V Interesting

“Making Good Again,” Restarting SCOTUS, Granting a Big Wish

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Halloween isn’t the only spooky thing happening this fall. In Italy, the newly elected prime minister is unearthing some concerning politics of the country’s past, and many people have eyes on the U.S. Supreme Court to see if they might do the same — their newest term starts this week, and a lot of consequential cases are on the docket. But not all is dark! V shares how the government is engaging more everyday people, and how more everyday people can make trick-or-treating better for everyone. Then, V chats with filmmakers Robin Hofmann and Laura VonMutius about the film they created for a child’s Make-a-Wish dream, sharing highlights from behind the scenes and the details of V’s special cameo.

Follow Robin’s company, Hoffy’s Heart Productions, on Facebook and Instagram; follow Laura and Mute Majesty on Facebook and Instagram. And stream the short film SpecialTee now!

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Robin Hofmann, V Spehar, Laura VonMutius

V Spehar  00:01

Hey friends, it’s Tuesday, October 4, 2022. Welcome to V INTERESTING, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you might have missed. I’m V Spehar. And today, we’ll get into the modern day presence of fascist politics and what some communities have done to stamp it out. We’ll also discuss what to watch for in the upcoming Supreme Court cycle, plus which courtrooms people have already been watching closely. And since it’s officially October, we’re going to talk about one Halloween trick that lets everyone enjoy some treats. All that and more on today’s V interesting from Lemonada media. Let’s be smart together. And now for the headlines. First up, we’re going to talk about fascism in Italy. Now last week, I mentioned how Italy had just elected Giorgia Meloni a far right politician and self-proclaimed Mussolini fan girl to run their country. Folks, when news reporters use the words like fringe or hard right and World War Two, you have to pay attention. Okay. The brothers of Italy evolved from earlier political parties that beginning right after World War Two repackaged some of the main doctrines of fascism. A fascist government is one where a single ruler essentially dictates everything. Unions aren’t allowed individual behavior and activity is heavily policed. Fascism is characterized by deep nationalist pride, and a weariness or outright hatred of outsiders. Historically, that’s how it’s been able to take hold in the first place. Fascism first appeared in Italy following World War One. After years of conflict, a determined an opportunistic leader saw that the people of Italy were afraid. They were afraid of outsiders, afraid of uncertainty, afraid of living in poverty. So he used his charm and persuasion to sell Italians on a national identity, and then eventually weaponize that identity against the rest of the world. Does that sound familiar? Yes, Adolf Hitler was also fascist. And he was actually inspired by Benito Mussolini, who invented the term fascism for himself. And he wore that proudly, it wasn’t like a derogatory term at the time. So let’s just take a moment to reflect on that. Okay. Germany, under Hitler’s fascist regime, was the country to orchestrate the Holocaust, a horrific mass genocide. Mussolini’s Italy, joined by Japan supported those efforts. But Germany was in charge, okay. And they are credited with giving fascism its power originally. And yet, if you fast forward to today, German leadership is completely different. Germany isn’t the one electing a NEO fascist to office like Italy is. Germany isn’t actively invading sovereign nations like Russia is. Germany isn’t stripping humans of basic human rights, like the United States is. Of course, every country on this planet has tons of problems, and some are more serious than others. But on top of having a fantastic train system, Germany also boasts a commitment to not doing more harm. How did this change come about?

