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The Most Powerful Unexpected Moment of My Year – Brian Medavoy

The Most Powerful Unexpected Moment of My Year

I’m about to share with you a video of what may have been the most powerful moment of my year.

But first, the story of how it came to be…

I haven’t written many blogs this year. I needed a break, and I wanted to focus on myself and my mental health a bit. Having surgery and losing my Mom to Alzheimer’s has not been easy. (As I’m sure most people can identify with.)

So over the past year, I’ve tried to do things a little differently.

I’ve tried to do more things that make me feel a bit vulnerable or even look a little crazy.

I haven’t always put myself out there so much but call it an epiphany, call it a mid-life crisis, call it what you want — I’m a little more “out there” these days. And as I reflect on the end of yet another year, I find myself feeling grateful for the break and returning to an unexpected moment that happened just a few weeks ago.

I haven’t had my license for a couple of years. (Long story short: I thought I had to take a test at the DMV to renew my license and I kept going and leaving after waiting in line forever, and I wasn’t pulled over for two years so I successfully played with fire. Finally, I found out I could do the license renewal online. Not my finest navigation of bureaucracy but it got done.) But one of the major reasons I really wanted to renew my license was so I could go on a Bird. You know, those electric scooters all over the West Side — not the Sesame Street character.

So when I got my license in hand, I decided to scoot down to Venice mid-week, fairly late at night. Venice is… well, Venice is something at night. It’s like The Wanderers meets Warriors. But as I cruised through the boardwalk, I saw a few guys dancing on roller skates, guided by the flashing neon lights of their portable speakers. They caught my attention, so I disembarked the scooter, sat down on a bench, and read some emails while surreptitiously watching them dance.

The emails fell to the back of my mind, replaced by memories of going out and dancing as a young buck on the LA scene. I remembered feeling so free and unencumbered, ever aware of a tinge of jealousy from my social circle that they weren’t quite as able to tap into their euphoric selves.

My friends and I would go to Helena’s and I always did the worm. A big guy like me doing the worm tends to turn some heads and I remember my friends looking at me like “what an idiot” but at the same time there was still a little sliver of respect for my ability to just let loose.

Sitting, watching, I became ever more captivated. This year, I’ve been working on myself; playing music every day, exercising, giving more self-care, and somehow this felt like a terminus. Like the moment I’d been blindly, abstractly working towards through all those keystrokes and shin splints. So I said, “What the hell,” and I got up and joined the skaters.

Turns out, a friend was down there, saw me doing my thing, and he started filming. He sent me some footage and I had fun putting it together later:


As a manager, you’re never supposed to be the one in the front. I’ve been conditioned to believe that. At sets, ceremonies, wherever, you represent the star. You’re in the background. I’ve been in the background for many, many years, which is where I like it.

But when that feeling of being secondary starts to bleed into your private life, something is wrong. 

On my way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about another guy down there who was filming for his blog. I was nervous about how much footage he got of me. What if he finds out I represent actors? Would he use me to try to embarrass them?

It was right around when the Bird ran out of battery that I thought, “What is wrong with me?”

That is such an unhealthy way to think. What if this guy uses this against me? How? Since when is having fun a bad thing? Who cares?

People should have fun. People should dance like no one is watching and then hope it gets out on the internet, everybody watches, and joins in themselves! Somehow, this unexpected moment felt like the perfect little bow on a year I gave to myself.


It was my mother who truly instilled the arts in me and put me on my life’s path. She was a music teacher who taught dance and she dragged me along to everything she loved, from Peter Pan and Les Mis to Phantom and ice skating events. My mother adored art and the incalculable depths of human expression.

Because of my mother, I grew to love live performance and developed an appreciation for how people can make others feel through art. I talk a lot about things that move me because my mother taught me how to be moved. That isn’t innate; it’s learned.

She was a dance teacher and made me take dance classes for 8 years at Al Gilbert Dance Studio, where the Beverly Center stands today. If I took lessons, she said she’d take me to ride horses at the kid park nearby. Over the years, I didn’t need to be bribed anymore. I grew to love dance, and it’s still one of my favorite mediums.

Opening Night of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk


One of the highlights of my life was going with Cicely Tyson to see Savion Glover on the opening night of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. I still love watching Fred Astaire movies, behind-the-scenes documentaries of ballet, you name it. All dance is a fun reminder of my late mother, keeping me in touch with a part of myself that she instilled there.

But it’s a muscle, you have to work it. Just getting up and dancing, being the star of your own show, investing in yourself — just plain stepping into the spotlight requires work.

My mother was a classical pianist and instilled in me a love for that, too. Today, I play for two hours every day and I can feel her close to me even though she’s beyond some invisible veil. The immutable truth, however, is that art isn’t going anywhere, and neither is she as long as I continue to experience it with an open heart.

