Going West with Kendall Carroll

INJ 56 | Theatre Teacher

Kendall Carroll started her career as a high school theater teacher in small town in West Texas. She made her way to the MBA program at the University of Colorado Boulder. While in the MBA program, Kendall has focused on Marketing, serves as the MBA Association President, and is my teaching assistant. She has accepted a job as a Product Marketing Manager at NetApp.

Listen to Episode #56 here:

Going West with Kendall Carroll

Our guest on this episode is Kendall Carroll. She started a career as a high school theater teacher in small town West Texas. She’s made her way to the MBA program at the University of Colorado Boulder. While in the program, she’s focused on marketing, serves as the MBA association president and most importantly, is my teaching assistant. She’s accepted a job as a Product Marketing Manager at NetApp. Welcome, Kendall. You are the second funny student that I have interviewed. I interviewed one of my students from the London Business School Dubai Program. If you weren’t working as a teacher or in marketing, what would you be doing with your life?

What I’ve been thinking about doing is I want to buy an RV. I want to drive around the world and I want to create a travel blog. I’ll do it for a year. If the blogs take off, then I’ll do that forever and it’ll have good pictures of my dog and what I’m seeing. I’ll be writing about all the different experiences.

Is this one of those fancy silver Airstream you’re going to have or you’re going to have old school Winnebago?

I think it depends on the budget, how much money I have at that point. The Airstream would be nice. Even in my dreams, I’m driving a cheap Winnebago.

You clearly are not following the lessons from my marketing class as you consider this life, are you? Because you have not done a competitive analysis.

I think I’m better. I think that my unique flare and flavor for the travel blog lifestyle would be interesting.

To your credit, you do have some flare. Your background’s in the theater. Let’s talk about that for a little bit. How did you get into the theater and how did you become a theater teacher and why did you want to stop being a theater teacher?

When I was little, I always put on plays at Christmas for the family. I would be at the fireplace and directing my cousins in some event. I saw Pippi Longstocking at Casa Manana in Fort Worth and that made my interest grow. I was in second grade, around seven years old. I didn’t go to a school that had theater because I was homeschooled for a little while in middle school. In high school, I got involved in that and I actually was part of probably the shittiest theater program in West Texas. One thing that has always been my pet peeve about theater people is that people think we’re weird. We are but not always in the goth emo kid way. I felt like that was what my West Texas town was like. I was weird and not cool but I didn’t care. I was probably the only kid in the theater who cared about grades in school. Most of the people who did it in high school were doing it to escape, I think.

The profile of the theater kid is a misfit of sorts.

They can’t do anything else, so they’re in theater. They’re dark, moody and want to brood. They want only to do monologues that are about killing themselves. That’s what it felt like. I was like, “I want to trip and fall.”

You want to be comedic and be big and you want to be in Pippi Longstocking.

I want to be looked at and be the center of attention mostly. I did that in high school. I thought I wanted to teach. Looking back, I think that some of that is probably because it’s what women that I saw who worked did, they were teachers. I decided that since theater was my favorite subject that I’d focus on teaching theater. I went to college and I realized I wasn’t as good as everyone else. I went to college for theater but theater education. The first year I went to Abilene Christian University and that was terrible. You had to go to the chapel four times a week on average a semester to not get kicked out of the school. I was like, “No”. When I went to West Texas A&M, I transferred after my freshman year. I stayed in theater. I decided to do theater education and I started teaching when I was 22. I liked teaching.

What grade were you teaching?

High school. It was tenth through twelfth. I came in in the middle of the year after a teacher had been fired.

Fear and love is funny. Click To Tweet

What does it take to get fired as the theater teacher in West Texas?

She’d been there for years and had been successful. She’d gone to State in one active play multiple times but there was this kid that she was picking on who was gay. She was saying things to his classmates like, “Joe’s not getting the part. I need you guys to be mean to him because he’s gay so he’ll understand what it’s like to be ostracized in society. He needs to be in this play.”

