What Could Go Wrong?


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It was open mic night at the Comedy Club, and nothing was working for the aspiring comedian. He picked up the audience’s disapproval which made him even more nervous.  At one point, his gesture contradicted his story, and the audience laughed at the incongruity. As he came off the stage, the manager said “I’m sorry”.

The comic responded “Sorry? Didn’t you hear them?  I got a laugh!”

Sometimes, success comes in small doses.  As an independent author looking to find a buyer to the screenplay for my novel Love Is Never Past Tense, I find myself in interesting and unexpected places.

On the evening of July 26, over 100 filmmakers converged on the Gateway Film Center for the kickoff to the local 48 Hour Film Project. My team, led by TJ Cooley and Lewis Gordon was one of dozens of film crews that had signed up for this two-day event.  At 7.00 PM we were drawing our assignments.  By 7.30 PM we were racing out the door. We were one of 48 teams that showed up two days later with a completed film.

My friend Lewis Gordon is an officer of MOFA (Mid-Ohio Film Makers Association). He was part of the writing team for my screenplay, so I encouraged him to enter the contest. I figured that at a minimum it would develop connections to movie people that might help. He agreed if I stepped in as Executive Producer.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a grueling (yet fun) race to write, shoot and deliver a seven-minute film in two days. Teams enter local contests all over the world, drawn in by the line ” What could go wrong?”

Problem one: penciling me in as Executive Producer…  What does EP do anyway? High on the list of duties is finding a Director to take on the project, and I had already done that. Lewis sweetened the offer by suggesting that my book be included in the film. With that, we struck a deal.

Every team was given the requirements used to prevent getting a head start.

  • Required character – Jordan or Jayla Tillerman, detective.
  • Required prop – a sheet or roll of paper towel.
  • Required line – “How did you do that?”

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Each team drew genre assignments from two lists. Our team drew the genres “Family Film” and “Musical” – we could pick either or combine them. Lewis and his writing/directing/producing partner TJ Cooley spent a sleepless night putting together a screenplay. By 7.00 AM, cast and crew showed up ready to work. That’s when I discovered…

Problem two: I had been written into the script! Do EPs do that? Apparently, sometimes they do!

The work on our Family Film began in earnest. If Family Film and Musical bring up an image of The Sound of Music for you, scratch that and think the Sopranos. Yes, we made a gangster family film!

Problem three: In mid-afternoon, with the clock ticking, a camera failed.  Rehearsals and rework went on while another camera was shuttled across town. By early evening, filming was done and the focus shifted elsewhere for editing and production.


Problem four: About 7.00 PM Sunday, I saw a Facebook post of our “delivery” car stopped in traffic.  In the end, the car and the film made it to the delivery point on time, along with 47 other contestants. Two weeks later, all of them, including our masterpiece A Kill of Her Own got premier screenings at the theater where the madness began.

Problem five: Although we filmed the book in a couple different places, the angles were


After the Screening at Gateway Film Center, August 10 2019

picked to move the action along — the start of my book’s film career ended up on the virtual cutting room floor. You can see the result of our work on YouTube. You won’t want to miss the last few seconds of the film.

A Kill of Her Own is now at the mercy of the judges. If it wins, it goes to the next level of competition and could help us get attention for the Love Is Never Past Tense screenplay. Sometimes success comes in small doses.poster


See the video

Shop for Love Is Never Past Tense


Happy Second Birthday, Mom!


We celebrated May 9 for as long as I can remember! May 9 was the end of World War II. May 9 of 1945 became a day destined to be commemorated through generations!

Several years ago, I visited Czech Republic and was surprised to be a part of the parade devoted to the celebration of Victory Day – on May 8! “What happened?” I thought. Why did they switch the date? I wanted to scream: People! I know! It’s not today! It’s tomorrow… Wait when May 9 comes! But nobody could hear my scream: it was in my head!

