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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #137 - Adam Borba

Adam Borba Gew up in Palm Springs, California and graduated from USC. He began career working his way up from the mailroom at the William Morris Agency. Currently Adam, oversees development and production at Whitaker Entertainment based at Walt Disney Studios. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, 3-year-old son, and 1-year-old daughter.
THE MIDNIGHT BRIGADE was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

The Midnight Brigade


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12:05 - Adam's journey into the film industry

14:15 - working your way up from the mailroom

16:10 - becoming a producer

18:25 - challenges 

20:55 - making movies for everyone

13:10 - Adams current projects

26:40 - being on location

27:55 - reimagining Disney classics

29:10 - the midnight brigade

33:40 - Adam's creative process with the book

37:10 - the 'big reveals'

38:15 - finding an agent and making changes to the story

41:35 - the query letter

43:05 - lessons from the collaborative process

45:35 - what happens when a movie flops

48:20 - should everyone follow their dreams in the movies?

50:00 - Adams next book

50:40 - midnight brigade the movie

52:10 - writing a screenplay vs a novel

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58:30 - What Adams Kids Watch

59:15 - Character Basis

1:00:10 - carl's dad's food truck

1:00:50 - adam's daily habits

1:03:30 - being part of a working family

1:04:30 - emails

1:05:50 - does adam biohack?

1:08:00 - blue light blocking glasses

1:12:00 - misconceptions of the industry

1:14:00 - the future of the movie industry

1:17:35 - how the pandemic effected adam's production company

1:20:15 - the future


Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. Okay, I know every time I start this show, I say that I am so incredibly excited for the conversation that I'm about to have and that is always true. But friends, I am so excited about the conversation that I'm about to have. I've been thinking about this conversation for months now, probably. Okay, so, today's show is going to be a little bit different than the other episodes that I've had. It's going to be more personal, it's going to be about one of my most majorest passions in my life, not biohacking related. So, for listeners who are not familiar, I actually went to film and theatre school at USC in Los Angeles and lived in LA for about 10 years, currently in Atlanta, but probably headed back to LA. But when I was at school at USC, my senior year, I did quite a few internships. The most magical, incredible internship that I did was at Whitaker Entertainment by Jim Whitaker at Disney Studios. It was just the most amazing, magical experience. I learned so much about producing movies and the movie industry, and development, and all of that stuff. 

But at the time that I was there, Mr. Adam Borba was the assistant. He is just honestly one of my most favoritest people in the world and I actually mean that. Of course, that was a while ago, and he is no longer an assistant. He is actually a creative executive at Whitaker Entertainment at Disney and on top of that he just released his first kids' book called The Midnight Brigade, which friends, get this book now. Get it for yourself or get it for your kids. It's so funny, it's such an adventure, I just had the best time reading it, and I'm just going to gift it to all the kids that I know. But in any case, I thought it would be really awesome and wonderful to bring Adam on the show to just have a conversation about the movie industry, and Hollywood, and writing books, and making movies, and magic, and all those things. So, Adam, thank you so much for being here.

Adam Borba: Melanie, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Melanie Avalon: I think so, too. I was just thinking back to my intern days and I would always get there so early, and then I feel I would just like unload on you all my crazy stories about college life. Thank you for putting up with all of that back in the day.

Adam Borba: You were an incredible intern and very driven.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. [giggles] Such fun times. To start things off, so many ways that we could take this conversation, but I think for a lot of people-- For me, I've always loved movies, and I've pursued it as a career, and all of that. The movie industry is a very real thing to me. It's people, and it's jobs, and it's a business. But I think for a lot of people who for what all they see is the actual movie in a theatre. They don't see what goes into making it, and the production, and all of that. But it can seem very disconnected and it can be hard to know what it's actually like to be in that business. So, for listeners, what was your story leading to where you are today? Did you always know that you wanted to be producing films? But what led to that, what was your journey like? I want to hear the story.

Adam Borba: Yeah, I think we had very similar journeys, Melanie. As a kid, I love movies. I was constantly watching them. I grew up in Palm Springs, California and I think that played a big part of it. Palm Springs has a film festival, which is a yearly thing that's every January for a month and it's was just a special thing to have in a town of 40,000 people. For that period of time, I would go out with my family, would see two or three movies every day on the weekend and a movie every night after school. And that I think started with me when I was maybe eight-ish or so and then I just stuck with it. Growing up like every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, at least two out of three days, I was at the movie theatre. By the time I was in high school, I know what I wanted to do. I went to USC as well, I did a ton of internships in college after my freshman year, I worked it out. I essentially had classes two days a week and then the other three days, I was working at production companies or agencies around Los Angeles. Then when I graduated from school, I got a job at the mailroom at the William Morris Agency. Then I worked at William Morris in the motion picture department for about three and a half or four years. Then 11 and a half years ago, I was hired by Jim Whitaker, and I was his first hire at his new company at Disney, and I've been there ever since.

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. Hearing that you worked in the mailroom, it's like a thing like, "Oh, working your way up through the mailroom," what does that even mean?

Adam Borba: Yeah, it's exactly what you think it is, where you're literally in the mailroom, going around a building that has hundred plus agents delivering mail, and then delivering interoffice envelopes back and forth. But while you're doing the job, you're learning through osmosis. People are on the phone all day long, doors open, that kind of thing. You're hearing bits and pieces of phone calls. Then you're also meeting everyone in the building slowly. Then meanwhile you're often sent out on deliveries to take packages, deliver scripts, that kind of thing. So, you're beginning to get a sense of the town and figuring out other people around the industry as well. Then, slowly, as you've heard those conversations, as you've met everyone in the building, then you're ready to start moving into an assistant role and you're working for an agent, you're handling their schedule, you're sending out scripts to their clients, and you're on every single one of their phone calls, listening, and just learning about the business. So, it's a great way to just jump in and be at the center of a lot of aspects of the business side of moviemaking.

Melanie Avalon: I'm just having flashbacks to all of the internships that I would do. I was just so excited. You mentioned, like, did get these glimpses of what was going on behind the scenes and feel like, "Oh, this is actually happening, and I'm here, and maybe I can do this, too." So, yeah, that's absolutely amazing. Did you always want to produce specifically? Was that the angle?

