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Nov. 15, 2022

From Behavior Analyst to Award-Winning Filmmaker | Robin Hofmann

Robin Hofmann is a certified behavior analyst and award-winning film producer, writer, and director.

"For the first time in my life, I felt in the right place."

Robin Hofmann is a certified behavior analyst and award-winning film producer, writer, and director.

"For the first time in my life, I felt in the right place."

In this episode, we discuss the following: 

1. Robin Hofmann's experience as a parent of a child with autism and how it has helped her in her career

2. Her experience making her gluten-free recipes and how this led to her production of a baking show

3. Robin's experience making her first movie during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this led to a life shift for her into the world of filmmaking


"Making films is my passion and my purpose." 


Robin Hofmann was always interested in film and TV but was discouraged from pursuing it as a career by her stepfather. Instead, she got a degree in psychology and spent 27 years working with people with disabilities. When Robin could no longer film her baking show due to Covid, she decided to write and produce her own movie. She has found her true passion in filmmaking and loves every minute of it.


Robin Hofmann is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. She started producing content to spread awareness and highlight individuals who may not have had a voice otherwise. Before getting into film, Robin earned her degree in Psychology and spent 27 years working with individuals with disabilities. Her film journey began with an online baking show focusing on gluten-free recipes and spreading awareness of disabilities. Shortly after, she began interviewing “ordinary people with extraordinary stories” on her online talk show, Chat with Me. These experiences brought her to the art of filmmaking, where she began writing, producing, and directing independent films.  


Other episodes you'll enjoy:

From a Dream to Building a Reality in America | Mathilde Bernard Funderburk

Chasing an Attractive Stranger Off the Subway - A Life-Changing Encounter | Jenny Wood


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When I was really young. I was about ten years old. Unfortunately, I had a stepfather that wasn't very kind, and there are some he would set up these situations just to kind of ridicule, I guess. And we were sitting at dinner, and he was going around the table. I had a lot of siblings, and he was like, what do you want to do?

You when I grew up and at ten years old, I said, I want to make films, I want to make TV shows. I want to do that. And I was laughed at and told that that wasn't going to happen, it would never happen, and that's not a job. And so I did what I was supposed to do. I got out of high school and I went to college, and I got my degree in psychology, which I do not regret for one moment.

And yeah, so I spent 27 years working with people with disabilities. I was a certified behavior analyst. I specialized in autism, and it was an amazing, incredible career. Very, very stressful. It took a lot out of me, mind, body, and soul, but it also helped me a lot.

I have a daughter with autism, so having the education that I had and the experience that I had really helped me as a parent. I really feel like I would have been lost as a parent had I not had that experience. So I was fortunate in that respect. Well, and two, the fact that you had the experience as a parent also helped you help others. So it's like a nice full circle.

That, to me was incredible because I would do lectures for parents and I would go into homes and I would teach parents, and it was one thing to come in as a specialist and say, this is how we should do it. But when my next sentence was, I have a child with autism, it was like there was this openness and this really willingness to listen at that point. I mean, I'm sure it was super impactful. What made you go into psychology? Was that just it's always I mean.

I relate to people. I walk this world with my heart on my sleeve. You know, a lot of people, we joke in my field now. They walk around using their brain. I walk this earth with my heart.

And I just wanted to help people and probably my inner child as well. I say that often. I probably wanted to make that better for myself and just make sure nobody else experienced those kinds of things. And then I was in a behavior therapy course, and this was going to date myself here. It was like 1992, and I watched a video or a professor showed us a video of a child with autism.

And autism was not a household name at this point. People didn't really know what it was. And I was fascinated. I was staring at the screen and I couldn't get enough. I walked up to the professor afterwards, I was 18 years old, and I said, Where can I work with kids like this?

How can I learn to work with kids like this? And he said, Well, I know there's a facility a couple of miles away and he told me the name of it. I got in my car, Matt, I drove to this facility. I cannot make this up. I parked, I walked in, I said, I want to see a manager.

They brought out a manager and I said, I want you to teach me how to work with these children. And she said, OK. And I started right then and there. To me, like 18. I was 18.

My 18 year old version of me was like, what? Like, give me money. I just need money to go do things. Like I didn't care. Like, I had no, let's be real.

I'm in my forty s and I still don't have a direction. So, hey, you absolutely do have a direction. This is your direction and you're living it. But 18, to be inspired by something and want to go full force, was there always still that, like, I know you were shut down at ten with the film kind of thing from your stepfather, but was that always there? Were you doing stuff on the side, creatively?

I was always writing. I never stopped writing. I was always that person at work and my personal life, social life, where people would say, hey, Robin, I need to write a letter to so and so, whether it was a personal letter or a professional. Can you write that for me? Hey, Robin, can you help me write my resume?

Hey, Rob. I was always the writer that people went to. I wrote children's books for each of my kids as they were growing up, for situations that they were going through, and three of them have actually been published. That's amazing. Yeah.

So I've always kept myself in the creative world. And then, of course, working where you and I worked, it sparked some of that creative energy. Even more so as you're progressing through this career. I know you launched a production of some sort related, right? You were kind of marrying the two fields.

I was. So jump back again. 1314 years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which back then nobody had heard of. Nobody knew what gluten was. There was nothing gluten free on the shelves.

And when you could find it, it was ridiculously expensive and it was disgusting. There was one time I was so excited because I found these biscuits. It was like glutenfree biscuits. It was like 13 years ago. So we made them and we were all like, what is that smell?

So now it became a dare because my kids were young, you know, you try it, you try it. This is disgusting. You try it. Literally tasted like playdoh. Now, let's be real.

I've never actually eaten playdoh. Not that I can't remember, but it's what exactly I would imagine Playdoh would taste like. It was so bad. And I'm like, no, I've just wasted all this money. So I spent all these years just creating all these delicious recipes that didn't cost a bazillion dollars and that were satisfying and very, very tasty.

So at one point I kept saying to myself, how can I share these with people? You know what I mean? I want people to not have to go through what I went through. People are getting diagnosed every single day. And the struggle to become daunting and eating Playdoh Biscuits.

I don't want people to eat Playdoh Biscuits. So I did actually put together a baking show, but I couldn't leave disabilities behind because it was such a part of me for so long. So I incorporated the two and the baking show. I was the host. I would invite a guest with a disability and we would talk about their challenges and their successes while we taught them how to make a gluten free recipe.

That's amazing. That's great. It really was. And glutenfree products have gone from Playdoh to compress sawdust. I mean, we're getting closer.

Hey, listen, there's cardboard out there too. Now they really have come a long way. There is some great stuff, but it's always very it's just riddled with stuff you don't really need heavy carbs or things that just eat a lot of it. I only say that from current experience as I now have a gluten sensitivity. I don't have a celiac, fortunately for me, but so I've ventured into the world of gluten free products and there are some good things that on the shelf.

I'm not a cook. I don't like to cook, so I got to go for the prepackaged garbage. But those gluten free Oreos are pretty dang tasty. I haven't been good enough because there's probably nothing good enough. And unfortunately, it's not just gluten for me.

I have lots of stuff I can eat. I used to joke that when I would go on break from work, I would say, well, if you can't find me, it's my lunchtime. I'm probably gnawing on the bark of a tree out there because that's about all I can eat. I remember you doing that show, where were you showing like was it on YouTube or how are you? It was on YouTube and Facebook.

It was just like social media, but it was really taking off, will take off for my liking. I had anywhere from 3000 to 10,000 views per episode and just incredible comments. My very first episode I had my daughter on. She has a syndrome called Eller Stanlo's Syndrome. And we were talking about that, and probably a couple of days after I aired it, I got a message from my mom, and you're going to see me get emotional met.

And she said to me, my daughter and I sat on the couch and we watched your show together and she looked at me and said, mom, she's just like me because she had never met anyone else with Dollar Danla Syndrome. And I was like, this is it. This is exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing. And we did it until Covet hit and then we weren't able to film anymore. That comment resonates with me.

And that's really the life shift for me, is hearing these behind the scenes. I get messages all the time saying I really needed to hear that episode. It may not be the same story, but something that someone said in that triggered something in me. And it's like, I get it. You're like, yeah, this is the reason that we're putting these things together and like, the way that you did it and marrying the things that you are most passionate about, but also providing great information not only about whatever someone is facing in their own lives, but also like a recipe that's probably better than Plato.

It was totally legit better than Plato. And also it was great for the audience to learn these multiple things because I brought in a guest who had autism. So it was great for somebody to see specific mannerisms, maybe the way they spoke, so that maybe if they're standing next to them at work or in a grocery line or whatever, they might notice. Instead of thinking something negative about it, they might think, oh, wait, I saw OK, this might be somebody who has insert whatever disability we were talking about that day. And an awareness, just a general awareness.

I know you said autism is more of a household name at this point. People are very aware, but they're still not aware right. Of the details and what. That's what I always say, that I'm like, there's awareness out there. People are aware, but what they don't have is understanding.

So now we have to switch. We've got all the awareness, now we have to have understanding. Yeah. And I feel like we're slowly like there's some reality shows that are doing a good job. Not what's the word I'm looking for?

We're not sensationalizing certain disabilities, but also bringing awareness. I don't know if you've seen some of these on like A and E. Yeah, but there are certain things that they're trying to give a little bit more of awareness. That disability is just, I guess, a diagnosis of some sort and people are living their best lives with what they have. It's not who we are, it's what we have.

You just mentioned that kind of went away at Covet. Where were you? Getting closer to shifting. To shifting. So that was the beginning of the shift.

So I didn't have like a one moment shift. This was a very gradual one thing led to another, led to another. And it was it was so meant to be that even during each step when I was devastated when COVID hit and the school shut down and I couldn't film Bait with me anymore. I was really, really sad about that. And I tried to do some stuff from home and some online versions, and it just wasn't the same because like I said earlier, I walked the world with my heart, and I feel people's energy, and I was able to really explore things and get more out of them that online.

It just didn't work for me, nor did I feel like it was good for my audience. So I stopped doing the show. Like I said, I was devastated, but I couldn't sit idle. So I started writing again, and I had helped a couple of friends out with some of their films here and there. And I just wrote something one day about being a part of the pandemic or being a couple during the pandemic, and it was a comedy, and I reached out to a handful of people and we decided to just quarantine for a week prior.

And we came to my house for a full weekend and just shot the movie. It was my first movie. I had never done it before myself, and it was so much fun, and every ounce of it just made me feel incredible, so I wanted to keep doing it. You felt like you were in the right place. For the first time in my life, I felt in the right place.

And little bits here and there or things felt good or felt like, maybe this is what it's doing. But making films and being on set is 100% where I belong. Yeah. And I remember watching that. What was it called?

Unmasked. Unmasked, yes. When did you do that? In the pandemic? That was pretty early on.

It was August of 2020. Yeah. So you were in the thick of things. In the thick of things. Yeah.

So you did all the pieces. You were in it. I remember that you wrote it huge. A mistake. But yes, I was in no way now that I know what I know.

But doing what we were doing was fine. I mean, there were six of us making a movie, and three of us were acting in it. You played what roles did you play? Not roles, but, like, what did you do on that? So I was the wife.

There was a husband and wife and who were quarantined, and things were just revealed about their relationship because they were stuck together for so long. And then her mind starts going a little cuckoo and she thinks that he's interested in the neighbor, but she's totally not interested in the neighbor. But you were the writer. Director. I did not director.

I actually had a friend come in and direct, but I did produce it and I wrote it and I acted in it. And that was the best part, right? The acting. He loved it. You want to do it every day.

You want to be there. Acting was fun for me, but no, I like the movie. Making was really what made me want to be there. So what came from that? What didn't come from that?

Matt an entire life shift. Is this where you play music? There's a fanfare. You can't hear it, but it's out there. I'll do it again.

Live shift. Yeah. So once I realized this is absolutely where I belong, I am an all in kind of person. So I started doing some research. I started reaching out to people, joining film groups, watching endless YouTube videos on filmmaking and cameras and lighting and acting and directing.

And I started just as soon as we were able to be on set again and people started filming again, I would reach out to anyone I knew locally and just said, Can I be on your set? I didn't care what they had me doing. I'd make coffee, I changed garbage, I sweat floors. I did anything that they needed me to do just to be a part of the experience and start networking and getting involved. And I made a lot of great contacts through that.

So that by the time I was ready to make my second film, which I had a little bit more experience at that point, I knew people and I was able to talk to them and say, hey, this is what I want to do. Would you like to be a part of it? And at that point, because I didn't have a budget, or at least much of a budget for it, which is a lot of bartering, I'll work for you or I'll write for you, or I'll do this for you, if you can come in and help me with my film. So I drove right in and it just grew bigger and bigger. Now the positions I hold are much higher than the type of work I was doing at the beginning, which still I believe everyone should do.

I think everyone should get in on the ground floor and learn things that way. Now I'm making award winning films. You sure are. I mean, there's a lot of them now.

Does she sleep? When do you do all this? How many films have you created since that unmasked now? Films that are actually mine, because I've worked on so many films, probably 40 plus films in the past two years, which is a lot. I know, because that's what it's so funny when people ask me, they're like, wow, how long have you been doing this?

They just think it's a lifelong career for me. And I'm like, Two and a half years. They're like what? I'm like, I know, but it's exactly where I'm meant to be. I've written eight films, I think, and they're all most of them there's one that was just made just to be silly, but they're deep messages.

I want to make an impact on this world that will never change. So whether I'm working in the field of psychology, working with people with disabilities, or making a film, there's always going to be some type of thing to learn something. But I want it to be entertaining. And I also want just like your podcast, people to be able to relate to it and get something out of it. Yeah, I remember watching was a Dance with Me dance, dance for Me.

That was so cool. Which sounds very provocative, but it is not. Well, we'll see. But you mentioned award winning, so you have a few of these now that I've received, like, big awards. Yeah, it's been pretty amazing.

Yeah. One of my films called Speak is about a young lady with a speech impediment. Oh, I love that one. Very good. It's such a great film.

And I cried. You cried at the end. I always say that to people. You're welcome. And I'm sorry.

I love it. I am a male that likes to cry. Give me something that will make me cry, and I am not ashamed to do it. I did cry, and I definitely send the Speak one to other people. Oh, thank you.

And told them to watch. But anyway, tell me what you want. Yeah. So what's funny is my composer actually worked with us at the same company that we worked at, frank Long. He's a gem.

Frank Long is great, but I'm CSU, and he has composed every single one of my films. And usually when we have what's called Picture Lock, when we have it where we want it, and I sent it to him, I'm like, all right, man, let's make him cry again. And that's sort of our running joke. Like, is this going to make them cry? Is this going to work?

Composing is so incredible, and he's very good at it. But Speak, like I said, his buddy, young lady with a speech impediment. And it has won quite a few awards. I don't know how many at this point, but it's very impactful. It was shot well, gentleman by the name of Daniel Hagler, shot speaking and edited by John Von Ness, who is also an incredibly talented editor.

And you just put all those wonderful pieces together, and you get this great product with a great message. And I put it on Facebook not that long ago, probably a month ago, and it has over 15,000 views. And that's just organically from people sharing and people enjoying it. So that's been great. It's so good.

When you get that first award, what went through your head? Who, me? Yeah. I'm still like that. Matt, the other night, this past weekend, I was at a film festival, and I won best Director for Dance for Me.

And I looked at my husband. Is that right? Did I get that? He's like, go up there. And I was like, But I don't understand, because in my head, dance for me itself, I thought might win an award because my cast and crew were so incredible and the film is beautiful, but I still don't get it.

For me. He's like, God. I'm like, okay, I'm going. It still blows me away. But that was my fifth best director award.

Perhaps they're onto something. That's crazy. Well, and you just said it too, which was interesting. When you were talking about speak, you didn't talk about anything that you did on it. You gave credit to.

I do that now. But people were tired. So did you? Yeah, I did. I wrote it, directed it and produced it.

Do you think that you are a better script writer because of your psychology background and working with humans for so long? I think everything I've been through in my life has made me a better everything. I think working in the field for so long has made me a better director because I know how to meet people, where they're at, and I know how to draw out the best of them. And that's what the director needs to do. I was thinking that early on when you were talking about going for psychology and what not, to just understand the human experience and all the different areas of it.

Is there an area that you're afraid to create? A movie about a topic? A topic? Yeah. No, I have no fear, Matt.

No fear. I mean, that's not exactly true. I always want to put exactly how I live my life, put good into the world. So I will not do films that I feel are harmful. Okay?

I won't perpetuate stereotypes. I won't put people down. I won't use verbiage that I would never use in real life. I have had people ask me and I just can't it's just not within my realm. And nor would they want me to because it wouldn't be authentic.

I think everything I do is very authentic and that's why they're successful. And part of me asks that question selfishly, having all these conversations on the Life Shift podcast, we have people that are finally talking about, like, that dark moment or something. And sometimes we for so long run away from it. So I asked that in a sense of maybe, was there any things that you were not ready to share? So vulnerability words?

Yeah. So vulnerable about, you know, like I mean, you're talking are any of these, like, super personal or do you write from the perspective of someone else? It's funny that you asked me that. I have written a novel, by the way, in my spare time. Just, you know do you do that?

I do. Writing. My ideas do come to me, by the way, in the middle of the night. I'll wake up at, like, 430 in the morning and I don't want to make my husband up. So I hide under the covers with my phone and just put, like, notes in.

Hilarious. It's really hot. Yeah. But my novel is loosely based on my life. Okay.

So there's definite fan of fan things that I made up within it. But there's very key elements of my life in there. That's why it's sitting in a laptop that nobody has ever seen or touched. Everything else I do, I get my inspiration from other people. And there's probably a little bit of elements of myself in there.

But I met a young lady with a speech impediment, and she's a very talented actress. Talked to her mother, and I said, this thing just popped in my head after I met her. Is this something she might interest be interested in? And she said, yes. So we talked about it, and I wrote the film, and she actually started it.

Yeah. So good. So if you're listening, go find speak. Where can I find that? Every social media outlet I have is Hoppy's Heart or Hoppy's Heart Production.

So we'll put those in the show notes so people can watch that. Will you tell us or are you allowed to tell us of your special project that you're working on now or just finished working on? Absolutely. So one of the most amazing things that has happened to me in my career so far is I was contacted by Make A Wish, and they let me know that there was a young lady whose wish it was was to be an actress in a film. And they asked if I could help her.

And I was like, Watch me. So I wrote a short film for her, and I just put it out there online. I've built such a great film family is what I call it. Just my film family. And those branches just extend out to so many places that I was like, I can't choose between these talented people to say, oh, I want you to do this.

I want to do this. I just put it out there in social media, I said, this is what's happening. If you want to volunteer your time and your expertise, email me. And Matt. Within a day, I had over 150 emails of people that wanted to be involved.

And I was just like, now I have to sort through all this. And I always still have to choose. But at the end of the day or at the end of the project, we had 71 volunteers. Wow. Between cast and crew, we had food donated.

We had cupcakes donated for all the teens. I mean, it was unbelievable to watch this community come together for one special young lady. So I wrote the film, and she got to get some acting lessons with some very special people from book, from tape. And we had table reads online. And then the days came, and we got to shoot this beautiful little film for her.

And she was a star. I was so worried because she had never really acted before. And she walked in and she was ready with her lines and she full force just gave me what I needed. That's amazing. The whole process was just beautiful.

So fulfilling. When will that will that be shared publicly or is that more of absolutely. So, you know, Matt, I couldn't just do one simple thing, of course, so I decided to put a second crew together. And we actually have been filming a documentary about granting her wish. That's awesome.

So we're working on that as well. And we make a Wish is putting together a red carpet premiere for her so she can walk in and be the star that she is and watch her film. And we'll show some of the documentary. It's not quite ready yet. Plus we'll be filming that day at the premiere to add to the documentary.

So we'll see pieces and parts of the documentary that day and we'll be able to see the film. And then part of what I wrote involved a lot of social media influencers. So we had some just incredible folks send in videos and be a part of the film. So we're going to do a social media push for the actual film itself, which is only eight minutes. So we'll push that probably online.

The red carpet premiere September 17, so I'll probably put it out online on September 18. And then it's going to be embedded in the documentary. So the documentary will be something that will probably push through film festivals. That's amazing. Okay, so here's my question that came up in mind.

So first of all, that's amazing. Make a Wish, you're changing this girl's, you know, you're making her dreams come true, right. And she's getting all these cool things. And then you mentioned just in passing, it's an eight minute film, but an eight minute film takes you how long? Give an idea to these people that have no clue.

The work that goes into this eight minute film, the way we associate it. Which will vary greatly depending on if you have special effects, visual effects, any of those added things will add time. But generally when you watch something, it's about an hour of production time for every minute of film. Wow. But for us, for some of the things that we did, it was even longer.

We actually filmed over a three day period for an eight minute film. And the preproduction alone, I probably spent 40, 50 hours on. Sometimes I think we discount, like when we're watching something on television or we're even watching a commercial or something, the work that goes into it, or even something as simple as a podcast. Like the other day and you can probably relate to this. The other day I was like, okay, so what is an episode?

Like, what does that involve for me? And I wanted to make it myself, a checklist, because all along, I've just kind of been doing it and it's so far I'm. At 33 tasks per episode. Wow. And you're like, but it's just the audio.

But there's so much that's involved in it, too, so I can kind of relate. It's not quite as intense as getting all the other people together, but I wanted to just get that out there that these short films take a long time and a lot of work. It was amazing. Like, her parents were like we thought they were going to, like, bring her in and let her be a background actor on, like, a film somewhere or something. They had no idea.

We had no idea. I didn't realize how big it would become until we started doing it, but I wanted to give her everything she deserved. Are you, Robin, ready for what happens next? After that, get out there. And you're now connected even more so with Make A Wish.

I'll be honest with you, Matt. If I am able to continue to do what I'm doing and just give people opportunities and tell my stories and make an impact, I'm happy. My heart is already full. At what point in your life were you able to go full into this?

At what point were you still doing a little bit of both worlds? Well, I was still working while I was doing the baking show, and then as that was building success, and I was doing a little bit more, like I said, volunteering on other people's sets and stuff, I did leave my job at that time. My husband is very supportive and he knew that there's no way I could function enough to do both because I've neglected to mention it. But while I was doing the baking show, I also did a talk show. So I'd have Baked with Me and I had Chat With Me, which was a podcast very similar to what you're doing.

And my tagline was ordinary people with extraordinary stories. That was great, too. So the two of those shows kept me so busy, and they were both sort of taking off at the time when COVID hit. So I had left my job at that point. And then you were like, you know what, it's time.

As soon as that unmasked came out, you're like, I love every second. This is this is what I have to do. And now yeah, now it's my full time job. Have you done yourself any feature length of your own? I'm in the middle of writing a feature, actually.

There's some interest, some people who are interested in funding Dance for me to become a teacher. That's amazing. So we're still in the talks and I'm still in the writing phase, but it's hard. I'm so busy making movies, it's hard for me to write movies anymore. We should talk about your social media posts yesterday.

By now I'll be dated, but maybe you could share. Yeah. So there are several things that I'm doing, but I was brought in by Kalila Ali, who was Muhammad Ali's wife quite some time ago to write and direct her pilot episode of a show called Peer Justice. And I know that's still, like, I. Don'T know, what is your world?

It's so cool. I say that all the time. What is my world? And I'm like, I got to go to the premiere tonight. I'm going to a premiere.

So I'll go to the premiere, and then I'm home the next morning, and I'm like, scrubbing the toilet and washing dishes. I'm like, this is not like, something. We need something. Just kidding. Yeah.

So you're working. So yesterday, which is now dated, but yesterday, she posted that she was working on the pilot she was writing, and she's going to be, like, really into it. After winning best director for your other film, you came home, you had to start writing that pilot. But she's so into her work that she needed to put out a call on social media to remind her to use the restroom. So I sent her a message that maybe she should look into that astronaut stalker situation, and then she doesn't ever have to get up.

She can continue writing the whole time. But I don't know if that was a good idea. It was a great idea. I'm not opposed to the diaper idea. I just think it's probably not a great idea for me.

I need to get up every once in a while and walk around, but I get so into my stories and I just want to write, and all of a sudden, it'll be like, oh, I'll get some pang of some sort. Either I'm super hungry or super thirsty, or a man. You probably should have gone to the bathroom 20 minutes ago. Okay, so that's a good question. And this will help me, too.

Do you have any advice to people that are leaning really hard into their passion projects? Like, what can you tell them that you've learned along the way? I think really surrounding yourself and people that believe in you? Number one, obviously, because that started at a very young age for me, where I didn't feel like I had that support. And now being around it, it's like, well, I will never like, it's funny to be in this field and to change fields at my age.

I mean, I'm just going to say it. I'm going to be 50 very soon. Very soon. Too soon. Thank you.

So changing careers at 48 years old is insanity. Insanity. And also walking into a maledominated field, that's number two. And number three is I'm just at a point in my life I'm allowed to curse on this. Sure.

Okay. I'm at the point in my life that I just don't put up with. People should if I don't have to. I will do anything for anyone, and I will not be treated with disrespect. I just won't.

And you get that on these sets sometimes, or you'll get people with egos that can barely fit through the front door. And I'm just like, I don't need to deal with that. So I don't. So it's an interesting dynamic because had I done this when I was younger, I don't know that I would have been successful, to be honest with you. But knowing having the experience I have and knowing people the way I do, it's given me this great just I don't even know, just knowledge and ability to be able to deal with people or not deal with people if I don't want to.

And I'm loving it. Yes, you've really curated something beautiful for yourself. But I think like I said earlier, you're inspiring other creators to lean really hard into it and believe in yourself. That's why surrounding yourself with people who believe in you is so important and also just getting involved. So if you're still working and you want to do your craft, just insert yourself into it.

Whether it be little groups of people who also do it so you get that support. People are like minded. Set aside an hour, 2 hours a week if you can spare it, to just sort of engage into watching videos about what you want to do or actually do. Creating what you want to create and just make sure you're giving that a little bit more time each week so that you can become immersed in it eventually and hopefully it can become your life shift. Yeah, I mean, that's what I've started doing because I started this podcast as a school project in a class and we didn't have to launch it and of course I did.

And I put it out there, I was like, why am I going to do this without doing it, right? So I did it and then it felt like I was just kind of learning as I went. And so I started a podcasters group on LinkedIn of people in similar situations because there's a ton of people out there podcasting like business to business podcasts and there's all sorts of advice for that, but there's not a lot of people talking about people that are doing it all themselves and kind of working together. So I love that advice of just like surrounding yourself with people that are just as passionate and authentic about what they're doing. And I think where your success also lies is in the fact that everything you do is true to you, right?

You're not choosing things just because maybe early or younger people trying to go into the industry will just choose things because it's going to make them famous or it's going to whatever, but you're choosing things that are heart centered. Coffee's heart. Coffee's heart. That speaks to me a lot because I don't want to do these conversations. I told you earlier, I got rid of the interview questions because I just want to chat, I want to have this real conversation.

And if I came in with these five questions of, like, here's my next question. I wouldn't be paying attention to what you're talking about. And so I really feel that authentic voice that you're sharing of kind of the approach that you're going into and super inspired by you. I remember when you first reached out and you were thinking about doing the podcast. I was like, do it.

I'll tell you, it's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done in my entire life. And I'm sure you can relate to that as you work on your films. It's just like everything feels right. Yesterday I had a recording with someone, and technology just didn't work, and it hurt me. I took it on.

And have you ever had a situation like where just things were going wrong on set? And do you internalize that? Like me, it's filmmaking. Okay, so everything goes wrong all the time. Absolutely.

I mean, things always and you have to sort of just be ready for that, and you have to be able to go with the flow. But that's why preparation is so important, just like you have. You've added an extra step into your podcasting where somebody can go in and check to make sure their equipment is working. That's what you do. That's why you spend so much time in what we call pre production, to make sure that production goes as smoothly as it can.

Always something, right? Always something. Always something. Well, especially with COVID because even filming after somebody, your main camera guy could wake up in the morning and be sick. And then now what do you do?

Right. Well, I guess you started this mostly during the pandemic. Do you have contingencies that you always build in, or is that just kind of you fly by the seat of your pants? We do. Sometimes we have to fly by the seat of our pants, but we do because there are so many people involved.

So to have 40 people available on a certain given day, you can't just go, oh, we'll film it tomorrow. You can't. There's not tomorrow. You have to find a way to make it happen today. I hope that your novel sees the light of day at some point.

I'm interested in hearing more about that. So now that it's out there in the public, you're kind of forced to do it. I said, Ten, deal, and then it'll be a feature film.

I said, It hasn't seen the light of day. And that was kind of a white lie, because I actually kind of forgot I did. Matt, I'm so sorry. This is not the lie shift. This is the live shift.

I got it now. So I met this wonderful woman. Her name is Renell Golden. She's a filmmaker, beautiful, human, and she writes for other people. And we had been talking about some stuff, and I think I said something about the novel or whatever, and she turns books into scripts and so there was some random day that I just reached out to, and I was like, are you serious about that?

Do you want to do that? And so we worked out the financial piece, and I just sent it to her. I've never reread it. I never read it. After I wrote it, I told her, I said, this could be like, I literally have no idea.

But I know that the story in there is good if we could, whatever. And she is turning it into a screenplay, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to film it. It's very emotional. Well, if you need someone to look at it or read it, let me know. I'm always interested in that.

After my mom died, it took me forever to grieve properly because I didn't have the tools. I didn't have the people around me telling me, like, how to do it or what to do. And once I did it, once I figured it out for myself, I became a more sharing person and sharing the gross moments and the parts that like the not the performative parts, but here is, like, just this sucks, right? Like, these moments, this is how I'm feeling. It's okay to feel this way.

And so even if there are those pieces, that intrigues me more than if it was, like, some surface thing that didn't dive deep. So I hope that at some point, others get to read that, and I'm just putting it out there, and you should have the confidence that I'm sure it's damn good. So there's that. Thank you. And I believe that it is good.

I just have to be able to yeah, I have to be ready. But, I mean, I sent it to her, so that's a big deal. Already. She lied to me about it. It's perfect.

I did. I'm just so used to saying that it's just sitting there because I had sat there for probably eight, nine years. Without maybe you'll read it in 2023 and you'll be reinspired. Maybe I will, because I am definitely looking to do features now instead of. Short and life changes too.

I look at stuff that I wrote ten years ago, and I'm like, wow, that is not me anymore. And I think a lot of it has to do with just putting it on paper. Now it's there, it's out, right. And I don't have to internalize that. So I'm getting way off topic again.

Because that's just now we're going to do that. But what I like to do, I mean, I think your story is so inspiring of just, like, just lean in and do the things that bring you joy if you can, and you have the ability to do it, do that. It took me a long time to learn that, and it took a lot. You mentioned grief, and I didn't get into this earlier because it is it's a lot, and it's very heavy. But in order for me to learn that this is what I wanted to do, or know that this is what I should do, is I went through hell.

My family, from 2015 to 2018, we lost eight family members. People I was very, very close to. One of my closest, dearest friends. She was my sister in law, and I used to call her my sister in life. And then my mother passed away and my father in law who was living with us, I was taking care of him.

I mean, it was just my brotherinlaw. Wow. And my brotherinlaw is where Coffee's Heart came from. His nickname was Coffee. My last name is Robin Hofmann, so his last name was Robin Hofmann as well.

He passed away from pancreatic cancer. Yeah. It was such a difficult situation because when he was so young, he was in his forty s, and we had already gone through multiple deaths, like one after another. We couldn't even grieve for one before the next one was happening. And I was on a plane.

I had just returned from visiting my niece, who had just lost her mother, my sister in law. I'm on the plane on the triple. We had just landed. And I get a text from my brotherinlaw that says, can you meet me at the hospital? And I literally looked at my husband and I said, I can't do this.

I don't have an indie. I can't do this. But then of course, my response was, sure, I'll be right there because I can do it. I didn't want to do it, but I can. So I got to the hospital and he had a chair next to his bed.

