White Collar Week with Jeff Grant
It’s the Isolation that Destroys Us. The Solution is in Community.
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Podcast Ep. 18, Is Your Life a Movie? The Producers on White Collar Week
Many of our friends and colleagues in the white collar justice community tell me that they are writing books about their experiences. Or, that someone should make a movie about them. Even me!
So I contacted a few professionals I know in the movie and television production business and asked them what it takes to actually get the attention of a movie or TV series producer or director. And each of them was happy to come on the podcast to discuss it.
We are calling this episode “Is Your Life a Movie?” Joining us are Lydia B. Smith, Bethany Jones, and my great friend, Will Nix, three movie and television producers who actually make justice-related films or TV shows. And they’ve each provided their contact information for you to get in touch with them.
So coming up, “Is Your Life a Movie? The Producers” on White Collar Week. I hope you will join us. – Jeff
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If you have a friend, family member, colleague or client with a white collar justice issue, please forward this email; they can reach us anytime – day or night! Our contact info: http://prisonist.org/contact-us.
Guests on this Episode:
Lydia B. Smith
In 1986, Lydia began her film career while interning in college on the first documentary about incest and child sexual abuse, Breaking Silence. Upon graduation, she worked on Stories of Change as well as the Academy Award winner, Women: for America, for the World. She would work on a documentary every year or two while earning a living in the production, camera and electric departments. She directed, produced, and wrote They’re Just Kids, a 26-minute educational documentary showing how children with disabilities can positively affect our lives; A Legacy Revealed, a 40-minute historical documentary; Infiniti, a five minute behind the scenes video; and a 20-minute biography Bill Lansing: A Tribute. Additionally, she was Senior Producer on CNN’s Soldiers of Peace: A Children’s Crusade; Co-Producer and 2nd Unit DP on the CNN documentary The Mystery of the Arctic Rose, 2nd unit DP on the PBS show, Stand Up; American Producer for Chilean TV’s The Route of the Beringia; DP for Anthony Hopkins Teaches and more.
In 2008 she embarked on her first feature-length documentary Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago which became a worldwide hit, airing on national television and having a successful theatrical release in nine different countries. It was the #12 documentary in theaters in the United States and Canada in 2014 and the #5 documentary in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, garnering a 90% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Throughout 2018 and 2019, Walking the Camino aired approximately 2000 times on hundreds of PBS stations nationwide with 1.2 million viewers and counting.
In addition to her producing and directing career, Lydia has worked as a camera assistant and operator on major motion pictures (e.g Ed Wood, Matilda, Dangerous Minds) top music videos (e.g. Shakira, Britney Spears, Snoop Dog) and countless commercials (e.g. Coke, Ford, Target)
Bethany Jones began her career in television working as a researcher on Prison Break. She has since produced hours of TV for Oxygen, History, A&E, CNN, Discovery, CBS and won best sports video of the year for Grantland, ESPN’s pop culture arm. During her career she has interviewed leading government officials, federal agents, United States Attorneys and law enforcement officers across the country. She has also interviewed people that were convicted as spies, arms dealers, murder, terrorism, other notorious crimes and system impacted individuals. In addition to her TV producing she is a host of the popular podcast, The Pros&Cons which has half a million listens in 81 countries. Bethany holds an honors degree from the University of Wales, U.K. in English literature and French.
William Nix is the Chairman/CEO of Creative Projects Group® and a Producer with extensive experience in the entertainment, media, sports, and intellectual property fields. He is also a Partner in the social and environmental impact investment firm, LOHAS Advisors and Capital. He is a member of the Producer’s Council of the PGA, a founding member of its Social Impact Entertainment Task Force and member of its Global One, Education, Independent Film, Documentary and Animation Committees. He is also the Co-Executive Director and a founding member of the SIE Society, the leading alliance in Social Impact Entertainment whose mission is to connect, equip and amplify SIE organizations and creative producers around the globe. He is also a lifetime voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, serving on its Grants Committee, as well as a member of the Television Academy. Will was the Co-Chair of Baker Botts’ Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice Group, VP of Legal and Business Affairs for NBA Properties, and COO of the MPAA’s Global Content Protection Group.
With Producer Salma Hayek, he served as Executive Producer of an animated feature film, distributed by Universal and Netflix, based on Kahlil Gibran’s iconic work, The Prophet. Written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and starring Salma Hayek, Liam Neeson and John Krasinski, scored by Gabriel Yared, with Yo-Yo Ma, and songs by Irish singers Damian Rice, Glen Hansard and Lisa Hannigan. Dreamlike animated tone-poem sequences were created by eight world-class animation directors from around the world. Among its ten award nominations were three Annie-Nominations and inclusion in the Oscars Animated Feature Film Nomination Short List. He is also an Executive Producer on the stop-motion animated feature film entitled The Inventor, about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, written and directed by Jim Capobianco, the Academy Award nominated writer of the Pixar hit Ratatouille.
