episodes

34. Lynsey Addario: A Degree of Hunger by Elaine Sheldon

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Lynsey Addario is an award-winning American photojournalist who contributes regularly to The New York Times, National Geographic, and Time Magazine. She’s documented both headline news and intimate stories all around the word. In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya she has given us an up-close view of war and revolution. She’s brought us stories of Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone, sexual assault in Madagascar, rape in the DRC, heroin addiction in Afghanistan, and life before and after the Taliban. 

Her memoir, titled “It’s What I Do" recounts over 20 years of becoming one of our most renowned photojournalists. It was acquired by Warner Brothers and Steven Spielberg is expected to direct the film. Jennifer Lawrence has been cast to portray Lynsey - and we talk about that in this episode.

Also in this episode, we also talk about courage on the front lines, the risks and trauma associated with her work, respecting cultures that aren’t her own, how she makes a living and how she manages her time.

Related LINKS:

I still think of myself as that same person who is struggling to get assignments. I firmly believe in life it’s important to not be too comfortable and confident. I think you have to have some degree of hunger. I want to keep pushing myself to be a better person and photographer.
— Lynsey Addario

33. Sabaah Folayan: Everything Is Practice by Elaine Sheldon

Sabaah Folayan is an activist and storyteller who illuminates the humanity, resilience and beauty in the struggle of communities as they mobilize and fight for justice. She merged her dedication to human rights and a newfound passion for film with Whose Streets?, a feature documentary chronicling the experience of Ferguson community members after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Sabaah and her co-director Damon Davis are premiering Whose Streets? at Sundance 2017, but this episode’s conversation took place in October of 2015, when Sabaah was still in the depths of production and stepped away to pitch the film at Camden International Film Festival’s Points North Forum in Maine. We talk with Sabaah about moving to Ferguson, working to understand the complexities of the situation amongst a sea of sensational headlines, the unique education she had between living off the land in Hawaii and living in divergent Los Angeles neighborhoods, and the forever valuable lesson she learned as a basketball player, “Everything you do is practice for the next time you do it.” The music in this episode is off Velvet and Bone, a new album by a past MusicMaker, Stag Hare.

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MUSIC in this episode is off a new album titled Velvet and Bone by past She Does MusicMaker and friend, Stag Hare. Willow (formerly Zara) is the MusicMaker behind Stag Hare and was featured in Episode 22.5. Listen to and buy her music via Bandcamp and visit her website and Facebook.

Space has been so privatized. We’ve been so socialized to be individuals and be on our own and our lives are our own little bubbles. I think that it was such a relief for people to just lock arms and say that ‘I’m feeling this too.’

Related LINKS:

 

 

 

 

 

CLIPS used in show: 

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

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32. She Does: It's Been a Great Year by Elaine Sheldon

Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg (that’s us) are the co-creators, producers and hosts of this very show, She Does podcast, and maybe you got hints of this from listening over the past year, but first and foremost, we’re documentary filmmakers. In this episode, the tables are somewhat turned and we are asked a few questions by our dear friend, production assistant and member of the documentary community herself, Alijah Case. We talk about what we’ve been up to outside of the podcast and what we are planning on getting into now that we’ve officially decided to taper back on releasing episodes of this show. We aren’t calling it quits completely, especially because we LOVE She Does and have over 10 interviews in the can with some incredible women, but we have decided to edit and release episodes on our own time. We elaborate on all of the news and future plans in this special ‘it’s-not-goodbye-it’s-see-you-later’ episode, reflect on the 31 plus episodes we put out over the last year and the women featured in them, wonderful, impressive, yet very human, each in their own unique way. While the process proved to be quite labor and time intensive, it’s been one of those experiences so magical and so fruitful that it’s hard to put into words, but we do our best with the guidance of Alijah, insights from our illustrator Christine Cover, and music and words by Nona Marie Invie, who recently released an EP titled Sisters with her latest project RONiiA. And as always, thank YOU for listening to She Does. 

 This episode is co-hosted by Alijah Case

This episode is co-hosted by Alijah Case

 Our She Does Illustrator, Christine Cover

Our She Does Illustrator, Christine Cover

KEEP AN EAR OUT in this episode for a little interview with our talented illustrator, the hand behind our little doe logo and all the guest portraits that came out with each episode.

 Thank the heavens for our Sound Designer and champion of the slow movement, Billy Wirasnik. 

Thank the heavens for our Sound Designer and champion of the slow movement, Billy Wirasnik. 

This show wouldn't have reached your ears without our SOUND DESIGNER Billy Wirasnik. Billy turned our episodes around quick, but he's also got a project that is quite slow. Check out what he's been up to with Slo Media and the slow movement here

 
This is a bit of a different episode...
 

This episode's MUSICMAKER is one of our favorites, Nona Marie Invie of RONiiA. Sisters is their recently released EP and the music that soundtracks this episode. 

 RONiiA's recently released EP   Sisters

RONiiA's recently released EP Sisters

31. Lisa Kron: Collective Imaginative Experience by Elaine Sheldon

Lisa Kron has been writing and performing award-winning theatre since the mid-1980s. Most recently, Lisa wrote the lyrics and book to the musical "Fun Home," based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Lisa, and composer Jeanine Tesori, were the first writing team of women to win a Tony for Best Original Score. Fun Home also took home Tony awards for Best Book of a Musical, Best Musical, Best Direction and Best Actor. Lisa's other plays include The Ver**zon PlayIn The WakeWell2.5 Minute Ride101 Humiliating Stories, which have all received recognition and awards nationally and internationally. She is a founding member of the legendary OBIE and Bessie Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers. 

In this episode, Lisa talks about the role of theatre as an artform, the challenges of adapting a graphic novel into a musical, how to make live performance resonate with audiences, the representation of women--and lesbians--in theatre, and the morals of personal storytelling.

The episode is sponsored by Fun Home the musical.

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You can tell a story in which everybody in the world is the same and everything in the world is just like everything else. Or you can tell a story about how things are not the same, and yet equally human.
— Lisa Kron

"FUN HOME" songs featured in this episode:

  • Helen's Etude
  • Raincoat of Love
  • This Is What I Have of You...
  • Come to the Fun Home
  • Maps
  • Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue
  • Days and Days
  • It All Comes Back (Opening)
  • Changing My Major
  • Telephone Wire
  • Ring of Keys
  • Flying Away (Finale)

Clips used in this show:

30. Lily Baldwin: It’s Not My Own Trip by Elaine Sheldon

Lily Baldwin is a New York-based filmmaker and dancer that uses movement of the body and unconventional narrative structures to tell human stories. Her short films (Sea Meadow, A Juicebox Afternoon, Sleepover LA, and Swallowed) have played at festivals like SXSW, Berlinale EFM, and the Lincoln Center and been featured on NOWNESS, Short of the Week, Fandor, Filmmaker Magazine, and Vimeo Staff Picks. Lily fell into filmmaking when she was performing as a professional dancer in David Byrne’s two year world tour Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Lily often writes, choreographs, directs, edits and plays the leading role in her films, seeking to “rip things up” with both graceful and rigid moments and scenes made up of bold, jarring edits. In other scenes, she’s simply another human on the street, walking with the rest of us. Lily is a Sundance Fellow with her upcoming VR project in collaboration with Saschka Unseld, Through You. She’s about to start shooting her first feature, Glass, a stalking thriller based on a real experience about a dancer and an insidious fan in our privacy-gone world. Lily talks about the rigor and commitment of dancers, coming into film as a “second career”, the responsibility she feels as an artist to pull from her own experiences and educate, and “working your buns off” to be the ultimate version of yourself.