Victory Day, in America VE Day, celebrates the triumph of the Allies over the Nazis in 1945. In western countries. Including Germany with Nazism defeated, official events are celebrated on May 8. Ukraine and Baltic countries do the same. Russia, many other former Soviet States and now Israel celebrate on May 9. The two different dates are an accident of history showing that even allies don’t always agree. On the night of May 7, 1945, Hitler’s Germany officially acknowledged its defeat, and its Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, had been dead for a week. On May 7, 1945 at 02.40 AM Central European time in French Reims, the surrender of Germany was signed. On behalf of Germany, the document was signed by General Alfred Jodl. Representatives of the anti-Hitler coalition allies — the American General Bedell Smith and the Soviet Major General Ivan Susloparov — accepted the surrender.

In Europe and then in the United States, there began a spontaneous celebration and universal rejoicing. Especially stormy celebrations were in London, and then in New York — millions of jubilant people gathered on the streets. However, the leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, decided the document signed at Reims did not satisfy him as sufficiently reflecting the role of the Red Army in the victory over Nazism.

Stalin demanded the signing of a new act, and by his order Marshal of the Victory Georgy Zhukov accepted in Berlin a general surrender of representatives of all the arms of the defeated Germany. From Germany, the Berlin Act of Surrender was signed by Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, as well as the leadership of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the German Navy. Also, out of respect for Stalin, the document was signed by representatives of the allies – the United States, Great Britain and France. The Berlin Act of Surrender was signed on the night of May 8–9, at 00.43 Moscow Time, that is, in fact, it began in Moscow on May 9. Note that in Europe it was at 23.43 CET, that is, there it was May 8.

For me, World War II is a collection of horrible/amazing stories shared by my Mom. She experienced the war first hand, as I shared in a previous article. She celebrated the end of the war on May 9. I still have and use a small metal bowl she used during the war.

A few months after my family and I came to the US, I was driving through a small Ohio town. Suddenly, on a nearby driveway, I saw a sign “Fresh Honey!“ I translated it to my Mom, and she said “I want it!” I made a turn into the driveway and my Mom and I were greeted by a tall man, my Mom’s age.

My Mom knew Russian, Romanian, and French, but English at that time was so far away from her ear! My Mom asked me to translate for her.

Considering the age of this man she decided to ask him if he participated in the WWII – Russia and America were allies in that horrific period! I translated. He confirmed. The next thing I saw they were hugging each other. The interpreter was not needed anymore: both of them had tears. The man invited us in the house and started showing his pictures from THAT very time… The friendship and peace were established in one moment!

I am reposting my blog article from two years ago… This Article is devoted to my Mom. She is not here anymore, but she is and will be with me always!

Janna Yeshanova

My Mom (in a white dress) with her cousins just before the war.

Senior Lieutenant Malka-Galina Lerner, 1944

Today, May 9, I celebrate my Mom’s second birthday. I call this day her second birthday, as she did, because her actual birthday was on another day years earlier. She chose this second birthday herself because it represented a huge change in her life and the lives of everyone around her. It wasn’t that this was a beautiful spring day, or that the lilacs were in full bloom. May 9th is the day Russia marks as the end of World War II in Europe.

On 22 June 1941, the Germans broke their agreement and invaded the Soviet Union in ‘Operation Barbarossa’. It was a Sunday. The day before in Soviet schools there were graduation parties. When bands stopped playing, yesterday’s classmates, by tradition, went to meet the dawn. Young Muscovites headed to…

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I Can Hear You Now!


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Recently, I presented training at the International Coach Federation Columbus Charter Chapter. Interactive and dynamic training is always a blast!  It was a reminder of how we should listen to invite better communication in our lives.

shutterstock_407475370 LISTENNING SKILLS

Keep in mind LISTENING is a skill – not an inherent ability. Good listening means fewer family divorces, better relationships with coworkers, clients, friends, neighbors and everybody around us.

At the end of our session I shared a poem of Leo Buscaglia that really impressed me. I decided to share it with you here. I hope you like it too.

When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.

And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering,
but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business
of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s behind them.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn –

and I will listen to you.


Janna Yeshanova, MA, MEd, PCC – http://www.life-spark.com



Blog Tour – Love Is Never Past Tense by Janna Yeshanova

The Book Mistress

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna settled in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has…

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Spotlight – Love Is Never Past Tense

C.A. Milson

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna settled in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has…

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A Gift From Afar



A friend of mine from Israel sent me this piece. It was in Russian. I started reading it just out of respect to her and suddenly realized the message echoed my thoughts. The more I read the more I was recognizing that I’ve been thinking the same way.  I felt that I wouldn’t want to change a word.