Adam Borba: Yeah, I think more often than not, yes. I think for the first year, year and a half I was at William Morris. I knew I wanted to be a producer. I got sidetracked the next year after that and was like, "Hey, maybe I want to be an agent." That would have been just an awful, awful fit. Luckily, William Morris and Endeavor merged. Unfortunately, there was a writer strike at that time as well or shortly before or after I'm getting my time [chuckles] all messed up. There was a period of time where nobody was getting promoted, and that gave me time to step back, and rethink, and remember why I got into the business in the first place. I recalibrated, thought about where I wanted to go while I was having fun, and making connections, and working with my friends at the agency. Then I was looking for the right move to make next and then I had a couple breakfasts with Jim Whitaker, who was a client of Endeavor. Sorry, Endeavor was a motion picture and television agency.

Melanie Avalon: Had he put out a call looking for an assistant? 

Adam Borba: Yeah, essentially, like an email went out to all the assistants and just like, "Hey, Jim Whitaker is starting a new deal. He's left Imagine Entertainment. He is looking to staff up his company." That's one of the other great things about working at a talent agency is, you find out about jobs before everybody else. If someone is a client of the agency or has a good relationship with the agency, you're able to get your resume to that person first. Then also, you have the experience. We're just like, "Listen, you're looking for an assistant. I've been an assistant for these many years. I've worked for these people. I can do this job."

Melanie Avalon: I don't think I had realized that. I remember that I guess when I interned for you guys, you had just recently started at Disney. It was relatively fresh, I think.

Adam Borba: Yeah, again, my timing shady, but a little foggy. I would guess we had been up and running for about six months to a year by the time you started.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, crazy. What was the most challenging thing all of that during your journey to where you are now?

Adam Borba: I think it's always figuring out the next step to make in terms of like, what you want to do. You put in so much time in life. You only have the bandwidth to do so much. It's like if I'm leaving the mailroom and getting my first task, am I going to work for someone who is going to--? Will I learn from this person, and will I have a positive experience, and will I be able to move on to a better job after this? It's the same thing going forward. Even coming down to movies, you can only make so many movies. You only have the bandwidth to develop so many things like, "Is this the thing that will get greenlit and does it have the potential to be great? Is this idea for a book something that I feel I can write well, and will resonate out in the world?" It's those kinds of choices and that's always the challenge. My wife and I have two young kids. I'm balancing a ton. Making choices of what to do, that's the big thing, Melanie.

Melanie Avalon: The type of projects that you're making now, what has that evolution looked like?

Adam Borba: For me, I grew up in the 80s. A lot of my favorite movies were movies by Steven Spielberg, and Joe Dante, and Tim Burton. They all had this feeling that a lot of the Disney movies have now or they're driven by heart, humor, and magic. Those are things that I run through my own writing as well. I feel if you connect with those stories when you're young, they can stick with you for the rest of your life. The goal is to always work on something that's potentially some kid's favorite movie. That's the same thing I do with my books. I feel like if you're honest with your audience, and telling straight stories, and not speaking, or writing, or talking down to your audience in any way in terms of kids, adults will connect with it as well. That's the goal to make and tell stories that connect with everyone.

Melanie Avalon: As far as the content and talking about talking down to kids and stuff, I think it's really hard in my opinion to make and it's what Disney has done so well for so long, which is make a movie that the entire audience can enjoy from kids to adults, because it's kid friendly and inspiring for kids, but then also intelligent, so that [giggles] the older adults appreciate it as well. Then also, just timeless in a way beyond time and it's really, really hard to define those projects. For listeners, who are not familiar at all with the development world for movies in a lot of internships, what the main task often is, is just reading, doing coverage on scripts, which means you're just reading lots of scripts, because there are a lot of scripts and basically there are a lot of ideas out there. I'm just so fascinated by the process of seeing something and knowing that it will make a good film that fits all that criteria and then just the journey to it, I just think there's just so much that I think most people don't even realize. I remember, I was just thinking about the passion surrounding all of it. That was really the vibe that-- 

When I was interning for you guys, everything that you're saying right now is exactly the vibe that it was, which was finding this next big project and I was-- [giggles]. This just came to me. I was so happy to be there and the tasks that I would be given, I was just so excited to do them. But I remember one time, because you guys were producing the finest hour and Jim asked me to watch, what movie was it? What are the different movies that have a lot of water in them? 

Adam Borba: Perfect Storm has a ton. That was a big touch point.

Melanie Avalon: I think it was Perfect Storm. Yeah. He was like, "Watch this movie and tell me how many minutes exactly there is water." [giggles] There is water, like, real water or water just inside on an indoor set, or there was like four categories of water. I had to watch it and make notes about the actual amount of water. It's those types of things that I think people just don't realize everything that goes into everything? I was all over the place with that, but I will bring that to a question which was, maybe you can tell listeners a little bit about the projects that you have worked on. Which ones have been the most fulfilling for you with all of that that you just spoke about?

Adam Borba: I love all of them. We were now on our sixth movie in the history of our deal. Our first one was a movie called The Odd Life of Timothy Green, which was a movie that Peter Hedges wrote and directed based on an idea that Ahmet Zappa had. Jim, Ahmet, and a producer named Scott Sanders produce that together. I was Jim's assistant at that time, but I was also his only employee at the company. So, I was the one who was working with Jim, and taking notes and calls, and writing up development notes, and putting list together for crew I just learned a ton. It was having to jump right in and figure things out. Jim has been an incredible mentor, but there was a big learning curve on that one just because things were happening and moving quickly. Then as you mentioned, The Finest Hours came next, and then after that, we did Pete's Dragon. That was the first one that was an idea that I generated. It was my favorite movie as a four-year-old. 

I think my first or second week in the company, Jim and I started talking about it just conceptually in terms of what a reimagining would be. It took probably three or four years after that to get to a place with Jim and at that point, a couple other colleagues, where we were able to work through just a very rough three-page outline. That was a bit of story, but a lot of thematic and a lot of character work. That's where that movie came from. Eventually, we found David Lowery, who directed it and his writing partner, Toby Halbrooks. The two of them took that three-pager and made it entirely their own and wrote a beautiful script. That's a movie I'm particularly proud of. After that we did A Wrinkle in Time, a wonderful experience. We got to work with Jennifer Lee, who now runs Disney Animation. But before that, she wrote and directed the movie, Frozen. Jennifer wrote a beautiful script. We were fortunate to have Ava DuVernay direct who has been just incredible friend, and force, and just inspiration. She has taught me [chuckles] a lot about a lot of things not just filmmaking, but the world and how to go about things the right way. 