I think we have a responsibility to mine what we know. It’s great to make up stories and live in imagination but I feel like I can do a better job with something I’ve been through. Life is unlived, for me, if I don’t peel off the layers.
 

MUSIC in this episode is by Michelle Blades. Listen to her music on Bandcamp or on Midnight Special Records' Soundcloud, and take a peek at her Tumblr.

Songs you heard: Subtropical Suburban, Crush! I Went to Your Party from the album Ataraxia // Le Bois, Lava Boy, Swallowing Truths & River Rocks, Yellow Petaled Coast from the album Songs From Another's Bed // My Grimey Dreams, I'll Let in the Outside Noise from the album & // 10th and Wilson Score off the EP Nah, See Ya // Making Friends In The Dark, It All Ends Here off the album Cold Shoulders

 

Name: Lily Baldwin

Current City: New York

What are you listening to now? I just went throwback on myself and have been listening pretty nonstop to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? There are too many to fit into this white box, but if I look at my bookshelf right this second, I'm going to say: Eadweard Muybridge's pictures and Murder She Wrote -- Jessica Fletcher is one of my favorite protagonists.

Who is your career role model? Cindy Sherman -- she's self taught, fearless about changing herself and isn't afraid to be ugly in her work.

What is a tool you can't live without? A Panasonic boombox from the 80's that I listen to NPR on.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Coffee-- a super dark, greasy brew with a dash of cream

What's your spirit animal? Wolf.

Updates?  I'm thrilled to be premiering my short film Swallowed as part of the upcoming omnibus feature project, Collective:Unconscious, at SXSW as the first ever omnibus feature in competition! Next on the horizon this year is gearing up to shoot my first feature GLASS, a thriller inspired by a true stalking story. I'm also going to be directing a VR project, Through You, with Saschka Unseld in collaboration with Sundance. And on less immediate burners, I'm cooking up two episodic series!

 

 

CLIPS USED IN SHOW:

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case

29. Almudena Toral: Focusing My Energy by Elaine Sheldon

 From left to right: Elaine Sheldon (She Does), Almudena Toral (Univision), Sarah Ginsburg (She Does), Maylin Colmenares (WOMANMAY) at Film Gate in Miami, Florida.   RELATED LINKS    Almudena's Website    Interview on ReportHers    Vimeo    Twitter

From left to right: Elaine Sheldon (She Does), Almudena Toral (Univision), Sarah Ginsburg (She Does), Maylin Colmenares (WOMANMAY) at Film Gate in Miami, Florida.

RELATED LINKS

Almudena's Website

Interview on ReportHers

Vimeo

Twitter

Almudena Toral is a Spanish visual journalist and the head of video at Univision News Digital in Miami. Prior to working for Univision, Almudena freelanced worldwide and worked at The New York Times and TIME. Her work has been published by The Guardian, VICE, AlJazeera, Huffington Post, El País, Canal+ and other outlets. She's the recipient of a 2013 Pictures of the Year International Award of Excellence – Multimedia Photographer of the Year. 

Her work has received accolades from the Emmys, National Press Photographers Association, the World Cup of Photography, and The Deadline Press Club. Almudena is passionate about multi-platform storytelling, human rights, health and gender issues, the global south and immigration policy, among others. 

In this episode, she talks about Univision News Digital’s goal to serve Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S., the benefits of being a woman in journalism, covering heroin addiction in Tanzania, and her many lessons learned as a freelance video and photojournalist. 

Almudena gives great advice on pitching stories. Most importantly, she encourages artists and journalists to be flexible with the ability to do many things, but to really specialize in and master one thing.


MUSIC BY: WOMANMAY

WOMANMAY is the solo project of Maylin Colmenares. Venezuelan-bred and Miami-based guitarist and vocalist. We were lucky to have Maylin open the live show at Film Gate for us. Stick around at the end of this episode to hear a short interview with her. We’ve sprinkled songs from WOMANMAY'S latest album Ahi Ahi throughout this recording.

 

28. Iva Radivojevic: Entering A Different State by Elaine Sheldon

Iva Radivojevic is a documentary director and editor. She was born in Yugoslavia, raised in Cyprus and has lived in New York City since she was 18 years old. Much of her work explores belonging, and draws from poetry and personal experience. Her debut feature, "Evaporating Borders," examines migration, tolerance and identity through the experience of asylum seekers in Cyprus. The film has received awards worldwide and was nominated for an International Documentary Association (IDA) Award and a Cinema Eye Honors Spotlight Award and screened over 80 times at festivals, including SXSW, Human Rights Watch FF, Rotterdam IFF, DokuFest and HotDocs. Iva is the recipient of the 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film of 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine. In this episode Iva talks about her series "IvaAsks" where she learned how to make films, her draw to poetry, working as an editor, her new film inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ “Aleph,” and the things she does (writing, exercising, meditating) to keep her life calm and collected.

Name: Iva Radivojevic

Current Town: Brooklyn

What are you listening to now? Nana Vasconcelos, Toto la Momposina, Connan Mockasin

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Here are a few things that left a permanent imprint:
Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" and consequently most of her work.
Alain Resnais' "Last Year at Marienbad"
Ilya Khrzhanovsky's film "4"
"For an imperfect cinema" an essay by Julio Garcia Espinosa
"What's wrong with the liberal documentary" an essay by Jill Godmilow

Who is your career role model? There are so many people. I also find myself lucky to know many brilliant, creative and intuitive minds, not only filmmakers, but also musicians, poets, painters, runners, activists etc. and so I steal a little wisdom from each, from all directions and blend it to what works for me. 

What is a tool you can't live without? Pen and paper (MUJI), Camera, Music

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Tea! (Caffeine makes me crazy)


Poetry speaks volumes and it digs and penetrates much deeper than if I was to do something in a purely journalistic way and disseminate information. I don’t want to throw stuff in your face or bang you over the head with information. I really love the written word and I like how that matches up, or doesn’t match up with images and how they can dance together or repel each other.
— Iva Radivojevic

27. Alexis Wilkinson: Let Me Work It Out by Elaine Sheldon

Alexis Wilkinson went from being the first black woman President of Harvard’s acclaimed humor publication, The Lampoon, to writing for HBO’s hit comedy series, “Veep.” She’s become an outspoken public figure and writer--with work featured in Slate, Opening Ceremony and TIME--but as we know, big victories such as these don’t come without a lot of work, a few disruptions and some twists and turns in the road. In this episode, Alexis recalls her experiences of “comping” or trying out for The Lampoon multiple times, finding her place in the middle of an elitist institution, losing her best friend and working to create media that represents this diverse world as it actually is. Her response to naysayers? Laughter. And this is why she chose comedy. Music in this episode is by Chargaux.

