(More) Essential Moviemaking Podcasts: Five Laudable Audibles for Your Educational Pleasure

Directing is a fairly strange craft to try to learn, in part because you rarely get a chance to watch other directors at work.

Determined moviemakers exhaust all the possibilities to hear about the process of making movies: DVD extras, magazines and, more and more, the growing world of podcasts. But with hundreds of thousands of podcasts to pick from (and new ones sprouting up every day), it’s hard to know where to start. Last year, we compiled a list of five stand-out film podcasts to augment your ongoing movie education. This year, we’ve lined up another five. Whether you’re making low-budget indies or larger-than-life blockbusters, want to write or direct, love horror, comedy or social dramas—there’s a little something here for everyone.

We’ll let the hosts of these five podcasts make the case for why you should click “subscribe” and jump into their shows, ASAP.                                                   

Just Shoot It

Airs: Every other Thursday

Established: 2015

Average Length of Episode: 1 hour

Number of Episodes at Print Date: 58

Hosts: Filmmakers Matt Enlow and Oren Kaplan

What is the show?Just Shoot It is an insider’s guide to being a working director in Hollywood. Instead of the well-trod success stories of how the likes of David Fincher or Damien Chazelle got their starts, we focus on the day-to-day grind: finding directing gigs, discovering your voice, making shot lists, casting actors, pitching scripts, networking, etc. If you just graduated from film school and are trying to figure out the next step, we’re the podcast for you.”

What do filmmakers get out of your podcast? A lot of people are discouraged to go into the film industry because they’re told how ‘impossible’ it is. But people don’t often hear from the people who are making a living doing this job, so we think it’s motivating for people to hear our show and know you don’t have to be super-famous to have a successful career as a director.”

What are your favorite episodes? “We both love the episode where Melissa Hunter walks us through her TV show pitches and how she came up with them, and the episode where Chef’s Table director Abby Fuller explains how she applies Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey concept to documentary storytelling.”

The Black List Table Reads

Airs: When available, with screenwriter interviews airing two weeks after table read

Established: 2015

Average Length of Episode: 1 hour and 45 minutes (table reads), 30 minutes (interviews)

Number of Episodes at Print Date: 81

Host: Black List founder Franklin Leonard

What is the show? “On The Black List Table Reads, we take the best and most exciting screenplays Hollywood hasn’t yet made and turn them into movies, for your ears. Think radio plays for the podcast generation with the best scripts the industry hasn’t yet put in theaters. And for good measure, we throw in interviews with the writers of those scripts and the writers of some of the biggest movies in theaters.”

What do filmmakers get out of your podcast? “An opportunity to hear an intermediate step between screenplay and completed film. It provides a great deal of insight into the screenwriting process—and, very simply, exceptional storytelling in the audio medium.”

What are your favorite episodes? “The table reads of Mr. Malcolm’s List, Three Months and our interviews with Jackie screenwriter Noah Oppenheim and Moonlight writers Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney.”

The Director’s Cut – A Podcast from the DGA

Airs: Following each live Q&A held at the Directors Guild of America

Established: 2015

Average Length of Episode: 35 minutes

Number of Episodes at Print Date: 64

Hosts: Different moderators (we spoke to a representative from the DGA)

Episodes 63-65 of the DGA podcast featured DGA-nominated directors Denis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan, Damien Chazelle, Garth Davis and Barry Jenkins in conversation at the Meet the Nominees: Feature Film symposium. Photograph by Byron Gamarro

What is the show?The Director’s Cut is an exclusive window into director Q&A sessions hosted by the DGA for its members, featuring directors interviewed by one of their peers about their recent films.”

What do filmmakers get out of your podcast? They get to hear top working professionals reveal critical decisions about how their favorite movies came together from start to finish.”

What’s your favorite episode? “The first episode—featuring Martin Scorsese interviewing Steven Spielberg about his 2015 film Bridge of Spies—is very popular. And while most are about recent feature film releases, there are special episodes where directors such as Miloš Forman and James Burrows discuss their lessons learned over a lifetime of directing. These are pulled from long-form interviews for the DGA Visual History program.”

The Movie Crypt

Airs: Every Monday morning

Established: 2013

Average Length of Episode: 2 hours

Number of Episodes at Print Date: 196

Hosts: Horror filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch

Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Arwen the Yorkie, hosts of The Movie Crypt. Courtesy of ArieScope Pictures

What is the show?The Movie Crypt is as candid and real as it gets, with extended ‘artist on artist’ conversations—never just a typical interview. We dive deep. Episodes focus on the various struggles and hurdles we all face at every stage of our careers.”

What do filmmakers get out of your podcast? “Some have called our show a version of audio film school—though we call it ‘therapy,’ because you’ll get a sense that you’re not alone in your struggle. Listening to the episodes where we focus on someone ‘behind the behind the scenes’—like a costumer, sound mixer, agent or executive—you’ll learn so, so much. Don’t just listen to the episodes with A-list celebrities. If we have someone come on our program, it’s because we know they have a damn good story that is important for everyone to hear.”

What are your favorite episodes? “Some of our favorites are Episode 167, ‘Joe Carnahan,’ Episode 100, ‘Chris Columbus,’ Episode 77, ‘Slash,’ and Episode 34, ‘Darren Lynn Bousman.’ To date the show’s most popular episode is far and away Episode 135, ‘Santa Claus.’ At a first glance most assume it’s going to be something silly, but it’s actually one of the sincerest and moving episodes we’ve ever done.”

The UCB Digital Podcast

Airs: Tuesdays, bi-monthly

Established: 2014

Average Length of Episode: 45 minutes

Number of Episodes at Print Date: 35

Host: Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Creative Director Nathan Russell

A panel entitled “An Inside look at TV Development” features (L-R) Terrence Grey (Founder, NYTVF), Jo Honig (Omelette Bar Productions), Christine Walters (EP Original Programming, truTV) and podcast host Nathan Russell. Photograph by Matthew Torres

What is the show?The UCB Digital Podcast is a behind-the-scenes look at comedy filmmaking, with a wide variety of industry professionals—writers, directors, editors, executives, etc. And because today’s comedy filmmakers often work in a range of media, we talk to people with experience across features, television, and short-form and experimental comedy formats.”

What do filmmakers get out of your podcast? “Hopefully the broad range of backgrounds, styles and opinions featured on this show are a resource. It’s important to get experience on a lot of different types of sets when you’re first starting out. Do you like the hierarchy—and the catering—of a big-budget project? Do you like the scrappy DIY feel of an indie? This is a gig-based business, which means you can try out different things without having to commit to a long-term job. There’s no straight path to building a career in either comedy or film. So you can’t follow anyone else’s path directly—but you can use their advice to help blaze yours.”

What’s your favorite episode? “My personal favorite episode is my conversation with comedy writer-director Chioke Nassor. I’m a huge fan of his work, and I was so inspired by his approach to directing and collaboration. He’s also a lovely human. The other episode that sticks out to me as seminal for the concept of this show is a panel discussion with the creative team behind truTV’s Comedy Knockout. That show was awesome because the entire team was in one room, which meant we could talk through the nuts and bolts of developing and executing the show for television, and could get points of view from the creator, host, network and production company sides of the process. Yes, I just described a 60-minute discussion about TV development as ‘awesome.’” MM

This article appears in MovieMaker’s Spring 2017 issue. Top photograph by Krista Kennell.

1 Comment

  1. sharon

    April 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Very interesting to hear it from the horses mouth.

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