What is that called? That’s the method acting.

Trying to be directing with seventeen-year-olds who have their own emotions. She also was accused of stealing money. My principal was like, “I’m going to get this bright-eyed 22-year-old and she’s going to try to do something.”

How did it go?

First, it was weird because I didn’t anticipate this but the age gap was just too little. The students that first semester were either pissed that the teacher got fired or seniors just wanting to be done. That was rough but the following year went well.

Do you get to pick the plays? What plays did you pick?

Yes, that was fun. My favorite play that we did was called Sweet Nothings in Your Ear. It was all in ASL, American Sign Language. There was a family and their son was deaf, the mom was deaf and the father was not. They had to decide whether to get him a cochlear implant or not. It was cool because the main actors were signing and behind them, I had a secondary cast in black giving us the language. It was a beautiful play.

That’s great for someone with my kind of face. You put them in the darkness but I’ve got a good voice. I’d be great for that. I’m no Jon Hamm looking guy put me in the darkness and let me talk.

That was the one that I loved doing but I also love the musicals a lot.

The age difference will go away, that’s a temporary problem. Why make the change? This is a big change, to leave Texas, come to Colorado and go into an MBA program. Why? How?

I just was working a ton. I was probably working 65 hours a week.

I’m sure I’ve said this before on the podcast. These high school, junior high, elementary school teaching jobs, I think they used to be sweet jobs. I think that they are so incredibly hard nowadays. The expectations, all the State and county district, the admin testing, the access that parents have, the emailing and they’re not well-compensated. It’s fine to work a hard job, be well-compensated for it and find it super rewarding. The problem I think is these high school, middle school and elementary school. I have a friend who works in elementary school. I marvel at what she’s asked to dp and how much is going on.

Especially with an extracurricular. If you’re a coach, if you’re a band, if you’re theater, you’re doing it all the time. I was working a lot. You get the email Saturday morning after you put the cast list up that’s like, “Why didn’t so and so get an email?” That’s what killed me. I think now I’d handle it.

INJ 56 | Theatre Teacher
Theatre Teacher: The best pitches always start with a problem.

 

Kendall, I understand because I get those emails after I submit grades.

You spend a lot of time covering your ass, filming auditions and making sure you have another teacher in. That was part of it. The other part though for me was I could see that the next 30 years looked at the same and that it was never going to be anything different. It’s going to be four shows a year. I was going to be there, my salary wasn’t going to change and that looked gross.

I’ve been to West Texas. I had a colleague, a very good friend who worked at Texas Tech for many years and I visited him in Lubbock a few times. From one long point, an extended period of time. I got a little flavor for West Texas. I said I want to go to a Friday Night Lights game and I even made him and his wife tailgate beforehand so we could get the full experience. We were the only people tailgating in this game. I made friends with all the people in the stands and I was asking about who are the rivalries? There are these small towns in West Texas that are named after the landscape. Lubbock was a nice place but I could see how you say, “There’s a big world out there. I want to see it.” What I thought was striking about this particular game that we went to was you could start to see the cracks in this football-focused world.

The major crack was the band was enormous. There were more people in the band than there were on the football team. You start thinking that there are a lot of kids out there who are not set up for the traditional sports-focused world. At least they had a band. I think those kids were better off in the band than trying to play football. I had this experience living in New Jersey. I grew up in New Jersey, had gone to college in New Jersey and felt fortunate that I had lived in New Jersey. It’s a diverse place. It has access to things culturally that I probably wouldn’t have gotten because my family wasn’t terribly cultural. I always felt there was a big world out there and I was afraid that I was going to become a Jersian for life. I worked hard to make that happen and made myself uncomfortable making that happen but I managed to do it. Why an MBA then?