When I play piano I sometimes wish I was talented enough to be in the front. I’m not, but the next best thing is working with those who are. But there’s risk there. You risk becoming secondary in your own life. That’s not just true for talent reps, it’s true for anybody who works for anybody else, or for the truly generous among us.

It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of doing so much for others, you forget to be the star of your own show every once in a while. It might feel more secure to stay in the background, and that’s fine. But don’t stay there forever. Don’t be afraid to get up and get loud from time to time.

So I ask you, what will you remember most about this year? What was your most unexpected moment?

Maybe this will help get the juices flowing.


  • Miguel A Velazquez

    I’ll remember most the moment I had the courage to share my art with the closest people in my life, who’s opinion I value the most. It felt liberating and in turn my confidence has been better because of it.
    I too love dance Brian, and dance on my own often. Thank you for sharing.

  • Joshua Murphy

    Great moves my man!

  • Damon Runyan

    Came to this revelation myself, while walking my dog, I began to dance on the quiet pandemic streets of my neighborhood. At first totally conscious of anybody possibly watching then I realized, it’s artistic leadership that is necessary, to be free and express fully, invites the world to play. Stay true and be you!

  • kyle t. heffner

    Thank you for the reminder and sharing your story. So sorry about your mom. My mom talks to me more now than she did when she was alive. I expect you experience that as well. Have a terrific holiday season and let’s keep DANCING!

    Kyle T. Heffner

  • Artur Lago-V.

    Dear Brian,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, feelings, and thoughts. A creative person myself, I became a dancer first because of my mother’s desire and willingness to sacrifice all she had just so her children could have a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. I did spend sometime working with people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia as a dance/creative movement therapist. I witnessed firsthand the miracle that dance brings into people’s lives who have to learn to navigate their daily living with these health challenges. And although my dance sessions with them lasted only 60 minutes, I could see on their faces the glow of joy that dance brought into their lives. I almost lost my parents to COVID this year which reminded me how as a young man in my early 30s, I often tend to take for granted the blessing to have an ability to fully enjoy the nature’s gift of health. I remember our first conversation on the phone when I was working as a dance teacher back in Philly. Your first words were how you much you love dancing because of your mother. And when I moved back to L.A. inspired and motivated by your blogs, our phone conversation, and your family’s history, I remember you showing me around your beautiful creative work space and telling me about your passion for music instilled in you by your mother while Tucker was politely sitting on the chair and listening to you like a good friend that he is. I am happy to hear that you are taking your time to keep expressing your own creative voice that connects you so deeply to the people you love. I would love to see you going back into some Ballroom/Social dance studio and take a few dance lessons. Share your contagious passion for arts with others. Let your hips swing; your soul salsa; your spirit waltz; your passion tango; your feet cha-cha; your love rumba; and your charm foxtrot! Thank you again for your honest blog posts. And I look forward to seeing you on the dance floor.

  • A.P. Gonzalez

    Hey Brian, Loved this blog. It made me laugh and enjoy. Plus, you can still move. The tribute to your mother is also beautifully written and deeply felt.
    My Best, A.P.

  • Cheryl Laughlin

    Yes, yes, yes… more of this please. No way I was I going to pass up seeing where that Venice Beach vibe was going to take you. I’ve been having a bit of fun writing a pilot with Venice Beach as the backdrop (how has this vibe not been used as much?!) It’s like the Universe just grabs onto a creative vibe going on right now. Last night I watched the Val Kilmer documentary and soaked in that artist’s vibe… that you just doubled down on here. Ahhh, this is the good stuff. Keep sharing (and having!) these epiphanies. Thank you.

  • Jacquie (Koch) Loughery

    Brian… this was a wonderful post! The first time that I met you was dancing in Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar when we were just 21/22 years old… it felt amazing to dance without a care!
    Good for you! Thankful to have this reminder! Happy Hanukkah!

  • Melissa Nichols

    THANKS for sharing! I love to dance too to all kinds of music with friends & without. It’s so good for the spirit, soul & body!

    This year I took my 1st adult acting class after not acting since college. I’ve been helping my kids in the business for the past 3+ years as I have 2 kid actors. I love to perform and they do too. I decided it was time for me to practice what I preach and put myself out there.

    2 years ago I sang in a cabaret that my daughter was performing in which was WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE since I’ve never taken singing lessons except for a few leading up to the cabaret. Last year I had planned to get head shots & take acting classes but thanks to Covid that didn’t happen.

    Anyway, as the end of the year was approaching I got busy and took headshots & have taken 4 weeks of my 1st adult acting class. So I’m doing it & showing my kids and friends you’re never too old or too busy to pursue what you love! I ENJOY my weekly class so much and getting to perform feels GREAT!

    I ENJOY your blogs and started following you from TMFA & HWC posts. I feel your pain with losing your Mom to Alzheimer’s and we will say a prayer for you tonight. I lost my Great- Grandmother to Alzheimer’s and my Dad to cancer. Alzheimer’s was much harder as in the end and throughout we could still connect with my Dad but with my Great- Grandmother she left us years before she passed.

