We talk with American Ninja Warrior breakout star Jessie Graff. Jessie is a Hollywood stuntwoman, with an amazing body of work in film and television, including Supergirl, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., X-Men First Class, Iron Man 2, and many more. But while most stunt people are hidden faces behind the scenes, Jessie has become a very popular public persona through the television competition American Ninja Warrior. Through several seasons of amazing athletic feats, Jessie has broken barriers as the first female athlete to advance to the city finals, and the first to make it to Stage 2 of the national finals. She stands among the sport’s most elite competitors.
Michael Wylie is the production designer for the Marvel television series “Legion”, airing Wednesday evenings on FX. His production design resume also includes such fan favorites as Marvel’s Agent Carter, Masters of Sex, Grimm, Californication, Pushing Daisies, and The Tick. Legion follows a troubled young man, a diagnosed schizophrenic, who may in fact possess incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. The show stars Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, and Rachel Keller. It’s a remarkable series with a non-linear story, incredible design and music, and stellar performances. It’s by turns fascinating, disturbing, and intriguing, and it will keep you glued to the screen and constantly questioning reality.
Rachael Stott is a comic book artist, currently doing covers and interior art for the official Doctor Who series published by Titan Comics, which follows Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. And while she’s only been a professional comic artist for about two years, she’s already racked up an impressive resume. She drew the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover series for IDW. She did covers for the licensed Assassin’s Creed and Heroes comics, and covers for Archie. She provided covers for the Green Lantern / Star Trek crossover series, as well as covers and interiors for Ghostbusters International. And she won the 2015 British Comics Award for Best Newcomer.
Legendary comics editor Karen Berger talks with us about her new project at Image Comics, Surgeon X, with writer Sara Kenney and artist John Watkiss. We also talk about her work at Vertigo, the creator-driven, mature-readers publishing imprint she founded at DC Comics.
NaNoWriMo executive director Grant Faulkner joins us to discuss National Novel Writing Month. We discuss how the NaNoWriMo initiative promotes daily writing habits, community building, and leads to the galvanizing goal of a 50,000 word novel. Grant explains how social events and communication are at the core of the NaNo experience, how to survive writing obstacles – both situational and self-imposed – and how NaNo can jumpstart your efforts at a serious writing career.
We talk with Emmy-winning choreographer and comedienne Kathryn Burns. Kathryn has contributed dance numbers and movement direction to five seasons of Key & Peele, to the hit Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer, and to tons of productions with the Upright Citizens Brigade. She worked on Children’s Hospital and Another Period, and danced in a “Weird Al” Yankovic video. She also choreographed the Grammy-winning international megahit music video “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Kathryn is currently working on the critically acclaimed CW series, Crazy Ex Girlfriend. It’s a comedy punctuated by impressive musical sequences that heighten the absurdity but also showcase an immensely talented cast and crew. And, as a show flying below the radar of mass audiences, Crazy Ex Girlfriend manages to be one of the most hilariously raunchy, explicit, subversive shows on network television. There’s nothing else out there like it. The series has won a number of awards, including a Golden Globe and a couple of Emmys – one of which went to Kathryn, for her choreography routines.
We talk with writer Bonnie Burton, author of Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy, which arrives in stores and online retailers on October 18th. The book features a forward from Felicia Day, and contains projects ranging from merit badges to googly-eyed tampon puppets, and takes an enthusiastic, tongue-in-cheek approach to both crafting and defiance of the patriarchy. Bonnie has also written The Star Wars Craft Book, You Can Draw: Star Wars, and Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change. She is the former Senior Editor for LucasFilm’s StarWars.com, and is currently a freelancer writer for CNET. Bonnie is the co-host of Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, a YouTube series with Felicia Day and Veronica Belmont. We talk with Bonnie about the often not-very-lucrative business of being an author, and supporting writer-y pursuits with other work. She walks us through the pitch process for a crafting book, creating a viable product for existing audiences. And we discuss her long career writing for magazines and websites, from the early days of the web to the current, cluttered blogosphere.
We have a really fun chat with comedy writer Rob Kutner. He’s a monologue writer for TBS late night show CONAN, and also has five Primetime Emmy’s for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Recently, Rob released a new audio mini-series called Runaway Brains, available exclusively on subscription-based podcast service Howl.FM. It’s a madcap comedic romp starring “Weird Al” Yankovic, Mayim Bialik, Michael Ian Black, Dave Koechner, and Ken Jennings. Rob has also partnered with Farrago Comics to produce the original series, Shrinkage, illustrated by John Lucas. Farrago Comics is a new free-to-read, ad-supported comics app, available now on Apple and Android devices. We talk with Rob about his career writing for TV, and how he broke into the late-night comedy business. We also discuss branching out into different media, exploring new distribution models, and how he attracted big names to indie projects.
We have a great conversation with Guy Birtwhistle, writer, producer and star of the indie science fiction movie Alistair1918. The film debuted at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con International Film Festival.
In Alistair1918, a World War One soldier accidentally time travels to present day Los Angeles. Filthy and penniless, with no way to prove his identity, he struggles to find a way back to his wife in 1918. Guy talks in depth about the creation process for the film, and his method for dividing the production into small sections over time to diminish costs and work around the schedules of his team. We discuss his career as a working actor in LA. And we explore ways ambitious creatives can make their day jobs work for their endeavors, rather than against them.
We talk with Hugo-award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal about her new historical fantasy novel, “Ghost Talkers”, available now from TOR. We discuss how Ghost Talkers came together, and we also explore the other facets of her career, including her award-winning work as a puppeteer, and her side-gig as a voice over artist reading novels and short stories for other writers.