What I realized is that in a lot of what I was doing, being a high school theater teacher was managing a business. I had a hundred people that I worked with, students, faculty and parents. I was managing the budget, marketing our shows, making sure that people came and getting the political buy-in from people in the school. I was like, “I’m pretty good at this. I think this is what I should do.” It was either that or law school. I have a family of lawyers. They’re miserable. They make more money than I’m going to make coming out but they’re miserable. I actually took a class at the law school in the fall and it was great but I saw a little bit of what law was like. I’m glad I didn’t go that route.

It’s sad, you need lawyers because you need a professional who’s going to think through the worst case. Lawyers actually can provide a tremendous amount of value. The tough thing is what it can do to your perspective on the world.

It’s so tedious. It’s like the idea of reading these documents and then analyzing what the definition of is, is, not to quote Bill Clinton. I feel that popped up a little bit in this class and I was like, “I hate that.”

You do have a knack for marketing. This was on display for my class. For the audience, I think one of the signature elements in my class is I have the students do a marketing pitch. This is in their first semester and at the time, they’re taking mostly quantitative classes. They’re getting the math to death except for my class and then a social responsibility class for the most part. It’s their first real touch of how to think about creating a business or thinking about creating value for consumers. To turn up the challenge of this marketing pitch, I invite very accomplished marketing professionals from the community to judge. As a result, the best groups bring it even more so than they would if it was just me. The last time that I did this with you, it was in your first year. Your team had scored the highest score in the class. It was every single one of the evaluators gave you a high score. I agreed with those scores even though I don’t do the evaluating. Tell the audience what product you chose and how you decided to present it? I have a hunch that you were heavily involved in the presentation of this thing, directing it and so on.

How I started was thinking about jobs to be done. I was like, “What are jobs that I have in my life that suck?” I was talking to a girlfriend and she was talking about dating and she was like, “Kendall, it sucks when I get drunk and I sleep with him too fast.”

It’s in the sign, “The best pitches always start with a problem.” They always start with whatever it is. “I’ve got mice,” the classic mouse. If you’re going to pitch a mouse-trap, you’ve got to talk about mice and the problems that mice cause.

Clearly, it’s a problem. Not that I judge anyone for who had sex but she regretted doing it. I came up with this idea, what if you were wearing something so embarrassing underneath that you would never take your clothes off. I was like, “Period panties.” What was funny is I came up with the idea and I almost didn’t pitch it to my group because I was like, “There are three guys in here. I don’t know.” They all loved it. They went along with it immediately. When we pitched, I designed the product.

You brought a sample of the product and put it on the table in front of the evaluator.

In the beginning, we were like, “Here’s the problem. Boy meets girl, you go on a date, you may not know and you look in the mirror. You remember that you’ve got on the period panties.” It’s good.

Your present self and your future self are not going to have the same motives. Click To Tweet

The nice thing about this idea is that there are also these stories of women. This is a Ulysses problem when you think about it. How is it that you’re making a prediction about your future self in recognizing that your present self and your future self are not going to have the same motives? When they go to bed at night, they put the alarm on the other side of the room is recognizing that your self-control in the future won’t be as good. I’ve heard stories of women who will purposely not shave.

I’ve heard of wearing Spanx.

These different ways that you might know that a different person in the future is going to be making those decisions and so you’re going to handicap that person.

We pitched it. We brought in two samples, put them on the desk and brought in champagne because you can celebrate because you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

I remember you having a whole skit, a whole Tinder-style experience.

We created a commercial. I filmed the video and I directed it. The guy and girl on a date and their interaction. They get to go home and not worry. She doesn’t have to worry about giving it up too soon. That was fun and it was a big risk. I didn’t know how it would go over and it went over well.

That’s the thing about risks. They have big upside and they have a big downside. It was nice to see that it was rewarded because it was well-executed.

The understanding of the audience helps me there to be like, “What are their concerns? How are they going to be feeling during this? How do I make sure that there’s enough business here to make sure that they’re not dismissing it as students having a joke and having a laugh but still a serious presentation?” That was something I tried to carry through the whole thing.