The best thing you can do when the unexpected happens is to laugh at it. That’s the best outcome. You either get angry or you laugh at it.
— Alexis Wilkinson
 

Name: Alexis Wilkinson

Current City: Los Angeles, California

What are you listening to now? "I Wanna Boi" by PWR BTTM

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? I've gotten really into the director Alexander Payne lately. "Citizen Ruth" is a great movie. I've been thinking a lot about smart satire and treating "unlikable" characters with compassion and that film does an amazing job of both.

Who is your career role model? Shonda Rhimes

What is a tool you can't live without? My foundation primer by BECCA! My skin is oily like an empty bag of chips without it. I also have a Mophie phone charging case that has changed my life.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Milk and sugar if I'm relaxed. Black if I'm getting down to business.

What's your spirit animal? House cat: attractive, inflated sense of importance, adaptable, rude

Updates? We're finishing up shooting the last episodes of Veep, which everyone should check out! The new season premieres the 24th of April. I've got a couple projects in both film and TV that are moving forward, but it's a bit too soon to tell. Fingers crossed!

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

 

MUSIC in this episode is by Charly & Margaux of CHARGAUX. Visit their website, purchase their music on iTunes and check out their MusicMaker episode Wednesday, February 17th. 

Songs you heard: Lullaby (feat. Soft Glas), Tell William, I'm So Pretty from the album Broke & Baroque // All The Parties, Lone Ranger, Great Expectations from the album The Gallerina Suites


26. Charlotte Cook: Look on Behalf of the Audience by Elaine Sheldon

Charlotte Cook is a documentary film programmer, curator, producer and co-founder of Field of Vision. Charlotte was the Director of Programming at Hot Docs film festival for four years before she left in May of 2015 to start Field of Vision, a visual journalism film unit that aims to commission 40 to 50 original episodic and individual short non-fiction films each year. Charlotte co-founded Field of Vision with Academy Award-winning director of “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras, and filmmaker and founder of Cinema Eye Honors Aj Schnack. In this episode, we talk about Charlotte’s journey to programming Hot Docs, including her time at The Times, BBC Storyville, and The Frontline Club. Charlotte also walks us through what Field of Vision is looking for and how you can be part of it.


I’ve always hated the term gatekeeper or tastemaker or anything like that. I always say the filmmakers drive everything and I think there’s this weird misconception about that. We are always at the mercy of the filmmakers. And that was something I really always tried to get through at HotDocs, ‘It’s not your honor to screen with us, it’s the other way around.’
— Charlotte Cook

RELATED LINKS

CLIPS USED IN SHOW

Name: Charlotte Cook

Current City: New York

Current Gig: Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Field of Vision

What are you listening to now? I find it impossible to pick favorites but the two songs that I listen to the most, because they soothe my soul, are "The Weight of My Words" a Four Tet Remix by Kings of Convenience and "Girlfriend" by Phoenix. And my favourite album of last year was Jamie xx, "In Colour."

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? One of my roommates at university was working on an art project and became obsessed with the documentaries "Party Monster: The Shockumentary" by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, and The Legend of Leigh Bowery by Charles Atlas. He would watch them everyday and I became sucked in by them while I was helping to photograph his work. They were not only my introduction to seeing how non-fiction could really speak to someone and mean so much to them, but also to documentaries that were outside of the more informative, issue films, and spoke to different subcultures and voices. It began my path of ferociously watching non-fiction.

"Fourteen Days in May" by Paul Hamann opened my eyes to the power of documentary and "Portrait of Jason" remains my favorite documentary of all time. The exploration of performance and representation of reality and storytelling is still very powerful to me.

I've always been a huge Steven Soderbergh fan. His use of color in "Out of Sight" was something that really made me fall in love with exploring how directors use visuals in storytelling. I will always pay attention to the work Kyle Cooper makes, I find it fascinating and inspiring.

Who is your career role model? I've always really admired how Ben Hammersley has navigated his career. From the diversity of ways he works, in different mediums, and being someone who is very multi-faceted. But really my role models are those who are committed to supporting, and advancing the medium or field they work in. Whether it's helping to give other people opportunities, creating discussion or building new avenues or outlets for those in their field.

What is a tool you can't live without? Notebook and Pen. I write by hand, every day, for various reasons. I still find nothing more useful, productive or cathartic.

How do you take your coffee/tea? Milky, two sugars in both, which is sacrilegious for most of my fellow British people.


CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

MUSIC: in this episode is by Alexandria Hall of tooth ache. Listen and purchase her music on bandcamp

 

 Featured songs: Skin, Lazarus, Sediment, Guilt, Wild Horses, Not Even The Moon, Body Heat

Featured songs: Skin, Lazarus, Sediment, Guilt, Wild Horses, Not Even The Moon, Body Heat

25. Cocoon Central Dance Team: Speaking The Same Language by Elaine Sheldon

Cocoon Central Dance Team is a New York-based comedy dance troupe made up of three talented women: Sunita Mani, Eleanore Pienta and Tallie Medel. They are each up-and-coming actors in their own right, landing roles in indie films, big music videos and on television. But their work as a trio, as Cocoon Central Dance Team, is what we focus on in this episode because they truly are a remarkably talented, gut-busting, thigh slapping, absurd outfit wearing, glitter throwing, dance-until-you-laugh-until-you-cry group of women. Cocoon has performed at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, MoMa PS1, The Pit, Showgasm with John Early and Cast Party. They’ve opened for Broad City Live, the 2013 New York City Marathon, have been back up dancers for HUSH HUSH and have a successful web series called Rehearsal. Cocoon Central Dance Team breaks rules and plays with the forms of dance and comedy, making them an undefinable act, which is one of the greatest things you can be in today’s comedy and dance landscape.

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VISIT Cocoon's website FOLLOW them on Twitter and on Youtube.

My whole qualm with the comedy scene is that audiences aren’t critical enough. And in the art scene, there needs to be more laughter. There needs to be a little loosening up. And so I think we’re hyper critical of ourselves and I think basically just thinking about taking what we think what other people think and flexing muscles to either fix it or not because nothing is broken, and we get to decide what is valuable criticism.
— Eleanore Pienta, Cocoon Central Dance Team
 

Name: Eleanore Pienta

Current City: New York City

What are you listening to now? James Booker - Sunny Side of the Street, Kendrick Lamar feat Anna Wise - Real

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Tamy Ben-Tor's video "Normal".