V Spehar  03:56

Since the years following World War Two, the country has made many moves to acknowledge its past in hopes that its people will do better in the future. As early as 1953, Germany set up a flawed but well intentioned program to pay reparations to victims of the war. It’s known in German as a word that I will never be able to pronounce, but it means to make good again, through what is called transitional justice, the country has committed to addressing its Dark Legacy. Germans have built hundreds of public monuments serving as public apologies and acknowledgments of shame, and mandating that all public schools teach about Nazism, and the Holocaust. There’s a great explainer of all these efforts in the documentary where to invade next if you want to dig deeper into it. And to add a personal story here, I went to Oktoberfest in 2017 with an American tour group of young people and we had a German tour guide. And when I got to the gates of Oktoberfest, he turned around and was like, I am not joking when I tell you do not do anything disrespectful in here, okay? We know that you’re Americans and we know what Americans are drinking, they maybe do stupid shit. If you do one thing, if you make fun of German accents in a taunting way, or you make one reference to the Holocaust, or do one Heil or one thing that disrespects the celebration of our culture at this event, you are out. This is not a joke. We do not joke about these things here. And also, if you puke or fall asleep in your beer or you fight, you’re out. They take this incredibly seriously. And it stands in stark contrast to for example, American erasure of indigenous genocide and the reality of slavery. So maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we continue to live with so many civil rights violations, which are often enshrined by law, it might seem backwards, but Germany made a bet that they could move beyond their past horrors by keeping their memories as alive and daunting as possible. Look, not everything is perfect in Germany, far from it, right? They’ve got their own far right factions who have been trying to revitalize the movement with their own unpopular far right want to be leaders, folks who do things like try to stoke fear about the economy or the livelihood of families in 2015. They oppose an influx of refugees to the country which was fanning the flames of xenophobia as the sounding kind of familiar, but their membership has been dropping and their initiatives have struggled to gain steam. Many Germans feel differently after all, one German lawmaker said of Italy’s election results and Georgia Maloney’s known anti-immigration stance and her resistance to what she calls the LGBT lobby, quote, racism and the exclusion of minorities can no longer have a place in Europe. Unfortunately, that might be what we’re slated to see in Italy alongside other Neo fascist qualities of Maloney’s party.

V Spehar  06:57

Knowing the atrocities that came from the last run of establishment fascism, the Holocaust, World War Two, it should be a real cause for concern that Maloney was elected prime minister, successful fascist campaigns have relied on extreme nationalism, and how easily it can feed racism and xenophobia, where there is pride. There may also be fear, it is important to resist fascism in all forms. The fact that an election in 2022 might not look like the post war dictatorship of a century ago yet, doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Many people don’t have the choice. Now on the topic of a small group who controls the masses, the Supreme Court’s new session started on Monday. Oh, gosh, what does this mean? Are they on an academic calendar? My friends, it is more similar than you might think. In the first week of October, SCOTUS begins its new term, which will last until late June or early July of the following year. And during this time, they hear arguments for two weeks, and then they take a recess for two weeks to think about the cases they’ve heard. And then they write their opinions. And they’ll alternate between two weeks of listening and two weeks of reflecting and then turning in their essays all term long, which sounds a lot better than any academic schedule I ever had. But, you know, I guess we both got summers off. So from October to July, they’re reviewing a selection of cases that have been identified ahead of time, kind of like a syllabus, which means we should know what’s coming up for consideration this time around. What’s harder to know is what the consequences will be once those discussions happen. Court decisions are meant to set a precedent. So the US can take a look at a future case identify similarities to past rulings and align decision making with what was decided before. And if that sounds limiting, it’s because it is, it could become a bit of an aura Boris, you know, that image of a snake that’s eating its own tail and just goes around in a circle forever like that. That’s or a Boris, I mean to say, if a conservative court delivers the conservative reading of a law, then that becomes enshrined until a similar case reaches the highest court again, and that can take decades sometimes.