In good marketing, you’re looking at, “What’s the competition? Why might people buy this?” You have this two-fold reason. Where are you going to sell it and at what price are you going to sell it? Can you actually make a business out of this PG panties? You’re going to be a product marketing manager. What does a product marketing manager do?

I didn’t know before I started. In large B2B tech companies which NetApp is, or not even in large but in B2B tech companies, there’s an internal sales team. A lot of what a product marketing manager does is translating that value that the engineers are giving us, product management is giving us that the product creates into content for sales and content for our end customer as well. How do we make this widget or this new launch upgrade clear to someone who maybe doesn’t have that high level of technical understanding or specific for the engineer who’s on the buying end who does have a very strong sense of understanding? This is some segmented marketing communications largely.

Can you say all this stuff without it sounding like jargon?

We release products on a yearly cadence and those products have complicated features. I have to create something that can distill the value of something technical in a short, concise, digestible, “Here’s why you want it.” I give that to both sales and then I do it for external audiences as well.

Are you working with the product manager? Is that your boss?

They’re an adjacent organization.

 

I asked that because I think those product manager roles are fascinating. They’re among the most interesting jobs in tech. It truly is a jack of all trades position because of all the different people you’re working with, including people like you.

That could be where maybe I’ll eventually go, I’m not sure. Product management and product marketing work close together. Many people on my team had been product managers before. That could be the way they do. They’re normally pretty technical.

Usually, these are people in that world, engineers and computer science types usually thrive in those positions if they have the EQ to go along with it.

It’s like an engineer with an MBA, most of the time is who those people are.

It’s a tough job to fill. What’s the secret to distilling these super technical things to these two different audiences, to both sales marketing people and to end-users or deciders at other businesses?

I think the first thing is that me not having a technical background actually made it a lot easier at first. I don’t know what that means but this is the general vibe I’m getting. I’m going to write about that and that at first connecting to more of an emotional level, which business buyers care about. I think that helps.

As a side about that emotional thing. I teach this briefly when I teach branding is we have a tendency to think about emotional brands, Nike and Coca-Cola. The most emotional brands are B2B brands like FedEx, Cisco and SAP. I can imagine an audience going, “What’s Cisco? Qualcomm? What are these companies?” If you work in a business that you hire these companies and they are essential for your success, you have this strong emotional connection. No, FedEx is not sexy by any means but its effect on your success makes it emotional. It’s a counter-intuitive finding.

What I’m trying to focus on is, what’s the value that makes this dev-ops engineer be able to sleep at night or that week as NetApp can provide?

What does NetApp provide?

We’re a Cloud infrastructure and on-premise infrastructure.

I have a bunch of sayings in my class. Do you remember any of the sayings that I like?

The Ricky Bobby one, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” “Business is hard, business is hard, business is hard.”

I have a new one which is, “Every company is a tech company.” That’s something that aspiring business entrepreneurs should soon recognize. As a result, if every company is a tech company, there’s a chance that they need to store data and people no longer store data in a server on their premise. They store it somewhere in so many places out there in the world.

Some companies are putting it on-premise and some of it in the Cloud. There are all sorts of different variations.

If you allow something to be fascinating, it can be. Click To Tweet

There are a bunch of solutions that are out and NetApp is one of those solutions. Who are your competitors?

Dell, VMware, Nutanix, HP and Cisco.

Not sexy but emotional and important. I think it’s super fascinating.

What I’ve learned is that I think if you allow something to be fascinating, it can be. I would have never thought this was interesting. When I leaned in, “Let’s dive in and learn about Cloud infrastructure.” Now I think it’s fascinating.

I thank you for saying that because I constantly try to convince students to go into totally boring industries. The reason is that the more boring the industry, the more important it is in a sense. Those two things are going to be mildly, positively correlated. The other one is that there’s less competition. Everybody wants to be in sports marketing and they want to do all this stuff. Now, you have lots of competition. You’re going to get paid less to do the same job and so on. The other thing that what I think a lot of people realize is that if you allow yourself to learn about these things, this work becomes engaging because it’s still challenging work.