Then after that, we did a movie called Timmy Failure, which Tom McCarthy co-wrote and directed. Right now, we're working with David Lowery once again who we did Pete's Dragon with and we're doing a big live action adaptation of Peter Pan & Wendy. Right now, we're back in Burbank. We were up in Vancouver for hundred days shooting, but we are now rushing to get the movie ready to put in front of an audience for the first time for just a very early preview screening, which will happen this Saturday. We've got a long way to go on this movie. It's a big one. So, we'll essentially not be done with this movie until July. It's hundreds of people working everyday very long hours to get it where it needs to be, but it's been just a wonderful experience and it's a movie we're really excited about.

Melanie Avalon: Are you actually on set-- on location for all these films? What percent are you on location versus working from an office?

Adam Borba: Yeah, about half. They all started in an office. Then when we go off and actually physically make the movies, either Jim and me or Jim and one of my colleagues, and when that happens, we're physical on-set producers. We get to set very early, we are there watching every take, we're talking to the director when we need to, and we're probably solving problems as they pop up all day long. Days on making a movie, we often work six and sometimes, seven-day weeks. We're working 12- to 14-hour days every day.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's another thing I think people might not realize until they're there. It's just how long, and how intense, and how awesome, but it's definitely a lot of work, and time, and hours and passion, and commitment that goes into producing a film, especially one to the hugeness, that's not a very good word, but hugeness of something like reimagining a Disney classic. Another question, so within the Peter Pan & Wendy and reimagining of old Disney classic world, what other Disney movies would you like to see made from animated films, live action forms?

Adam Borba: Disney, it's an incredible studio and they have a massive development slate. We're at a place now, where anything you would think of re-imagining Disney is, it has that project somewhere in the pipeline. Right now, we're on the hunt for things that haven't been done before. Either adaptations of books, original stories, or other classic fairy tales, or classic books that have not been made by Disney, but feel they should have been. So, that's what we're hunting for. Just new things that makes sense with that great Disney Castle in front of the film.

Melanie Avalon: I have ideas, [laughs] but you came up with this book, The Midnight Brigade. Was that somehow related to what you just spoke about as far as looking for films from other property?

Adam Borba: Yeah, that's absolutely right. The Midnight Brigade, it's about three kids that are outsiders that each have trouble making friends that end up finding each other and becoming friends. The kids live in Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh is a city that has three major rivers that run right through the heart of it. Pittsburgh has 400 and I think 46 bridges in the city, which I had no idea about until I visited. My wife is from Pittsburgh. We now go out there every year. I was looking for a movie to do about a Troll just because I felt it was an interesting creature and it felt something that could be fun for a kid's movie. I was just doing just a ton of searching of looking through old fairy tales, looking through existing middle grade books, and I just wasn't finding what I was looking for. 

Then on one of those trips with my wife to Pittsburgh, I was staring at a bridge and I thought about how fun it would be to find a Troll living under a bridge as a kid and how much fun it would be to keep that Troll a secret with your friends. It was one of those things, where ideas coming together, all of a sudden, started to take shape. I started making an outline for what I thought was going to be another movie. Usually, the outlines that my colleagues and I drew were about three pages and within a couple of days, I had dozens of pages, where it was way past an outline for a movie. I realized very quickly like, "Oh, I'm not doing an outline for a movie at all. This is very detailed scene work. I'm actually writing a book." I surprised myself with that. I honestly didn't intend to do so. Then I didn't mention it to anyone just because I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish. But I worked on it every day. Then eventually, I had completed a draft of a novel. 

Melanie Avalon: Whoa, I didn't know that. So, you wrote it first, like, you wrote the novel draft.

Adam Borba: I wrote the novel. I didn't tell anyone. 

Melanie Avalon: You told your wife? 

Adam Borba: No, I actually-- My wife is coincidentally a literary agent. She represents authors and sells books to publishers. My wife is not my agent. One night I came home and said like, "Hey, if I wrote something, would you read it?" She's like, "Oh, sure, of course." I walked out to my car and [chuckles] brought the manuscript I had written, and gave it to her, and she's like-- [laughs] She was very surprised and shocked throughout that night and that's how it happened.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Okay, this is incredible. I'm very goal oriented and every "big project" I've done, I've had the end goal of manifesting it. When I originally self-published my book, I knew all along, I was going to self-publish it. Then when I traditionally published it, that was all like a path. But just hearing you talk about this, were you on the fence about it, were you just going to write it and see what happened or did you know, no, yes, I want to turn it into a book?

Adam Borba: Yeah, I think early on it was such a flyer for me, because I always felt worst case, nothing happens with the book, it doesn't sell, I could still turn it back into a movie. We're slowly working on developing it into a film, as well. But it was kind of, "Hey, nothing to lose." But also, it was very driven in terms of getting a ton. I don't think you can sit down, and write a book, and then just stumble into it. At some point, you have to really figure out that drive and start setting goals for yourself. I'm going to write X amount of words every day and that's how you get it done. Just because I think it's one of those things where if you start writing, and then lose the thread of it, and set it aside, it's hard to pick it back up and get back into it. So, it really is about setting goals and pushing forward, and that applies to a lot of things in life.

Melanie Avalon: I'm just so fascinated by everybody's individual creative process. Did you come up with the entire plot, and the characters, and really intense outline, and you filled it in or was it more it came to you as you were writing it chronologically, what was that process like?

Adam Borba: For The Midnight Brigade, I essentially had two documents open on my computer. One of them had the manuscript and one of them was the outline. I outlined as I went and it was loose and it was just like sometimes, I would write something one day and then realize, like, "Oh, there's an opportunity for a joke to call back to. I should make a note that a few bullet points later down this outline, I should make a joke about flossing" that kind of thing or stumble into a set piece for a climax, I didn't quite know where I was going. But a lot of times, the outline was very vague, where it would literally say, I would write things like something bad happens. Then the next beat was something happens that makes that worse, and it would work that way to come into shape. I felt that was a good way to come up with a storyline that I like to think unpredictable, but it was also a lot of work in terms of getting into shape. I'm going to say 10 complete drafts of that manuscript before it went out into the world, and was probably four or five before it was ready to go to publishers even. It was a lot of work by not having that firm outline to start on all of our movies and I am almost done with my next book, those that have much more concrete outlines to start usually. I'm a strong believer in the idea of getting a three-page outline in place and that should be enough for basic plot points for a movie or loose enough plot points for a book and then the outline grows from there. By the time you, this is really getting into the weeds, Melanie, but-- 

Melanie Avalon: I love the weeds. Keep going. [giggles]  

Adam Borba: Yeah, by the time you're ready to-- If we're pitching a movie to a studio, that is usually a 10 to 12-page document by the time it's ready to go in. If you have 10 to 12 pages of written prose, that is enough time to go beat for beat for what will be a hundred to 110-page screenplay. Then for when I'm writing books, what I start off was that three-page outline just continues to grow as more details, and subplots and characters emerge in the writing. By the time I'm done with the book, that three-page outline and I think on both books ended up being 20 pages. So, it just grows as the project grows.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I don't want to give anything away for listeners. But did you come up at the beginning with the revelation at the end early?