V Spehar  09:09

At that point, a different ruling is only likely if the court has gotten some new members, which we know does not happen that often because Supreme Court justices have lifetime appointments. As we were reminded in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision, rights previously protected by law may damn well be replaced now that the court has a conservative majority. But again, it’s impossible to know exactly how this court is going to roll let alone what action state governments and lawyers will take once they have the chance to do so. So for now, let’s educate ourselves on what’s on the docket for this coming term. Because it’s important to keep an eye on what these nine people are deciding for the other 329 million of us. One case will decide if Alabama’s recent plan for congressional districts violated part of the Voting Rights Act. If the court says no, we’re cool with this map. Some districts could stay heavily gerrymandered for another decade. There are several cases that could prevent universities from considering race and admissions which would basically end race based affirmative action, they’re going to decide if it is unconstitutional to protect the cultural ties of indigenous youth. Since 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act has done things like help indigenous children get adopted into families that are also indigenous. But some states are trying to scrap it all together, which is egregious, honestly, I mean, adding opinion here, but I think we could share that. Okay, so that’s the three cases that I’m pulling out right now. But there are 20 Other cases on the schedule with more to come. And while it might not feel like any of these cases apply directly to you, we don’t know how these rulings will affect future cases. Plus, there’s going to be a big ruling on the EPA, and everything the Environmental Protection Agency touches. Listen, if you drink water, it’s gonna affect you. Double plus, Clarence Thomas ominously said in his Roe opinion, he considers previous cases in training, LGBTQ rights and contraception access, quote, erroneous, and he thinks that those should be revisited to are you freaked out? Yeah, man, me too. But a very real way to fight. This is on a state level, the cases the Supreme Court sees or because someone in a smaller court has tried and appealed it all the way up through the chain of court command. So pay attention to your local government and to your elected judges, your elected district attorneys, because yes, we get to vote for those people. And these folks will be the first ones to see these cases and decide what to do with them. And don’t forget your congress. People can also introduce term limits for old Supreme Court justices. So maybe we get some fresh cheese on the bench more than once in a generation. I think we can all agree that term limits make sense.

V Spehar  11:53

When one door opens, another one closes. Well, that is backwards. But you know what I mean? Right as the newest season of the Supreme Court is premiering the nation has been preparing for the finale of a different courtroom drama, the January 6th hearings. Throat a long series of televised testimonies, lawyers and witnesses and politicians have gone back and forth about the attack on the US Capitol. But screens and TV have been an integral part of the insurrection from the start. On that fateful day, the buzz was in the air both online and on television. Many eventual writers were moved to action, not just because they personally heard Trump encouraged them to, quote, fight harder or quote, show strength. But because everything was being filmed and streamed like hey, bro, I’m at the Capitol. The ensuing trials have been their own kind of media spectacle. And as reporters have pointed out in recent months, it was all intentional from the structure of the hearings to how and when they were aired. The committee behind the hearings has kept its audience in mind from the start. For a variety of reasons. The January 6 hearings have relied on prerecorded depositions and presentations in unprecedented ways, which has cut down on rambley statements and made the process more palatable for live TV. The sessions were reportedly so highly prepped and curated that at one point, the legal committee’s production team needed more time for scripting and cutting video clips. So much so that they ended up postponing one of the sessions. Some sessions streamed in primetime starting at 8pm. Eastern specifically, so that more people could tune in after their nine to fives, and the viewers sure did tune in 10s of millions of people have watched 20 million people tuned into the first Primetime hearing alone, which is on par with how many people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for some context here okay. With these hearings, the user friendliness of trials has descended to new levels. The New York Times compared the hearings to quote, a tightly scripted television series. Each episode has a defined story with a beginning, middle and end, heroes and villains are clearly identified.

V Spehar  14:11

And let’s not forget that Donald Trump was at one point known primarily for a TV show. Makes sense to me. What’s more true crime isn’t exactly unpopular around these parts. It was only a few months ago that everyone was glued to their TVs over the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. So yes, with a headline that could just as easily be satire is not a Forbes story reads quote, the January 6 hearings are the best television series of the summer. Even if these changes don’t last forever. The January 6 hearings truly transformed the way the government presents itself. And that’s worth noting as this history making investigation comes to a close now, where’s the recap podcast? And finally, it’s spooky seas. In or is it allergy season for one in 13 kids and my beautiful wife, it’s both, food allergies have been on the rise in recent years and Halloween is one of these weird occasions where everyone is expected to eat the same thing. At the same time, we are expected to literally take candy from strangers. And often those treats contain some of the most common allergens, nuts, milk and wheat. But fear not. An organization called Food Allergy Research and Education or fair came up with an idea to have households give out things other than candy. So instead of packages of cavities stuffed with peanuts and gluten, it’s becoming more common for people to hand out stickers or toys, temporary tattoos or glow sticks to signal to trick or treaters that you are offering alternative treats fair encourages you to put up a teal colored pumpkin on display. For those in the know it can help make your doorstep look approachable even from a distance. So as you start to shop for Halloween, keep in mind that whatever you’d normally grab may be off limits for about 7% of the kids who are going to show up at your door. So get yourself a teal pumpkin put it out on the front stoop. Get creative with your treats sidenote, this is also good for adults, one in 10 adults have food allergies and my wife can attest she always feels left out to pumpkin, spider rings, tattoos help the kids out Happy Halloween. After the break, I’m going to chat with two friends of mine, Laura and Robin. We work together to make a young girls make a wish of being an actress and a TikTok viral sensation come true. We’ll have more on that heartwarming story next.