You get paid more and you’re creating more value. No, it’s not sexy but it’s important. Adam Grant has this podcast. The mission is you have to work, so you might as well enjoy it. I like that idea. The paycheck matters. There’s no doubt that all things equal, you should work for more money. An afternoon in the office is never going to be as good as the massage and a nap but it can be engaging in the way that putting on a play can be engaging. An artistic pursuit can be engaging if you can manage to find the right position, the right boss, the right place that allows you to use those muscles.

I’m struggling with that a little bit. I think at the beginning of the MBA program, I was ready to go all business. Now I’m like, “I’m not doing good directionally.” I’m struggling with that idea a little bit.

The thing about being a theater teacher, you made something that brought joy to an audience and to the performers.

You’re developing relationships. That is the piece that I miss. I don’t think I’m going to go back to teaching but I’m going to have to figure out a way to get that out of business or in my personal life.

Going back to the sports marketing example, people are like, “I love sports.” I’m like, “Go get a marketing job for a pharmaceutical company and buy season tickets to the Nuggets.” You don’t have to give up this thing and actually you can maintain the joy that it gives. That’s interesting knowing that you have a particular skill set and there’s something that you like to do that you might have to find it either in your work or elsewhere as a result of that. Kendall, do you have a rival frenemy or even an enemy?

I don’t know if I do. The biggest problem is I like to be the best so many times. If someone is better than me, then I keep thinking, “Why? I got to be better on that.” If it’s something that I care about. I don’t need to be the best in finance but if I feel it’s a strong suit for me, I don’t like to see someone else doing better. I can’t think of a specific person.

That’s interesting because that seems like more of a rival than an enemy.

It’s more of a motivator than it is someone I hate.

I asked this question because it’s a little bit of a question about motivation. It’s interesting because business is filled with rivals and enemies. It’s almost impossible to be successful in business for very long without that happening. The idea of paying attention to your competition is actually useful in business. What I’m unsure about is how useful is it beyond. The reason I started asking this question is because of comedy, comics. This is related to shtick. For the audience, I’m working on a new project called Shtick to Business. These are lessons from the masters of comedy and Kendall was desperate for independent study that I said, “If you want to help me with this, I will advise your independent study but I will not advise any other independent study besides this one.” You’re like, “I guess I’ll do it.” I think of that is mutually beneficial. We’ve been talking a lot about these things.

INJ 56 | Theatre Teacher
Theatre Teacher: It’s almost impossible to be successful in business for very long without competitors arriving.

 

In comedy, there is truly a pecking order of sorts. You’ve got your brand new rookie comics. You’ve got your people who are opening acts and you have your headliners. If you’re a rookie, you want to become an opening act. If you’re opening act, you want to become a headliner. If you’re a headliner, you want to go on a world tour, you want to do theater. The feedback is very clear. You perform and you’re getting laughs or you’re not getting laughs and you know how big the laughs are. If you’re an opening act, you want to crush it. You want people to go, “That liner was fine. That guy who opened the act, he’s something else. I want to see him next time.” I think that is good. It’s hard to get good at things and having a little bit of that, “I want to be in that spot. I want that headlining spot,” can help. What I find difficult is I don’t know how much people don’t use this or don’t want to talk about it. I’ve been asking this question for a while and I’m about to give up on it because I rarely get a great story.

I used to have that in theater and that’s actually why I was like, “I don’t like this.” It’s because you were always going into an audition and then you do it one way. You see the girl go up and do it and she’s prettier than you. She has a better read and you’re like, “Fuck.” I did speech and debate and you’re like, “If Mitchell Harris is here, I want to beat him.” That level felt so toxic for me that I don’t like to do that anymore.