Adam Borba: No. I think there's two big reveals towards the end of The Midnight Brigade. One of them is based on fact and it was a story that a friend had told me probably 10 years before I wrote the book that I had forgotten all about, that I stumbled into when I had written myself into a wall. I was just like, "Oh, of course, this is what I needed." Then the other reveal was there's just something I made up on the spot when I had, again, written myself into a corner and both of those things ended up being the solutions. Those were two of the things that essentially stayed the same through those 10 drafts that followed. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. The one based on fact was just so mind blowing to me. I was like, "What?" 

Adam Borba: It's crazy. 

Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh. I was like, "How have I not heard about this before?" So, yeah, that was fabulous. Were there any super major changes? Actually, I guess, stepping back, I'm assuming you probably met your agent through your wife or how did you find your literary agent and were there any major changes with the project with your editor, and your publisher, and all of that?

Adam Borba: I ended up signing with WME, which is the agency my wife works for. But before I did that, I didn't want to just sign with an agent, because it's the same company my wife works at. Publishing is the one of the few creative businesses where you can send out a query letter to an agent, and they will actually read that letter and respond to you as opposed to in the feature and television business, where they don't take on solicit material, you have to find your representation first. It's a chicken and the egg thing. You really have to hustle, meet people, enter contests, which is I think much more easier way to get into now than it used to be with websites like The Black List. You can upload your screenplay and people will read it. I feel if you write something good, people will find you. That process has gotten shorter. 

Back on the publishing side, so, I sent out query letters to a bunch of agents. I spent a long time working on that letter just because I spent a long time working on that book. The responses were great. I had a handful of agents circle back and offer to read my book. A lot of them came back with notes, and address notes, and then ultimately, I was in a position where I had a choice. I realized I was actually connecting creatively best with the agents. I signed with a WME. I did two drafts with them before we went out with the book. They helped me a ton. When they first read the manuscript, so, there're three kids and each of the kids have parents that are a big part of the story as well. That first draft or that the draft that they read, the parents were a much bigger part, where it was 50% kid's point of view, 50% parents. I pulled way back and now it's probably, I don't even know. [laughs] It was a fraction and that was a note that I got from my agents. 

Then also, while there were three kids in the book in the manuscript they initially read, it was really focused on just one of them and they encouraged me to make it more of a collective, move the point of view around, and that was creative feedback that made the book better. It's a big part of finding the right agent is making sure you're dealing with someone who sees eye to eye with you creatively and not only can sell your material well, but help you make your material better.

Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting hearing you point that out about the query letter. For listeners, when I traditionally published my book, I pitched it to an agent and I actually signed with my dream agent. She's one of the top nonfiction diet agents in the country. But the query letter is so hard, because basically, you have your entire work, which is very lengthy. Then you have to in a few paragraphs explain really quick everything quickly, and succinctly, and why you need to be signed. I may have probably spent two months just writing my one email. 

Adam Borba: Yeah, it's nerve-racking. 

Melanie Avalon: It's awful. Then I remember my agent, she called me and she said, "She gets 10,000 unsolicited submissions every year, and she answers two of them, and she wanted to sign me." I was like, "Oh, my gosh," but it's so cool. That idea that I guess it really is the one of the only industries where that is still a pathway there, where you can submit yourself and have them actually read it. It's pretty old school in that regard in the spirit of book writing, I guess.

Adam Borba: No, totally. And just like, those letters are so important, because basically writing a book takes a long time, but also reading a book takes a long time. You're basically telling someone that like, "Hey, you need to find the time to stop what you're doing with everything else in your life and read my book, just because I think would be a good use of your time." But you're asking someone to step away from everything else you are doing. It's a tricky, important letter and spend the time on it.

Melanie Avalon: What have you learned from that collaborative, creative process? For people, who have things they want to make creatively, when you do ultimately end up in a team to make it, so be it movies or books, do you ever have moments where you wanted one thing creatively and other people want different things and how do you know what to go with, and what you should hold on to, and what you should let go.

Adam Borba: Rarely in either field, am I in a position where I feel so strongly and everyone is against me that I'm going to put my foot down and say like, "We have to do it this way." I think I get this from being a producer, where it's important that everyone is heard. If you're getting a note on something that you don't agree with, it's important to take the time and figure out, why that note's coming, what's the note behind the note? Someone is feeling like something isn't right. Sometimes, there is a specific suggestion that comes from that person that you may not agree with, but often there's a common ground where just like, you're suggesting, like, this character should do X, but this character would never do that. But why did you feel this character needed to do X and then it's perhaps the solution is Y. That sounded like a math. [laughs] I'm doing algebra here, Melanie. It's important to do the work to get on the same page with people. Being creative in a vacuum, some people can do it, but I think most people are better off if they are collaborating, if they have a sounding board, if you're working with someone else to get to the best version of idea, you don't have to take everyone's ideas verbatim, but you should be open to feedback, and you should be open to criticism, and you should be open to the idea that there are better ideas out there.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you brought up that whole math concept idea, because I've thought about this a lot. What do you think happens when and this is more of a vague question, but say, there's a movie with a major budget, major production companies behind it, lots invested, and it's just a complete flop. I'm always curious by that. It has to go, I mean, so many people had to sign off on it, and approve it, and see it, and you think there would be a math formula by now. So, what do you think happens? What is the math formula gone wrong with box office flops?

Adam Borba: Yeah, there's the old saying that, "nobody knows anything." But it's also one of those things like you got to keep in mind that just even with bad movies or movies that didn't perform, it wasn't out of laziness. I promise you hundreds and hundreds of people spent hours and hours, and days, and weeks and months and years of their life putting everything into the movie. But unfortunately, sometimes, there's bad luck. There have been amazing four-star terrific movies that just didn't perform at the box office. That could have been just the bad weekend, it wasn't presented in the right way, any number of things. Those things are just essentially out of most people's control. Then in terms of just like a bad movie, there's just so many things that can go wrong, where there are countless decisions and certain decisions are like, "Ah, it's fine. If you go left instead of right." But other things, there's like, "Well, you went left early. There's no way to get back on the road." Those things are unfortunately baked in. Then sometimes, you're very close to something, and you love it, and you love it because it's exactly what you wanted it to be. Sometimes, it's unfortunately just not as good as [laughs] you would have hoped.