V Spehar  16:58

Welcome back friends, I am so excited to be bringing you a behind the scenes look at a beautiful project I recently worked on, two filmmakers wrote and produced an original short film and it stars a teenager who had a dream of being an actress. You could actually call it a wish, because it happened through Make A Wish Foundation. That’s how these creators got connected with grace the teen actor and with me because yes, I get to make a cameo. You should 110% go watch this film as soon as you can. It’s called Special T and it really highlights this epidemic of bullying that we’re seeing in schools and how one girl was able to stand up for herself. And we’re gonna get to chat about the making of that film right now. Robin Hofmann and Laura VonMutius welcome. As Florida based producers, I appreciate y’all taking the time with me today, given everything else Florida has going on right now. So tell me, how did you guys get together to start work on this film for grace?

Robin Hofmann  17:55

Well, it was pretty amazing. I got a phone call from a local actor. And he just said to me make a wish has a young lady who wants to be an actress? Is this something you might be interested in? What might be, I said, this is absolutely everything I would love to do. This is my brand. This is who I want to be this is what I want to do so. So yeah, I would love to.

Laura VonMutius  18:20

And Robin put out an all call for local filmmakers and part of her film family who wanted to be involved. And of course, immediately, yes, I had to be part of that.

V Spehar  18:30

So you get the call from the maker, which folks saying there’s, you know, this young girl and she wants to be an actress, and we’re going to make this happen for her. How did you start to craft the story? I mean, you had to write a script for her.

Robin Hofmann  18:43

Yeah, so I did not know what she was capable of. In fact, I all I knew was that she had done a little bit of theater, here and there. And the very first time I met her was over Zoom, and she was in the hospital. So it was like, you know all of that. But she was talkative and resilient and funny. And just this was her everyday life. And when I got off the call with her, that’s exactly what I realized, like, this is her life. So we have this opportunity to take this moment and take this child and give her a few days off from all of that and to just be an actress and to just be grace. So I sat in front of this white paper with a little cursor pulsing in my face, and I couldn’t I just couldn’t do it. It was so much pressure. I wanted to do right by her. I knew that she didn’t have any, you know, movie film experience. So I wanted to create a character that she could connect with. But I didn’t know where to go with that I wanted to give the character a disability but yet there was a part of me that was like wait, we’re trying to get her away from having a disability. So I talked to her about that and she was fine with it. I promised her it wasn’t going to be her same disability. So I kind of went to bed that night and I, you know, prayed to the writing varies. And I said, Okay, do what you do wake me up in the middle of the night, I’m open to it, give me give me what’s best for this young lady. And they showed up. I wrote specialty within an hour. And I waited till, you know, a time of the morning around 10am to where it wasn’t too early. And I sent it to her and her mom. And I said, let me know if this is okay. And they loved it.

Robin Hofmann  19:08

Loved it. Yeah. And Laura, what was going on for you at this point? I mean, you’re, you’re waiting, essentially for to be done to get into the editing phase, right? Like, what was that anxiety like?

Laura VonMutius  20:32

Yeah, well Robinson over the scripts when she had it. And if just reading through, it was perfect, you know about a girl with a disability who gets bullied and stands up to the bully, and then how it sort of goes viral around the world, her standing up to this bully, and it just has such a good meaning for people who are different or have disabilities, but also, you know, anti-bullying, it’s so many good messages. So, you know, I just was excited.

V Spehar  20:57

So walk me through what that first day on set was like, we’ve got the script, everyone’s approved it, we’re ready to go. First day of shooting.