Who is your career role model? Drew Beattie

What is a tool you can't live without? Tiny spoons. 

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Coffee with Cream, Tea straight up. 

What's your spirit animal? African Elephant. 

 

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

 

CREDITS

  • Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Sound recording by Henry Molofsky
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case

Name: Sunita Mani

Current City: Brooklyn, NY

What are you listening to now? I'm sprung for Justin Beiber's "Sorry" and for Wye Oak's album "Shriek" 

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Seeing Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live. I didn't realize until later that she was such a strong benchmark for me. I hadn't seen a woman of color on SNL yet with such a variety of talents--musical, comedic, and a strong stage presence. She also had the ability to represent many ethnicities which was a strength! I think I had only thought of ethnicity on TV as a limitation at that point? Or maybe I just didn't have the possibilities in mind until I saw her do it first, especially being associated with a comedic institution that I was obsessed with at a young age!

Started reading the new Ms. Marvel comic book series with Kamala Khan as the hero. It gives me hope and makes me feel strong.

Really want this piece of media to change me so I keep listening to it: Audre Lorde reading from her essay "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

Who is your career role model? Rihanna. She has such a coolness and almost laziness about her; she seems so comfortable with herself. I like how much she changes her look while still making THE HITZ.

What is a tool you can't live without? notebook and an ink pen

How do you drink your coffee/tea? with ceremony: strong black tea with milk, no sugar. 

What's your spirit animal? Probably a tortoise who thinks she's a hare.  

Name: Tallie Medel

Current CityRidgewood, NY

What are you listening to now? Albums: TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY (Kendrick Lamar), A VISION (Seapony), HALF FREE (U.S. Girls), MULTI-LOVE (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) Songs: "Sorry" (Justin Bieber), "WTF" (Missy Elliott & Pharrell), "Fuck and Run" (Liz Phair), "Crowded Stranger" (Girlpool) Podcast: MYSTERY SHOW (Starlee Kine)

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? FILM /// FIELD NIGGAS (dir. Khalik Allah). I don't want to try to explain it because it has to be seen, so go see it.
BOOK /// I've been reading a lot of Lydia Davis, and I'm re-reading FOUR FISH (Paul Greenberg) and A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES (Howard Zinn). BITCH PLANET (Kelly Sue DeConnick). You like comics? You'll read this and then your head will catch on fire.
SHOW /// STRANGERS WITH CANDY, FISHING WITH JOHN, SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST, THE OFFICE (BBC), NATHAN FOR YOU, FARGO, BURNING LOVE, RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, MONONOKE < that's a really gorgeous animated series you oughta know, I always think I dreamed it when I recall it later
MEDIA /// IN THE HEART OF AMERICA AND OTHER PLAYS by Naomi Wallace, choreography by Ashley Byler, psychedelic-Native Alaskan work by both Stephen Jackson and Donnie Varnell, watching Daniel Scheinert shoot comedy shorts in college, Reductress.com

Who is your career role model? Maya Rudolph, Justin Theroux, John Early, RuPaul, Britni West, Lizz Winstead

What is a tool you can't live without? Headphones, so I can live in a fantasy world; video chat so I can see my brother and his family. I have a nephew! Life goes on against all odds and I love it! 

How do you drink your coffee/tea? I like black coffee, hot or iced. Iced makes me go crazy so I don't drink too much of it.

What's your spirit animal? Apes and monkeys. Those ladies and gentlemen are #1


MUSIC in this episode is by Kylie Slabby & Kylie Hastings of THE DADDYO'S. Listen and purchase their music on bandcamp!

Songs you heard: Beatles, Penclawwd Belles, Cat Piss Queen, Shakira, Dishes from the album Better // Crop Top, Damsels, Just A Girl (Daddyo’s Theme), Taco Spaceship from Smother Your Brother //  Boring, Arizona from It’s a tough world out there for a lonely girl

 

24. Molly Crabapple: What Pretty Guts by Elaine Sheldon

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer who combines illustration, art and journalism to document societal and political issues. Her work is influenced by her own personal experiences and radical encounters with injustice around the world, and aims to shed light on marginalized communities. She’s written and illustrated stories about Guantanamo Bay, issues sex workers face, the prison system, among many other topics, for Vice, Fusion, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, The Guardian and Newsweek. Molly’s captivating paintings, and pen and ink illustrations can be seen on book covers, canvases, backdrops, and have accompanied articles written by both herself and by others; her art is featured in MoMA’s permanent collection. She’s the recipient of the Yale Poynter Fellowship, a Front Page Award, and a 2014 Gold Rush award. She was shortlisted for a 2013 Frontline Print Journalism Award for her internationally-acclaimed reportage on Guantanamo Bay.


In Dec. 2015, Molly released “Drawing Blood,” a memoir that details her life as a high school outcast, traveler of the world, Internet model, political activist, illustrator and many moments in between. In this episode, we dive into Molly’s intricate work, discussing the vampiric nature of being an illustrator, the inside of Guantanamo Bay detention camp, beauty as capital, her abortion, underground nightclubs, and using art to fight injustice.

Molly's memoir, Drawing Blood, is out now. Visit Indiebound to find a copy at a bookstore near you, or purchase it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon

 
 
When you take a photo, you’re at the mercy of what’s in front of you. When you draw, you have all of your memory. You have all all your imagination. You have everything to go from.
 

MUSIC in this episode is by french composer and musician, Cécile Schott who makes work under the name COLLEEN! Join us next Wednesday (12/9/2015) to learn more about her! In the meantime, listen to her music on Spotify and Soundcloud and check out her website

 Photo by Thomas Guionnet

Photo by Thomas Guionnet

SONGS you heard: Holding Horses, I'm Kin, Salina Stars, Lighthouse, Captain of Dub from the album Captain of None (Japanese Version) // Break Away, Ursa Major Find from The Weighing Of The Heart //  What Is a Componium, Pt. 1, Your Heart Is So Loud, I'll Read You a Story from  // Ritournelle, Goodbye Sunshine, Everyone Alive Wants Answers, Your Heart on Your Sleeve, Nice and Simple from Everyone Alive Wants Answers // The Happy Sea from The Golden Morning Breaks // Pista 10 from Les Ondes Silencieuses

 

RELATED LINKS:


CLIPS USED IN SHOW:


CREDITS

  • Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case

23. Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach: Co-Directing One Vision by Elaine Sheldon

Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach are documentary filmmakers and co-directors of award-winning film "Frame by Frame.” The documentary follows four Afghan photojournalists as they face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own after decades of war and rule under the oppressive Taliban regime. The film had its world premiere at SXSW 2015, has screened over 50 times, garnered several awards, was voted one of the Top 10 Audience Favorites at Hot Docs Film Festival, and is nominated for a Cinema Eye Honors Award for Spotlight Doc. Right now, Mo and Alexandria are knee-deep in an Academy Award campaign for the film. “Frame by Frame” is opening for a week-long run in New York on Nov 20 at the IFC Center.

