Ep. 273 – Sheila Nevins: The HBO Producer Who Dawned the Era of the Human Experience

Before Sheila Nevins, no one cared about our human stories.

“I felt that there could be performance in every man, that every man could perform his life or his situation or his trauma or his successes or his failure,” Sheila said. She’s a 26 Academy Award winning HBO producer. She birthed the modern documentary. 1,700 of them in total.

“I think everyone has something to offer,” Sheila said.

But not everyone realizes it. “Sometimes you’re so embittered by life that you never can tell your story,” she said. “I think in the best of all worlds everybody would respect their own story. They would feel that their life was worthy… that they had done the best they could… that they were the victim either of circumstance or the recipient of good luck.”

She sees people as picture. To Sheila, all life is either film uncaptured or captured.

“I walked home last night,” she said. “There were a lot of bag people out. Madison Avenue… pretty ritzy block. Fancy stores and a guy collecting cans. No one who threw that can in that garbage thought that someone could get five cents for it.”

Sheila made documentaries. But this podcast isn’t only about that process. It’s also about the lens she used. And how she inspired us to fall in love with ourselves, with human stories, and with the darkness of the human experience.

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