Robin Hofmann  21:05

It was incredible. I called grace the night before just to see how she was doing. Girl was as cool as a cucumber. She was just like, I’m ready. Meet me. I’m like that other than that, like, I don’t even know what I’m gonna do, even though I’m on set all the time. And her mom was like, it’s like, you know, the night before Christmas or the night, […]. She’s like, I’m so excited. And so she was a little jittery. But then we got on set. And I had told myself from the beginning that if I was going to do this, I am going to treat her just as I do. Any other actor that walks on my set, the expectations will be set at the beginning of the day, I will work with you as much as I can. And we will get through and do a great job. And that’s exactly what we did.

Laura VonMutius  21:44

The end of that first day, I asked, I think a few of us were around, we asked Greece what her favorite part was of that first day of filming. And her response was getting to meet and work with all of us. And I was just like this girl. So she she’s just amazing. And the work that she did. And then just for this us that were on set, getting to sort of feel like we are a part of something bigger, do what we love, but also you have a meaning behind it was just moving. And you can tell all of us were feeling it.

V Spehar  22:14

No, no spoilers, but there is a bully in this movie. And I heard he was extremely convincing. And that may have caused a little bit of difficulty.

Robin Hofmann  22:23

Yeah, so I actually had to remind the casting crew throughout every take that this is not, this is his character. This is not who he is. And he actually had to sit with it, too. We had a conversation separate from all of this. And he was having a hard time he was struggling having to bully somebody that he knew had a disability on top of you know what we were the disability we were giving her in the film. And I told him honey, it’s okay. Like everyone knows you’re acting and so he would go through the scene, and then he would run up to her afterwards like, like, we’re okay, you’re okay. Everything’s good. It was, it was a really sweet, you know, as much as it was harsh, because he was good. He was good. I know him well. And I wanted to punch him in the throat like, so it was like, okay, everyone, that’s just his character.

V Spehar  23:10

Just the dynamics that you’re juggling there, though, because you have this actress who this is her wish to be within the film, and you’re doing that. But the most of the rest of the cast was also very young actors. What was that dynamic? Like for everyone?

Robin Hofmann  23:24

Yeah, that was great. I mean, these teenagers, they showed up, they knew the assignment, right. She was the star of the day, but we also had a job to do. And they came in and they were professional about it. And it was great for her to get to get to know all these kids. She because of all of her ailments and because of her medical condition, she actually is homeschool. So for her to be able to engage with that many teenagers at once was sort of like a big, it was just good. It was really good.

V Spehar  23:54

And beyond the talent that you were wrangling on set and putting this movie together, there were several tick tock stars that made cameo appearances to help you to really fill in the realness of her going viral on TikTok which is part of the film so she gets bullied. It gets captured by another student. It gets posted online, it gets picked up by under the desk news who like talks about it, you know, first, why did you guys even ask me I was like shocked and surprised.

Laura VonMutius  24:22

Yeah. So when we got into the edit, and we saw, okay, we really need this montage of her video going viral to feel so much bigger than it was originally. So I was like, Okay, what are we going to do? So we actually had some local influencers, if you will, just Orlando based people that we know that we reached out to in the acting community. They sent a few videos, but I was like, we need more. So I started I just reached out to all of my favorite people that I follow. And you were one of them, of course, and a few others of course that I love and just started seeing who would be willing to provide a video. So we had quite a few people influencers that were are providing videos and then we kind of created this whole social media realm around it. So some of the people in video that you see a stock footage, some of it was AI generated some of the profiles and stuff that you see popping up, because I was just desperate for people and names and things. So we just we created and got as many as we could in as many different ways to sort of create that montage of making her video be bigger and worldwide.

V Spehar  25:24

When that was happening within the film, you can see sort of her light up and the way that she reacts to it as an actress within there. But what was it like in the room when you did the premiere, and she finally got to see this piece of work put to the screen.

