Earlier this month Brad and I met at ABC studios on Columbus Square in the middle of Manhattan for a late morning/early afternoon filming of follow-up interviews with ABC News’s Juju Chang for an upcoming story that will air on ABC News’s “20/20.” The purpose was to fill in some of the blanks from the more than 30 hours of filming that the ABC crew had completed in April as they shadowed ten participants of a special version of Onsite’s Healing Money Issues program.
When we arrived at the office building at about 10:30am, the producer of the segment, Michael Pressman, met us at the door and took us to see JuJu Chang. She and I worked together on a previous piece for “Good Morning America” in 2008 and she is a big supporter of our work. As Michael briefly profiled the five people that they were going to highlight in the piece for Juju, Brad provided Michael some follow up data from the people who had taken surveys before and after the program to track their progress.
Afterward, JuJu went off to make-up (Brad wryly, and accurately, I might add, noted that they put make-up on the wrong person. I was the one who needed it), while Michael took us on a tour of the huge ABC complex. As we were going through the building (where the offices of ESPN are also housed) he jokingly said that as we went from the ABC area into the ESPN area, we would notice that the folks there would appear younger and happier. Michael has proven to be a gem of a person. We found him to be very respectful of the process, of the participants, and honoring of the process. He is also a heck of a touch footballer. One of the highlights of the week at Onsite was an impromptu touch football game, played in the parking lot, and the place and time when I cracked several ribs diving for a thrown ball. My adult brain knows better, but throw a ball in my direction and the kid brain in me says “go for it”.
So now it’s showtime…we sat down in a small room with 3-4 technicians who were waiting for us and began what turned out to be a 2 ½ hour interview. JuJu asked dozens of rapid fire questions and I did my best to provide short, to the point, TV-friendly answers “Why do you have meditation as a part of the program”? “Why use the Scrooge metaphor”? “Why do you stress to people that it is important to know and learn how to manage their feelings?”, “Do you believe that the economic collapse of the last year will be a motivating factor in creating positive permanent changes in people’s financial behaviors”? “Why shouldn’t therapist types give financial advice to their clients, and vice-versa ?” We did manage to mention everyone and everything involved. What I know, though, is that they will just use what they need, and most of what was said will never see the light of day. They’ll possibly show two segments, each about 12 minutes long–24 minutes of nearly 35 hours of filming. And I always remember it is about entertainment first, not education, but it was a great opportunity for us to spread a message of hope.
From there JuJu took us to lunch and over the next hour and a half, had a good time getting to know her better. We found her to be an incredibly caring, honest, humble, a “wanting to do the right thing” kind of person. When we returned to her office, she asked us to do some more filming for her ABC blog on the topic of kids and money. Click here to view this video.
With Juju’s sightseeing tips in hand, from there we went to the Empire Hotel, dropped our bags off, went for a walk down Broadway, a pedicab ride through Central Park, dinner at the Brooklyn Diner near Carnegie Hall. We then met with our literary agent, the Random House editor and publicist of our new book, “Mind Over Money. “ We’re making our plans now for the December 29th release so stay tuned for chapter excerpts and more.
All, in all, it was a great day. An experience that we’ll always remember. Remember, because we didn’t think to take any pictures of any of the goings on. Oh, well, next time?
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