interview podcast

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:

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