Robin Hofmann  25:38

I handed out tissues. Oh, yes, just to be clear there. I had called her mom ahead of time and said, you know, do yourself a favor, wear some waterproof mascara and bring some of your own tissues even though I’ll have some on hand. Not too many dry eyes in the house. It was amazing. She you know, make a wish went all out. They had a limo pick her up from her house. They brought her to get her makeup done professionally. They let her shop at Dillards to pick out her dress like it was a real movie premiere. And when she got there, they opened the door and her mom thought she was gonna wait for her but she like charted down the red carpet, I mean, took off, boom. And everybody was like, great. That means screaming grace, Megan was brought in. And I can’t even make this up dozens of volunteers who had made signs and like we’re standing out of the limousine that’s like paparazzi kinda. So she just like plowed through everybody, they all parted and everybody’s screaming grace, and she just bolted down the red carpet. And I like met her at the end of it.

V Spehar  26:46

You are two very strong, just resilient women doing this work because it’s just, it’s just so important, the gifts that you gave her, you know, and I just want to say thank you for including me, for sure. So this is a film about bullying at the core of it. And I think if we zero out a little bit from you know what it was like making the film, the emotions that were put into it the way that her family may keep this, you know, as this, this legacy piece of media that they can remember her by and that she can continue to live on with, you know, forever and ever and ever. It also has such a great message about bullying, and about the effect that bullying has on young folks. And I wanted to know what made you sort of choose that as the through line to hold these two pieces together.

Robin Hofmann  27:37

It actually came about because I wanted to empower her. I wanted her to take what she has in her with her own disability, give her this different disability and say, you know what, it doesn’t matter. This is not me. I am not my disability. I am strong, I can swim. I can speak three languages. You know, whatever I could make my head I just you know, made up. And that was true if my favorite line of that whole movie is. These crutches are the least special thing about me.

V Spehar  28:06

She delivered the hell out of that line, too. I mean, she really she knew where she was going with that one. Lots of good character choices. Do you get to stay in touch with the family and with Grace?

Robin Hofmann  28:15

I do. Yeah.

V Spehar  28:16

Oh, good. Yeah, man put her in everything. She’s a star.

Robin Hofmann  28:24

That part’s hard for me, because I am kind of a mama bear. So I was worried about her health the whole time. So but I was I just had to shut it down, you know, but you know, so but mom was there. So I was just like, I’m handing this to you. You make sure she has water; you make sure she’s hydrated and fed and stuff. I’m going to do my job. And I’m gonna try and focus on being a director today.

V Spehar  28:46

What do you hope that people take away from this film?

Robin Hofmann  28:50

Everything. Everything like Don’t be a jerk. Also, hey, you know what, this person might have a disability but there’s so much more to them. Let me let me figure that out. Let me find that let me get to know you a little bit better on a different level. And also just the Make a Wish in general. Like I said, 60 plus people came together to do this. Maybe I can find a Make A Wish location in my area. And maybe I can help somebody’s wish come true. It doesn’t have to be a movie. It could just be hanging out with them for a day or doing something else. That’s definitely my hope.

Laura VonMutius  29:26

Yes, definitely. I again, I was doing what I love and got to do it for a reason. And I would definitely encourage anyone that if they have a chance, whatever it is that you do that you love to do, if you have a chance to make somebody’s wish doing that, you should jump on that because it’s been amazing.

V Spehar  29:43

Do you think you’ll get to do another maker wish?

Robin Hofmann  29:45

I hope so. I don’t know about if it would look like this. This was yeah, this was a lot. We the […] Representative and I talked about it because usually they have a number like a figure $1 amount that goes along with a wish. So she asked me she’s like, how much would this have cost? You know? Yeah, I said, I can’t even tell you probably $25,000 to $30,000. Right, at least right? At least.

V Spehar  30:16

Donate to Make A Wish Foundation make more wishes come true.

Robin Hofmann  30:21

Single one of us volunteered. Just one penny, not one. No.

V Spehar  30:25

I just when I saw that email, my wife ran down the stairs. And she was like you have been invited to do the greatest thing that will ever happen to your whole career. Like she just thought that this was an I also did I mean, I get to do a lot of cool stuff. But when I saw that, I was like, what just an honor to be included in what a special project? And it like, of course, yes. And like, oh my god, are you sure I’m even good enough to do this for you? You know, it was like, Sure, it was just like you want to do so good for these for these kids. Now, this movie, it makes you cry in a happy way. It makes you cry in a hopeful way; you really get to see these kids go through something and come out better for it. And I’d love if people knew where they could find it. Where can people watch specialty?