Melanie Avalon: It's really, really, really interesting. You think it would be more predictable, but it's just not going back to like, "No, nobody knows anything." Or on the flipside, a movie might come out that nobody's anticipating to take off and then it gains some massive cult following or is received really well. It's always really interesting. I'm glad you pointed that out about until people have seen the movie industry and what all is involved, it's really easy to see a movie at the box office and say that's a flop and just completely disregard it. But you mentioned, it's thousands of people, thousands of hours, so much time, so much energy, so I really think it all should be definitely appreciated. For people, who have these dreams of pursuits, maybe creative ones particularly, do you think everybody should just follow their dreams in every way it goes or do we need to be more, I don't know, does there need to be a really specific plan? What is your advice to people when they're wanting to get into this industry or do similar things like you're doing?

Adam Borba: I think find out what you're great at that you love and then figure out the time to pursue that. But it's also you should have a backup plan. A lot of it is time management. If you want to write, you want to direct, you want to paint, figuring out the time in the day, the time in the weekend set to work in those creative endeavors while you're also doing your day job and putting food on the table. If you're wildly passionate about something and have the ability to do it, just you don't want to hate yourself by not giving yourself the shot. So, find ways to put yourself in a position to give yourself the best chance if it means you have to put money away to move out to Hollywood to try to act. Take that shot, but just don't move out here with no plan in place. And also, take advantage of your time. Feel like [laughs] I wish I had the perfect response to give, but it's hard and you just have to hustle. 

Melanie Avalon: Just got to keep going. Keep climbing. The next book that you're working on, is it related, is it like a series now or is it something completely different?

Adam Borba: Yeah, it's a standalone. It's a book about another kid from Pittsburgh, but it's a completely different kid. It's a kid who leaves Pittsburgh. He essentially gets sent away. Like The Midnight Brigade, there's a hard humor and magic that happens along the way. 

Melanie Avalon: Is it the same world? 

Adam Borba: In theory, this doesn't happen in the book, but this kid could pick up a newspaper in his world and read about these other kids, who found a Troll in Pittsburgh.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah, gotcha. You are currently developing The Midnight Brigade into a film?

Adam Borba: Slowly, yeah. We're slipping out to high level writers and directors one at a time and those reads take time. 

Melanie Avalon: Would you ever want to direct, or write, or do anything else like that or is producing your main cup of tea?

Adam Borba: I think producing has been my main cup of tea. When I was in college, and just after, and certainly in high school, I thought I was going to be a screenwriter and write movies. I just realized, while I think I'm strong at developing movies, I think there are people who are better at writing scripts than I am. I think there are a number of people who can do anything they want. They can write a screenplay and they can also write a book. But I think more often than not, those are different skill sets. To me, they're actually opposites, where with a book you're essentially trying to write as many words as you can get away with and without bogging the reader down with creating a world, and getting lost in point of view, and setting. With a screenplay, you're trying to tell a story in as few words as possible. That's at least my point of view on how those are different and then there's also [laughs] a number of other things, Melanie.

Melanie Avalon: That's so interesting. Both a screenplay and a novel or a book, they're both creating the experience of a story. But like you said, it's a completely different format as far as just when it comes to the actual words. I hadn't thought about that before. That's crazy.

Adam Borba: There's a lot of overlap in terms of the way I go about developing movies and the way I go about writing books. Theme is, I think, an important part of storytelling and I learned it by developing films. It's what is the universal message that your story is trying to tell. I came to that very early in my career at developing films. Rarely does anyone in the movies we do come out straight and say the theme of the film, but it's always something we discuss with the director and writer early on, and figure out what we're trying to say. For instance in Pete's Dragon, it's everyone belongs somewhere. In A Wrinkle in Time, it's everyone is deserving of love, and Timmy Failure, it's normal for normal people. It's okay to be different. Then in Peter Pan & Wendy, it's everybody grows up at their own pace. That's something I've worked into my books as well as just figure out what that theme is as early as possible and then work the narrative to address that, so, each scene builds on it. 

Another thing is story structure. I write all of my first acts of my books in three act structure which I take out of the film world. They grow from there and additional subplots are added. But I feel if I'm starting from a place of three act structure and it works, then the book will be structurally sound as the story grows. Then with one other thing, I take from developing movies is cut out the boring stuff. You want to tell your story as efficiently as possible. There's a way to get from A to Z without hitting every letter along the way. Their points don't matter, I cut ahead. Ideally, everything in the book works as an engaging. It is fun to read aloud as opposed to getting lost, describing the side of a building. That's where I'm shaking out.

Melanie Avalon: Your son is three and your daughter's one, now? 

Adam Borba: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Are they watching any of your movies and what movies do you want them to watch? What do you set them in front of the TV like have to watch this?

Adam Borba: No, my kids love Disney+. [laughs] They watched everything that's on there, I think at this point, which is impressive. They've seen and I think appreciate and liked the movies I've been involved with, I don't know to what degree they're fully grasping all of the stories, but they at least appreciate it. and it's fun to just sit and watch something you worked on with ones you love.

Melanie Avalon: Did you base any of the characters off of any character traits of your family or people that you know?

Adam Borba: Off of me, [laughs] the answer I think all three of the kids in The Midnight Brigade are a little bit me. There's a boy named Carl Chesterfield, who is an introvert and he's got a running monologue in his head, but he's always afraid of saying the wrong things, who doesn't say anything at all. I feel like that was me as a kid. There is a boy named Teddy, who is a bit of a dreamer. That's me now and forever. Then there is a girl named Bee. She's the daughter of a famous restaurant critic and she's very opinionated, and judgmental, and occasionally too much. She takes too much pride in her opinions and all admit that's me as well. Then there's a Troll named Frank, who's grumpy, but his heart's in the right place and I feel like that's me more often than not these days.

Melanie Avalon: I love Carl's dad in particular. I think he's so funny. One of the things that's really funny is he opens, for listeners, a food truck and decides that the food needs to basically be, like, it'll be special, because it's average food. He aims to have average food for the average person.

Adam Borba: Average food for the average person and he buys a food truck with no food experience. The only place he can fit his food truck is under a bridge.

Melanie Avalon: So, here we are. Goals. It's so funny. Actually, going to your daily habits in your life, because a lot of people who listen to the show in general are looking for ways to really optimize their performance, and just really enhance what they're doing from day to day, and stress, and life, and sleep, and food, and all that. So, how do you handle all of that? Well, first of all, I guess, as a producer, what is your schedule like, your daily life like, and how do you deal with if it becomes stressful, or intense, or time management, how do you keep doing what you're doing? 

