Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Rob Biesenbach

By: Gini Dietrich | June 14, 2013 | 

#FollowFriday- Rob BiesenbachToday’s #FollowFriday is a new addition to the Spin Sucks community.

Rob Biesenbach has been hanging out in the comments for a few months now and just wrote his first guest post about storytelling last week.

In the post, he talked about how he learned to tell a story through writing from Second City.

Improv Helps Storytelling

This is both intriguing and terrifying to me. The idea the organization that trained comedians such as Tina Fey, John Belushi, Mike Myers, and Steve Carell can help you with your storytelling is intriguing, but getting up there on stage and have to be funny? No, thank you.

Of course, to hear Rob tell it, it’s less about being funny and more about being able to improvise and use what you have. While that’s still a terrifying thought, it does make sense it would help with your storytelling.

Still he’s a Second City trained actor, which is more than most of us can say. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see him on Saturday Night Live in the future and we can all say we knew him when!

We’re All in Show Biz

He’s not just a funny guy. He’s a communicator who worked for Ogilvy PR, but went out on his own nearly 15 years ago.

In his quest to end dull and boring communications, he wrote Act Like You Mean Business: Essential Communication Lessons from Stage and Screen, which provides tips, tools, and techniques to connect with emotion, express ideas visually, and tell better stories.

Like my good friend Martin Waxman, Rob believes we’re all in show biz and he’s out to teach you how to tweak your skills to use Hollywood- or Broadway-like techniques in your communications.

Where to Find Rob Biesenbach

A public speaker, a writer, a communicator, and a funny guy, I highly recommend you introduce yourself to Rob and get to know him.

You can find him on Twitter, Google+, on his blog, Amazon, LinkedIn, or on his “official” site where you can see fancy photos of him and learn he lives in Chicago with his allergies (me too).

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Congrats on your #FF, Rob!! I am a big fan of the intersection of acting and ……. so many other things in life! I have done a lot of extra/volunteering work for the FSU Film School and I wish I could just bottle that “we’re all in this together” vibe from a set and inject it into our every day lives! (Film sets also taught me that even the most straightforward story has a very complex process behind being told on film!). Enjoy your week in the spotlight!!

    • biggreenpen Absolutely right! Your comment reminds me of something Steven Soderbergh said that I clipped on Evernote: “After making a lot more films, I realized that the movie and TV business is, for all its inefficiencies, one of the best-run big businesses we have … And these people excel at problem-solving—that’s 99 percent of the job. I look at Hurricane Katrina, and I think if four days before landfall you gave a movie studio autonomy and a 100th of the billions the government spent on that disaster, and told them, “Lock this place down and get everyone taken care of,” we wouldn’t be using that disaster as an example of what not to do. A big movie involves clothing, feeding, and moving thousands of people around the world on a tight schedule.”

      • RobBiesenbach biggreenpen That. Is. Amazing.

      • RobBiesenbach biggreenpen ginidietrich  Oh man. Coming from TV production – that is the BEST quote ever. And absolutely true. “Location manager, get all necessary permits; second unit – get out there and shoot some B-roll and reaction shots! AND MOVE THOSE GOD DAMN HONEY WAGONS!!! Casting, where are all our extras!!?? This isn’t the latest version of the script – the latest version is PINK! Where’s continuity, you’re gonna have your work cut out for you today – oh, and let the Production Designer know we don’t need him for this one. ROLLING!!!! Annnnddddd…….scene.”

        • belllindsay RobBiesenbach biggreenpen ginidietrich Wait. What’s a “Honey Wagon?” I’ve spent time on a few sets but haven’t heard that term. Is that the name for the especially attractive extras? Maybe that’s why I never heard it …

        • RobBiesenbach biggreenpen ginidietrich Honeywagons are the luxury trailers for the stars!

        • belllindsay biggreenpen ginidietrich Ah, okay. I love all the lingo. I was extraing on The Weather Man and they called out on the walkie-talkies, “#1 on the set” and I looked around and realized that’s what they call the star — in this case, Nicolas Cage. They also have a code for “the star needs a bathroom break.” We’re stopping for “1017” or something. I guess they couldn’t use #1, as that’s already taken …

        • RobBiesenbach biggreenpen ginidietrich “I am not a number!!! I am a free man!!!”

  • PattiRoseKnight1

    A pleasure to meet you Rob!

  • Good Morning! So nice to meet you. Ok I have not had my coffee yet so I’m done 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.

    • aimeelwest LOL!

