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Catch A Break Podcast

Catch A Break Podcast

The insider's guide to breaking into and navigating Hollywood.


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Special Episode: Women's Production Society Part 2 Cristen Carr Strubbe and Jeanette Volturno

This is part two in a series of interviews with the leadership of the Women?s Production Society. The WPS is an organization of physical production executives across the industry. It started as a small cocktail party and has since grown to more than 100 members and is a powerful force of change within the industry with the purpose to fulfill their mission statement: To promote the hiring of women in leadership roles in Film, Television and New Media. 

In the last episode, I talked with the group?s founding members Dana Belcastro and Debra Bergman. And today I am talking with Jeanette Volturno, producer and entrepreneur, and Cristen Carr Strubbe, producer turned physical production executive, who are the current leadership of the group. You can hear Jeanette?s origin story in episode 111 of The Other 50% podcast and Cristen is on episode 15.

In this episode we talk about where the WPS is now, how they weathered the covid of it all the last couple of years, and what the plan to do going forward.

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Special Episode: Women's Production Society Part 1 Dana Belcastro and Debra Bergman

We have a couple of really special interviews to share with you - both are with the leadership of the Women?s Production Society. The WPS is an organization of physical production executives across the industry. It started as a small cocktail party and has since grown to more than 100 members and is a powerful force of change within the industry with the purpose to fulfill their mission statement: To promote the hiring of women in leadership roles in Film, Television and New Media. 

This first interview is with the founding members Dana Belcastro and Debra Bergman. Both came up as producers and now both are executives. To get their full stories, we will refer you to episodes 108 and 109 of The Other 50% podcast where we do a deep dive into both of their herstories. In today?s episode they walk us through the origin of the Women?s Production Society and what they are looking to do next as they hand the reins over to the next leadership of the group.

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This is the episode where we dig into the age-old Hollywood cliché. Joining us in this episode is award-winning Director Anya Adams, filmmaker Avi Youabian, Writer, Director, and Costume Designer Kristin Burke. We learn from them what it really takes to transition into your dream job. Is that where you start? What should you do on your way to Directing? And most importantly, how do you make the leap?

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In this episode, we are introduced to Sound Mixer Allie Boettger, Sound Editor P.K. Hooker, and Composer Michael Abels. We talk about how sound recording on set is different from the composed score and how the editor brings it all together.

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Who takes care of everyone on set? On this episode we talk about what it means to care for the crew with Second Assistant Director, Alicia Lewis, Set Medic, Lisa Patton, film Caterer, Orlando Hurtado, and Key Craft Service person, Leah Amir. We hear about what drives them in this role, how they prepared for it, and the business opportunities that came along the way.

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How do the lab, color correction, VFX complete the look of the film? In this episode, we learn more about post-production and how it all comes together in the lab. With us is an award-winning Cinematographer, Toby Oliver, VP of Fotokem?s services division, Jose Parra, and Digital Imaging Technician Oliver Mancebo.

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What happens when the film leaves Production and heads to Post? In this episode, we learn about post-production and how a Post Supervisor, Editor, and Visual Effects Supervisor work together. We were introduced to independent post-production supervisor Renee Minasian, narrative features and TV editor Lucy Donaldson, and visual effects supervisor Dan Levitan.

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In this episode, Production Assistant, Giselle Vazquez, Production Coordinator, Brian Ayala, and Production Coordinator, Weston Manville, discuss how Production Assistants and Coordinators fit into the whole system, how they work together and with all the departments on set, and personal stories of how they started and where they want to go.

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In this episode, we discuss how Costume Supervisor, Gail Fitzgibbons, Assistant Director, Marc Newland, and Extras Casting Director, Dixie Webster, work together to create the magic you see on screen.

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EP 305: What are we shooting and how do we get there?

Let?s discuss the logistics of shooting on location with Location Manager Alison Taylor and Transportation Coordinator Sandra Ninham-Gallardo. Together they discuss what their jobs entail and some of the challenges they may run into being women in their fields.

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In this episode we are joined by Lee Donaldson, a Key Grip, Nancy Schreiber, a Cinematographer, and Brant Beland, a Gaffer. We learn about all of their careers, pick their brains, and hear stories from some of the best people in the business.

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This episode is where we meet Emily Ferry, a property master, and Mark Byers, a special effects supervisor. We learn about their position, their go to kits, crews, budget, specialties in their field and so much more.

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EP 302: Establishing the Look

Welcome to EP 302 of Catch A Break where we will meet Wynn Thomas, a production designer, Thomas Scott Stanton, a director of photography, and Virgina Johnson, a costume designer. In this episode we will learn about what each of their job entails, budgeting, diversity, inclusion in the industry, and their job?s relation to one another and other positions in their crews.

