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Published on January 13th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Writer, Director & Podcaster Tricia Brouk On “The Big Talk,” Finding Success & What’s Coming Up

Tricia Brouk is an award-winning director who also writes and choreographs for theater, film and television. In addition to her work in the entertainment industry, Brouk applies her expertise to the art of public speaking. She is the executive producer of TEDxLincolnSquare and has choreographed for Black Box on ABC, The Affair on Showtime, Rescue Me on Fox, and John Turturro’s Romance And Cigarettes, where she was awarded a Golden Thumb Award from Roger Ebert. As if that all were not enough, the series Brouk directed, Sublets, won “Best Comedy” at the Vancouver Web-Festival.

Ms. Brouk has also written two musicals, a play, a sitcom pilot, and a feature film. The documentary short she directed and produced, This Dinner Is Full, was an official selection at both The New York Women In Film & Television Short Festival and the New York City Independent Film Festival. And wait, there’s more… Brouk hosts The Big Talk, a podcast on iTunes where she interviews people who talk for a living, and has curated sold-out “speaker salons” in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Chicago.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Tricia Brouk herself about The Big Talk, upcoming plans and plenty more in January 2020. More on Brouk can be found online at

Who or what first got you into TEDx and the public speaking arenas?

Tricia Brouk: My friend and thought-leader, the amazing Petra Kolber asked me to direct her TEDxSyracuse. I thought it sounded fun, just like a one-woman show. I’ll dramaturg, do script analysis, direct her like an actor using intention, objective and action and of course, choreography and blocking. And that’s what we did. It was really fun and I didn’t think much about it. Until she planted the seed that I should do this with other speakers.

My POV is unique to the theater, so seeing communication as an art form drew more speakers to me and before I knew it, I had all these speakers and no place to put them. And as a theater producer, I put on shows. And what’s the best show for speakers? TEDx. I applied for my license and several months later became the Executive Producer of TEDxLincolnSquare.

And now I co-produce Speakers Who Dare in New York City alongside Jamie Broderick. I desired more creative control, so we moved on from TED and produce our own event for big ideas with daring speakers who want global impact. I have put over 46 speakers onto more than 15 TEDx stages.

You’re a podcaster, a director, a choreographer, a writer, a producer, and I’m sure I’m missing a few job titles. How do you like to be thought of primarily?

Tricia Brouk: I’m a creator. I make the world a better place by putting people onto the big stage and onto the big screen. I produce and create work that has global impact. I support those who are daring to have global impact. And it’s my mission to create an army of dignified communicators who are heart-centered and authentic so that we change the world together. We are in the middle of a huge course correction on this planet, and I believe we can do better and be better. And by creating the “better” in a big way, humanity can be saved.

What was your first gig related to entertainment where you had the feeling of “This is going to be a career?”

Tricia Brouk: I knew entertainment was going to be my career when I saw Baryshnikov dance with Gelsey Kirkland on PBS in The Nutcracker. I was seven. I had no doubt, I would move to New York City and be in showbiz. What I didn’t know was that I would have an opportunity to have this kind of impact by integrating my entertainment background with the art of the big talk. This is what I call theatrical academia. I can direct people who are talking about important big ideas in a theatrical way, that allows for the entertainment.

I also didn’t know that I would become a documentary filmmaker. I’ve always been a storyteller from the stage. When I danced, I would always be narrating through my body. The story I would tell, was limited however to the number of people in the theater and the length of the dance. When it was over, and the people left the theater, the moment was gone. By making movies, and creating speakers who take big stages, my impact goes on and has a ripple effect that far out reaches the kind of impact I could have ever had as a dancer. That is something that has come to surprise and delight me.

Any idea what you would be doing professionally if what you’re doing now didn’t work out?

Tricia Brouk: My mantra is “Keep the story moving”. And things don’t ever “not work out.” Where we are is exactly where we are meant to be. When the Broadway show I was attached to direct, didn’t go to Broadway, it wasn’t that it didn’t work out, it was more that I was meant for something else. I have the privilege of doing what I love while simultaneously making the world a better place. And as things come and go, I keep the story moving.

Your podcast The Big Talk has had some influential and prominent guests on it. Do you have a booker? Or do you actually know a lot of the people you’ve interviewed?

Tricia Brouk: First, thank you for paying attention to The Big Talk. I have invited most of my guests personally. Now and again, an agent or publicist will reach out and pitch a guest to me. And I have thoughts on that. More often than not, a publicist or booking agent will pitch me their client and have no idea what my podcast is about. And I come to learn this when their client gets on a podcast with me and starts talking about their book or their business, not at all prepared for a conversation about the importance of communication. I always prep my guests ahead of time and make them feel like rock stars on The Big Talk, during the show. I learned that from Johnny Carson. He was the master at making all of his guests the star of the show.

What does 2020 look like for you? Any new projects you can talk about?

Tricia Brouk: 2020 is going to be amazing. Besides putting speakers onto big stages, I’m premiering a big talk, called Limitless Creator, in California at I Heart My Life Live, Emily and James Williams’ event. I’ll be sharing the stage with them, David Neagle, Marla Mattenson and Dr. James Rouse. I’m also speaking at The Global League Of Women in New York. Four of my documentaries are playing at the Laemlee Noho in Los Angeles in February. And in March, I’m directing Speakers Who Dare, speaker event I co-produce with Jamie Broderick. And I will neither confirm nor deny that there’s a book coming. Stay tuned.

When not busy with work, where does your free time usually go?

Tricia Brouk: My husband Joe Ricci and I meet at the end of our days for martinis and conversation. We talk about our day, share, connect and often times watch MSNBC. I love Ari Melber. I saw LL Cool J, Run-DMC, and the Beastie Boys in concert in 1988, so his love of hip-hop warms my heart.

What was the last concert you attended for fun?

Tricia Brouk: I saw Prince at Madison Square Garden. It was epic.

Finally, Tricia, any last words for the kids?

Tricia Brouk: Look up. We have forgotten how to see one another. And by taking a moment to actually connect in authentic dignified communication, that’s how we innovate, that’s how we birth new ideas and that’s how we make the world a better place.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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