Robin Hofmann  31:06

Yeah, that’s great. So it’s on my Facebook page, which is happiest heart productions. But there’s also a tiny URL. So if you go to the tiny URL, and it’s just specialty with the word Special Tee and then movie, so Special Tee movie, they can find it that way as well.

V Spehar  31:23

Perfect. So we are going to take a quick break, but I’m not letting you guys go yet. When we come back from the break, you will be able to play with me my new game V Spehar questionnaire where we just asked a bunch of random questions to the interesting people that stopped by the studio to chat with us and we’ll just get to know you a little bit better as people and hopefully have a little bit of a good time here. Okay, we’ll have that right when we get back. Welcome back, friends, we are back with Laura and Robin and they are going to play our new game, the vSphere questionnaire. Are you guys ready? All right, here we go. Feel free to elaborate on your answers to it’s not necessarily a lightning round. They’re just fast questions told in an energetic and exciting way. So here we are. Laura, what is something you learned this week?

Laura VonMutius  32:18

I learned a lot about how wind currents work for hurricane we live in Orlando and we just went through a hurricane. So I learned a lot about how the tides are and the wind. I was gonna go very into it because it kind of calmed my anxiety to have that knowledge about the storm.

Robin Hofmann  32:36

Did you call it a hurricane

Laura VonMutius  32:40

But if that’s what it sounds like, I’m gonna say I did call it that. Because it was.

V Spehar  32:45

What is something you once felt embarrassed about wanting to learn?

Robin Hofmann  32:49

How to make films. Yeah, like me now I was actually told it would never happen. That’s not a real job. Don’t do it. And I didn’t. I went and got my degree in psychology and I worked with people with disabilities for 27 years before I left that career to do this.

V Spehar  33:03

And it was worth it?

Robin Hofmann  33:05

It’s been worth it every single day.

V Spehar  33:07

Good. Laura, if you could teach a class on anything that is not in your main area of expertise? What would it be?

Laura VonMutius  33:15

It would be sewing it is my hobby. I’ve been sewing since I was 16. So I do I sew a lot of my own clothing for me and my partner. So I would love to teach other people how to sew.

V Spehar  33:26

We just did an episode on the last history of home economics and the last skill of sewing and whatnot. Fascinating. I bet that’s so fun. Robin, if there was ever a bully in your life, what would you want to say to them today?

Robin Hofmann  33:42

Dig deep. Find out what’s wrong with you because there ain’t nothing wrong with me, baby.

V Spehar  33:49

What are the three most recent tabs open on your browser?

Laura VonMutius  33:56

Hurricane tracker for one a Spotify playlist for my in laws. 50th wedding anniversary. That’s coming up. I’m making the playlist for their party. And then the New York Times cooking because I love reading the recipes just for fun.

V Spehar  34:13

Laura, you’re fun. And Robin What is your dream creative collaborator.

Robin Hofmann  34:18

My dream creative collaborator, I believe would be probably Drew Barrymore watching Drew since I was a kid I love who she’s become. Watching her through her drama and trauma and survival and she still is out there doing things for other people and making you know, making a name for herself.

V Spehar  34:41

That feels possible. I feel like we could probably make that wish come true. We’ll try. Laura if you could have any specific person or group watch specialty who would you want it to be?

Laura VonMutius  34:52

Can I be so general to say just teenagers like I would just love for especially like middle school high school students to just watch and share.

V Spehar  35:02

Robin what’s your cell phone wallpaper?

Laura VonMutius  35:05

My kids.

V Spehar  35:08

And Laura, do you have any questions for me?

Laura VonMutius  35:12

Yes, of course. Let’s see. What is your favorite food? How about specifically local to Rochester? Right? That’s where you’re from? What is the New York food you love?