Adam Borba: Time management's the thing. When I'm writing, I wake up at five and write from five to seven. Then the rest of the day, I am working on movie stuff. Occasionally, there might be some break in my schedule, where I have a five-minute window or a 10-minute window, and I've returned all my phone calls, and responded to all my emails. That was a big realization I had is when you're doing the extracurricular creative things, don't wait for the perfect conditions. Don't wait for the time we're just like, "Oh, I'm going to go off and write in a hotel room for two days or I'm going to close my door and have four hours, where it's just going to be me and my computer." Just take advantage of those little times. Then also, way back on TV, [chuckles] I used to probably watch two or three hours of TV a night. I still watch TV, but now, I don't surf. I do agenda-driven television where like, "I know, the show is great. It's my favorite. I'm going to make time to watch it." 

My son Charlie's three. He goes to preschool. I drop him off every morning at 9 and so by 9:30, I'm in the office. Then I often start getting emails before seven every day. I respond to those as they come through. Then I'm in the office working until 7 o'clock each night. I go home, I put the kids to bed, I hang out with my wife, and then usually I am responding to emails again, doing some last-minute phone calls, and then just doing a ton of reading for work just because I get bombarded with great screenplays all day, and I have to make the time to read them.

Melanie Avalon: What has been your experience having a family with both of you guys working like two working parents?

Adam Borba: We found a great system. My wife has very similar hours to me. She has way more emails than I do. She also has, I would say more reading than I do as well. It's we understand each other's work needs and have each other's backs. If my wife has a client dinner and we know that one of us needs to get home early to relieve the nanny, I will drop things and go home. It's just communicating and understanding what we both need to do to do our jobs and be good parents.

Melanie Avalon: I will say, just speaking to what you're talking about with the emails, Adam is excellent at answering emails. [giggles] I've always been in awe of your email answering ability from day one. It's very impressive.

Adam Borba: Oh, thank you. I feel if someone takes the time to drop you an email and it's a personal thing and a real thing that they spent time on as long as the person is coming in with good intentions and seriously, you owe them a response. If someone throws in a call to your office, you call them back. I feel we owe people that decency and you never know where things are going to come from. Just someone coming up, you might help them out, and then years later, they could come to you with the best idea for a movie you've ever heard or introduce you to your new favorite director or actor, and you just never know.

Melanie Avalon: I'm the exact same way as far as answering people. Although, it's becoming a problem now with my audience growing and everything, I still feel I need to answer every single person. I'm trying to find a healthy relationship, where I can do that still. It's a characteristic. Like I said, it's something I picked up from you ever since I've known you, which has been a long time now. Just that part of you, which is just-- You see other people, and you are kind, and you're receptive, and you're just a really, well, almost I'm starting crying, you're really wonderful human being.

Adam Borba: No, thanks, Melanie. I try. 

Melanie Avalon: You are. I'm dying to know and I don't even know if you are familiar with all the different things that would qualify as such that I'm about to say, but do you do any of the biohacking things? Do you want me to give examples of what those would be?

Adam Borba: I feel I have done-- Is it intermittent fasting biohacking? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. You do intermittent fasting?

Adam Borba: I've done it on my own without knowing it's a thing and I've probably done it for eight years now, at least, where it's just like, I'm probably not as disciplined as most of your listeners. I do two meals a day and I feel there's probably folks that are [chuckles] doing much, much more than that. But I feel that was hard for me to make the switch and now that I've done it like the idea of eating three times a day, just like, I don't feel so good when I do that even if I'm having like three small meals. I've recalibrated how I go about eating. 

Melanie Avalon: Are those two meals later or are they earlier?

Adam Borba: You're about to tell me I'm doing this incorrectly? 

Melanie Avalon: No, I'm not.

Adam Borba: They are later in the day. I usually eat for the first time at lunch around one or two and then I have dinner. I come home very late. It's usually 8:00, or 8:30, or so.

Melanie Avalon: I'm about to put all of your concerns about IF to rest. I would have been, oh, well, maybe that's "incorrect." I thought you were going to say that you eat breakfast and then eat dinner, because that would create an issue, because then you would actually never have an extended fasting period, if that makes sense. But no, no. What you're doing is-- [crosstalk] 

Adam Borba: So, I'm doing it correctly? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Adam Borba: I did it.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. [laughs] Stamp of approval. Yeah, I eat super late, like, super late every night. I was doing IF back when I was interning for you and I don't know if you remember, but I would never go to lunch. I would just work more. 

Adam Borba: I just assumed you're very driven and you are.

Melanie Avalon: I was doing intermittent fasting and working. Some of the biohacking things that might be super awesome for you would be things like blue light blocking glasses. Are you familiar?

Adam Borba: My wife uses them. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, she does? 

Adam Borba: Yeah. I don't get headaches. Is that like a--? 

Melanie Avalon: Like the reason? 

Adam Borba: Is that the reason? Tell me more. Educate me.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. That is a reason. It is not the reason. There are reasons, but I was thinking of it. The main reason I do it is for regulating your sleep cycle. If you're staying up late, which it sounds like you often are in which I am. Wearing those at night, it helps keep your circadian rhythm to not get messed up, because you're staying up late. When you're keeping on any light that has blue wavelength at night right before you're about to go to bed that's telling your brain basically that you still have quite a few hours before you're going to go to bed. So, if you start wearing them at night about three hours before you go to bed, then you can stay up later, you'll still have a normal melatonin production for when you go to bed. 

Adam Borba: Melanie, I'm one of those terrible people that has no trouble sleeping. I stay up late, but when I'm ready to go to bed. I get painfully tired like I'm ready to go. I basically pass out. It's either an alarm or my three-year-old that wakes me up in the morning. 

Melanie Avalon: How does your wife sleep?

Adam Borba: Awful. She is the worst sleeper I've ever met. She has this whole other life without me where just she watches like entire seasons of shows that I've not heard of. I'm usually in bed around 11 or 12 and she's usually asleep around two or three, and then sleeps horribly through the night.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, she's like me. [laughs] Oh, but she already has the blue light blocking glasses. Yeah, that would be something for her. Do either of you sleep hot or cold? Well, you obviously sleep fine, either way.

Adam Borba: Yeah. I sleep in any condition.

Melanie Avalon: Now, I'm helping your wife. [giggles] Does she sleep hot or cold?