    • aimeelwest Ha! Yes, I’m behind on my coffee, too, as my entire orchestrated early morning routine has been disrupted — in a good way!

  • Well, this is certainly a surprise! Here I thought Gini had to first check you out in person to make sure you don’t have the stink eye (or the crook eye) before this honor. The power of the Internet is a real thing, people — you heard it here first!

    • RobBiesenbach Now you know why I was stalking you yesterday! But this does not prevent me from meeting you in person to be sure you don’t have the stink eye…especially because you’re so close!

      • ginidietrich I know! I was just saying the other day (to myself), we have to either run into each other at an event sometime soon or just make it happen.

        • RobBiesenbach We may just need to make it happen.

  • FollowtheLawyer

    Hey Rob! Long time no see. Glad to run into you here at the crossroads of all blogging and social media.

    • FollowtheLawyer OMG! Blast from the past. Hi, Jay — great to “see” you again!

  • John_Trader1

    Great, another funny man. just what this community needs. 🙂 Seriously though, happy to meet you Rob, and I’ll have to check out your book — sounds pretty interesting! Happy Friday!

    • John_Trader1 Thanks, John. Boy, what a setup. Now people expect me to be funny? Okay, a duck walks into a bar …

  • Second City, cool! 
    Congrats Rob, it’s been good “seeing” you on SpinSucks. Really enjoy your comments / conversations. I’ll be through Chicago in late August or early Sept and will look forward to the real thing with you, Gini, Andy, and the crew

    • JoeCardillo That would be great, Joe. Maybe Gini can take us on a century bike ride!

      • RobBiesenbach JoeCardillo Oh don’t tempt me!

        • ginidietrich JoeCardillo Gini, I actually do bike (and spin in the winter), but I’m guessing not quite as hard core as you. Like I don’t have shirts with pockets in the back and stuff. But I do go very, very fast.

        • RobBiesenbach ginidietrich JoeCardillo Hey I guess I qualify, I have one shirt with pockets in the back. But maybe we should start with a 50…

    • JoeCardillo YOU WILL?!?!?

      • ginidietrich JoeCardillo Yep. Need to get up to Wisconsin to see some friends. And wanting to hang with y’all as well. I hear Andy holds court at some place’s happy hour on Thursday nights?

  • Say something funny! — (Words that can incite an immediate feeling of pressure.) So nice to meet you, Rob. Your background is very intriguing.  I can see how acting and communications naturally support each other. I look forward to getting to know you.

    • jolynndeal “Something funny.” BOOM. Comedy, ladies and gentlemen!
      That’s actually every student’s nightmare. You get introduced at a party — “Rob takes classes at Second City” — and they go, “Oh, so you’re a funny man, huh? Say something funny.” Yeah, that’s not how it works …

  • Nice to meet you Rob.

  • NIce to meet you Rob! Happy Friday!

  • WB RobBiesenbach ! All your struggles and you finally made the biggest stage in the world. How does it feel?
    Was your 2 years living in a box on the streets of L.A. telling knock knock jokes on Venice Beach now worth it?
    Was your 3 years of working the Chicago Beat Comedian circuit playing to brutal crowds of 3 and 4 refusing to laugh now worth it?
    Was your 2 years of being the water boy at Second City before they even let you apprentice worth it?
    Was the 2 years training at Second City constantly being passed up for the big break because Steve Carroll stole your Schtick and Tina fey all your jokes now worth it?
    Was the next two years of semi stardom warming up for Sam Kinnison never quite getting his stardom but surely acquiring his habits of fast women and drugs until your time in Betty Ford with actually a better result than Sam? Recovering and jumping into the PR fray and slowly building a successful career leading to today’s bigger than big, huger than huge, greater than great moment?
    I sure hope so.

    • Howie Goldfarb RobBiesenbach Oh yeah I forgot, has anyone let ginidietrich know that SS is now a comedy focused blog? Congrats Rob on this new venture. 
      And what’s the deal with blogs anyway? Am I right?

      • JoeCardillo Howie Goldfarb RobBiesenbach ginidietrich And what’s that name about? “Blog?” Sounds like something my dog threw up on the rug this morning!
        And it’s always the rug! Never the tile. Amirite, people??

        • RobBiesenbach JoeCardillo Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Take that show on the road, kids.

    • Howie Goldfarb This is the day I’ve been working for all that time. I’d like to thank the academy, my agents, and the following 200 people nobody’s heard of but I will insist on naming <cue orchestra, hook>

      • RobBiesenbach Howie Goldfarb Exit, stage riiiiighttttt…..

