We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Ruth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I disagree with a lot of conventional advice. No one gets to write your story for you. It’s important to hear the stories of those who’ve gone before you, sure, but it’s still THEIR story. I’ve learned to follow my own ebb and flow. What worked perfectly for someone else may not work for you. You hold the pen. You turn the page. You write the story of YOU.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started my career in music with performance and songwriting, as an artist. After four albums, writing for myself morphed into writing for other artists (including; Reba, Lonestar, Erdem Kinay) and tv/film. I cried when I got the Reba cut. And by the way, she’s as incredible and kind in real life as she seems.
I started painting on a whim. I woke up one day and thought, “I should try painting.” I went to the art store, bought supplies and started a whole new addition to my creative world. People started responding to my work right away and I kept going. I remember trying to get into a gallery, in the beginning. The gallery owner said she loved my work and wanted to show it. She asked when and where I received my MFA. I told her I didn’t have one, that I was new to painting. She told me she only showed artists with MFAs in her gallery. Right then and there, I decided to start putting on my own art shows, in people’s living rooms, coffee shops, rented spaces. Those kind of “No” situations are opportunities to learn and grow. I didn’t let her narrow vision narrow my vision.
My “Hey Human podcast” came about in 2016 after a few shooting tragedies in a row left me feeling helpless. I wanted to do something to facilitate a change. Bringing diverse people together through conversation seemed like a way to bridge gaps, and the podcast was born. In five years, I’ve built a strong following, and have aired over 250 shows. It has taught me a lot about my fellow human and myself, and has definitely made me a much better listener.
Acting and sketch writing came after an incredible weekend of Improv, in 2019, with my brother. The class was taught by renowned Improv coach David Razowsky. David encouraged me to keep pursuing the craft so I auditioned for the Second City (Hollywood) Conservatory program in 2020. I got in and learned so much. That experience started me writing sketch with my sketch partner Tiffany Elle. She inspired me all of the time in classes at Second City, so it was a no-brainer to start writing with her. I think that sketch writing gave me the nudge to try screenwriting. Since then, I’ve optioned a short film and sold another short film (hopefully, they’ll be out this Winter).
In between all of these twists and turns, I’ve had definite setbacks. A trusted business partner stole a bunch of money. That was a tough lesson. I leaped instead of looked a lot of times and ended up on my butt. But as the saying goes, fall down nine and get up ten. I’ll always be the one following my heart, regardless. My passions are all connected. It’s all story telling in one way or another (yes, even the painting).
I’m a leap-er even when I’m scared – so I’ve been able to move into all the aspects of my life building my wings as I go, and hoping I keep aloft. A creative’s life is seldom boring, many times terrifying, and usually, incredible gratifying.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Griffith Park, which is close to my house, is a great, quick hike. The view from the Conservatory is lovely and a good spot for a sunset snack, too.
I love Jones on Santa Monica Blvd. It’s a vibe and then some. Late night is the best. Plus, they have gluten free pasta (I’m celiac).
We’d definitely have to go to Aroma for breakfast.
Point Dume, for the beach.
The Self Realization Lake Shrine off PCH. It’s incredible to walk around there.
There’s a tiny hole-in-wall diner I love in Studio City, called Vivian’s.
I’d take friends walking around Hillhurst and Vermont streets in Los Feliz, plus there are a ton of great food and watering holes there.
Bordner’s for a martini and the best nachos!
The Last Bookstore is fabulous.
It’s not LA, but I love Hermosa Beach. Great snacks and shops and the beach!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a handful of incredible mentors but I’m going to go with a book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. That book definitely shaped (and continues to shape) how I see myself, the world and Universe.
Anthony Scarlati Josh Bethea