By Ian Palmer
In our Ear Buds column, we interview our friends in the podcast industry to learn about their production processes, marketing strategies, and other tongue-in-cheek tidbits.
After more than a decade of working in the film and TV industry as location coordinator, Kalena Boller launched The Credits as a way to introduce the world to the people who work behind the scenes in Georgia’s multibillion-dollar film industry, from stunt coordinators to stand-in actors.
Kalena gives us a unique perspective on what it’s like to start a podcast independently and the move it onto a network – which is what she did with Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Describe The Credits in one sentence.
The Credits is a show that gives working film and television crew members a chance to tell their stories and explain the various jobs that they do.
Walk us through how the podcast went from just an idea to the show it is now.
I’ve been in the film industry for about 14 years now and I love talking with crew members about their jobs. At first I thought this could be a documentary series, then I found it would be a bit more convenient for me to do it as a podcast. I literally started it in my living room, just putting a microphone in someone’s face and having them tell their story. I had already been coming on Georgia Public Broadcasting occasionally to do a couple segments, and they were asking me and if I had any personal projects. I told them I had this idea for a show called The Credits, and one of the producers there said they could help produce it. So we worked independently for a year, produced 18 episodes, and then GPB acquired it.
What has been an unexpected challenge of producing and hosting an interview-based podcast?
One unexpected challenge has been the actual subjects I’m interviewing. I wanted to showcase all of the people that work behind the scenes, in these jobs that most people haven’t heard of. Well, I found that most of them are behind the scenes for a reason – they don’t like the spotlight! Some people will talk to me all day long and as soon as a microphone comes out they freeze. Doing a pre-interview has become really necessary to get them comfortable with the microphone and the interview process.
What kind of research and prep do you do before recording a new episode of the podcast?
First, I talk to my guests either in person or on the phone without any equipment present just to see how they communicate. Do they have a lot of pauses? Do they use broken language? Are they clear and concise? Also, since I work in the industry, I go through my call sheets and crew lists when I’m looking for people to talk to. I use IMDB a lot to research the different productions they work on, so I know how to introduce them.
How do you approach marketing your show and connecting to your audience?
With my contract, I have the weight of GPB’s marketing team at my disposal. However, I’m in charge of the social media aspect of the show. My producers rely on me to put out posts announcing we’ve just posted a new show or to check out an article that’s covering the show.
What’s something that you’ve discovered about Georgia’s film and television production industry that’s come as a surprise?
What’s surprised me is how little I really know about my colleagues’ jobs. You see people working on set and you have a general idea of what they do, but because you don’t work in that department you don’t know the ins and outs. So being able to really dive deep into the world of sound or make-up or visual effects has been eye-opening. One of my favorite episodes was learning about the world of stand-in actors, and how their job is very much a science, more so than an art. Stand-in actors have a very precise and difficult job that I had no idea about. It was pretty eye-opening for me.
What are your top interviewing tips for other podcasters?
Be patient with whoever you are talking to. Have an idea of your questions beforehand. Listen to your guest’s entire answers. Never ask leading questions, ask questions that give them a chance to really talk. Eye contact is very important if you’re interviewing in-person. Keep your verbal reactions – like “mhmm” and “yeah” – to a minimum.
If you could interview any figure from the film and television industry, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I have always enjoyed the work of Tim Burton. I would pick his brain about how he comes up with his wacky characters, how his vision came to be, and what gave him the audacity to be his authentic self all of the time.