It’s interesting you say this because I used to be like that. This happens in sports a lot because you’re competing against someone, that person has a face and a name. That motivation works. The word toxic is a good word because the worry is that you poison yourself in order to motivate yourself. I’ve given it up and I did so reluctantly because I thought I’d lose an edge. Your biggest enemy is, “I’ll show you the world,” but no one cares. That’s one of the big things is no one ever goes, “Kendall, I didn’t think you could pull this MBA off. I was wrong about that.”

If they did, that sounds like an awful person.

No one ever congratulates you on overcoming the thing that they thought you couldn’t do and you give that person a ton of power. You never get the true benefit. The real benefit that you do get is the accomplishment. The question is, are there other ways to accomplish it? I do think that the other way to accomplish it, this is true for comedy too, is to simply work on your craft and to have good habits. If you can do that, you don’t need that extra motivation because you’re going to get most of the way there.

In grad school I had a saying, which was, “Cooperate and graduate” These folks are competitors in some mild way but for the most part, we’re going to be better off if we all work together. We’re all going to be better as a result of that. You’ve made this big move. You’ve had success here. You’re on the verge. When you think about important people in your life who have helped you succeed, does anyone come to mind? Do you have a strategy for cultivating those kinds of relationships? Tell me a little bit about that.

I have a mentor through the school and there have been a few times since I’ve worked with her where I wasn’t going to go for something because I thought it would make me too busy. She kept telling me, “No, you need to.” These different moments where I was uncomfortable. I realized through working with her that tendency and I also come to value mentorship in general.

She sounds a good mentor. What’s her name?

Cindy O’Keefe, she’s a VP of marketing at Gorilla Logic. I think your family too and all that.

Don’t say it like that because I’ll tell you this, I didn’t have that. That’s not exactly true. My mom got me to maintain a focus on college so hat was good. Once I went off to college, I was 100% on my own. I always had friends that I could rely on. Family, I don’t think that’s always the case.

They haven’t been financially supporting me but my mom has always been like, “You can do whatever you want to do.” She never put any doubts about my abilities. From very early on, I never questioned whether or not I can do something. That has helped me. I’ve got a lot of people in my life with graduate degrees in my family so I think that’s helpful too. My husband actually finished his graduate degree the year before I started mine. Supporting him through his, knowing that I’d have the support in this one made me be able to dive in for two years and not do it halfway.

I’m sure he’s happy you’re graduating.

I’m going to Hawaii for two weeks after graduation.

What is his training?

The more boring the industry is, probably the more important it is. Click To Tweet

He has a Master’s in economics and he works in the analytics for a tech company.

You guys are going to have parallel lives.

He loves to play instruments and loves the ukulele, which is part of the reason we’re going to Hawaii.

I fell in love with art late in life. I was a sports guy. I’m glad I was an athlete. I still benefit from that fitness-wise and health-wise. That’s a lifelong skill that I always have. I think especially for men, I wish there were more encouragement and outlets for artistic endeavors. In terms of living a good life, I think it’s a nice way to balance. These video games are so compelling. If you could give these guys something that could rival these video games in terms of their engagement, I feel art can do that. It’s not an obvious way to get into it unless you were already naturally that kid who was drawn into theater or whatnot.

There are some stigmas, especially in West Texas. When I started the LGBT Club, I was worried that it would take the limited boys that I had in theater and pull them away. They’d be afraid of being associated with being gay, if they were or weren’t, in a homophobic little town. I that in my husband. He’s like, “I would have done band, choir and theater. I would have done sports but everyone played sports.”

There are some cracks in that. I think honestly, Instagram and social media in some ways are starting to create some cracks. It is an outlet for creativity and artistry. It’s a missed opportunity. This is true for men and women. I find that men could stand to benefit even more. I actually don’t think you have to give up playing basketball or lifting weights if that’s what you like to do to compliment it with the ukulele, with painting, with dance or visual arts. What’s interesting is you actually need those muscles in business.

