The King of Pop — And Suspense?
Peter Guber is the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and Co-Executive Chairman of the Golden State Warriors, a professor at UCLA, and an accomplished Hollywood film producer. He is also the author of the recently released book, Tell to Win. Guber's films, which include Rain Man, Batman, The Color Purple, Midnight Express, Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, The Witches of Eastwick, and Missing, have been honored with more than 50 Academy Award nominations.
Question: Michael Jackson told you a purposeful story once, did he not?
Peter Guber: Michael Jackson was an incredible person in every sense of the word. He was a perfect study for anything entertaining, anything creative. And he understood story, he understood drama, he understood narrative. I didn’t know that he understood it. And he would call my house and “Hello Peter, is Peter there?” And he wanted to be in movies. He really wanted to be in movies.
I went to his house and we were going to have lunch and I said to him, so you want to do movies. Why do you want to do movies? And he said, “I love them. I love watching them, I love seeing them, I love the whole personality of what they can do with a human being.” Oh, great, great, great. But what do you know about drama? He looked at me, quirked his head and he says, “Let me tell you a story.”
We may know that it happens, but the drama is to know when and how it happens. He walked me upstairs. And outside his bedroom there was this large glass terrarium, and in it was this boa constrictor. This snake. This giant snake. This giant snake. He says, “That’s muscles.” He called his snake Muscles. And I said, “Okay.” And he says, "Do you see anything going on there?” And I said, “No, Muscles is just kind of still…” “Yeah, walk over there in the corner there, there’s this little live white mouse. It’s just shaking, it’s shaking. My god. Why is it shaking?” He said, “Well, we feed Muscles live mice. That’s the only thing it eats.” Yeah, so. I said, “So what’s the drama.” That’s exactly it. We don’t know exactly when, neither does the mouse.And we don’t know exactly how. But we know it’s gonna happen. The drama is watching the when and how unfold, that’s the key.”
He told me a story that perfectly, perfectly demonstrated he understood it isn’t just about a beginning, middle and end, it’s the process in between the beginning and the end. And that’s the drama. That’s the drama of our life. And so I realized, here was a person that really showed me the secret sauce of the success in a way that I had never seen before. That I’ve never really, you know, learned before. He showed me the tools of the trade even though I had been doing it.
I must have told that story 50 times,that’s the power of a story. The more you tell it, the more it resonates, it lives on, it’s a power tool. It isn’t just information. If you just said, yeah, I know how to make a movie or yeah, I know how to tell a story or here’s a story, once upon a time. No. He was able to metabolize it by actually… not being the story itself, but indicating how the story worked.
Recorded January 19, 2011
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Peter Guber describes how Michael Jackson taught him a lesson on storytelling using a mouse and his Boa Constrictor "Muscles."
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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