        • belllindsay RobBiesenbach can’t believe you also thanked the person who walks your neighbor’s dogs and cares for their monkey

  • Enjoy the limelight, Rob! It’s great hearing more of your story. I loved your post…it really resonated as I especially enjoy that digging a writer has to do to find the story. Makes me high when I do. Congrats on #FF!

    • Word Ninja Thanks! I keep trying to come up with the right metaphor. Digging, drilling. I really want to say mining for stories, but then I don’t know quite how to string out the rest of the metaphor. Everyone has rich veins of stories, just waiting to be mined …??? Seems reserves waiting to be tapped works better. Anyway, thought a word person would enjoy that struggle!

      • RobBiesenbach A word I find myself using on the occasions I teach is “nugget,” which goes nicely with your mining metaphor. And it really is like gold, isn’t it?

  • I like him already.

  • NitterNatter

    I love the idea of taking inspiration from comedy and the stage/screen in storytelling so a very well deserved #FF indeed.
    Happy Friday!
    Grace, Nitter Natter.

    • NitterNatter Thank you! It was a gradual revelation to me and it just continues to make sense in so many ways! Tina Fey wrote about it in her slightly more popular book.

  • Nice to meet you Rob!

  • ROB!!! Loved your story post – I’m a bit of a story freak myself. 🙂 It was great working with you, even if you ARE a tattle tale. I’ve since forgiven you that little indiscretion. I’m THRILLED to see you are now crowned as an official member of the Spin Sucks Crazies. Happy Follow Friday!!!

    • belllindsay I canNOT be trusted. I’m a total Cindy Brady!

  • Nice to meet you, RobBiesenbach!! And Happy Friday! When I saw the heading “Imrov Helps Storytelling” — I immediately thought of Christopher Guest Movies. It’s comedy at it’s most natural state. Those movies are so funny because they are shot mostly from the hip. As a blogger/storyteller, I am really trying to take pride in my initial thoughts and ideas — and not add fat just for the sake of it. 
    Great stuff.

    • Matt_Cerms That’s a great idea, Matt. Improv teaches you trust — not just in your scene partners but in yourself. To strip away all the inhibitions, second-guessing and worries about what others will think that we’ve accumulated as adults and instead just go out there, trust our instincts and “play.”

  • Second City. Way cool. Nice to meet you Rob. I’ve followed and bookmarked!

  • susancellura

    Hi RobBiesenbach! I cannot wait to get to know you better via this community, your blog and Twitter account! Have a great and fun weekend!

  • Hi, everyone — I know it’s time to move on to Gin & Topics and summer Fridays, but I wanted to collectively thank you again for making my Friday! Also, if you really, really are interested in the blog, it’s moving (finally) next week over to my website, which will also sport an overdue overhaul, with beautiful images and short (!) videos and stories and all the other stuff I constantly criticize companies for not having. I’ll be announcing the move there and on the twitters and everywhere else. Have a great weekend!

  • Thanks for the shout-out, ginidietrich. And good to meet you RobBiesenbach! We’ll have to trade Second City (or comedy stories) one of these days!

    • martinwaxman Yes, Martin — I’m so glad ginidietrich matched us up here. I’d love to know more and share stories!

  • Rob!!! I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to get over here to say hi! I ADORED your storytelling blog and your overall philosophy and really look forward to following more of your work! 
    I love it when smart people articulate the things I think in my head. Because then I can quote you while in conversation with others and say “Well, as my friend Rob Biesenbach, who is an expert in this area once said…” as if we were just chatting philosophically over coffee, “…..(insert some really insightful thing you said here)….” 
    This far beats me babbling about, waving my arms around in large poetic motions, as is often the case when I want to say something but can’t articulate in properly. So, long story short……HI!!!! So glad to meet you and thank you in advance for helping me pretend I’m smarter than I am!

    • LauraPetrolino Thank you, Laura, for the kind words! And, yes, quote me anytime, but be prepared for them to go, “Who?” Glad to be connecting here and on Twitter!

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  • martinwaxman ginidietrich RobBiesenbach  Small world, I actually took the Second City in Toronto classes way back,  Bad Dog Theatre, and something called the Impatient Theatre, all great Improv schools… [Returning control to Jan 20 – 2014]

  • Digital_DRK martinwaxman ginidietrich Small indeed! My classes where really helpful (and fun) — assume yours were, too!