Portrait of Mario de Andrade by Lasar Segall

The original text was written by Mario Raul de Morais Andrade,  a Brazilian poet who wore many other hats: novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, and photographer. The poem was first written in Spanish. The fact that I could find the poem in three languages (Spanish, Russian, English) tells me that many people share these thoughts.

My Soul Has a Hat — Mario Raul de Morais Andrade

I counted my years and discovered that I have
less time to live going forward than I have lived until now. I have more past than future.
I feel like the boy who received a bowl of candies.
The first ones, he ate ungracious,
but when he realized there were only a few left,
he began to taste them deeply.

I do not have time to deal with mediocrity.
I do not want to be in meetings where parade inflamed egos.

I am bothered by the envious, who seek to discredit
the most able, to usurp their places,
coveting their seats, talent, achievements and luck.

I do not have time for endless conversations,
useless to discuss about the lives of others
who are not part of mine.

I do not have time to manage sensitivities of people
who despite their chronological age, are immature.

I cannot stand the result that generates
from those struggling for power.

People do not discuss content, only the labels.
My time has become scarce to discuss labels,
I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry…
Not many candies in the bowl…

I want to live close to human people,
very human, who laugh of their own stumbles,
and away from those turned smug and overconfident
with their triumphs,
away from those filled with self-importance,
Who does not run away from their responsibilities ..
Who defends human dignity.
And who only want to walk on the side of truth
and honesty.
The essential is what makes
life worthwhile.

I want to surround myself with people,
who knows how to touch the hearts of people ….
People to whom the hard knocks of life,
taught them to grow with softness in their soul.

Yes …. I am in a hurry … to live with intensity,
that only maturity can bring.
I intend not to waste any part of the goodies
I have left …
I’m sure they will be more exquisite,
that most of which so far I’ve eaten.

My goal is to arrive to the end satisfied and in peace
with my loved ones and my conscience.
I hope that your goal is the same,
because either way you will get there too ..

To reach me:


Twitter https://twitter.com/JannaYeshanova




Now an Audio Book!


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Today I am announcing that Love Is Never Past Tense is now available at Audible and Amazon and is expected soon on ITunes.  If you sign up for a 30-day trial on Audible, you can get it free.

Love Never AudioSound brought a new dimension to my story. Getting it just right was very important, which meant selecting the right narrator was vital. Over the past few years, I listened to dozens of samples. Finding someone with the right voice and the right technical skills was a big effort. I was looking for a person who could not only read the text, but feel it.

I went through many voices: actors, students, voice over artists—you name it. None of them seemed good for the book.

One day, when I nearly decided to leave the project alone, I went to ACX — a market for matching authors with freelance narrators who have the talent and access to the technology.  ACX had samples available, thousands upon thousands of samples. I clicked on a sample of Daniela Acitelli — I was attracted by the beautiful name.  To my wonder, this was the one!

The Right Voice

Daniela is a narrator from the UK who has created numerous audio books and logged hundreds of finished stories. When she sent me the sample, I was thrilled to realize that she picked up and expressed feelings, intonations, and character features perfectly!  She brought out the characters, the romance and the drama so vividly!  This wasn’t a simple reading. It was a story—the story I heard in my head as I was writing the book.

And More

I included a short fragment of a beautiful violin piece by my dear departed friend Karo Hayrapetyan, the famed Armenian master. His son who lives Armenia gave me permission.

I dedicated the book to my Mom and my daughter Alla.

Find It Here

The eBook is available exclusively on Amazon. If you are a Kindle Unlimited user, you can download it for free.

Here is where to get the audio book, the eBook or both.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2zXsp1y

Audible (includes a sample): https://adbl.co/2FryMjR

Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/2LtdlfS

How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably impact his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not?


How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably affect his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not? Drawn together in Russia on a romantic Black Sea beach, Serge and Janna fall headlong in love and rush into marriage. Their divorce months later leads to years of “if only …” Pressured apart by family and fate, they repeatedly cross paths, never quite reconnecting, never quite letting go.

