Back after a brief holiday hiatus, we kick off 2017 with screenwriter Jason Filardi, who's forged a lasting career in Hollywood with such bankable comedies as Bringing Down The House with Steve Martin & Queen Latifah, and 17 Again with Zac Efron. While we tip back three bottles of Chianti Classico, Jason tells us how a script called "Himbos" got him his first agent, walks us through the anatomy of his first Hollywood writing deal, and describes why weekly production writing is the best gig in town.
January 10, 2017
When David Levine began his Hollywood career at the age of 21, he was just looking for a job that let him read for a living. Now the co-president of drama at HBO, David oversees such shows as Game of Thrones and Westworld, and reads more than 2,000 scripts per year. Over a few bottles of Chilean Cabernet, he shares some choice GoT war stories and gets candid about how HBO is adapting to the changing entertainment landscape, the fluid art of working with top writers, and that time in college he made a 750-page binder of everyone who works in entertainment.
November 15, 2016
December 6, 2016
Ever wonder who makes those infamous movie product placement deals? Or who ensures those beloved animated characters end up everywhere from the toy aisle to your kids' Happy Meals? Look no further than George Leon, longtime consumer marketing head for Sony Pictures, who's handled campaigns for film franchises like Spider-Man, James Bond, and Ghostbusters, among others. As we drink Rhone varietals from California's newest AVA, Ballard Canyon, George walks us through how these deals get made, how Hollywood marketing has changed over the last 15 years, and why working with Hollywood directors can send some companies running for the hills.
As a member of a celebrated artistic family, Ahmet Zappa’s path to success as a best-selling children’s author, producer and screenwriter (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) was a surprisingly crooked line. With detours through child acting and MTV hosting gigs, and roadblocks that included dyslexia and a creatively crippling first marriage, he walks us through the many strange steps of his Hollywood journey and more than does his part in helping the guys plow through three stellar bottles of Zinfandel.
March 7, 2017
Veteran Hollywood executive and producer Gaylyn Fraiche has made movies in all corners of the entertainment universe: from producing mainstream theatrical releases like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and Sparkle, to overseeing successful cable films like The Swap (Disney Channel) and The Bridge (Hallmark Channel). In this episode, she joins us to drink Beaujolais from the town of Morgon while discussing how binge-watching is changing Hollywood, the importance of making movies studios no longer want to, and why "straight-to-cable" movies might be the wave of the future.
February 14, 2017
Gren Wells is one fierce lady -- whether rocking haute couture on the film-festival circuit, getting Hollywood's attention with a script about cancer (A Little Bit of Heaven), or writing and directing last year's The Road Within with Robert Sheehan, Dev Patel, Zoe Kravitz, and Kyra Sedgwick. True to form, Gren doesn't disappoint in this episode, coming in hot and never taking her foot off the gas as we cuss, guzzle 19-year-old Barolo, and enjoy nuggets about her psychotic non-stop writing binges and how getting uncomfortably aggressive at a party with On Golden Pond producer Bruce Gilbert helped kickstart her career.
January 24, 2017
April 11, 2017
Pam Pettler (Monster House, Corpse Bride) has done about everything a comedy writer could want to do in Hollywood. She’s worked with directors like Ridley Scott, Tim Burton and Robert Zemeckis, written with Steve Martin, and was the first writer hired on the iconic ‘80s sitcom, Charles in Charge. While spinning yarns both hilarious and heart-breaking, she joins this episode with a bottle of Vieux Telegraphe that’s been sitting under her house for the last three decades so we can compare how it’s weathered the ravages of time and temperature versus one of its properly cellared cousins.
A Los Angeles native, Jennifer Ross spent her formative years hanging out at Tower Records, sneaking into clubs to see her favorite bands, and obsessing over carving a path in music. Now the music supervisor for one of the biggest music-focused shows on television – Fox’s Empire – Jennifer finds herself as a legitimate taste-maker in an industry that’s never been more decentralized. On this episode, she joins us to discuss old-world and new-world pinot noir, how she got her start in music working in artist relations with stars like Nelly Furtado, and the thrill of turning a hidden gem like Desiigner’s Panda into an overnight hit simply by putting it on an episode of TV.
March 21, 2017
May 9, 2017
Raised on the sights and sounds of MTV, Wende Crowley knew from a young age she wanted to put music in film and TV shows – even though she wasn’t totally sure it was a job. Today, she has that job as a senior vice president in Sony’s music publishing division where she and her team oversee more than 4 million music copyrights, including the entire Lennon-McCartney catalogue. Over three bottles of California Syrah, she discusses how she broke into Hollywood’s notoriously tight-knit music community, how she helps music supervisors from film and TV find that perfect song for a key scene, and how streaming and the DIY aspect of music production is affecting the future of the industry. We also learn that Ben will be forever indebted to her for giving him her seat at Sony’s table during his favorite band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony.
April 25, 2017
Hollywood is leaner than ever – smaller staffs, tighter budgets, fewer studio opportunities. But is this environment perversely suited to today’s young Hollywood aspirants, who are digital natives and came of age fully expecting the scramble of the gig economy? In this episode we talk about the hopes and expectations of Millennials in Hollywood with one of their own: Stephanie Varela Rheingold. At 28, she’s ridden the chaos of the business to work throughout the entertainment universe – from agency jobs, production gigs, making music videos, and even in social media. While drinking glasses of Cava (champagne’s cheaper Spanish cousin) we talk with Stephanie about how Hollywood’s new generation is using the stagnation of the business as an opportunity to build diverse experience across its many facets – with fewer expectations and a greater thirst for variety than perhaps any generation before them.