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This season is going to be all about how the different departments work together to make a film or a series. For example, how does the director work with the director of photography and art departments to set the look? How do props and special effects work together? How do grips and gaffers collaborate? We?ll get to all of these questions this season. But, as we always do, let?s start at the beginning. This episode is all about how a script transitions from development to production, from the perspectives of creative producers and a line producer. 

Joining us for this episode is Jeanette Volturno, Co-founder of Catch A Break and Catchlight Studios, Jessica Malanaphy, Co-founder of Catch A Break and Catchlight Studios, and Fanshen Cox, producer and development executive at Pearl Street Films. In this episode we will touch base on what their specific jobs entail, diversity in casting, the business and creative side of production, and different tips that will help when entering the industry.

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The Way Back: Part Five

This is the final episode in The Way Back Series - how entertainment and production will navigate getting back to work while living with COVID-19. In this episode, we want to talk about how we will ensure we keep moving forward with diversity, inclusion and representation, and not lose any ground due to the recent work stoppage and the scarcity it created. To do this, we have assembled an amazing panel.

We?ve asked the brilliantly talented women of the Sista Brunch Podcast, Fanshen Cox, co-host of Sista Brunch, Award-winning playwright, actor, producer & educator and co-author of the Inclusion Rider, and Christabel Nsiah-Buadi, Award-winning radio journalist, executive producer of Sista Brunch and writer for British Vogue and The Independent to take over the Catch A Break Podcast.

Panelists include Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Women In Film and one of the forces behind the WIF ReFrame initiative, Marcei Brown, co-creator of Crewvie, a global inclusion database, and one of the founders of the Catch A Break Podcast, Yolanda Cochran, SVP Live Action Production at ViacomCBS? Nickelodeon & Awesomeness and member of the PGA One Guild Committee, and Kalpana Kotagal, Partner at Cohen Milstein and co-author of the Inclusion Rider.

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We often hear about incentives and how pivotal they are to making content.  However, how often are the terms confusing or do we think people are speaking a different language? Our panelists will help translate what is the difference between rebates, refundable credits, transferable credits, and non-transferable credits? How can you monetize your state credit? What is a state credit? How do you choose which state to film in? What is a qualified spend?

We will discuss all this and more in this week?s episode of Catch A Break.   Please note, this episode was recorded pre-Coronavirus, so we aim to update everyone with any late changing information with our live Covid-19 episodes in the next few weeks.

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The Way Back: Part Four

This is the fourth in our series about working in the age of COVID-19, and we?re talking about what kinds of productions might be dipping their toes in first. What genres might have an easier time? Can reality and indie films pivot more quickly with smaller crews? And a big part of all of this is now that we know the protocols, how do you actually make them happen on the ground? The panel: Dwight Smith, Mission Control Medis Matt Miller, Vanishing Angle Dwjuan Fox, Decipher Entertainment Colleen Bell, California Film Commission

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EP 208: Buying and Selling Part 2

This episode is called ?Buying and Selling, Part 2? and our guest panelists, Sherryl Clark and Peter Van Steemburg pick up the mantle from Adam Kolbrenner?s Buying and Selling, Part 1 podcast and add their nuanced and experienced thoughts.

Sherryl Clark ? President of Production, The H Collective

Peter Van Steemburg ? Vice President of Acquisitions & Production at the Universal Pictures Content Group

This is the episode where Peter and Sherryl discuss the perspective of a buyer and a seller.  We learn about the buyer?s curatorial eye and the seller?s entrepreneurial and indefatigable spirit.

We talk about the art of putting together ?a seller?s package and how to carefully balance the presentation and how oftentimes it?s just the script that is needed. Do you add the cast, director and budget to the script or does the script stand on its own?  How do you build a list for the right place to send your project?  How do you partner with another producer or company and not compromise your vision?

We speak about how time, relationships and reputation will almost always get you entrée to the buyer or the seller and oftentimes, assistants and junior reps are the unsung heroes and strong advocates of student films and festival offerings. If a script does not get made right away, always remember good is good and its time will come.

Other enticing tidbits include:  Don?t overstay your welcome on someone?s phone sheet and just as important, how do you get in the room where it happens and what do you do when you are in the room. You don?t want to miss it!

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The Way Back: Part Three

Several states have declared they are open for business, so why aren't we shooting yet? Let?s talk about the pieces still holding us back.

