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Ohio State alumnus leads others to entertainment success

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Billy Goldberg (right) presents a motivational speech. Credit: Courtesy of Billy Goldberg

Billy Goldberg (right) presents a motivational speech. Credit: Courtesy of Billy Goldberg

A former Ohio State business administration student has developed a business that will teach entrepreneurship principles to struggling creatives in Los Angeles.

Alumnus Billy Goldberg drew from personal experience in the development of Defying Gravity 101, as he made the move to Los Angeles after completing his bachelor’s degree in business management from OSU in 1991.

“It was just time for me to go out and experience something new. California was always thought of as the land of opportunity, and it really was that for me,” Goldberg said of his initial move. “I started with nothing and was really able to build something.”

Defying Gravity 101 is a four-part educational program designed to prepare artists, actors and musicians for professional success by narrowing in on what makes them unique and teaching them to leverage their strengths.

After climbing the ranks as an entertainment agent with the then-named William Morris Agency and then launching his own business — The Buckeye Group, which helps develop smaller businesses that lie on “the intersection of media, entertainment and technology,” according to its website — Goldberg found an unlikely partner in a teacher’s aid at his daughter’s elementary school.

Ultimately serving as a mentor to actor and mathematician Justin Key, Goldberg encouraged him to take all opportunities that came his way. When Key developed his own curriculum on entrepreneurship in entertainment, he soon became the instructor of the course itself and eventually invited Goldberg to come speak.

Independently, Goldberg developed a presentation on how to rise above and get ahead in the entertainment business. After speaking to Key’s students, he was surprised to realize that he had essentially summarized the course’s driving philosophy.

Billy Goldberg and Justin Key. Courtesy of Billy Goldberg

Billy Goldberg and Justin Key. Courtesy of Billy Goldberg

“We realized that what we were saying really resonated with the students. And from there, we’ve started to get the message out more,” he said.

Though Goldberg and Key have targeted those seeking careers in the entertainment industry, the program’s principles can also be applied to organizations and companies.

“It’s really a mindset,” Goldberg said. “We talk about four things that really help you move forward toward your goals. And what we did for the sake of these performing arts students was put these ideas into entertainment terms, but they could be applied to anything.”

Drawing from personal experience, Goldberg and Key developed the four tenants of Defying Gravity 101. The program emphasizes that taking action, telling your own story, building a network and finishing whatever you start are essential steps in creating a legacy — no matter the location or objective.

“I tell all of these kids, whatever you do that’s outside of this class is the thing that’s going to get you to where you want to be,” Goldberg said. “It’s not going to be how well you memorize your lines; it’s not going to be how good looking you are. It’s about what makes you different and what makes you interesting.”

Defying Gravity 101 is available for online access, but can also be presented in person. The Defying Gravity 101 website contains more details about the program’s specifics.

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