V Spehar  35:24

So it’s now when you said what is your favorite food? It’s hot dogs caught up in Kraft macaroni and cheese. That’s just like, I grew up like that. That’s what it’s gonna be. That’s always my answer. Even when I work for James Beard. They were like, please stop saying that as your answer. And I’m like, but it’s true. Okay, I don’t have it all the time. But when I do, it’s a treat. And I enjoy it. But my favorite Rochester food. I mean, you really got to pick between the garbage plate and the chicken wings up here. I am a pleat person, and I am a cheeseburger mac salad home fries person. That’s my plate. I don’t get the meat sauce. I don’t get the hot sauce. I’m very anti-spicy. So that would be that. But if you’ve never had a garbage plate, I encourage you to come to Rochester and get one. It’s a delight.

Laura VonMutius  35:37

All right, we’ll come and visit. Right?

V Spehar  36:03

What projects are y’all working on currently.

Laura VonMutius  36:06

So because my partner and I would meet majesty, our company we focus on editing and post production, we are wrapping up a whole bunch of things that we are editing right now, a couple of local films that Robin has even been involved in some features, and then a streaming television show that we edit for. And then we do make some of our own movies as well. So we have a couple of scripts that are kind of in those last stages before we start some really pre-production to make those hopefully by the end of this calendar year.

V Spehar  36:33

And are those going to be movies with a lesson as well. What do you like to write?

Laura VonMutius  36:36

Always so that’s I think why us is me and I just get so along with Robin and her production company […], because we both love those films that doesn’t necessarily have to have a lesson but just it has a heart to it. It’s, there’s something to it. And I don’t really specialize in a genre per se, it can be a you know, a horror flick and still have a message behind, you know, whatever it is or whatever genre it is. So definitely it’s going to have, it’s going to have a heart.

V Spehar  37:06

Robin, what are you working on now.

Robin Hofmann  37:08

So I’m always working on multiple projects I have. And they always do have some sort of lesson message heart in it. A previous film I made called Speak was one that Laura and John worked on as well, that was also about anti-bullying. It was about a young lady with a speech impediment, and how kids made fun of her. And then how she learned to come into her own, it was a beautiful film. And I made another one called Dance for me. And dance for me was about a young Black teen who wanted to dance and his parents did not want him to be a dancer, because one was an attorney and one was a doctor and they said, you know, we’ve worked way too hard for this, you need to do something and get an education. And he happens upon an elderly neighbor who was lonely and they bonded and he helped her out and he went in her house. And he noticed that she was a dancer when she was younger, but she could no longer dance. So they bonded through that learning about each other and bringing dance back to each other is really, really very sweet. So there’s a lot of social issues in there. And just so much anyway, I have somebody excuse me, I have somebody who’s interested in turning that short into a feature. So I’m writing that.

V Spehar  38:25

You’re gonna just keep me in tears forever. I swear I’m such a sap I cry at like the drop of a hat, which I think is like its own superpower. I’ve even been known to schedule cries just to get it out of the way. So thank you so much for spending all this time with me both in making the film and today answering questions about the Make a Wish Foundation and the whole process of everything that you guys did. Please just tell folks where they can find you on social media.

Robin Hofmann  38:49

Yes, you can find me on any platform at @hoffysheart on Facebook and Instagram. All the goods.

Laura VonMutius  39:03

Yep. And for me, it is @mutemajesty. So mutemajesty.com Or mute majesty on Facebook and Instagram and the socials.

Robin Hofmann  39:10

And then if we could just ask, you know, to continue to make Grace’s wish come true and have people go watch it. That would be, that would be great.

V Spehar  39:17

Yes. And we will link in the show notes to where you can watch the film. So as soon as you’re done driving or washing the dishes or whatever you’re doing while you’re listening to this podcast, you can go and watch Special Tee. See your old pal V make a cameo in one of the greatest performances of my life. Thank you guys both so much for being here.

Robin Hofmann  39:36

Thanks for having us.

Laura VonMutius  39:37

Thank you.

V Spehar  39:41

All right, that’s gonna do it for today’s V INTERESTING. Thank you so much for tuning in and spending this time with me. You know, I so deeply appreciate you being here. Be sure to tune into this Friday’s episode where we’re going to chat about getting the youths to vote with our pals at the girl and the Gulf podcast. You don’t want to miss that one. Leave me a voicemail at 612-293-8550. Subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcast follow me at under the desk news. And as always, please take care of yourself. I will see you on Friday.

V Spehar  40:16

V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.

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