like I need to live a little, man.
Misty: both fists.
John: Right, both fists. Wow, Misty is really angry.
John: Right. This has been awesome, Misty. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? You’re so fantastic.
Misty: Awesome. Thank you so much. I always enjoy every moment with you. I end up crying so I appreciate it.
John: Crying. Usually, I leave other people crying. But that’s so awesome.
Misty: Me on the couch crying.
John: Right. Exactly. Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Misty in action or some of the plays and musicals that she’s done or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.