Mo and Alexandria are extremely self-sufficient women and filmmakers-- both having worked alone on most of their film projects before this one. They both started their own film companies and both have carved out their own niches; Mo in the documentary and journalism world and Alexandria in the outdoor filmmaking world.

In this episode, we talk about how they came to the medium of film, reporting international stories, filming in Afghanistan, their dedication to stunning cinematography, earning the trust of your subjects, the responsibility and weight of releasing stories into the world, holding onto empathy, the perils of co-directing, how to reconnect with relationships after disconnecting to make a film, and how to maintain belonging and community when living out of a suitcase.


Name: Mo Scarpelli

Current Location: Portland, OR

Current Gig: Director & Producer at Rake Films

What are you listening to now? "I'm Here Now" by Motopony // Podcasts: SheDoes & On Being :)

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? 

Zack Canepari & Drea Cooper's "California Is A Place" showed me how independent doc shorts for online were possible, and also that they could be quirky, stylized and emotionally resonant. This, along with MediaStorm's short multimedia pieces, opened my world to that wonderful blurry space between film + journalism on the web.

Jason Tippet's "Only The Young" showed me how cinematography in doc can rival that of narrative features, and tell a human story.

Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" showed me how a Director's manipulation can morph a simple situation into a riveting and revealing story.

Joan Didion's essays - her tone, her boldness, her levity - has always informed the way I look at the world.

George Orwell's essays also have been an influence for me since I first picked up "All Art is Propaganda." I don't know if I realized at the time that what drew--and continues to draw--me to essays is how they can be like cinema verite; meandering and observing and leaving so much up to the reader to interpret what the writer has experienced.
 

Who is your career role model? I have three. My mom, Joan Didion, Margaret Bourke-White. I should have a filmmaker on here, I know...I'm still learning the doc film world and have met a ton of people in the past couple years who deserve admiration. Hard to name just a few, so I'll stick with the oldies.  

What is a tool you can't live without? Black notepad + pen. I'm naked without it.

How do you drink/take your coffee/tea? With a splash of soy or almond milk 

RELATED LINKS:

 Alexandria (left) Mo (right)

Alexandria (left) Mo (right)

Both Mo and I get uncomfortable when shoots are too organized—or if people work with a union and they stop at a certain time—that would just blow our minds. I think we’re used to and thrive in chaotic environments.
— Alexandria Bombach

Name: Alexandria Bombach

Current Location: On The Road

Current Gig: Red Reel

What are you listening to now? Broken Social Scene, "Sweetest Kill"

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Too many to list. Right now it's the film "Bitter Lake" & the book "No god but God"

Who is your career role model? Ava DuVernay & Lucy Walker  

What is a tool you can't live without? YELP. I live on the road and never know the best spot for a quick bite or a place to set up and work - YELP hasn't failed me yet. 

How do you drink/take your coffee/tea? French Press coffee with honey

RELATED LINKS:


 Julianna Barwick

Julianna Barwick

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

MUSIC BY: Julianna Barwick

ListenPurchaseConnect

Tracks featured in show: Vow, The Harbinger, Adventurer of the family, Vow (Diplo & Lunice remix), Prizewinning, Envelop, White Flag, One Half, Crystal Lake

22. Andrea Sisson: I Feel Purple Today by Elaine Sheldon

Andrea Sisson is a multidisciplinary visual artist who creates films, photos and performance art pieces for the design, art and fashion industries. Her work has been shown online and offline, in places like the São Paulo Museum of Image and Sound and on NOWNESS, where she featured Sia’s choreographer Ryan Heffington. She’s the co-director of “Everything Beautiful is Far Away,” a pop art sci-fi feature currently in post-production, and a feature documentary “I Send You This Place,” which Andrea made as a 2010 Fulbright Design Fellow. In 2013, Andrea and her husband Pete Ohs were selected as a duo for Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Andrea’s work is heavily influenced by the people, the colors, the environment and design that surrounds her. In this episode, we talk about Andrea’s love of travel, what it feels like to rediscover your teenage years, the intensity of falling in love, why we need to reassess mental illness, and how even “This American Life” gets online hate. Oh, and robot head girlfriends of course.

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

 

CLIPS USED IN SHOW:


 

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case
There are so many things we think we’re supposed to be, or society tells us we’re supposed to be, and I’m always trying to not let those things cover me up.
— Andrea Sisson

Name: Andrea Sisson

Current City: New York

What are you listening to now? On Being podcast, No No No Beruit

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Murakami's "1Q84" and "Wind Up Bird." "33 Artists in 3 Acts," (book), as well as "All Pasolini" (film)

Who is your career role model? Marina Abramovic

What is a tool you can't live without? Mm, my computer. Text message - its like an ongoing journal but not just to yourself to friends and people that also journal back. I love text.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Americano w/milk

 

MUSIC in this episode is by Stag Hare. Zara is the MusicMaker behind this project and we'll be featuring her story in episode 22.5 on 11/11/2015). Listen to her music on Soundcloud & Bandcamp and visit her website and Facebook.

SONGS you heard: Grays (Doom and Gloom Mantra), T I R E D from Angel Tech // Holy Quinn, Crystal Dust Dream, Oz from Black Medicine Music // y2 Soul Dive, Raga (dream) from Pongdools // To Coyoto to to Hop, Asha Moon Canoes from Spirit Canoes // Pulse Cocoon from Vessel - Part One

 

 

 

 

 

21. Ann Friedman: Successful, Whatever That Means by Elaine Sheldon

Ann Friedman is a freelance journalist who lives in Los Angeles. She writes a weekly column about politics, culture and gender for New York Magazine. She also contributes to the Columbia Journalism Review, ELLE, The Guardian, Los Angeles Magazine, The Gentlewoman, among other publications. She’s the co-host of popular podcast Call Your Girlfriend and reviews books for New Republic and Bookforum. Ann understands the importance of developing your own voice. She understands how our shifting landscape has changed the way people consume media, and how having a personal connection and point of view as an author, allows readers an entry point to trust your voice. Those who trust Ann’s voice look forward to her beloved newsletter, The Ann Friedman Weekly, where she sums up everything she’s written, read, listened to and watched that week. Ann has a broad view of how to tell a story, embracing all sorts of methods from longform, to GIFS, to pie chart, to DIY publishing, she's inventive and knows how to turn it into a paycheck.

In this episode, we talk about the changing role of journalism, getting fired, the importance of building your future network, the perils of aging in the media world, and the importance of self-driven projects. If you’re a freelancer, don’t miss this episode.

If you’re good you never stop building a network. It’s not a thing you do until you are ‘successful’ whatever that means. It’s a thing you do your whole career.
— Ann Friedman

Name: Ann Friedman

Current City: Los Angeles

What are you listening to now? This is going to make me sound so pretentious, but I have been listening to a lot of Ethiopian jazz lately. It's good working music.