    HAPPY Holidays- Melissa

  • Kathleen Kinmont

    Yes! Yes to all of this. Dance like no one is filming! You amaze, Brian. Don’t ever, ever lose this piece of your intricate puzzle. Your free spirit is a blessed lesson for us all. Love you. man. You got some moves!! That double spin!?! Wow. I think I just found my dance partner! 🙂

  • Tom States

    Brian Medavoy, thank you for posting this powerful story. I applaud your humanity. You are a champion sir. I hope one day we can meet and we can work together.

  • Alanna Foley

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts. I so appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable in your writing. It takes a whole lot of bravery to show who you really are to the world…but then it tends to be wonderfully inspiring when you do. My condolences for your loss… I hope you continue to heal through this holiday season…AND that you continue to have more fun. Best wishes.

  • Christine

    This hit me. Thank you for posting.

  • Steve Switzman

    Oh man….thank you so much for this. I am 57 and have pretty much been frightened my whole adult life. This feeling of fear and dread of rejection and humiliation by and in front of others has pretty much been top of mind whenever I start thinking that it’s time to put myself in a vulnerable position. A position where I …..wait for it…might fail. But I, like you have been working on self care this year, both emotionally and physically and I am coming to the realization that allowing myself to be “seen” by others is ok. Indeed, I can now see that failure is a great success if I am at least trying, the real failure is not trying at all. Your an inspiration. Steve

  • Philip Lubin

    Hi Brian,

    First and foremost, thank you for writing these posts, and your vulnerability in sharing your life, yourself, and your wisdom with us all. It means more than you may know, so thank you.

    I’ll start by answering your prompted questions:
    1) What will I remember most about this year? 2021 was another unusual year, but I am grateful for it. I achieved a lot of what I set out to do at the beginning of the year, so was proud of myself for that. But, what I will remember most for 2021 is more of a feeling than a specific moment – committing to slowing down, breathing and rolling with the punches that life throws. Becoming more fluid in change and less bent out of shape if plans change (ie. getting covid right before I was to head home to see my family for the holidays for the first time in over a year). And with that, understanding that nothing is permanent, and there’s beauty in the impermanence.

    2) What was most unexpected moment? This specific moment I will detail definitely helped shape my answer above. I went for a walk with a friend of mine earlier in the year, and we decided to stop at Chipotle to grab a quick bite. As we were walking in, a homeless lady stopped us, and asked if we would get her a burrito and water. We said we would be happy to, and she told us we could leave the food and water on this nearby large electrical box, because she wanted to respect covid safety, and maintain social distance. We buy the food, and set the food on the electrical box, however she is nowhere to be found. I walk around the large electrical box, and she is lying in a pool of her blood gushing out of her head, and was barely coherent. We call 9/11, the paramedics come, and they take her into care, and drive off in the ambulance. We were in Chipotle for no more than 10 minutes, and this span of time, it felt like everything changed. And it was a heavy reminder of the fragility of life, how quickly circumstances can change, and again, this idea of impermanence. I don’t know what happened to this woman, I’m assuming she recovered, but the moment so impacted and put into perspective my own mortality, fears, ambitions, gratitudes, etc…

    With that being said, one of the comments you made in your post was that, “I don’t always put myself out there so much,” which I can absolutely relate to. And despite moments like I described above, it’s not as if that singular moment instantly made me brave to be assertive in my life, as much as I would like it to be a light switch flip. I’m an actor based here in LA, and have incremental success over the past couple years, BUT if I’m being very honest with myself, fear of putting myself out there definitely holds me back most. So, thank you for sharing your relationship with it too. As I look for ways to be more proactive on my own and not rely on my agent, do you have any advice on how to make connections with casting directors, and/or agents and managers? I’d like to send some cold emails to casting directors that I have yet to meet and would love to read for, but not sure if that is frowned upon or not? If you have any thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you again for you posts, I always enjoy your content, and your outlook and perspective towards life. Hope the new year is off to a great start for you and yours!

    With Gratitude,
    Phil Lubin

  • Steven Gyepes

    Hey Brian, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Not sure if you are aware, but I lost my mom, dad, and brother all unexpectedly. I have found peace and balance for the most part, and often think back to how unbalanced life was when we were younger, even though from the outside looking in people would undoubtedly think different about our fortunate upbringing. It looks like you have been able to find some peace as well, and I hope life is treating you well during these strange times we find ourselves in….My work and family (wife, daughter, and son) keep me grounded so I’m able to look back on some of the escapades with a smile, but more and more I’m just relieved that we made it through. Live everyday, one love, and be kind to yourself. Sounds easy enough, but I think we both know it takes a conscious effort and desire to keep moving forward and in the right direction. Much love to you and yours…..

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