As a kid, I was always fascinated by the filmmaking process. I would sit for hours, and read up on how things were done, just to understand it a little better. Not too long after, with DVDs becoming the norm, special features began to be included to show us just how the magic was made. Nowadays, people can take all that for granted, as it is usually included on the disc. However, for those of us still in awe over the filmmaking process, it’s never enough. We always want to know more about their process, their stories, their ideas.
Lucky for us, the podcast
My First Feature
is exactly what we’ve been looking for. The podcast is the work of Dodge alum Ethan Cushing (MFA/Film Production ’08), in which he interviews a new director every other week about their experience making their first feature. Their conversations can range anywhere from how they got into filmmaking, their history in the business, and more.
“The original idea came in a flash, but the desire had been brewing for awhile,” said Cushing. He has always been addicted to the podcasting medium (so much so that he gave them up for Lent!), but could never figure out what he wanted his own to be about. While looking for his next project to work on, he experienced the ‘classic filmmaker anxiety’ (his words) about his life.
“I’ve always admired fellow Dodge alum Nathaniel Atcheson (MFA/Film Production ’08) for his drive and vision to just make feature films no matter the budget. So, we went out for coffee and I picked his brain about how he made his first feature film,” said Cushing.
Since their conversation was quite informative to him, Cushing realized that other filmmakers might want to hear ones just like it; to learn the process and avoid some of the pitfalls. While he originally just wanted advice for his own use, he also thought sharing it would be great for others as well.
“I started a twitter account for my then not yet recorded podcast (a little cart before horse!) and all of the sudden multiple friends, acquaintances, and even strangers started reaching out to me saying they’d love to be a guest on the show!” said Cushing.
The show, which comes out every other Tuesday, is recorded as often as Cushing can. He brings his zoom recorder and microphones, and drives to whoever’s house he is interviewing, and just has a conversation. His
also links to the filmmaker’s current work, and some photos.
While the show started out with him interviewing his immediate circle of friends and colleagues, he is now branching out via word of mouth to find others. In fact, if you want to chat about your first feature, he welcomes you to
reach out to him via email
“I just love having the conversations even only for my own edification,” Cushing says. While he does have hopes to maybe interview the people who inspired him (Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and Ron Howard, just to name a few), he loves talking to these first time film makers and hearing their stories.