Like many of you, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Even now during the pandemic (when I’m not driving in LA traffic every day), I still make time to listen to my favorite shows. I’m obsessed with learning about leadership, business, psychology, politics, and, of course, film & entertainment. For years I’ve enjoyed Scriptnotes, The Producer’s Guide, and KCRW’s The Business. These podcasts are insightful and inspiring, and I’ll always be a loyal listener. But I have realized that their focus is primarily above-the-line : writers, directors, actors, producers, agents. You know —
the famous people.
I’ve always asked myself, what about the regular folks in the trenches? The below-the-line armies of ADs, coordinators, ACs, gaffers, and grips? (Not to mention art department, locations, HMU, stunts, sound—the list goes on.) These are the boots-on-the-ground crew members whose passion, collaboration, and sweat make productions possible. Where are the podcasts about their stories and their crafts?
During my years studying Creative Producing at Dodge College, I embraced the school’s emphasis on making movies, not just studying them. I especially found a kindred spirit in my producing and production management professor, Kiku Terasaki. Her unabashed love for physical production set the tone for the projects I produced while at Dodge. I’m grateful for her insistence that you can’t separate the creative from the logistics. “Filmmaking is all about creative collaboration,” she said. As I prepared for graduation, that mantra informed my decision to dive head-first into the world of freelance production.
In the three years since, I’ve hustled hard and been blessed to collaborate with various production companies, directors, EPs, and fellow producers (special shoutouts to Society , Park
Stories , Sypher Studios , and Frame 48 — which is also run by Dodge alumni!).. With these insanely talented teams, I’ve produced commercials, music videos, podcasts, short films, and documentaries, managing a cumulative $5 million worth of budgets. My most recent project was an 8-part doc-series called Prodigy ,
which I produced for Quibi, and now I’m producing two feature documentaries. Overall, it’s been a non-stop joyride of fun, stress, phone calls, paperwork, late nights, and good crafty.
Then, when quarantine started in March, I suddenly had time to press pause and reflect. I still hadn’t found a podcast that accurately speaks to my production experiences. I craved nitty gritty conversations about scheduling, cost reporting, and working with vendors. I wanted content about location management, planning for stunts on low budgets, and how to lead your department effectively. Something that captured set stories, lessons learned, and the unique camaraderie crews have from going to battle together. I decided, if there wasn’t a production podcast out there that checked all those boxes for me, I’d do what I love to do most: I’d make it.
Kiku was the first person I called. “I’m starting a podcast about below-the-line production,” I told her. She replied without hesitation: “I’m in!” So we built a team (including another Dodge alumnus, production manager Nathaniel Dueber) and eagerly started recording interviews with guests like 1st AD David Webb ( Joker, The Irishman, Da 5 Bloods ), Stunt Coordinator Andy Gill ( Black Panther, Fast & Furious 5-9 ), and Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana ( Blade Runner, Jurassic Park, Hunger Games ). Not to mention fellow Dodge alumni like POC Chris Bryant ( Top Gun Maverick, Fate of the Furious ), 2nd AD Katie Valovcin ( Little Women, Mercy Street ), and Art Dept Coordinator Sasha De Mello ( Avatar 2-5, Kong Skull Island ). It’s been such a fun experience so far! We’ve heard great stories, learned a lot of things we didn’t know, and laughed more than we ever expected. Film people just love what they do and their enthusiasm is infectious.
Now, with 15 episodes under our belt, we’re launching CALL SHEET . Kiku and I are thrilled to be co-hosting the podcast, offering our different perspectives as a hungry up-and-comer and a seasoned veteran, respectively. We have episodes about working your way up as a PA, building crew camaraderie, and how to lead effectively as a department head — even a look at how Martin Scorsese preps his shoots and a glimpse inside the art department for the highly-anticipated Avatar sequels. The show is chock full of exciting stories and practical takeaways for everyone who listens. These guests and their insights are helping me build my own freelance career. And I know they can do the same for you. I’m excited for the on-going conversations the podcast will spark and look forward to hearing about your own production experiences as we navigate the industry together.