He faces Soviet corruption and self-doubt, his life falling toward disaster. She pushes out through Soviet bureaucracy to safety in America. As they build separate lives and families, their destinies, shaped by post-Soviet political intrigue, collapse into a struggle for their very survival, and dreams of a better life. Years later, distant memories of young, passionate love spawn emails that lead to international calls reviving an intimate, romantic connection.

They meet in the town they first met.  It was as if they had been apart only a day.

“How did you end up abroad?”  And the story of her unbelievable exodus follows; an exodus from a crumbling country with her child, her elderly mom, and $126 in her pocket.

The world had tried to tear them – and itself – apart, but years have made them wiser. They decide to give their romance another chance, proving that Love Is Never Past Tense.

I look forward to your comments.

Janna Yeshanova



Honoring Memories: Veterans Day 2018

Here in the United States, Veterans Day is coming up November 11. Originally tied to the end of World War I and honored by different countries under various names, the day has more significance than we sometimes give it credit for. I’ve shared a bit in the past about my mother’s service in uniform during World War II. As a Baby Boomer, it isn’t surprising that others in my generation have stories to share as well.

R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution.

RGreyHoover Photo

R. Grey Hoover

He wrote his book KICKER (The Forgotten Front): A WWII thriller about a family’s hardships on the home front and the Army airmen who flew unarmed missions over Japanese territory in China, Burma and India to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.


We have scheduled this blog post to coordinate with the launch of your book. Can you tell us why you selected this date?

Every year I watch the TV programs on Memorial Day and Veterans Day that are presented to honor the veterans of World War II, and every year I am disappointed that a segment of those veterans is forgotten.  The history and actions of veterans of the European, African and Pacific theaters are always well represented and honored, but the veterans of the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater are never mentioned. The CBI gave us such notable units as the Flying Tigers, Merrill’s Marauders and the first military use of gliders. It was the largest WWII theater with the worst weather conditions imaginable and it featured over 700,000 allied troops completely supplied from the air for over 3 years.  As the son of a veteran of the CBI theater, it is very disappointing to me that such an important segment of our honored military is always overlooked.

This Veterans Day I want to see that the men and women who fought in the CBI theater are recognized for their service. I intend to do this by making my ebook Kicker CoverKicker (The Forgotten Front) available on Amazon for free during the Veterans Day holiday. Kicker is based on actual experiences and military records and tells the story of my father and many other CBI veterans through the eyes of a single protagonist. The book does not contain vulgar language or erotic scenes and is acceptable for teens as well as older generations. It tells the story of our forgotten veterans both on the home front and the CBI front.

You must have done a huge amount of research. How did you select your sources?

I spent 7 years researching my book. The primary sources of information about the CBI theater came from attending meetings of many CBI veterans groups. They called their groups Bashas which is the Indian term for house. I was lucky to be able to meet with those groups because most have been disbanded due to the loss of members. Another excellent source of data was a monthly magazine called the Ex-CBI Roundup which contains many stories submitted by CBI veterans. I was given about 10 years worth of these magazines by a veteran I met and befriended. Of course I had the actual experiences of my father as my most intimate source.

You’ve been involved in independent books since before we met, but this is your first work as an author. Tell us about that transition.

I started out with the intention of just documenting my father’s war time experiences for my family. However, as my research let me to meet many veterans of WWII, I felt I needed to tell their stories too. That is when I decided to write a book in their honor.

Your bio says you were a commercial airline pilot. Can you tell us about that?

I have always been interested in flying, and although I am not an airline pilot, I used by GI benefits to obtain both fixed and rotary wing commercial licenses and I was a flight instructor. I enjoyed flying all kinds of aircraft, but I enjoyed flying helicopters the most.

I’m ready for a flight lesson if you are? Is there anything you want to share that I haven’t asked?

Thank you for this opportunity to share my concerns about our forgotten WWII veterans from the CBI theater. During my years of research I met many of them and was impressed with their dedication to our country and to our freedoms. I can also say that about all of our past and present veterans.


And where can people find more about you?

Amazon URL for Kicker   http://mybook.to/Kicker

Links to my website and pinterest boards that honor veterans



Social media links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/rgreyhoover

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rgrey.hoover

Excerpt from Kicker

April 4, 1944 – Dinjan Airbase, India

                Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.

Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.