I think the biggest thing that has helped me is doing speech and debate in high school. What you get is an audience every Saturday for two hours listening to you talk. How often do you get that regular force, “I’m going to go up and talk in front of people to practice?” I don’t think you do and it’s helped me tremendously.

What are you reading, watching or listening to that stands out? It’s not just good but it’s really good.

I’m reading an audiobook called Lion. It’s that book about the kid that was lost in India and got adopted by these Australian parents and goes back on this search to find his home. I like the human element of it and all the different relationships. It’s good. I watched A Star Is Born and I’m trying to decide how I feel about it. I was expecting to love it and I didn’t love it.

I haven’t seen it yet. I want to see it. I think I’m going to like it. I love Lady Gaga. I do a Lady Gaga case as you know. How is that Bradley Cooper is so good at everything?

He was fantastic. His voice was good. I think he’s a good worker.

He has to be a total pro. It’s painful for someone’s that good looking and can sing and act.

We haven’t seen him dance yet.

INJ 56 | Theatre Teacher
Lion: A Long Way Home

He’s in Silver Linings Playbook. I haven’t seen it. Let me guess why you didn’t like it. It was a little too pie in the sky. It was a little too Hollywoody happy ending type.

No, I hate the self-destructive stories and this was like that. I was not expecting that. I wanted it to be Hollywood.

You wanted more of the scrappy upstart who just needed a break.

She gets her start. She’s so good and at the end, maybe she’s having to decide if she wants to be this new concocted version of herself or her true artistic self. I would love that but it was dark.

Have you seen Bohemian Rhapsody?

Yes, I have. I loved it.

That movie got mixed reviews. I was surprised. I was eager to see, I watched it. I’m curious what your thought about Bohemian Rhapsody was?

Maybe I liked it better for that reason because you see his downward journey and yet you see how he fights to the end. He has this courageous finish, gets back with the band, asked for forgiveness and there’s some redemption to it. I love looking at creations of the scene where they are making the song in the studio and seeing what Hollywood says it looks like. I love that as seeing the creative genius at work. I liked that he was also not traditional. He’s a weirdo and I love that.

If the story is accurate, he is kind of a lovely person. I think Queen is a special band. There is a PBS, BBC or something that there’s this series about making the album. It’s about making great classic albums. The episode for Queen is fascinating. One of the things that’s fascinating about that band is Freddie Mercury is the ultimate frontman in a style of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix that has this gift. However, the band is surprisingly egalitarian and it comes out a little bit in the movie but not fully. The problem with Hollywood is you need a star, one person and one genius thing. It alluded to this because Freddie Mercury goes off on his own and realizes that he can’t do it alone. He has to come back. Part of the reason, and you see it in different scenes, is everybody in that band made songs. Everybody in the band wrote lyrics, made songs and it ended up essentially becoming very democratic in the sense of why their music sounds so completely different. You have four different guys making four different styles of music. You take the best of those four styles, you put them on an album and you listen to this album. No one ever says every Queen song sounds the same.

They’ve got a great frontman. What I think is unique about them is that they’re liked by a broad-range of people.

In part is because they have a little something for everyone as a result of that. I didn’t mean to bring in something that I saw but I thought it is fun to see the arcs of these fun stories. Bohemian Rhapsody is in many ways a two-hour long music video. They spend a lot of time playing the music and showing the band perform. In that way, the movie’s always going to be good enough.

It’s such a celebration of music. I loved it.

Kendall, thank you so much for doing this. You did well enough. I will give a third student a shot at some later date.

You can always delete them. If it’s bad, just delete it. Thanks.

Resources mentioned:

About Kendall Carroll

INJ 56 | Theatre TeacherKendall Carroll started her career as a high school theatre teacher in a small town in West Texas. She made her way to the MBA program at the University of Colorado Boulder. While in the MBA program, Kendall has focused on Marketing, serves as the MBA Association President, and is my teaching assistant. She has accepted a job as a product marketing manager at NetApp.

 

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