Adam Borba: I don't know. She's been using a bunch of weighted blankets recently and I think that's helpful. But I don't know if that's related to hot or cold.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. The way to blanket is, it activates your parasympathetic nervous system. The science they say is because it's like you're being held. It's telling your body that you're safe. The heating and cooling thing is I use a mattress. It's called the Ooler, but there're different brands, but it uses water and it can be any temperature you want it to be. If you're hot at night, it can keep you cold or if you get cold at night, it can keep you warm. It's a game changer for me. 

Adam Borba: I'm in.

Melanie Avalon: You said, you're in. And they have a version for two people. One side can be hot or cold and the other side can be hot or cold. You can make it what you want it to be for each person. So, I've got all the night stuff. Then I also use red light therapy. My entire apartment at night is lit by red light. 

Adam Borba: Educate me on this. 

Melanie Avalon: It's the type of light that rising and setting sun and it's got no blue light, obviously. If you use it as a lighting source, it's very calming, and it can wake you up in the morning, and help you wind down at night. Then near infrared light is a type of light that's very therapeutic and healing. The devices that have red light usually have near infrared as well. You can choose which wavelength, but those actually help with muscle recovery, and tension, and pain, and you can actually treat yourself with it. The red light will actually enhance your skin and all of that. I've a lot of red-light devices. But my apartment at night, it looks like the red-light district which is intense. Yeah, I'm all about the biohacking. Thanks. But sounds like you're--

Adam Borba: I'm doing it. 

Melanie Avalon: You're doing it. You're doing it. When did you start, you said?

Adam Borba: I feel at least eight years ago. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so, been quite a while. Well, it helps me with being on set. That was one of the main reasons I really liked it was not having to deal with all that set food 24/7, because there's a lot of food.

Adam Borba: Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, there's a lot of food and it's a lot of great food.

Melanie Avalon: I know. [giggles] It's very elaborate. What do you think is one of the biggest surprising things about what you do in the film industry, or misconceptions, or just mind blown things people wouldn't know, unless they were in the industry?

Adam Borba: I think there're two general misconceptions that I get from people. I feel people are always surprised by how hard people in the film industry work, because I think they have it that we tend to be lazy over here. I really don't think that's the case working around the clock. I don't think that's remotely uncommon. We're just like young folks are at the office until 7, 8, 9 o'clock at night pretty regularly. The folks who aren't are home, and they're working, and starts right up again the next morning. The old Hollywood's about who you know, I also don't think that's true, because it's really not about like who you know. It's about who knows that you're good. I think that's the other thing I'd like to clear up.

Melanie Avalon: I am so glad that you talked about that. Because when I first moved to LA, I knew nobody. I mean, zero. I don't know. I do think it is more about who you are, and what you can do, and then you will know people.

Adam Borba: Totally. Just like you write something amazing, or you have incredible people skills, or story sense, people are going to want to work with you, people are going to want to introduce you to other people. You're going to get opportunities if you get out of here and hustle. But if you're one of those people that just think like, "Oh, I'm going to get by on just being a social butterfly knock at the work" then it'll be like, "Oh, yeah, I know that guy. He's super lazy or I have no idea what he's doing. He's very nice, though." Anything, but those people, I don't think succeed.

Melanie Avalon: What have you seen with the film industry and the evolution of social media, and what do you think is the future of that? Does it have a huge effect on how movies are made now, and what's produced, and what's done, and even marketing, and all of that? 

Adam Borba: There's always some interesting things that come up every year in terms of social media marketing. Just augmented reality, tie-ins, that kind of stuff. I don't know how much "new stuff" is moving the needle just yet. But I think it's great that they're going to keep trying that stuff and eventually things hit. Sometimes, those things are one off and sometimes they'll become the norm.

Melanie Avalon: One of the things I've always been really surprised by that it hasn't happened more yet, is an evolution of the film format. Despite the advances in technology and the actual, what we can film and how the movies look, there hasn't really been an evolution stepping outside of the movies. Making them, I don't know, I always thought that there would be more some interactive component or I don't know. It's pretty much still the same that it's always been. It's a movie, it's an experience, you watch it, but there's not much of an interactive. I guess, I thought it would have happened more with social media and I'm being really vague. I feel there's something that's going to happen, but it hasn't happened yet.

Adam Borba: Yeah, someone's going to figure it out. There is the whole choose-your-own adventure aspect of thing and just going back to like, [unintelligible [01:02:32] a shot with Smell-O-Vision. The way we tell stories, it goes back longer than just the movie business. It just we're used to story structure going back to plays and we are used to story structure going back literally, thousands of years. If you read poetics, which is Aristotle's approach and rules to storytelling, there's really nothing in that book that is surprising and doesn't hold true today. Things are tried, and true, and tested for a reason. Again, I'll go back to three-act structure. There's a reason those things work. The more you do to make things interactive, the more you are breaking from those structures that you know work. That said, I'm sure someone at some point and hopefully soon is going to do something incredible in the VR space. There're just so many possibilities with technology that exist these days. But I don't know if the artists that are going to lead the way forward with those types of storytelling are going to come from the movie business or traditional storytelling space. They might be technology driven and happen to be great storytellers as well. So, I'm really sure. But like you, I'm interested. I don't know if and when how quickly those things are going to come.

Melanie Avalon: So, rather than it being an evolution of the same species, it's a new species, like another type of media?

Adam Borba: That's my gut. I feel there's going to be some brilliant programmers that are going to come up with some new software or hardware that'll allow us to tell stories in a different way.

Melanie Avalon: How did the pandemic affect everything for you guys?

Adam Borba: We were prepping Peter Pan & Wendy and we were I think seven or eight weeks out from starting to shoot when everything hit, and I was up in Vancouver, so, we came home, and at that point it was like, "Hey, we're going to shut down for four weeks and we'll be right back up a little bit we now." We came back around about a year later and at that point we had testing protocols in place, and just an approach to keep people safe and socially distant, but we're still making the movie. It was rough having to wear a mask 14 to 16 hours a day and then be socially distanced from people during--I always stand six feet away when movie making is something-- Usually, you're in a tight circle like inches away from people's faces making decisions quickly. That's something to be conscious of to move forward and it was just a little bit less of a social experience than movie baking typically is where you're having the conversations with people that you need to have to make the movie as opposed to make a connection. 

One of the things that's been great for moviemaking and is in the development process is Zoom, just [laughs] comes into our lives. You can just slide more meetings in the day if you're a writer or a producer. You don't have to drive all the way across town. You can just hop on a Zoom. I do personally miss getting in a room with people. Our conference room at the office, it's surrounded by big whiteboards and one of my favorite parts of the development process is to be able to sit in a room around a table with my colleagues, and our writer or writers, and crack a story together, and talk through problems. There's a way to do that virtually, but I feel being in a room and be able to switch off on who's writing on the whiteboard, at times a much more efficient way of collaborating.