Our panel includes:

Steve Berman, EVP of Production, Film Finances

Liz Jenkins, CFO, Hello Sunshine

Nicole Papincak, Attorney, Reder & Feig

Adrian Ward, Senior Director, Banc of California

Brian Kingman, Managing Director, Gallagher Entertainment

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The Way Back: Part Two

Our panelists share how vendors are positioned and pivoting to work differently during the age of COVID. Panel: Shawn Gillsepie, CASHet, Sarah McGrail, Picture Shop, Mikel Elliott, Quixote, Kerry LaiFatt, GreenSlate, Hugh Calveley, Moxion.

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The Way Back: Navigating the Film Industry in the Covid-19 Era

We interrupt this season to bring you a live speaker series on the pandemic and how we go back to work in the era of Covid-19.

COVID-19 changes everything - from on-set protocols to stories. How will productions adapt? We will explore the changes from several angles with experts managing the logistics on the ground.


Jeanette Volturno

Malia Arrington

Sonya JF Barnett

Nancy Nayor

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EP 207 Buying and Selling

We are thrilled to have Adam Kolbrenner ? Founder of Lit Entertainment Group on the podcast.

Adam is uniquely qualified to speak about buying and selling in the Hollywood marketplace from his varied background as an agent, manager and producer.

Adam also has the distinction of being the top representative (manager or agent) of all Black List screenwriters cumulative in the history of the annual Black List. Kolbrenner has distinguished himself in discovering new voices. On the Lit management side, Kolbrenner represents top creators and filmmakers in the industry.  

This is the episode where we discuss his dual roles in management and producing and how one enhances the other.  It was a engaging conversation where we spoke about the importance of being true to yourself and picking your writing lane.  Oftentimes, Los Angeles is still the place to hang your hat for feature and television work.

We also talk about how managers scour the world for great, underrepresented writers and then grooms them before launching their scripts out to the world. We find out what?s sellable, how managers find the best teams to surround their clients, identify the right buyers and why hobbyists need not apply.

Take a listen to Adam?s advice for casting aside illusions and embracing the ?blue collar job? reality of the writer.  We chat about how writers are busting their butts, always generating ideas or listening to studio pitches.  Most of all, we hear about Adam?s love for discovery, deciphering of what is unique and telling stories in a different way. 

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EP 206 Social Media Marketing

This episode is called ?Social Media? and for those listeners who want an advanced tutorial into how to make social media work for you, this is a not to be missed episode.

Melanie Capacia Johnson ? Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Tiny Horse

Maggie Glover - Digital Marketing Guru

How do you decide which social media goes to which channel?  When do you layout your social media program in order to achieve your desired metrics?  How do you increase brand awareness?  What hashtags are more meaningful than others?  Which accounts should you use for business and personal? How do you create yourself as a brand? What style is your social media feed?

We have a great panel discussion with Melanie Capacia Johnson and Maggie Glover who have decades of experience in production and marketing and think the world of social media is still the Wild Wild West.

Our panelists take the guesswork out of navigating your Instagram, Facebook, Redditt, Snapchat and even up your Tik Tok game.  Ok, it depends on your dance moves, however, this episode will teach you how-to standout on Social Media.  You will learn what KPI and SEO mean and how snackable bites are more applicable to fun, engaging content and not just a discussion about your cooking!  You?ll hear why these experts are pro-Kardashian and how to control the conversation from your posts.

They discuss the strategy of social media planning, the importance of talent deals that are social media friendly and how to create franchises around pre-existing IP.  It?s less about augmenting your brand and more about reaching your specific goals.  You will learn why 100 dedicated followers are oftentimes more than important than 5,000 casual followers, how to build continuous engagement and why authenticity is key.

We help you get a handle on your various #handles on #FB #IG and others in this fast changing marketplace.  In the words of Maggie Glover, size doesn?t always matter.

#socialmediaexpertafterthispodcast #entertainmentinfluencer #tipstobuildyourfollowers

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EP 205 Budgeting

On this episode we are talking about budgeting with Jeanette Volturno, Rick Osako, Jessica Malanaphy, and Shirley Davis, most of the team behind Catch A Break. We'll go line by line and talk about what it all means, and the not so obvious elements you don't want to forget while putting it all together.

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EP 204 Indie Films

For this episode we are talking about independent films with Ray Mansfield and Sean McKittrick. Sean and Ray are producers and two of the founders of QC Entertainment. QC brought us the films Get out and Blackkklansman, just to name two very recent and wildly successful films.

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EP 203 Crowdfunding

On episode 203 we?ll be talking about crowdfunding with Emily Best and Jonah Feingold. First, Emily Best Emily is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, an online crowdfunding and subscription streaming platform for content creators and audiences that emphasizes diversity and inclusion. Then, we'll speak with Jonah Feingold. Jonah?s viral Kickstarter backed short film BANGARANG broke the internet trending number one on Reddit.