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? I read Susan Sontag's journals (the first collection) when I was in a state of both personal and professional transition, and something about reading her unedited thoughts was really inspiring to me. 

Who is your career role model? It's so hard to pick just one! I am a big fan of Rebecca Traister. She is a fantastic writer and original thinker who takes a long view and backs up her opinions with reporting-- without losing her voice. Also, she's kind to both her sources and to other journalists. It's hard to imagine her becoming embroiled in a petty Twitter fight, which is how you know she's really smart.

What is a tool you can't live without? This is so boring, but my iPhone. Of course.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Coffee. Usually black.

What's your spirit animal? When I'm tired or hung over, I most identify with a baby giraffe that is still learning to walk.


MUSIC BY:

Our musicmaker is HINDS! Find them on Soundcloud, Bandcamp & Facebook.

 Photo by  Aarón Serrano    

Photo by Aarón Serrano

 

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case

CLIPS used in show:

20. Kiran Gandhi: In Your Flow by Elaine Sheldon

Kiran Gandhi toured the world as M.I.A’s drummer, earned a business degree from Harvard, and trained to run a marathon, all at the same time, but there’s a lot more to her than that. She’s an outspoken, ambitious, radical young woman who pours herself and her skills into gender equality, especially within the music industry. Kiran made headlines, both positive and negative, after she ran the 2015 London Marathon as a “free-bleeder,” or without a tampon. We talk about how to handle pushback and criticism, about her wholesome but unconventional upbringing, about living spontaneously, about the role of gatekeepers, and how to find your own “inner Madame.”

 

RELATED LINKS:

15 Best Lessons I Learned at HBS

D.C. Lady Parts Justice ‘V to Shining V’ party to feature Kiran Gandhi

“There Will Be Blood” - NYT

Donate to Breast Cancer Care the organization that Kiran ran for in the 2015 London Marathon.

Kiran's WebsiteInstagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube 

 

MUSIC this week is by our guest, Kiran Gandhi herself. All the beats you heard in this episode came from Kiran. She’s working on a musical project of her own where she drums, sings, and lives life as a “young, bossy, busy lady”, otherwise known as Madame Gandhi.

 

CREDITS:

Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon

Sound design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

 

I do have a business school degree and I worked in the music industry, but then I also have this radical, feminist, art, shock culture brain that I value. And I think my journey is going to be trying to reconcile the two and in doing that, providing solutions for the next generation.
— Kiran Gandhi

Current City: NYC

What are you listening to now? Fantasy by Alina Baraz

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Mulan

Who is your career role model? Kimberly Thompson, jazz drummer

What is a tool you can't live without? My vocal loop pedal; Beats headphones

How do you take your coffee/tea? Iced Cold Brew; black OR Hot Almond Milk Latte when in Boston!

What's your spirit animal? Panther

 

UPCOMING APPEARANCES:

10.15 Berklee College Music Minds, Discussion, Boston, MA

10.16 The Femme Show, Performance Art, Boston, MA

10.17 The Femme Show, Performance Art, Boston, MA

10.20 UCLA Feminism In Action, Speaker, Los Angeles, CA

10.26 The Hum, Kaki King feat. Kiran Gandhi Show, NYC, NY

10.27 Future of Music Conference, Panel, Washington, DC

10.28 Vanderbilt University Music, Panel, Nashville, TN

11.02 Ableton Loop Conference, Panel, Berlin, Germany

11.10 SF Music Tech Summit, Panel, San Francisco, CA

 

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW

Kiran playing Daybreaker NYC

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Morph

M.I.A. - Paper Planes

Atomic Living: Kiran Gandhi at TEDxBrooklyn

Virgin London Marathon 2015





19. Stacy Kranitz: I Play A Little With Fire by Elaine Sheldon

Stacy Kranitz is a documentary photographer who explores history, representation and otherness. She has developed her style, one that is full of movement, emotionally raw, gritty and features individuals in their environments. These individuals are sometimes new subjects, and other times her longtime friends; folks she has been documenting since she started her work in Appalachia in 2009. Stacy’s photos are sometimes bloody, many times violent, often sexualized, occasionally drug-induced, and always causing a stir. She has documented people and places all around the world, including snake handlers in Appalachia, cockfighting in Louisiana and black metal bands in Norway. Her work has been featured in VICE, New York Times Magazine, CNN, Mother Jones, TIME and Oxford American, among others. She also just completed her first feature documentary, “From the Study on Post-Pubescent Manhood.” In this episode, Stacy talks about facing criticism, the dishonesty of photojournalism, documenting violent situations, living out of her car, and blurring the lines between photographer and subject.

Related Links:

Stacy's Instagram

Stacy's Work:

 "As It Was Given To Me" (Appalachia work)

"The Crevasse Of The Reich" (Nazi Reenactors)

Skatopia (TIME)

"Life In Appalachia. Regression to the Mean" (CNN)

"Sausage Castle" (VICE)

Black Metal Bands in Norway (Revolver)

Cockfights in Louisiana

Interview with Stacy (ISSUE Magazine)

Trailer for Stacy's feature doc, "From the Study on Post Pubescent Manhood"

I don’t like being yelled at. I don’t like having a subject tell me that I treated them poorly, or I misrepresented them. That is difficult. But I can’t make this work without knowing that that’s going to be part of it. Even if the conversation goes against me and is not in favor of what I’m doing, it’s still part of the greater good of what I want from the project.
— Stacy Kranitz

Name: Stacy Kranitz

Current City: Los Angeles

What are you listening to now? Diana Ross, Reach out I'll Be There

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? 

  • Trihn T Min-Ha's film Reassemblage
  • George Gittoes's film The Miscreants of Taliwood
  • Elizabeth Barret's film Stranger With a Camera
  • Walid Raad's Atlas Project
  • Martha Rosler's writings on Documentary photography
  • Boris Mikhlov's book of photographs, Case History
  • Ed Templeton's Zines Teenagers Kissing and Teenagers Smoking
  • Carrie Mae Weems The Kitchen Table series
  • Peter Matthiessen's novel Shadow Country

Who is your career role model? Leni Riefenstahl. Rather than seek out a simple role model who fits a classic heroine profile, I am intrigued by the complex story of a woman I both love and hate. In Riefenstahl, I find a multidimensional character with a focused vision and a murky set of morals. These grey areas speak to my desire to understand people beyond the constraints of good versus evil. 

What is a tool you can't live without? Dresses with flowers on them

How do you take your coffee/tea? iced coffee, with a little bit of cream

What's your spirit animal? All the alligator's that live in Lake Martin, Louisiana

Updates? I'll be in Central Appalachia this summer working on my project As it Was Give(n) To Me. In October this project will be shown in Wales as part of the Diffusion photography festival. I just finished my first feature length documentary film, From the Study on Post-Pubescent Manhood.


