For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed entertainer-MC-host-Interviewer Richard Skipper. He has conducted more than 700 interviews celebrating people in the arts. This past year, Richard completed an artist in residence at the Laurie Beechman Theater in New York City where he presented a monthly talk-variety show produced by Russ Woolley. His one-man show The Magic of Believing will be ready for booking when pandemic restrictions are lifted. For more information visit RichardSkipper.com.
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
Since the pandemic hit, I have focused solely on interviewing others. It is really nothing new, but the platform has changed. For years, I’ve done in store interviews for Barnes & Noble, red carpet events, and blogs. One of my goals this year was to launch my own podcast. I live stream on Facebook and YouTube, and then it is syndicated through my podcast, which is syndicated on more than 25 platforms.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
Richard Skipper Celebrates, my brand, came about several years ago when I started my blog. When I first began my blog, it was called Richard’s Rants and Raves. A good friend pointed out that I was always raving but seldom, if ever, ranting. He was right and I came up with Richard Skipper Celebrates because I believe every day is worth celebrating. I also want to be the antidote to all of the negativity in the world today.
Q: In this current time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, what do you believe your role is in this moment?
To uplift. Building upon what I said before, there is enough negativity in this world. Why build upon it? I don’t know why we became a snarky nation.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
My first artistic hero was Miss Florence. She was my first mentor. She instilled in me a reverence for those that have gone before me. She told me that every time I step in front of an audience (either physically or virtually), that I carry the mantle of all that have gone before me, and to this day, I take a moment to pause in gratitude for those that have paved the way for me. My other artistic heroes are Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, James Lipton, and Graham Norton!
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
By my very nature, I’m a very optimistic person. Even with what we are going through at the time of this interview, I’m looking forward to what I believe will be an even greater future. I love the creative process. After I do my morning pages and meditation, I’m open to the possibilities of what every day holds. I think of myself as a vessel and am open to the possibilities ahead of me. I try to say YES when I can. I think of each day, especially now, as its own entity. I also only think about what I can accomplish in the next 24 hours.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I am very busy with my interview series. One of my goals going into 2020 was launching my own podcast. They stream live through Facebook and YouTube and then are syndicated on to more than 25 platforms. I’ve also launched a bi-monthly program with Dr. Judi Bloom called Creativity In The Age of Covid.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
Setting an “intention” and following it through to fruition. When I apply myself wholeheartedly to my goals and they happen! Every time I hit the “end” button at the end of every interview, I know I’m living my vision.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Exactly what I’m doing now. I have found my true calling in life. I truly love interviewing others and finding what makes them tick. My focus on others takes the focus off me, which is very gratifying especially nowadays.
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
The word ‘no’. I’m a ‘yes’ man and unless the yes is going to be met with tension, I try to be open to that. The more I’ve studied the lives of others, I’ve discovered even with the greatest successes, there are those that go through life wanting to obstruct rather than being open to most opportunities. Imagine a world of YES instead of NO!
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I’m a huge follower of Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Projecting negative thoughts about an outcome when they are not warranted.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
That is truly a difficult question. I try to look at art through the eyes of those that create it. I’m always interested in the backstory. What are the circumstances that brought this piece of art to us?
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
Being thought of as someone who is interested in others and always being present to their needs or helping them to be able to tell their story.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Believe it or not, my work is my guilty pleasure. I LOVE what I do!
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
That was 2005, I was 44. I went back and looked at that calendar year. It was a very busy year for me workwise. I would say: enjoy the day to day process. Take the time to smell the roses. I also look at the people who were in my life at that time who are no longer here. Appreciate the people that make the fabric of your life. Show gratitude to all they bring to the table.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
Depends on the outcome of this year’s election!
Q: What is your idea of success?
Being able to do what I desire to do when, where, and how I desire to do it without the permission of others.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
My home life, my career, my pets, my husband, music, sitting in the audience of a great entertainer, being in the spotlight, sharing the spotlight, seeing those that I love succeed.
Q: Final Thoughts?
Please go out and do something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return. Go to your Friend’s list on Facebook and call the seventh name on your list and tell them that you love them and what they mean to you! “We are all in this together, but not in the same boat!” -David Friedman