He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.

At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.

The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.

Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.



Tommy McClure – Putting the Pieces Together


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Thomas McClure

Over the past 12 years, Tommy McClure has created opportunities for himself and others in Columbus at the intersection of fashion, film, and design. I’ve asked him to let us peek behind the curtain to see how various disciplines integrate to reinforce each other. Since arriving in Columbus in 2005, he has been Director and Partner of the Heyman Talent Agency, Founder and Executive Director of Fashion Week Columbus, Executive Director of the Columbus Film Commission, and, most recently, Director of Business Development for OneKreate. I met him in his role with the Film Commission, but I was intrigued because of all the other places he has shown up.

I understand your time at the Columbus Film Commission was a turnaround exercise. How has the Commission changed through and since your leadership?

As their executive director, I was tasked with reactivating the non-profit organization. It was badly needed, as Cleveland and Cincinnati were getting all the Ohio films due to them being active and available for local and visiting film productions. Reactivating Film Columbus included: obtaining city funding, creating a working new website, restructuring and reforming the board of directors, developing programs focused on local filmmakers, rebranding the organization, developing PR opportunities, and making sure the phones and emails were answered when film productions would contact the office. This was a lot to accomplish within a three year time period, and it was all accomplished.

Films like Aftermath (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Wrath (John Travolta), and Bad Grandpa (Johnny Knoxville) most likely wouldn’t have filmed here, if we didn’t have an active Columbus Film Commission available and ready to take their calls. The film commission serves as a central resource for local and visiting productions while also promoting Central Ohio as a filming destination.


John Travolta’s film “I Am Wrath” included filming at the Ohio State House

What attracts these projects here, Tommy?

Some films chose Ohio, most likely for the Ohio Film Tax Incentive. This is an important factor for productions choosing cities to work in. Columbus may have been chosen due to the ease of transportation, central location to the rental houses, central location to the union crew pulled from Cincinnati and Cleveland, and of course because Columbus is such a diverse city. However, having a Film Commission in place for visiting productions to utilize is also important. The Film Commission can help guide productions when it comes to location scouting, crew, and other resources. Funny story, the film Parker came to Columbus because they needed to film during a state fair and Columbus was their choice as it was hard to find other state fairs in the US during that production time.

From an outside perspective, your various projects seem like something to launch on the East or West Coast. How did you end up building your vision in heart-of-America Columbus?

It all started at the Heyman Talent Agency, where I was able to quickly figure out the inner workings of both the modeling industry and filming industry through booking talent for various local and national projects. I soon realized how much Columbus needed a Fashion Week and started putting all the pieces together.

You recently finished Fashion Week Columbus 2017. I understand that’s about more than clothes and runways. How is the community benefitting from this series of events?

Yes. Fashion Week Columbus is about much more than the clothes and the Runway Shows. Fashion Week Columbus is a non-profit organization that’s helping local fashion

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designers and fashion design students through developing programs and providing scholarships. We consider our Finale Runway Show a program, as it serves the purpose of spotlighting local fashion designers and connects them with buyers and the press. Throughout Fashion Week, we also partner with other non-profit organizations to help bring awareness to their mission and to help them raise funds through the way of a fashion event/program. Fashion Week Columbus is one of few non-profit fashion weeks in the nation.

Take us through what a typical day looks like for you.

There is no typical day! Ha! But, since I’ve joined OneKreate (full-service production studio specializing in photography, videos, and design) as their Director of Business Development, my days are much more consistent. I’m basically working two full-time jobs (Fashion Week Columbus and OneKreate), so I must keep everything organized and be flexible with meetings even if it’s a weekend meeting request. I do try to hold the rule I set for myself several years ago: no meetings on Mondays. Sometimes my days are full of meetings and other days I’m endlessly answering emails. On some days you could catch me meeting with a client needing photography or video from OneKreate or a sponsor interested in being part of Fashion Week Columbus. This past Sunday, I emceed a sold-out fashion event gala (not an FWC event) showcasing and honoring local fashion designers and models. Yesterday, I was moving FWC’s items from a 3rd-floor storage unit to a 1st-floor storage unit. I get my hands dirty too!

What are you planning to do in your latest role as Director of Business Development at OneKreate?