His recent projects include two documentary features: Power, about access to the global and local energy systems, and a historical overview of an important era of American musical and cultural history entitled This is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music. He is also producing a dramatic biographical feature entitled Gibran, a theatrical stage musical entitled Broken Wings, based on Kahlil Gibran’s first novel about his lost love, Selma, and two fictional dramatic television series, one entitled Trailblazers, based on the pre-NBA stories of professional African-American basketball teams and the other An Accidental Cuban, about a Cuban national in the colonial seaside city of Cienfuegos, hustling as a translator, desperate to leave Cuba and return to America. He and his partners are also developing projects to expand the Daytona International Speedway, and its related family of brands, into a character-based animated/live-action film, television and multimedia entertainment franchise distributed worldwide in all media and ancillary channels.
His work involves both traditional media and multiple content delivery platforms, technologies and genres. He is currently an Advisory Board member of Journeys in Film, a non-profit organization that develops and produces innovative curriculum, discussion guide and other educational materials for teachers/students to use in order to support the reach, understanding and legacy of films and television programs. In addition, he is an Advisory Board member of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood Health & Society, International Cinema Education, the Global Arts Corps, Partnerships for Change and a former Advisory Board member of the Austin Film Festival and Project GRAD USA.
You can find all episodes of our podcast “White Collar Week with Jeff Grant” on our website prisonist.org, our Facebook page, Podbean, YouTube (video), SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Louis Reed/Babz Rawls Ivy PSA:
Some very kind words from my dear friends Louis L. Reed and Babz Rawls Ivy in this brief PSA. Thank you Louis and Babz! – Jeff
All Episodes, Season One:
Link here to Podcast Ep. 20: Glenn E. Martin & Richard Bronson: Reinventing Yourself After Prison
Link here to Podcast Ep. 19: Insider Trading Charges Dismissed, with Guest Richard Lee
Link here to Podcast Ep. 18: Is Your Life a Movie? The Producers, with Guests: Lydia B. Smith, Bethany Jones & Will Nix
Link here to Podcast Ep. 17: #TruthHeals: Systemic Abuse & Institutional Reform with Vanessa Osage, feat. Guest Co-Host Chloe Coppola
Link here to Podcast Ep. 16: Politicians, Prison & Penitence, with Guest: Bridgeport, CT Mayor Joseph Ganim
Link here to Podcast Ep. 15: A Brave Talk About Suicide, with Guests Bob Flanagan, Elizabeth Kelley, & Meredith Atwood
Link here to Podcast Ep. 14: Recovery & Neighborhood, with Guest: TNP’s Tom Scott
Link here to Podcast Ep. 13: Everything but Bridgegate, with Guest: Bill Baroni
Link here to Podcast Ep. 12: The Truth Tellers, with Guests: Holli Coulman & Larry Levine
Link here to Podcast Ep. 11: The Blank Canvas, with Guest: Craig Stanland
Link here to Podcast Ep. 10: The Ministers, with Guests: Father Joe Ciccone & Father Rix Thorsell
Link here to Podcast Ep. 09: Small Business Edition, with Guest: Taxgirl Kelly Phillips Erb
Link here to Podcast Ep. 08: The Academics, with Guests: Cathryn Lavery, Jessica Henry, Jay Kennedy & Erin Harbinson
Link here to Podcast Ep. 07: White Collar Wives. with Guests: Lynn Springer, Cassie Monaco & Julie Bennett. Special Guest: Skylar Cluett
Link here to Podcast Ep. 06: Madoff Talks, with Guest: Jim Campbell
Link here to Podcast Ep. 05: Trauma and Healing when Mom goes to Prison, with Guests: Jacqueline Polverari and Her Daughters, Alexa & Maria
Link here to Podcast Ep. 04: One-on-One with Tipper X: Tom Hardin
Link here to Podcast Ep. 03: Compassionate Lawyering: Guests, Chris Poulos, Corey Brinson, Bob Herbst & George Hritz
Link here to Podcast Ep. 02: Substance Abuse & Recovery During COVID-19: Guests, Trevor Shevin & Joshua Cagney
Link here to Podcast Ep. 01: Prison & Reentry in the Age of COVID-19: An Evening with Our White Collar Support Group.
Link here to Podcast Ep. 00: White Collar Week with Jeff Grant: What is White Collar Week?
What is the White Collar Justice Community?
Welcome to White Collar Week with Jeff Grant, a podcast serving the white collar justice community. It’s the isolation that destroys us. The solution is in community.