CREDITS:

Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg

Sound design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

 

MUSIC by Dirty Dishes (meet Jenny next week!)

  • Dinner Bell
  • Sugar Plum Fairies
  • Guilty
  • Lackluster
  • Dan Cortez

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Skatopia (trailer)

18. Kalyanee Mam: The Camera Doesn't Even Exist by Elaine Sheldon

Kalyanee Mam is a documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the preservation, the meaning, and the importance of home. She was raised in the U.S. but was born in Cambodia, generating an ongoing desire to explore the notion of home and displacement, specifically in Cambodia. Her first feature, A River Changes Course, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance in 2013. Her 2014 short, Fight For Areng Valley, was featured as a New York Times Op-Doc. Kalyanee is currently working on her second feature, The Fire and the Bird's Nest, which tells the story of a Cambodian family fighting to protect their homeland from a proposed hydro-dam project. We talk about the upsides of insecurities, drastically changing your life plan, learning how to ride a bike, learning how to use a camera, learning how to forget about the camera, and most importantly, having compassion for this planet and the humans that inhabit it.

Name: Kalyanee Mam

Current City: Guerneville, CA 

Born: January 1977

What are you listening to now? "Only the Lonely", The All Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison 

What film piece of media changed you? I recently finished reading a book called "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants," by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a biologist and member of the Potawatami tribe. I discovered her work while listening to an interview on "To the Best of Our Knowledge." I love wild mushrooms and foraging for them and she described the most amazing phenomenon captured in one single Potawatami word: puhpohwee, which translates to "the force which causes mushrooms to push up from the earth overnight." I thought this was just the most beautiful thing. No Western scientific word exists to describe this inexplicable force. And here was a Potawatami word that captured it so eloquently. There are limits to our scientific knowledge that can be complimented with indigenous knowledge and a perspective of the world that brings animism, spirit, and life to plants, animals, and all creatures that exist. 

Who is your career role model? There are so many people I admire for their work and contributions to a better understanding of our place in the world and how we can live with more humility and respect for nature. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Barry Lopez, John Muir are some of the names that come to mind. However, the most important thing I've learned from each of them is to admire and learn from the teachings of our ancestors - the plants and animals that have come before us and hold within their way of living the key to understanding life itself. So I've always admired, from my very first hikes in the Sierras, the grace and elegance of the foxtail pine, a rare pine endemic only to the subalpine forests of California's Sierra Nevada. I imagine this pine being alive for hundreds of years witnessing without judgment, the changes of terrain and season, of weather and storms, bending without breaking, and just being. 

 

CREDITS:

Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg

Sound design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

Production Assistance by Alijah Case

 

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Documentaries | Cambodia From 1975 To 1979 Controlled By Khmer Rouge

Khmer Rouge Song: 17 April 1975

A River Changes Course - Feature Film (2013)

Fight For Areng Valley - Short Film (2014)

 

 

 

 
When you really love what you’re doing, when you really care about what you’re doing, you don’t even have to exhort confidence, it’s just who you are. It’s just being.
— Kalyanee Mam
 

 

What is a tool you can't live without? My kitchen knife and dutch oven. Two things I literally can't live without and that bring me absolute pleasure. Cutting and slicing vegetables, throwing them into the pot, and then straight into the oven to be surprised by a complete meal only a few hours later. There must be a Potowatami word that describes the magic of that delicious transformation! 

How do you drink your coffee/tea? I usually start my morning with my own tea blend of peppermint, chamomile, lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric. And then a shot of espresso with frothy steamed milk! 

What's your spirit animal? There are so many animals I would love to be depending on my mood and the time of year - a black bear in the autumn and winter, hibernating in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate, or a hummingbird in the spring, sampling the sweet nectar of every flower, or a wild mountain goat hobbling up the mountains in the summer.   

Any updates since we interviewed you? I'm currently working on my second feature documentary about the life of Reem Sav See, an indigenous Chong woman from Areng Valley in Southwest Cambodia, and the ancestral stories she and her people tell that compel them to protect their cultural and natural environment. The film is called The Fire and the Bird's Nest and I just completed by second production trip at the beginning of the Summer. I am also partnering with Mother Nature Cambodia to implement an environmental media project to help expand public debate about conservation and development in Cambodia. The project is being funded by MacArthur’s Conservation and Sustainable Development Program. We plan to release bi-weekly, short and thought provoking videos on social and traditional media and eventually screen The Fire and the Bird's Nest

RELATED LINKS:

 

MUSIC FEATURED IN SHOW:

Our featured MusicMakers this week are Anna & Elizabeth, a folk duo who aims to bring history and tradition into the contemporary world. Tune in for episode 18.5 to hear their story.

TRACKS: Off self-titled album, Anna & Elizabeth: Ida Red, Don't Want to Die in the Storm, Little Black Train, Very Day I’m Gone (Rambling Woman), Father Neptune, Goin’ Cross the Mountain, Orfeo, Greenwood Sidey, Troubles, Long Time Travelin’. Off Sun to Sun: Darlin’, Don’t You Know it’s Wrong?, Sun to Sun, Lone Pilgrim

 

 

 

 

17. Pamela Ribon: Finding Your Own Fun by Elaine Sheldon

Pamela Ribon is a television writer, screenwriter, best-selling novelist and all around hilarious human. She’s been a writer in comedy rooms for both network and cable television and is the author of four novels. NPR called her new memoir, Notes to Boys, “brain-breakingly funny.” Pamela has developed original series and features for ABC, ABC Family, Warner Bros., Disney Channel and 20th Century Fox Productions. She recently finished working on a feature for Walt Disney Animation Studios and she’s currently writing for Sony Pictures Animation on an upcoming feature. Pamela started writing on the web in 1998, before most people even knew what a blog was. She has been building her audience ever since, breaking the internet with “Barbie F*cks It Up Again,” among other posts. We talk about standup comedy, how to make your work go viral, and why it’s important to mind your our beeswax and find your own fun.

Wanting what other people have will never get you what you want, because you’re not spending time finding your own fun. It’s not fun to be jealous of people and it’s such a waste of time, because nobody has the same story. You can take the craziest route if you just follow what’s interesting to you.
— Pamela Ribon

RELATED LINKS:

Name: Pamela Ribon

Current City: Los Angeles

What are you listening to now? Podcasts: Scriptnotes, The Dinner Party Download, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Extra Hot Great

What film piece of media changed you? The Family Ties episode "A, My Name is Alex." It was an hour-long "very special" episode about Alex going to therapy after the sudden death of a close friend. Shot like a play, Alex moved in and out of the set, talking to an unseen therapist while playing out scenes with his family and friends. Seeing a sitcom tackle something so serious, mixing comedy with drama, letting Michael J Fox "act" so hard, completely blew my young mind. Comedy could help? Comedy could get serious? A sitcom could make me cry? I still remember jokes from it, so it also made me laugh. Because this episode is such a long ago memory, I originally assumed this epiphany happened only to me, but I've met more than one writer who also named this episode as an important moment in their young lives. Wikipedia says it won a shit-ton of awards, so I guess it wasn't just us kids knowing it was a good. 

