In the Spotlight: Pete A. Turner
Spy, Podcaster, Screenwriter…It’s safe to say that Pete Turner is gifted. There is no other word for it. I first met Pete when I was a guest on his podcast the BREAK IT DOWN SHOW. He instantly blew me away. See, Pete is a natural storyteller. But he does it in an incredibly subtle way. He creates an environment that allows his guests to be comfortable and relaxed so they can present their very best selves. Then, by asking just the right questions, Pete is able to create an enthralling story from his guest and weave it into a fantastic podcast. I am so excited to introduce you to him. This is Pete A. Turner...
I am a multi-generation native Californian. I was raised in a gorgeous town called Benicia which sits right on the water between the SF Bay and the San Juaquin Delta. I’ve always pursued things that interested me which has lead me to several degrees that all somehow remain relevant in my life years later. My social skills were truly honed when I was a Spy in the Army. I’ve spent years abroad in combat zones interacting with locals. Ultimately my job was to gain the confidence of and trust of the enemy. Now I’m a storyteller. Primarily, I podcast, either hosting-everything is available on my YouTube channel - or producing. I do however work on writing for a variety of genres. I’m fortunate to talk to hundreds of people each year who are peak performers in their field. It’s a marvelous thing that deeply enriches me.
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Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
As we started out our podcast, one of our model shows was Mick Betancourt-he’s a comedian, but really he’s a powerful screenwriter. Mick led us to Hilliard Guess. Hilliard’s approach to life, work and creativity just resonates with me. He’s become a friend and someone I adore. His passion for screenwriting has ignited the screenwriter in me. I’ve interviewed dozens of other writers…and I find that I connect with them on a level that feels foundational to me.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
Gosh, I’d hate to just say one person. I’m fortunate the be inspired all the time by people. Maybe it’s a small thing, maybe it’s a new perspective. Each show I post gives me fuel, love and inspiration. It’s everyone, it’s my friends, it’s life…I’m inspired, I know this is sappy, but I’m inspired by the pursuit of happiness and I get to talk to people who inspire me constantly. I’m inspired because of what I get to do.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
Early in our podcast life, we had the good fortune to meet and interview Sly Stone. He’s part of the fabric of music. Though he’s tormented by his gift…he’s also full of profound wisdom. Among the dozens of things he said off mic was this…if my music isn’t good enough, then I don’t deserve to eat. That level of all-in, wow, it moved me…it made me realize the sacrifice it takes to get to where one wants. It’s not supposed to be easy…it is absolutely supposed to push you past anything you’ve done before. Another interview early on with Dres from Blacksheep…he basically said, once you’ve got the mic, given how hard it is to get there, how hard it was for those before you…given the importance of this limited time with an audience, What are you going to say? That level of concern again, that’s what one’s peers are thinking about…if we don’t take the craft seriously…others will be…it’s not required to be as dedicated as Dres and Sly…but that is what your peers are doing.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I wanted to early on…but that moved from dream to a reality a few years back. If I was to pick the moment it became a reality was about a year after I met Hilliard. He gave me a path and I started down it…of course meeting Geoff has also helped identify the places where my time and effort are best spent.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
I don’t put the bar to high. Honestly, I focus on small incremental progress. What can I do each day, writing is the first goal, if I can’t write, I read, if I can’t read I watch, if I can’t seem to get a groove that way, I take a walk and clear my head. For me it’s not will I write 1000 words, or 10 pages…it’s keeping at it. Keeping focused on being consistent.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
Early Bird or a Night Owl? I’m more of a constant worker I stay up late, I get up in the middle of the night at times…I’m up early. I love what I do, so when I get up, I think, ohhh I’m going to do some work.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? I get up and start editing. If I can get a jump on the day’s editing…then I’m paying dividends later in the day.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
I’m blessed to be a world-class sleeper. 90+% of the time once I decide to go to bed, I’ll lay down close my eyes and instantly fall asleep. I sleep deeply and wake up, I wouldn’t say refreshed…but I’m ready for the day.
up…a great day is if the show is up by 11am. I want to stay on task and get work done each day I work for myself…so 14 hour days are common. A successful day builds on a successful week. I should also say, I work about 6.5 days a week. Whatever I do, in a day is enough….but I do have to be consistent, constant and productive each day. I want to say this…a bad day, with fits and starts…those happen. When they do, I slow down and focus on the task at hand, and I don’t fear saying today is just going to be about perseverance. I lower the bar even further on those days and make getting done even the simple things that day…that’s a win. I don’t let hard days defeat me…that’s an acquired skill.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Constant consistence. Nothing is done in one day...but each day the win is built. It’s vital, I suggest, to keep score of what you actually get done. We as humans tend to be hard on ourselves and what we accomplish. It’s ok to say…wow, I really got a lot done, even if you didn’t get everything done. It’s easy to over estimate—this is a norm—how long things take to do…keep track of wins, keep track of things you get done and let them be good things.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Funny, it’s being constantly consistent. It’s easy to do nothing, I mean that literally…it’s hard to make myself, stay focused on getting things done…and remaining organized.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Life enrichment. I’ve met and become friends or at least acquainted with some many incredible people. My life is about that…finding those interactions that will expand my world…and to share that with others. I also LOVE to connect people. I love being immersed in the interpersonal world.