A native of London, Leon Logothetis has always been passionate about interacting with people. He loves the camaraderie of making new friends and treasures the adventure of travel.Â So it’s no surprise that he’s swapped his life as a city broker to pursue his dreams of traveling the world. His penchant for travel has taken him around the globe to exotic locations like Nepal, Mongolia & the Galapagos Islands.
Leonâ€™s first foray into the world of television was the Discovery Channel show “Destination Future”.Â His involvement allowed him to combine his love of travel and television, turning it into a hit series with him hosting â€œAmazing Adventures of a Nobody.â€Â After a fruitful first season, the show was quickly licensed by National Geographic International and aired in over 100 countries around the world, including the United Statesâ€™ on the Fox Reality Channel and Canadaâ€™s OLN.
In every series, Leon travels across countries and continents on only $5 a day. While heâ€™s allowed to accept gifts from strangers and work for food or lodging, he is forbidden to beg for money or go over the agreed $5 per day. Because he can stay in each city for only one night, drama and intensity ensues. For the first season, Leon crossed the UK traveling from Landâ€™s End to John Oâ€™Groats, while the second season took him across the USA starting in New Yorkâ€™s Times Square and ending at Los Angelesâ€™ Hollywood Sign.
The third season will see the urban survival expert and his three-man crew take on Europe. Leon begins his journey in the nostalgic city of Paris and will attempt to make his way to the infamous â€˜Red Squareâ€™ in Moscow.
You’d think Leon might not have time for much else, but he’s started his own production and distribution company called Shankly Productions, based in Beverly Hills.
The company is actively developing two original series, and just returned from the major TV market MIPCOM where they debuted over 2,000 + hours of programming for international syndication.
Leon took the time to answer some of my questions.
Jessica: How do you prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally for your show?
LEON: “THE ONLY WAY THAT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FIND A WAY TO DO THE SHOW IS TO DO AS LITTLE PREPERATION AS POSSIBLE. THE ANXIETY THAT TRAVELLING AROUND THE WORLD WITH PRACTICALLY NO BUDGET CREATES IN ME WOULD MAKE PREPARATION TOO MUCH OF A TIGHTROPE OF EMOTIONS. FOR EACH OF THE THREE SEASONS I HAVE THOUGHT AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE ABOUT WHAT I WAS EMBARKING ON UNTIL THE DAY I STARTED THE TRIP. I REMEMBER ARRIVING IN PARIS THINKING TO MYSELF â€œI DONâ€™T WANT TO DO THIS!!!!â€™ BUT IT WAS TO LATEâ€¦
I PURPOSEFULLY SURROUND MYSELF WITH A GREAT PRODUCTION TEAM SO THEY CAN DO A LOT OF THE ADVANCED GROUNDWORK ON THE PRODUCTION SIDE.”
Do any of these same preparations help with your business life too?
“IF I USED THE SAME PREPARATION TECHNIQUES FOR MY BUSINESS LIFE I WOULD BE IN BIG TROUBLE. I HAVE FOUND THAT BEING PREPARED IN BUSINESS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF SUCCESS. THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A FAILED BUSINESS ENDEAVOUR AND A SUCCESSFUL ONE CAN OFTEN BE TRACED BACK TO HOW PREPARED I WAS. WAS I FULLY IMMERSED IN THE PROJECT? DID I KNOW WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS TO ASK? DID I KNOW WHAT MY GOALS WERE?Â How? I MUST SAY THAT ALTHOUGH PREPARATION IS VITAL, BEING TOO PREPARED CAN ALSO TAKE OUT THE SPONATANEOUS NATURE OF CONNECTING WITH THE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE. SO, BEING PREPARED IS CRUCIAL, BUT BEING RELAXED AND ABLE TO GO WITH THE FLOW IS ALSO AN ART FORM IN ITSELF.”
Do you ever get homesick?
“WHEN I TRAVEL ACROSS COUNTRIES AND CONTINENTS FOR MONTHS ON END I DO GET HOMESICK. MY FAVORITE PHRASE SEEMS TO BE â€œI AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!!!â€ HOWEVER, AFTER I RETURN HOME AND GET BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS I GET ITCHY FEET AND DESPERATELY WANT TO GO ON ANOTHER ADVENTURE. SO TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, YES I DO GET HOMESICK; NOT FOR LONG THOUGH!!!”
