Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Melissa Merli chats with 31-year-old Champaign resident Brett Hays, co-owner of Shatterglass Studios. He also is a producer at the Champaign-based film and video production company.
What time do you typically get up?
I wake up around 7:30 a.m. or whenever one of my three daughters comes into our room and wakes me up.
What do you do the first hour of the morning?
Make myself and my daughters their breakfast, get ready for the day and get my inbox to zero emails.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or accomplishment?
Other than my children, the Pens To Lens Screenwriting Competition and Gala at the Art Theater Co-op.
What do you regard as your most treasured possession?
The gratitude rock that I had picked up on April 29, 2006, the same day I met Luke Boyce and joined Shatterglass Studios. I’ve kept that rock in my pocket and have taken it everywhere I go ever since that day.
Do you have a “guilty pleasure” and what is it?
Coffee with caramel syrup, honey and lots of cream.
What book are you reading now?
Dan Brown’s “Inferno.”
What is your favorite book ever?
“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Where on Earth are you dying to go?
I’m really interested in seeing their way of life and would love to see the countryside.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
I was very attached to my childhood cat, Honey. She was my first pet, and my brother was six years older than me and was always gone, so my cat was almost like a sibling.
What’s your favorite sports team?
I’m really not a big sports watcher; I really would rather play a sport than watch it. I’m always rooting for the Illini when they play, though.
What would you order for your last meal?
Watermelon, coffee, sushi, and apple pie and vanilla ice cream.
If you could be reincarnated after you die, what would you like to come back as?
I’d like to come back as a wise yogi master who meditates all day or a cat who sleeps all day. I’m OK with either.
Who are your favorite musicians and why?
Michael Jackson. I’ve been obsessed with MJ since junior high. He’s just the most talented and most giving person I’ve ever heard of, and it’s unfortunate how misunderstood he was. When I was young, I would record and watch his performances on VHS tapes and practice all of his moves in my family room. It drove my brother and parents crazy. I stayed a fan all the way until his death. It wasn’t easy being an MJ fan in the late 1990s. I was definitely in the minority.
What’s the happiest memory of your life?
That’s a hard question. My life is full of truly happy memories, and it’s really hard picking one. The birth of my first child and getting engaged are pretty high up there.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?
Bono, the Dalai Lama and Steven Spielberg.
What would you serve?
That’s a good question. I wouldn’t ever think about WHAT to serve them. Maybe we’ll meet in the morning over coffee and tea.
Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?
Jesus. His messages of peace, love and forgiveness are traits everyone should aspire toward.
What personality trait do you most hate in other people?
Most hate in yourself?
What’s your best piece of advice?
Who you will be in five years will be determined by the people you associate with and the books you read.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
I had my own lawn mowing business and mowed a lawn for around $20.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
Moving to Champaign in 2010. I arrived at the decision through a series of amazing moments, but the most memorable one was my first meeting with Cody Sokolski, when he took me out to eat at KoFusion. He told me how much he thought I would love Champaign and how Shatterglass could really take off here. He was so right, and I am so thankful I took his advice.
Do you have any regrets in your life?
What are they?
I really wish I could have seen Michael Jackson perform live.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
I try to find a way to address my feelings in the moment, accept that I’m having them, then allow them to pass. Easier said than done.