Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

The Pivot to Spielventure

After celebrating 15 years of producing my local travel show, Uncovering Oklahoma, I’ve decided to rebrand and pivot to streamline my work, allow for new opportunities, and expand my reach. Spielventure takes the versatile German word Spiel, translating to game or play, and then combines it with Adventure. I’ve always been passionate about connecting people to new places, people, and experiences, so this new branding still aligns with my mission. 

With this pivot, I’ve shut down The Show Starts Now streaming video library app. Long story short, I stretched myself out too thin, hoping to get things started to make money and then hire people to keep everything going. However, that didn’t happen, and I want to avoid falling into a sunk-cost problem, hence the streamlined pivot to one show, one handle, and one website. I’ll still do different segments or series – just under one channel now. Now, the videos on the app will be released over time to the Spielventure YouTube channel because I want people to watch them, go to these places, and have these incredible experiences.

The video posted here provides more details about my entrepreneurial journey, the why, and what the future holds. I have a bunch of new content coming out, so please become a supporting member for early access, buy some merchandise, or make a one-time donation. Visit the new website at spielventure.com

Thank you for your support and happy adventures! 

The Importance of Storytelling in Business

The Importance of Storytelling in Business
An interview with OVF Awards Keynote Speaker, Matt Payne


In 2015, Matt Payne moved to Oklahoma with his wife, embarking on a journey of experimentation and reinvention. From adjunct professorship at Oklahoma City University to delving into photography and documentary filmmaking, Payne embraced each opportunity enthusiastically and determinedly. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found a soundstage business, aiming to propel Oklahoma’s film industry forward. Despite facing unfamiliar territory, Payne and his partners navigated the challenges, eventually expanding into a production company and creative agency within Prairie Surf. For Payne, the essence of his career lies in constant adaptation and storytelling.

“I think Oklahoma is an incredible place to be an entrepreneur, and it’s an incredible time to be an entrepreneur in Oklahoma,” said Matt Payne, CEO of Prairie Surf Creative. “We had the idea of turning a city building into a movie studio. Pretty quickly, we were able to get the city to believe in it. We were able to get the state to believe in this idea. We were able to get the entrepreneurial community; we were able to get the film community to all sort of rally around this idea. I don’t know that that happens in other cities. I don’t know that two entrepreneurs could come up with the idea that, ‘Hey, we’re going to take this 1.3 million square feet in downtown Oklahoma City and turn it into a movie studio and then actually have that happen in nine months.’”

As the keynote speaker for this year’s OVF Awards, Payne will delve into his background, emphasizing the crucial role of storytelling in business. He believes that in a world where everyone is vying for attention, it’s the emotional connection that a business creates that truly matters. His talk will guide entrepreneurs in reflecting on their journey, viewing themselves as the heroes driving their businesses forward, and reframing their narratives to highlight the obstacles overcome and the successes achieved. He will show how these stories can be leveraged to fuel future endeavors.

“The better our story, the better we tell our story, the more likely we are to have a successful business,” said Payne.

Join Matt Payne at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Awards on Thursday, May 16, 2024, to recognize the achievements of Oklahoma businesses. The OVF Venture of the Year, Most Promising New Venture, and the Award for Economic Impact are three of the most prestigious recognitions a company can receive. The event will be held at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr, Oklahoma City, OK). Register at ovf.org to attend.

“As an entrepreneur, as a business owner, you’re constantly in the trenches, constantly fighting, constantly dealing with a fire, looking for the next thing,” said Payne. “We rarely gather in our community and celebrate one another. And I think this event’s a great opportunity to celebrate individuals who have done a lot to celebrate our own successes because in celebrating ’em, we lay the groundwork to move on to more success.”

An interview with the cast of The Meek

I spoke with the cast of the original play, The Meek, which will be performed at Yellow Dog Coffee in Norman, Oklahoma. The Meek follows Austin’s story as he deals with the psychopath (or perhaps sociopath) of a boss of a copier sales company.

Catch the Oklahoma StoryWorks show March 28-31, 2024 at 8 pm.

Area fiftyONE at MAINSITE Contemporary Art

Today’s new episode of Uncovering Oklahoma features 10 artist statements about the Area fiftyONE event to benefit the Norman Arts Council. Norman Arts’ annual party goes intergalactic with Area as MAINSITE Contemporary Art is invaded by stellar art, drinks, and bites while live music thumps from live DJs spinning all night.

It’ll be a cosmically good time, and all proceeds have an astronomical impact on Norman Arts Council’s operations and programs like 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk, exhibitions at MAINSITE, arts education scholarships, artist grants, public art, grants to local arts organizations like Sooner Theatre, Norman Music Festival and Jazz In June … and so much more!

See a piece of artwork you want? Bid on the art now at NormanArts.org.

Photo of the Pineapple Fried Rice at Sweet Basil.

Sweet Basil in Norman

Join me on a flavor-packed journey as I hang out in the kitchen with Chef Sanchai Thespan, who prepares some of the signature dishes at Sweet Basil while Victor Pistilli narrates. From Pineapple Fried Rice to Basil Stir-fry, there’s something for every palate!

Huge thanks to my Superstar Patreon supporters: Revolve Productions, The Keller-Kenton Family, Christopher Lloyd, and Phi Nguyen! You can also help support Uncovering Oklahoma by subscribing to my online video library, The Show Starts Now. Your subscription will help me continue this series while you get access to exclusive videos.

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