We go through the phases of crowdfunding and talk about how great it can be when all the right elements come together.

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EP 202 Financing for Independent Films

For episode 202 we?ll be talking about financing for independent films with Producer and Co-Founder of the company Divide/Conquer, Adam Hendricks.

In this episode we dive into the different ways a movie can be financed.

Today, financing a movie is so difficult and raising the money is literally a job all unto itself.   A movie can come in different packages; financing in place, partial financing or just a script and a filmmaker looking for financing. If you?re looking for a checklist and a formula, we?re sorry to tell you there isn?t one.

We have a great conversation with Adam Hendricks, who has a wealth of experience and a lot of insight. Here, Adam tells us about private equity and angel investors and the different reasons why they may want to contribute to financing a movie. As a producer, it?s important to deliver on that ?why.?

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EP 201 Development

Catch a Break is back for Season Two! And on this episode we are talking about development with Todd and Earl Richey Jones. Todd and Richey Jones began their writing career on the Emmy winning sketch comedy series ?In Living Color?, and from there they wrote and produced several sitcoms including ?The Hughley?s? and they were part of the original creative team behind the blockbuster animated hit ?Rio?. Our own Jessica Hall Malanaphy joins us as well to add her perspective from the side of a development executive.

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This is the episode on representation where we're going to talk about agents and managers. What are they? What is the diference? Do you need one? And which one? And how does it all work? We're going to walk you through this from several diferent perspectives and sort it all out.

We will talk to producers who hire via agents and managers, and we?ll speak to a manager and an agent. Featured guests: Matt Birch ? Co-Head of Physical Production, Agency for the Performing Arts; Kailey Marsh ? Founder of the Bloodlist and Manager, Brillstein Entertainment Partners

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EP 5 BONUS Freelancing and Finances, Tax

We invited payroll tax expert, Becky Harshberger, to join us to breakdown some specific payroll tax items - to become a loan-out company or not, 1099 worker vs W2 employee, etc. - and believe it or not, she made it entertaining.

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If your dream is to work on set, in production, you are probably going to be working as a freelancer. In this episode, we are going to talk about what that means, and then walk you through some tips on how to set up your life to work as a freelancer in a way that will set you up for success.

There are a lot of factors - some of them lifestyle, many of them Financial, and we want you to have the tools to start making a plan for yourself to have a sustainable and fulfilling freelance life. Featured guest: Ari Gold ? The Money Stylist

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Networking! This is the episode where we take a deep dive into Networking. What does it mean, really? How do you do it? What's the point, anyway?

This industry is based on relationships, and we want you to have all the tools you need to make meaningful relationships that will help you in your career. Featured guests: Stephanie Hall Marin ? Producer, FALLEN STARS; Alison Haskovec ? Executive, Netflix; Rachel Walens ? Executive, Radiant Productions

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In this bonus episode, our panel goes through the production lingo and tells us the meaning of all those words and phrases that you might hear on set.

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You're Hired! This is the episode where we talk about what to do once you have been hired. You got the job! Now what? Now, some of this may sound very basic, but if we're talking about it, it's because we've seen it. And we want to make sure you make the best impression possible and that you don't get derailed by doing something easily avoided. Our producing panel breaks it down.

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This is the episode where Lasta Drachkovitch walks us through the reports and Call Sheet for Reality or Unscripted production.

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This is the episode where we take a look at the Call Sheet and go over all the positions you will find on set. We also touch on other forms you might encounter and provide some samples that you can download from our website to follow along. Featured guests: Denise Anderson Poore ? Second Assistant Director, ?Legion;? Lasta Drachkovitch ?
Executive Producer, ?Lockup;? James Moran ? First Assistant Director, HALLOWEEN

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This is the longer breakout interview with Parker Lemal-Brown, where we discuss their journey from school to internship and the importance of authenticity.

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This is the episode where we take a deep dive into getting that first job. Where do you even start? What's the deal with internships? How do I get my foot in the door? We are going to try and answer all of these questions and get you started on your path.

Featured guests:

Michael Figari ? Manager, Producers Program, UCLA;

Eve Honthaner ? Deputy Director, California Film Commission;

Parker Lamal-Brown ? Intern, eOne; Assistant, Topple;

Laurie Luh ? Human Resources Consultant;

Andrea McCall ? Head of Story, DreamWorks SKG

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Catch A Break Podcast

Introducing Catch A Break - the insider's guide to breaking into and navigating Hollywood. This is the trailer that explains it all.

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