Who is your career role model? Tina Fey, John Waters, Penn Jillette, Peggy Olson, Bjork, Leslie Knope.

What is a tool you can't live without? Spotify

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Black

What's your spirit animal? Hello Kitty. It used to be Batz Maru. I am evolving.

Any updates since we interviewed you? I'm currently writing a feature for Sony Animation and a comedy pilot for the Disney Channel. Everything else is under various NDAs.


MUSIC FEATURED IN SHOW:

Music this week is by Springtime Carnivore

Listen to Episode 17.5 with Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore!

TRACKS: Karen Bird’s Themes, Talk To Me Slow, Last One To Know, Foxtrot Freak, Collectors, Western Pink, Name on a Matchbook, Low Clouds, Two Scars

 

CREDITS:

Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg

Sound design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

Production Assistance by Alijah Case

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Good Morning America Barbie Segment 1 & 2

Barbie Commercial "Cut & Style Barbie"

 

16. Kirsten Lepore: Start-Stop-Start-Stop by Elaine Sheldon

Animator Kirsten Lepore is the writer and director of an upcoming episode of Cartoon Network’s popular show “Adventure Time.” A majority of her career has been spent in her garage, which is actually her workshop, carefully moving tiny, handmade characters in the worlds she’s built for them. The films she made at Maryland Institute College of Art and CalArts, “Sweet Dreams” and “Bottle,” won countless awards and screened at SXSW, Slamdance, the Vimeo Awards, the Annie Awards, among others. She’s made work for big names like Google, MTV, Whole Foods, Nestlé, and Nickelodeon, upholding her own raw but charming style no matter the project. Kirsten talks about her knack for cooking, the challenges of being a one-woman band, poking a bit at her peculiar side, and stepping into a big director role with “Adventure Time.” She’s a self-proclaimed weirdo and that’s the way she’ll stay.

Name: Kirsten Lepore

Current City: Los Angeles

DOB: March 1985

Current Gig: Working on the Adventure Time episode! Which I think will air sometime this year. Also expect some more Google Doodles out on their homepage throughout the year!

What are you listening to? III, by Badbadnotgood

What piece of media changed you? Oh geez, there are so many things....I know it's cliche, but one of the pivotal moments was watching the original Star Wars Trilogy for the first time in 6th grade - pretty late for my age, actually. From the practical effects/creatures, to the music, to the far off worlds they created, it definitely inspired me to make my own crazy worlds.

Who is your career role model? I feel really fortunate that many of my career role models are also friends or contemporaries. People like Julia Pott, Mikey Please, DANIELS, Allison Schulnik, David OReilly, Adi Goodrich, Jenny Slate and Dean Fleicher-Camp are all making a living creating unique and diverse art in their own amazing, unique styles. I aspire to do the same.

What is a tool you can't live without? A sharp knife, big wooden cutting board, and a stove. If I couldn't cook, I think I'd get really depressed. Also, can I throw some good speakers in there with a sub? I need to dance too.

How do you take your coffee/tea? I'm an uncaffeinated person, actually - but when I do, I take an espresso with one sugar

What's your spirit animal? Hmmm, probably an elephant. An elephant never forgets. Although, people tell me I look and act like a koala and apparently they're very horny.

 

Music Featured in Episode 16 is by Dubb Nubb

Wild Dreamin’ (album)

  • These Whole Spaces
  • Where Does the Time Go?
  • I Dreamt

The Best Game Ever (album)

  • Ahm Nam Nam
  • Soldier

Sunrise Sleepy Eyed (album)

  • Back Roads
  • Kindergarten Wedding

New Bones (album)

  • Geometric Shapes
  • Buttons

Our featured MusicMakers are Hannah, Delia, and Amanda Rainey, or Dubb Nubb. Find out more in our She Does Music episode 16.5!

 

kirsten.jpg
It’s not the thing that looks like everything else that someone hired you to do that’s going to get you work. It’s the really unique thing that you made for yourself that showcases something new that’s going to get you hired.
— Kirsten Lepore
 

 

Related Links:

Kirsten's Website

Kirsten on Twitter

Kirsten on Instagram

Making of "Bottle" (in 1 minute)

 

Clips Featured in This Episode:

"Bottle" animation

"Sweet Dreams" animation

Adventure Time Theme Song

Adventure Time Exclusive Clip from Kirsten’s Episode “Bad Jubies”

 

Credits:

Produced by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg

Sound Design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

Production Assistance by Alijah Case

15. Emily Best: You Will Find Your People by Elaine Sheldon

Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a crowdfunding and distribution platform for independent filmmakers. She’s also the publisher of Bright Ideas Magazine. Emily has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in crowdfunding for film, and contributed to over 300 campaigns to date through Seed&Spark. She brings experience from producing live theatre and running restaurants to the film industry, and lets us into the world of investors and film distribution. Emily was named one of the 2013 Indiewire Influencers, 2014 New York Women of Influence and 2015 Upstart 100. She’s a daring individual who encourages us all to create meaningful communities around our work. Furthermore, things get personal when we discuss matters of the heart and how being independent and driven can affect personal relationships.

Name: Emily Best

Current City: Los Angeles, CA

DOB: 8/1980

What are you listening to now? First Aid Kit, both albums

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you?  An Iranian film that came out in 1997 called "Gabbeh." It was the first thing I ever went to see in my local independent theater (The Tower Theater in Sacramento, CA). I was dragged there by a MUCH cooler friend. I couldn't move when the credits started rolling. I didn't know film could be like that!

Who is your career role model?  I have so, so many. Sue Nagel. Jill Soloway. Oprah. I mean, how you know you made an impression, you only go by one name...and Diane von Furstenburg. 

What is a tool you can't live without? The little doggy poop bag dispenser that attaches to my dog's leash. So simple. So convenient.

How do you drink/take your coffee/tea? Little whole milk little sugar

What's your spirit animal?

  1. Exhibit A
  2. Exhibit B
  3. Exhibit C
The thing about being an artist is there’s always room. But now more than ever if you want to make a sustainable living it’s your responsibility to find the people who also want you to have a sustainable living doing what you do. There’s something about being really committed to a set of ideas that are important to you, and continuously articulating that value system to yourself and to your community in a meaningful way. And you will find your people.
— Emily Best
 

Music Featured in Episode 15 is by ZIEMBA 

A Pure Mirror and a Damn Prison (album)

  • Under Clouds
  • El Paso
  • Ugly Ambitious Women

Nearness (album)

  • Phantom See
  • Now Seed
  • White Black Red Yellow

Clips Featured In This Episode

Denny's Commercial

Credits

Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg

Illustration by Christine Cover

Sound Design by Billy Wirasnik