I joined OneKreate in May of 2017 as their Director of Business Development, focusing on developing relationships with new clients while also engaging with the Columbus community through partnerships. OneKreate is part of the largest network of creative studios in the world. It’s my goal to elevate OneKreate in Central Ohio as a premier creative studio, working with both large and small clients.

As a content creation studio, OneKreate and Fashion Week Columbus’s partnership was a perfect marriage. Fashion Week Columbus utilizes a lot of imagery and video to platform the mission and to showcase our designers. OneKreate was excited to be the content creation partner with Fashion Week Columbus because of the heart put into the organization and the programs/events. The day of the FWC17 Look Book shoot was one of those magical days spent in OneKreate’s 25K square foot studio space.

Models, designers, hair professionals, makeup professionals, stylists, creative directors, and photographers all came together to produce the 2017 Fashion Week Columbus Look Book. The hustle and bustle in the studio created an unexplainable energy that drives a project like this from conception to the final product. The FWC17 Look Book is the best Look Book we’ve produced yet, and much of the success is because of OneKreate’s amazing team.

Fashion Week Columbus was lucky to have OneKreate on board as a creative partner for all photo, video, and design needs. The level of talent and expertise at OneKreate can be seen in the FWC17 Look Book and the FWC17 Designer Interview Videos and Finale Show opening video.

I understand that the Runway event is a fundraiser. What did do with the proceeds

Fashion Week Columbus is actually a program, as it serves our local and student fashion designers. Much of the funds go towards creating professional productions to showcase our designers. We have many in-kind partners which help us save dollars. This year, we gave a $5000 scholarship check to a CCAD student, which will greatly help her with her Senior Collection.


Natalia Monserrate (CCAD Fashion Design Student) was awarded the Easton Fashion Week Columbus 2017 Scholarship presented by Sprite (amount of $5000) on the runway with Shannon Hardin (City Councilmember), Karina Nova (10TV), Scott Schweitzer (FWC Board President), and Thomas McClure (FWC Founder/Exec Director). 

What can we be watching for from you in the near future?

In 2018, the FWC board and I are developing a new organization, the “Columbus Fashion Council”. FWC will fall under this new organization as a program. Also, FWC17 Fashion Designer Gerardo Encinas and I will be taking over the Columbus Creative Industry Mixer for 2018, bringing this event back to its roots.

What do you think you’ll be doing in five years? Do you have a vision for the community?

Honestly, I have no clue. Planning this far ahead restricts organic creativity and innovation. Maybe I’m a rebel like that. Ha! However, I do hope to see Columbus play a much more spotlighted role in the fashion world. We have all the right ingredients to make this happen. And Fashion Week Columbus (or the Columbus Fashion Council) will most definitely play a large role.

Do you have any thoughts to take your projects beyond Central Ohio?

Sometimes. We shall see what happens.

How do you select projects and businesses to participate in? Some people have a detailed plan. Others follow their nose. Which are you?

My gut. Seriously, I’m well in tune with my spirit…my gut. Trust it.

As a Director and Producer, what is the biggest part of your job? What do you like and dislike most?

The biggest part of my job is project management. All committee chairs report to me as the Executive Director. They’re empowered to run their own committees and make decisions for the betterment of the organization. Keep in mind though, the committee chairs and members are all volunteers. At the end of the day, I have to put my stamp of approval on major decisions or offer solutions/suggestions. There are a lot of moving pieces that must all stay in sync for FWC to be successful.

Do you have any tips on balancing or managing projects?

Surround yourself with those that can do what you can’t do.

Surround yourself with those that can do what you can’t do.

Are there specific personality characteristics that contribute to your success in these roles?

Passion, Positive Attitude, Confidence, Ability to Manage, Adaptability.

Has social media changed the way you do business?

Social Media

It wasn’t too long ago when I refused to conduct business on messenger, text, LinkedIn message, Facebook, Instagram message, etc… only through email and phone call. Now, I conduct business on all listed platforms! Convenience is highly valued in our busy world.

“Convenience is highly valued in our busy world.” ~ Tommy McClure

Is there anything specific that inspires your passion?

Beautiful and delicious food. Culture. Much like fashion, food creation is also art.

