Nan Klein was one of the first female executives at the International Bank – Manufacturers Hanover. Nan and Harold were dating in Brooklyn College back in the day video was scarce. Together they founded TeleTime Productions prior to Nan achieving a Masters and then establishing a unit at the Bank. As TeleTime grew, she joined TeleTime to help guide the ship contributing to the company’s longevity and quality programming.
Harold Klein was an entrepreneur since the age of 17. Together with Nan, they built a video production company producing over 4500 videos through the years serving some of the best known companies in the world. After Harold met Bernie Goldhirsh the visionary founder of Inc. Magazine, the world of entrepreneurial communications blossomed for TeleTime. Harold has interviewed hundreds of some of the most exciting founders in the world.
We recently had a chance to catch up with them for an exclusive interview on their latest production, ‘Trauma To Triumph’. This is what they shared up with us.
What was it like to have an opportunity to see the screening of ‘Trauma To Triumph’ at the iconic 92nd Street Y and why was this particular venue important to have the screening take place as it relates to the section of the film that was shown?
It was an experience that had a multiple set of reactions it.
It was an educational experience, we learned so much from the dynamic panel that followed the screening. From this diverse panel reacting and analyzing 2 different stories, we saw how consistent the messaging was, how their paths of return to well-being of the 2 heroes featured were similar even though they came dramatically different backgrounds and set of experiences.
It was an experience of affirmation. While we have received Awards and accolades from festivals colleagues and friends, having it at the setting of the 92Y, we know the work was truly good and more importantly the potential and importance of it in making a difference. The feel of the audience’s emotions, revelation and connection was truly in the air. Also, following the event, we received remarkable emails and texts expressing acknowledgement of the core messaging an appreciation for this shared journey into a new look at entrepreneurship.
It a fun experience. Who doesn’t find joy in accolades and applause? We also were surprised by some the people showed up.
Finally, it was an inspiring experience that motivated us to continue with this journey.
With so many gut-wrenching stories of struggle and triumph, what was each of your personal favorite that hit home and that came into light on film?
Harold succinctly said, it’s like being asked to choose your favorite child. Your question allowed me to dig deep. Each featured subject encountered life’s harshest trials, and each arose to their triumph differently. Harold and I developed deep relationships with Maria, Sam, Bill, Cathy, and Dana. But the one individual that stands out for me and I connect with most is William Vandegriff. Bill dealt with PTSD through family, community and his entrepreneurial connect. Bill, in his eloquent and honest approach shed all his layers and shared with the camera his darkest moments and his brightest moments. Following a telephone call about two years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He opened his home and his heart to us. Each tear he shed, we shared. His commitment to his wife, children, family, and Native American Community elucidates his breadth. He accepts his children’s strengths and weaknesses without judgement and with much love. As his Sergeant in the U.S. Marines said early on, he is a leader. Bill couldn’t leave Donny’s body and soul in Vietnam, he took Donny with him, throughout his life. Bill’s sensitivity and caring for all is what inspired me and continues to do so.
The documentary has been seen at Film Festivals all over the world, each has had its own standing and its own impact. If you could do any of the film festivals again which one, would it be any why?
Tough question. When we submitted the film to most of the festivals except for one. It was in a different form and frankly not as strong as it is right now. We were anxious to get it on the circuit and did quite well. During our learning process and interactions with PBS, we learned how to home in on the final products and apply many technical tweaks. If we decide to enter again, we are confident, it would be even better received.
Talk to us a little about the production behind the documentary. Every film has a story that brings it into creation, what is the story of how this film got produced, the challenges that came along the way and how you overcame those challenges?
That story behind the film is really a lifetime story. Having been entrepreneurial from a very young age, then while in college and faced with little alternatives for a livelihood, trauma and depression sank in. Then when a professor held up a portapack (first portable video unit) in 1976 my eyes opened and realized an aha moment. It was my way out and our way (Nan and I) to build a life together by starting and growing a business. In doing so, we were underfinanced and really did it on our own for now 45 years. After that time you get to understand downs, challenges, crisis and the ups that are realized with the proper tenacious attitude.
I met Bernie Goldhirsh the visionary founder of Inc. Magazine in 1984 and he commissioned a film to relay the importance and persona of the entrepreneur to the world. That triggered my saying – “Bernie, I would buy this type of programming, featuring successful entrepreneurs revealing how they started and grew their companies. That led to our partnering in well over 100 entrepreneurial educational programs. While, Inc. was able to get us big time founders (Pizza Hut, H&R Block, Domino’s, Celestial Seasons, JetBlue, Ross Perot, many more), Bernie insisted early on, find someone that was laid off and is faced with the fear of not being able to provide and how he or she turned to entrepreneurship to rebuild their lives. How right he was.
That relationship let to our meeting Steve Mariotti in the early 90’s. Steve is the founder of NFTE, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship a worldwide foundation teaching at risk youth the skills of entrepreneurship. He has graduated now over 1.2 million students. We made educational videos Steve used that assisted he faculty in teaching these promising young people. We developed a special relationship.
Steve retired a few years ago and huddled with us on the possibilities of creating a documentary exploring this new approach of looking at entrepreneurship as a vehicle in lifting people out of despair, adversity, poverty, conflict, and trauma. I go deeper into this relationship in my talk at the 92Y in the open of the program, find here. Trauma to Triumph: The Rise of the Entrepreneur – YouTube
What is the key phrase and hope that you both would like others to take away with them when they see the documentary?
Don’t allow challenging circumstance to pull you into victimhood, look at it as an opportunity to share the real you with the world and bring others along for the ride. The Bible in Genesis relaying the creation of the World says, “there was night and there was day.”
What is next for ‘Trauma to Triumph’, we hear that PBS is picking it up, when and where is the best place to watch it?
As I shared, it can be viewed now in 75% of the stations of the country. You can Google it and find times. Likely, you can also find it online from PBS as well.
Next, we are seeking funding to continue and to build an important franchise for the well-being of our wonderful country and recognition for those that went through so much and gave back. We have some stories already partially shot.
Please shoot the answers back this week for me to combine and send over to the journalist. I will be sending you more questions from different publications by the end of the week.
For more information on Triumph To Trauma visit: