Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Brianne Berkson & Miguel Gluckstern of BriGuel Are Helping To Change Our World
Always follow your intuition. If something feels off, it’s off; if something feels good, it’s good. This has proven to be the case numerous times — from working with particular clients to hiring team members.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing BriGuel.
From the notes in a musical score to those given on a script or a set, BriGuel puts their heart and soul into everything they do, developing and delivering powerful stories that drive emotional impact. Brianne Berkson, born in NYC and Miguel Gluckstern, born in Germany and raised in Spain, are BriGuel; they met while directing / producing a short film “Fly Away,” and haven’t left each other’s side since. They celebrate and inspire diversity every day, bringing together different cultures, genres and styles through the most powerful and inspiring mediums in the world: film and music.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you so much for having us. It’s always a pleasure to connect. For as long as we can recall, the arts have pulsed through our beings, inspiring our lives profoundly. It was never a question of if we’d pursue careers in the arts and entertainment, it was simply a matter of how. After many years as solely creative and performance artists, we both respectively established our own production companies (Everlasting Films 2011; Gluckstern Films 2013) to create from a more 360 degree perspective, adding director and producer to our repertoires.
So by the time we met in 2016, Miguel was a writer, director, producer, rapper; and Brianne was a writer, producer, singer, actress. Miguel saw some of Bri’s work and wanted to hire her for a role in a short film he was directing and producing, “Fly Away.” However the role required nudity and a sex scene, which Bri doesn’t do so she passed on the role. Consequently, Bri was asked to instead join the project as a co-writer and Producer. Shortly thereafter, Bri sang on several tracks for Miguel’s upcoming EP and the rest was inevitable; we joined forces — in every way — and started BriGuel, our film and music production business. Through BriGuel we’re able to nurture all of our passions, grow as creatives and entrepreneurs — we’ve added editor, composer and consultant to our roles — and we get to do it all beside our best friend, co-creator and life partner. It’s awesome.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Having been a fan of Kase.O since childhood, when Miguel got a call for us to perform live in Colombia with him, his childhood idol, it was . exhilarating! And then, on top of that high, we were asked to come back to Colombia two weeks later to direct, produce, art direct, edit and costume design the music video for his Yemen single; it was so surreal. The video wound up streaming millions of times and was nominated for several awards. Truly a dream come true!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake we made when we first started BriGuel was Tokyo-drifting (fishtailing the car left and right) through a snowstorm in Park City, Utah while trying to make a meeting that we hesitated leaving for — that ended up being canceled due to the weather. We learned a few points from this moment: if it doesn’t feel right — and there’s literally a snow storm outside — it’s okay to reschedule; sometimes it’s better to stay-in than risk your life for something that may or may not even happen; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, so don’t overdo it!
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
BriGuel is a 2-fold business: we’re hired to produce film and music projects for clients and we also create our own film and music as filmmaker / artists. As filmmakers / artists, as creatives, we’ve always felt a sense of responsibility related to the work we produce. We sincerely care how the message is transmitted as well as received; furthermore, we truly care about the message of our work, in and of itself. So everything we produce, whether through film or music, shares a message of utmost importance: How can we do our part to make the world a better place? And what’s really remarkable is the personal growth we’ve seen in ourselves as creative producers. We can say with confidence that the majority of our projects align with this personal mission and ethos of impacting audiences, making a difference, and are focused on leaving a lasting, positive social impact.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
We have been contacted by people around the world, from Argentina to Brazil; Eastern Europe to Africa and across the US who have either seen our films or heard our music and shared how our work helped them through difficult times, offering a different perspective to their own troubles. We always create from a place of truth, from personal experience, and we aim to share our own transformative journey as a way to connect with others. One individual comes to mind named Randi, who called us through Instagram from Kenya to tell us how much our song “No One Really Knows” moved him — we so appreciate social media for moments like this! He told us he listened to the song every morning and it gave him a sense of hope and peace — we released this song right before everything shut down due to Covid. It really motivated us to keep sharing our message and doing work that has a profound impact on others — literally across the globe.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Absolutely. Firstly, and most importantly, we feel that through cultivating a culture of kindness, love and understanding, we can make significant changes to our society. Secondly, this starts by addressing education. If we nurture coexistence and empathy in our schools, in our politics, in our homes, then we will experience this in our world. The great Nelson Mandela aptly shared: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” What if we implemented courses on love and human connection; on how to deal with our ever busy minds rather than trigonometry — we both took so many classes on courses we’ve never used in adult life; but how to love? How to live in a world that’s compassionate and kind? That would be such a useful class! And lastly, fostering a spirit of inclusion rather than being separated by our differences, we could open our hearts and find our commonalities. Additionally, we can all do our part to nurture this new way of thinking and being in our lives — and it can be as simple as smiling at a passerby or holding the door for a stranger. Small actions of kindness and love make huge differences in all our lives. Ultimately that’s the goal: for everyone to feel more love.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
We define leadership as providing a safe, supportive atmosphere to allow everyone to feel and perform their best. A great leader provides a space for everyone to thrive, knowing that in doing so, the best possible outcome for all is achieved. We always give our team the freedom to bring ideas and input to projects, knowing that many great minds focused on a common goal are always better than one. There’s also a level of honesty and transparency, a recognition of our shared human experience that we feel is of utmost importance as a leader.
Recently we’ve been introduced to the work of Anees the Rapper. He’s a talented artist and unique leader who embodies this type of leadership in several ways: 1. He shares a message of love and community through his music yet still creates catchy, universal sounding music; 2. He consistently elevates his community, praising other artists, collaborators and fans; 3. He’s genuine and authentic, sharing openly about his life journey, his art and his life experience. In essence, Anees embodies our definition of leadership through spreading a positive message, elevating those around him and being authentic.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
The 5 things we wish someone told us when we first started:
- Always follow your intuition. If something feels off, it’s off; if something feels good, it’s good. This has proven to be the case numerous times — from working with particular clients to hiring team members.
- There will be great disappointments, but they often transform into blessings in hindsight. We spent 2+ years developing and pitching a Series, had 3 different offers / deals fall through and spent 6 months back and forth between NY and LA for meetings, to no avail. Looking back on the experience, we see the people, opportunities and offers involved didn’t align with our integrity — something we value greatly.
- There will be times when seemingly everything’s falling apart, nothing works — this is usually the moment right before everything makes sense. With every single project there’s a moment when we doubt the quality, the story, the production — is this any good? Should we scrap this and start afresh? Then, magically, a shift occurs and everything falls into place.
- The first few years you’ll have to prove yourself. In BriGuel’s early years, we put in many hours beyond what we were compensated for. We had track records, but not as our own business, and not in serving all the roles we were hired to perform — from creative development through delivery. So we certainly paid our dues. However after those first few years, the projects kept rolling and clients returned or recommended us to others. We’re grateful to say we’ve been working consistently now for 3 years and our own music and film endeavors now have a life of their own!
- When you put your heart and soul into something, and take action to support your passion, you never know how far and wide your passion — in our case, our work — will go. In a few short years, we’ve amassed 2,000,000+ streams on our music, screened our films at Festivals around the world including at Tribeca Film Festival, and connected with hearts of various ages, cultures, religions and beliefs. It’s amazing how your creation takes on a life of its own and happily goes beyond your expectations.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We would inspire people to do something kind and loving for both themselves and others everyday and make this as commonplace as having coffee in the morning. This doesn’t have to be an enormous feat, either. Just find a moment within the day to be in joy, to be kind and loving. Dance for 3 minutes, take a few moments to breathe, connect with a loved one. Then extend this feeling to others: share a smile, give a compliment; a simple act of kindness, of love goes a long way.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.” — Mark Twain
“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” — Rumi
Both of these quotes resonate profoundly with us and impact how we live our lives. We firmly believe that you are the creator of your life and destiny, therefore if you believe something to be possible, it’s possible; do it, create it, make it happen! And the Rumi quote speaks to the impact and power we all have within us, both individually and collectively. We’ve both experienced major life transformations over the years as we’ve arrived at the essence of this quote and our current state of being: you may be one human being amongst billions, but your worth and impact is profound.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Wow, quite the consideration…so many people come to mind from various industries and expressions. The 2 people that come to mind are Oprah and the “BrOprah” — as he’s called — Joe Rogan. Both Oprah and Joe are visionaries who paved their own way despite naysayers, and continue to transform themselves and their industries by expanding themselves — even in the face of adversity. With both Oprah and Joe we’d talk about how to navigate the mind, body, spirit element of existence and especially how they have incorporated this consideration into their public lives. We’d also discuss ways to continue shedding light on these topics and how to spread the information even further to make an even greater impact on society.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
We can be found at @wearebriguel on Instagram and Facebook; @briguel on Soundcloud and Spotify; and @BriguelOfficial on YouTube.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Thank you so much! We truly appreciate the opportunity to have had this conversation.
Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Brianne Berkson & Miguel Gluckstern of BriGuel Are Helping… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.