If you are interested in this podcast, then you are probably already a member of the white collar justice community – even if you don’t quite know it yet. Our community is certainly made up of people being prosecuted, or who have already been prosecuted, for white collar crimes. But it is also made up of the spouses, children and families of those prosecuted for white collar crimes – these are the first victims of white collar crime. And the community also consists of the other victims, both direct and indirect, and those in the wider white collar ecosystem like friends, colleagues, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement, academics, researchers. Investigators, mitigation experts, corrections officers, reentry professionals, mental health care professionals, drug and alcohol counselors, – and ministers, chaplains and advocates for criminal and social justice reform. The list goes on and on…
Our mission is to introduce you to other members of the white collar justice community, to hear their very personal stories, and hopefully gain a broader perspective of what this is really all about. Maybe this will inspire some deeper thoughts and introspection? Maybe it will inspire some empathy and compassion for people you might otherwise resent or dismiss? And maybe it will help lift us all out of our own isolation and into community, so we can learn to live again in the sunshine of the spirit.
Along the way, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve learned in my own journey from successful lawyer, to prescription opioid addict, white collar crime, suicide attempt, disbarment, destruction of my marriage, and the almost 14 months I served in a Federal prison. And also my recovery, love story I share with my wife Lynn Springer, after prison earning a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC, pastoring in an inner city church in Bridgeport CT, and then co-founding with Lynn in Greenwich CT, Progressive Prison Ministries, the world’s first ministry serving the white collar justice community. It’s been quite a ride, but I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.
So I invite you to come along with me as we experience something new, and bold, and different – a podcast that serves the entire white collar justice community. I hope you will join me.
Rev. Jeff Grant, J.D., M.Div. (he, him, his)
Co-founder, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., Greenwich CT & Nationwide
Co-host, The Criminal Justice Insider Podcast
Host, White Collar Week
Mailing: P.O. Box 1, Woodbury, CT 06798
Donations (501c3): http://bit.ly/donate35T9kMZ
Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/jeff-grant-woodbury-ct/731344
not a prison coach, not a prison consultant
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Host: Jeff Grant, J.D., M.Div.
Production: Chloe Coppola
Audio Engineering: George Antonios: https://georgeantonios.com
Video Engineering: Todd Nixon
Art Direction: Greyskye Marketing, LLC: https://greyskye.com
It’s the Isolation that Destroys Us. The Solution is in Community.
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is the world’s first ministry supporting the white collar justice community. Founded by husband and wife, Jeff Grant and Lynn Springer in Greenwich CT in 2012, we incorporated as a nonprofit in Connecticut in 2014, and received 501(c)(3) status in 2015. Jeff has over three decades of experience in crisis management, business, law (former), reentry, recovery (clean & sober 17+ years), and executive and religious leadership. As Jeff was incarcerated for a white-collar crime he committed in 2001, he and Lynn have a first-hand perspective on the trials and tribulations that white-collar families have to endure as they navigate the criminal justice system and life beyond.
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is nonsectarian, serving those of all faiths, or no faith whatsoever. To date we have helped over three hundred fifty (350) individuals, and their families, to accept responsibility for their actions and to acknowledge the pain they have caused to others. In accordance with our commitment to restorative justice, we counsel our members to make amends as a first step in changing their lives and moving towards a new spiritual way of living centered on hope, care, compassion, tolerance, empathy and service to others. Our team has grown to over ten people, most with advanced degrees, all of whom are currently volunteering their time and resources.
Progressive Prison Ministries’ goal is to provide spiritual solutions and emotional support to those who are feeling alone, isolated, and hopeless. We have found that these individuals are suffering from a void but are stuck, and don’t know what to do about it. Our objective is to help them find a path to a healthy, spirit-filled place on the other side of what may seem like insurmountable problems. Many of those we counsel are in a place where their previous lives have come to an end due to their transgressions. In many cases their legal problems have led to divorce, estrangement from their children, families, friends and support communities, and loss of a career. The toll this takes on individuals and families is emotionally devastating. White-collar crimes are often precipitated by other issues in the offenders’ lives such as alcohol or drug abuse, and/or a physical or mental illness that lead to financial issues that overwhelms their ability to be present for themselves and their families and cause poor decision making. We recognize that life often presents us with such circumstances, sometimes which lead us to make mistakes in violation of the law.
All conversations and communications between our ordained ministry, and licensed clinical relationships, and those we serve fall under state privilege laws. This is one reason that attorneys often allow and encourage their clients to maintain relationships with us while in active prosecution or litigation situations.
If you, a friend, family member, colleague or client are suffering from a white collar criminal justice issue or are experiencing some other traumatic or life-altering event, and would like to find a path to a healthy, spirit-filled place on the other side of what seems like insurmountable problems, please contact us to schedule an initial call or appointment.
Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved, Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.