And he said, Come sit down. And I said, I don't want to. I was like a child that literally knew that she would explode if one more thing happened. And I looked at my husband and he gave me this nod, like, just go do it. So I sat down next to my brother in laws and he looked at me and he said, I watched you take care of my mother.

And I watched you take care of my father. And he said, Will you be my person? And I was like, yes. It was like one of those. So I was like, what is happening, happening?

And he said, I have tincare of cancer. If you know anything about that, it's a very unfortunate diagnosis. And most people I'm not saying it's impossible, people do survive, but most people do not. And his was from the date of diagnosis three months later, he passed. Yeah, it's relentless.

But I was doing the baking show at the time and he was such an advocate for what I was doing. And he would robin, you're going to do this. This is going to be great. Millions of people are going to want to watch it. He was just so cute about it.

And like I said, his nickname was Hoffey. So that's when I created hockey's, heart. And things are born from I would say that some of people's biggest, like, successes come from those darker moments because I think they make us stop and think. I would say that this version of Matt is very similar to like in that story when I watched my grandmother pass away of cancer as well. And at the end she said, I wish I hadn't worried so much because all that matters is love in the end.

And I was like, well, as soon as she died, I was like, you know what? I'm going to quit this. I'm going to do this. I'm going to stop serving other people and serve myself and stop worrying. But try not to worry about the things that really don't matter, right, that's it.

And to enjoy what you're doing and going through all this grief of one person after another and then sitting in a room where I was literally doing some counseling with students and then they would be sitting across from me and my heart was broken and their heart was broken. So I felt like what? Normally because I tell people all the time, it's hard to understand unless you go through it. But I don't just hear you. I don't just see you.

I feel you. I feel everything. So when you're sitting across from me and you're feeling and I can't store it, there's nowhere to store it anymore, it was like my heart was just broken. I was like, I can't keep doing this. And then when I was on the sideline doing the baking show or writing or being on somebody's set and I felt my heart was healing or it was fulfilled and I was able to feel good.

It was like. Okay. I need to make that shift and I deserve to be happy and I can still give to people and I can still be there and support people and make a difference. But it might look a little different on a daily basis, something more than I can handle. I mean, here we are near the end of the podcast and I think that's probably your trigger, that section of really hard times that kind of opened your heart to these new experiences, to then fill it in different ways and to honor these people 100%.

Yeah, right. So you can just take that chunk and put it earlier in the podcast. No way. This is our conversation and this is how it goes. You know what's funny is I started this podcast on the week of my mom's birthday and that was intentional.

And then I took some time off after I had a bunch of episodes recorded before I started recording season two. The first person for season two booked on the day that my mom died. And so that was just coincidence. And then was it? Well, I don't know, maybe my mom did that.

I didn't plan that because I give you guys the open. You can choose when you want. And then the other day, I'm looking down and I'm like, okay, so season one is done. It's 32 episodes. That's how old my mom was when she died.

And I was like, I think she's playing mom. Yeah. And I think that there are certain things like that, that we need to go through these moments, and they suck. And I'm grateful for what I've learned after going through those moments. And I'm sure you're a better writer and producer because of those really hard moments, because you now just want to be around the right people and the good people and fill your heart in certain ways.

Absolutely. Absolutely. There's no way had I not gone through all of those things that I went through that I would be doing what I'm doing today. I get it. And it's hard to be grateful for those moments, but I'm grateful for what I've learned that's it not grateful for.

The moments, but grateful for what becomes it. In a way. They've helped shape that by what they had to go through 100%. I like to end these podcast episodes with a question, and it varies depending on who I'm talking to. So what if today Robin went back to Robin, who had just left that hospital room talking to your brother in law?

What would you tell that version of Robin about this new journey that you're on?

It's going to be okay.

Because you probably felt at that moment that everything. Could be okay ever again. Everything was falling apart. And I asked this question. I mean, I know it's not possible to do, but sometimes we have to go through the journey to get to where we are.

Most of us aren't going to just snap our fingers and be to another. Place, and if we did, we wouldn't appreciate it and we wouldn't feel as deeply as we do toward what we're doing. Exactly. And that was your point earlier when you were talking about, like, have you gone into this as a teenager or as a young adult into the film industry? You probably wouldn't appreciate the way you do now, and I feel like you have to go through everything that you went through, good and bad, to get to this amazing award winning.

Best director a million times over. Film extraordinaire. I mean, like, you're doing the dang thing. I'm doing it, and you're making a career out of it. And people's lives are changed by what you're doing.

Not just the people watching the films, but the people being a part of it. The people. You're changing lives. So, so proud to know you. Thank you.

Thank you so much. Thank you for being a part of the lifestyle podcast, too, because I know you're a busy lady and you carved away a couple of hours for me, so I appreciate it. I appreciate you, Matt.