I have heard conflicting stories about you and restaurants. In one, you vowed never to go back into the restaurant industry. In the other, you talk about owning your own restaurant/bistro someday.

Although I swore to never get back into the restaurant industry, maybe I should’ve added that only if I owned the restaurant. Culinary Arts is a passion of mine. My Instagram is all about Food, Fashion, and Fun. There are lots of images of the cuisines I’ve prepared for myself and for others. I find that creating in the kitchen is another way to communicate with people as it says so much about you as an individual and it immediately lets your guests feel the love you’ve put into their meals. Not to toot my own horn, but I have a skill of creating cuisines (even first attempts at a new recipe) with ease and having them turn out incredibly delicious. The next chapter in my life will include culinary arts.

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Do you have a favorite quote?

“There is nothing permanent except change.” ~ Heraclitus

“There is nothing permanent except change.” ~ Heraclitus

If you could offer a message that could reach everyone in the world, what would you say?

Be more empathetic to others. With more empathy, the world could get rid of hate and discrimination.

Tommy, thanks for your visit! I am wishing you a happy 2018! How can people get in touch with you? (websites, phone, email, whatever you want them to know.)

www.FashionWeekColumbus.org – info@fashionweekcolumbus.org


Instagram: @officiallyTommyTime

Kindness Will Save the World – Samvel Yervinyan


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The concert was amazing, but that wasn’t why I decided to go backstage afterward. As the show ended, Yanni introduced his orchestra and I heard a name that drew my attention. I didn’t know the name itself, but I knew it was Armenian. My thoughts flew back to my ten-year-old search and a question left unanswered all that time.

There aren’t many great violinists in the world and you can count the great Armenian violinists with one hand. There I was, seeking one musician after a concert, hoping he might lead me to another. Backstage, I found Yanni himself.  I asked if he knew anything about my long lost friend, and the name Karo worked magic.  Minutes later, I first met Samvel Yervinyan. Samvel is the First Violin in Yanni’s orchestra and one of the best concert violinists in the world. This isn’t just my opinion or Yanni’s: here is a bit of a recent review.287754_10150344046725351_7376212_o

“His virtuosity is unrivaled against any other violinist I’ve seen live. His agility and delicate approach to seventh-octave harmonics is spellbinding.”

When I asked if he knew Karo Airapetian and told him I was a friend, he became enthusiastic. He shared the painful news I had long suspected, that our mutual friend had passed years before. This introduction paved the way to a warm relationship that has endured since that night nine years ago. Now, I want to share that with you. Please make a little allowance for the translation into English. Samvel wrote me his responses in Russian, with his charming Armenian accent.

Hi Samvel, I’m so glad to have you here! I am absolutely impatient to ask you a question about the Storm. Whenever I listen to this masterpiece I am blown away. It’s wrath, and happiness, and the victory of unbridled nature!  What can you tell us about this piece?

Of course, this is a genius masterpiece from the cycle of The Seasons of the Year by Vivaldi. Centuries have passed since he wrote it, yet it remains modern.  The Storm is the third part of the concert Summer. The version that we play with Yanni begins with the phrase which is in the first part of the concert Summer. Instead of playing the third part in the original three quarters, we play in four. This was the idea of Yanni. I helped him as an instrumentalist. I think it turned out very well. Wherever we play it around the world, it gets huge applause.

When and how did you fall in love with music? Do you come from a musical family? How did your parents inspire you?

I owe many thanks to my parents. They are not musicians, but they love music. Our house has always been filled with good music. I still hear the voice of my maternal grandmother, who sang best of everybody. My mother sings beautifully too. She has impeccable intonation, crystal clear voice, and soul – without any musical education. I admire my parents for giving me a good upbringing and education.



Have you managed to pass your passion on to your children, Samvel?

I think so. To be honest with you, I am lucky with my marriage. My wife and I have known each other since we were 14. We studied together in the special music school in Yerevan named after Tchaikovsky. We have two sons. The senior goes to university and the youngest is in high school, both are excellent students. This is mostly due to their mother since I’m rarely at home.

Are there other instruments you considered growing up? Why did you choose violin?

Samvel with his first teacher Armen Minasyan.