How do you maintain work-life balance?
“I AM A FIRM BELEIVER THAT WORK SHOULD NOT CONSUME YOUR LIFE. WORK SHOULD BE A WAY TO CREATE YOUR DREAMS AND THE DREAMS OF OTHERS. IT IS THE AGE OLD DILEMMA OF MEN â€œHOW DO I CREATE SUCCESS WITHOUT LOSING MYSELFâ€? I FEEL THAT THE ABILITY TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND LIFE IS A SIGN OF A HEALTHY SENSE OF SELF AND A DEEP COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY TIMES WHEN I HAVE NOT FOLLOWED THIS DICTATE AND HAVE LOST MYSELF IN MY WORK.Â I TEND TO FIND IT HARD TO BALANCE MY WORK LIFEâ€¦I AM EITHER A CRAZED WORKAHOLIC WHO HAS ONLY ONE FOCUS AND THIS URGE FOR GREAT PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS OR I DELEGATEâ€¦I THINK I LIKE DELEGATING A LITTLE TO MUCH. DELEGATING TO THE RIGHT PERSON IS A STROKE OF GENIUS. DELEGATING TO THE WRONG PERSON CAN BE CATASTROPHIC. I HAVE EXPERIENCE IN BOTH!!!!”
What would be your number one word of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be honest.Â What has been your biggest business failure?Â How did you overcome it?
“MY BIGGEST BUSINESS FAILURE WAS BELEIVING THAT MY SUCCESS WITH MY FIRST TV SHOW â€œAMAZING ADVENTURES OF A NOBODYâ€ WOULD MAKE ME AN INSTANT SUCCESS IN HOLLYWOOD. I DID NOT REALISE THAT I HAD STRUCK IT LUCKY WITH THE AMAZING SERIES AND THAT CREATING THE SUCCESS I CRAVED IN THE TV WORLD WOULD TAKE A LOT MORE HARD WORK AND GUILE THAN PREVIOUSLY IMAGINED. HOLLYWOOD IS A TOWN WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE,. IT IS ALSO A TOWN WHERE MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR THE SAME DREAMS. IT IS CUTTHROAT, EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE, AT TIMES BAFFLING AND ABOVE ALL
EXASPERATING. I ALSO THOUGHT THAT HOLLYWOOD WAS AN IDEA TOWN. IT TURNS OUT THAT HOLLYWOOD IS PRIMARILY A RELATIONSHIP TOWN. YOU CAN HAVE GREAT IDEAS (WHICH I THINK THE TV SIDE OF SHANKLY HAS AN ABUNDANCE OF) BUT IF YOU DONâ€™T KNOW THE CORRECT PEOPLE YOUR IDEAS STAND LITTLE CHANCE OF SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY.
THE WAY THAT I OVERCAME THIS BLIP IN MY EXPECTATIONS WAS TO MEET MORE PEOPLE!!!! PERSEVERE WITH MY IDEAS AND VISION FOR THE COMPANYâ€™S TV DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT.”
What business success are you most proud of and why?
“DIVERSIFYING MY PRODUCTION COMPANY INTO A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY. I REALISED THAT CREATING PRODUCT, ALTHOUGH A CREATIVE ENDEAVOUR WAS A FAR HARDER FINANCIAL MODEL THAN OWNING THE RIGHTS TO ALREADY COMPLETED PRODUCTS (TV SHOWS PRIMARILY IN THE CASE OF SHANKLY INTERNATIONAL). I SET UP SHANKLY INTERNATIONAL JUST OVER A YEAR AGO AND WE NOW HAVE OVER 1500 HOURS OF PROGRAMMING THAT WE SELL IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES GLOBALLY. THE ONE DRAWBACK OF THIS IS THAT OTHER PEOPLE GET TO INSPIRE THROUGH THEIR CREATIVE TALENTS (THE ACTUAL CREATION OF THE PROJECT), WHEREAS WE JUST GET THEIR VISION TO THE RIGHT TV OUTLETS.”
Leon is a good example of someone who has parlayed his reality TV appearance into a successful career in the entertainment industry.Â Thanks Leon!Â I learned a lot and it is my hope that our readers have too.