Melanie Avalon: The film industry as a whole is such a humanistic endeavor. There is something to that with in collaboration and being in person with somebody, and connecting, and for the ultimate product that you're creating. I do wonder, in general, with all industries, like, how things will look on the flipside. Especially, with people realizing more and more, "Oh, we can be more efficient with Zoom meetings, and what long-term effects that will have on everything." What are you most excited about for the future of everything? Where do you see yourself being in 10 years?

Adam Borba: Honestly, I am so happy with where I am in life right now. I have an amazing family. I love working at Whitaker Entertainment and I love being able to make the time to write on the side as well. So, in 10 years, if I'm still doing what I'm doing, I'm going to be a pretty happy person.

Melanie Avalon: If you were able to and you could just say yes, would you want to live forever? 

Adam Borba: Are there side effects? 

Melanie Avalon: No. 

Adam Borba: Yeah, I'll do it. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I thought you were going to say, yes. It's funny. My question to that was always yes and I thought everybody's answer would be yes. But most people I ask, do not say yes.

Adam Borba: Yeah, I think they assume they're getting tired. But if there're no side effects, there're so many places I'd love to visit. 

Melanie Avalon: More stuff to do.

Adam Borba: Yeah. So many things I want to read, and watch, and experiences I want to have. Even if you live forever, you won't have the time to do it all just because there's poor things every day. if you if you live forever, you will at least have a shot.

Melanie Avalon: That's the way I feel. Okay, I called it. The majority of my audience is probably not in the screenwriting industry, or movie industry, or anything. But for those who do, can they because we were talking earlier about getting your work in front of people. Can they just blind submit places? Does Whitaker Entertainment take blind submissions or how does that work?

Adam Borba: Yeah, most places don't. It's about finding the places that do. There's a lot of small management companies around town that do and that's their business. That's how they discover writers. Again, it's the query letter we talked about. In one page, how can you sell yourself and your project in such a way that the person reading the email has to say, "Oh, man, I have to take two hours out of my weekend to read this person's screenplay." It's spending the time to do that. Technically, we don't take unsolicited material. That said, if someone sends me the greatest email in the world and it just like, "Oh, man." I will send you a release form that our lawyers put together that will allow me to accept your material and review it. It's just about hustling, finding those places, and they're to get on Google. Then again, there's a lot of legitimate contests out there like the Black List. There are a handful at this point, where if you write something great, those places will recognize that and folks in the industry will find your script. Technically, don't even need to be in Los Angeles, and less so now with Zoom.

Melanie Avalon: Then for The Midnight Brigade, for people who would like to get it-- Oh, I forgot. We're going to do a sign book giveaway. But before I get to that, what is the perfect age range or yeah, what ages of kids do you recommend it for and where can listeners check it out?

Adam Borba: Yeah, I think the sweet spot is six to 12 in terms of reading on their own or being read to. Being read to was the goal here. One of my favorite memories or-- some of my favorite memories as a kid was when my mom or dad read to my brothers and me. I spent a lot of time focused on and working to make sure I was telling a story that was fun, and funny, and emotional that would work for folks of all ages. If mom or dad is reading the book, they'll enjoy it as well. It's also a very easy and fun book, it was my opinion to read out loud and that was the goal to make sure that the whole family enjoys. It's in bookstores and online. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, you definitely accomplish that goal. I was thinking that so much when I was reading it, I was like, "This is the perfect book if you're a parent with a kid in that age range," because it's so fun. It's so funny. I had the best time reading it and that was just me reading to myself. If I had a kid, it would be absolutely perfect. So, job well done there. For listeners, I'm so excited. We are going to do a sign book giveaway. You can go to my Instagram, you can find the announcement post about this episode. There'll be details on the post, but basically, comment something you learned or something that resonated with you, or just any thoughts about our conversation to enter to win a signed copy. Thank you so much for that. Well, this has been absolutely amazing. I'm just so excited to catch up with you after all these years. Is there anything that you would like to share with my audience at large about anything that we did not touch on? 

Adam Borba: No, I'm going to do a deep dive into biohacking and figure out what else can work for me, but I-- [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, there're so many things. Cryotherapy, do you do cryotherapy?

Adam Borba: Not yet. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I go every day.

Adam Borba: What sincerely? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I went today. 

Adam Borba: Okay. I'm going to google this and then I want to come back to you.

Melanie Avalon: Negative 270 degrees for three minutes. You're in LA. So, there's surely a place right next door to you.

Adam Borba: I've seen the billboards. Now, I know what this is. You go every day? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, it's so great. 

Adam Borba: I'm assuming this as a membership situation. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. You work your way up? Oh, and I'll just let you know, because if you're actually going to look into this, I want to make sure you do it right.

Adam Borba: Is it painful? 

Melanie Avalon: No, no. When I first started doing it, you work your way up, so, you start at negative hundred and, I don't know, 80 degrees. You work your way up to negative 200, mid-200s. But the first few times you do it, it is painful, because your nerves and your skin are not used to that. I think they get confused. It's like when you put your hands in hot and cold water and you can't tell what temperature it is. You get pain signals, but you really quickly adapt and work your way up. I do it every single day and it's great. Make sure you go to one that is a full immersive, because some of them your head sticks out-

Adam Borba: That's what I was picturing. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, don't do that one. Do the one where you're actually like in it.

Adam Borba: Is your head sticking out? Does that make it so you're-- What's the issue? Your top part is too warm, so everything else is freezing and--?

Melanie Avalon: It's way easier if your head sticking out of it. It's like think about the difference between being in a freezing thing of water and your heads out of it compared to your head underneath. Because it's only three minutes and you do get used to it. I just think you'll really feel it a lot more when you're all in there. It's great. You should do it.

Adam Borba: I don't know if I'm going to do this, Melanie. I'm just going to be honest with you.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, you should, Adam. I'm checking back. [giggles] I do that during the day and I do an infrared sauna session every night. I really recommend that. Do you guys have a sauna? 

Adam Borba: We do not. I wish we did. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I really recommend that. You can do work in it, too. You can read in it, all the biohacking things. 

Adam Borba: All right. 

Melanie Avalon: So, if you have any questions, let me know.

Adam Borba: [laughs] Melanie, thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of fun.

Melanie Avalon: Last question, I promise. I always ask the guests, what is something that they're grateful for? 

Adam Borba: My family. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. All right. Well, I will talk to you soon.

Adam Borba: Thanks, Melanie. See you.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

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