Samvel with his first teacher Armen Minasian

My first instrument was a piano, I started playing it when I was 6 years old  (1972) and from the age of seven, I went to the violin class of Armen Minasyan, a brilliant violinist and teacher, whom I consider my mentor. He’s the best teacher in the world and I’m very lucky to have been able to study under him.

I can’t help but speak of my second teacher, whom I studied at the Conservatory and in graduate school. He was a great musician and teacher, a wonderful person, one of the best students of David Oistrakh, Professor Edward Dayan.

Tell us about your favorite violin and why it is your favorite. Is there a story behind it?

My favorite violin, the one I always play, is more than three hundred years old. Its maker, even its country of origin, is unknown. Some violin makers say it has a French origin. There are musicians who compare its sound with a human voice.

When I am asked for my favorite writer, movie or artist, I can’t find an answer. I cannot limit to one name the wealth of the world talents. I want to name several, at least. 

Now, I am asking you the same question: who is your favorite composer and what is your favorite composition? Feel free to list as many as you like.

And it’s hard for me as well to pick a favorite composer. There are a lot of them. My favorite concert for a violin is the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

Do you prefer violin solos or being a part of an orchestra?

I prefer to play solo.

Once during tough times for Armenia, in 1988, I spent some time in your hometown of Yerevan. I was impressed with the beauty of the city, culture and hospitality of the people.

When you compose, do you ever draw from your Armenian heritage and folk songs?

Of course, I rely on the heritage and culture of my people. I can tell you, in secret, I wrote my best works in Yerevan.

I promise you, Samvel, I’ll keep this a secret between you, me, and the World Wide Web.

When did you join Yanni and his renowned group?IMG_791311

Yanni and I began to collaborate in 2002. We make a very good team in all senses of the word.


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This is not a surprise – Yanni draws on amazing music from around the world.

What does the connection with the audience mean to you when you play?

I always get positive energy from the audience. I think that this is from the fact that I really love my listener…

How do you select something new to play?

I play what I like … I play what touches my soul.

What other violinists or musicians do you appreciate?

My favorite classic violinist is David Oistrakh.


Karo Airapetian – artist George Shiskin, 1995

My thoughts returned to the search that ended when I first met Samvel. Would you like to say anything about our mutual friend Karo Airapetian, who is no longer with us?

About Karo Airapetyan you can talk a lot … I will say a little. He was a genius violinist, musician and a great innovator in violin history. Karo was very kind and a good man. We had an idea to make a recording with our two violins. Regrettably, he left us too early. In my younger years, I learned a lot from his notes…

When I still lived in Kishinev, many interesting friends were coming to my house. Once, one of them brought a new person – Karo, who had been invited from Armenia by Moldavian State Philharmonic to play in the famous folk group Lautary. He was a frequent visitor for the five years he was in town.

He never separated with his violin and willingly played when requested. If I asked him to play, I did so very cautiously, like I was afraid that something precious can be spilled by chance and not much of it will be left for later.

Do you think that you and Yanni’s orchestra are helping to make the world a better place?

Of course, yes, as they say, beauty will save the world!

What is coming up on your calendar?

Concerts with Yanni in Saudi Arabia are planned at the end of November. At the same time I am writing two discs, one classic in which will be the works of Mozart, Sarasate, Bach, Gluck, and Paganini. The second project will feature a variety of music including my works.

What Concert Halls were lucky to embrace your music?

Yanni’s orchestra and I have played in America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia … There is a list on the website. http://www.yanni.com/tour

How do you get your day started, Samvel? What does it look like?

I start with a cup of coffee and a conversation with my parents over Skype.If I’m not at concerts, I exercise to keep myself in shape – I live!

Your Internet biography talks about trying to get better every day. How do you measure that?

“Samvel is driven to be the best in his profession, being more and more perfectionist every day.”

I think that every person should always improve in his profession and life in general, especially spiritually.

Dear Samvel, I want to thank you so very much for visiting my blog and answering my questions. I have saved one more I like to end with. Do you have any final thoughts to share?

I want to add that for me the most important human quality is kindness. I think that beauty and kindness will save the world!

Web page http://samvelyervinyan.com/home/

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiFv7cICWRU

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Ambassadors-Hidden-Moon-Samvel-Yervinyan/dp/B009EC9VQ4