Episode 39 - Brian Koppelman

Brian Koppelman is a co-creator, executive producer and showrunner of Showtime's hit drama series Billions. Over the past two decades, Koppelman and his writing/producing/directing partner, David Levien, have created an influential and diverse body of work in both film and television.

Some of their most noteworthy credits include Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen, Solitary Man, The Illusionist, Runaway Jury, Tilt, ESPN's 30 for 30 (This Is What They Want), I Smile Back, The Girlfriend Experience and Joe Berlinger's Tony Robbins documentary, I Am Not Your Guru. Koppelman is the host and creator of the hit Slate podcast The Moment with Brian Koppelman.

In this episode we discuss the block he faced in his 20s and how he overcame it at 30 to write Rounders. From there we dive into a variety of topics including having a collaborator, how to stay focused on the work and what it means to stay curious.

Episode 38 - Adam Newport-Berra

Adam Newport-Berra is a director of photography with a reel that includes features, commercials and music videos. In the music realm he has worked with Chance the Rapper, Francis and The Lights, Kanye West and many more. His most recent feature film, Barry, is the story of a young Barack Obama which was acquired for release by Netflix. Adam’s commercial work delves into true storytelling with compelling and unique ads that can feel more like short films.

In the episode we discuss Adam’s approach to collaboration and how he values people’s attitudes over any other attribute. We also dive into some technical aspects of his pieces learning about the challenges of a few specific projects.

Episode 37 - Sean Porter

Sean Porter is a director of photography with a list of feature films that include Rough Night (currently in theaters) starring Scarlett Johansson, 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening and Green Room starring Patrick Stewart. Originally an indie filmmaker from Seattle, Sean’s pursuit of a career as a cinematographer led him to New York City where he immersed himself in the indie film scene. After a few festival darlings Sean’s career has taken off with Rough Night being his first major film studio production.

In the episode we discuss Sean’s journey from indie DP shooting anything and everything to rising up the ranks by making careful decisions about which films to take on in an effort to build proper momentum. It’s an energetic hour filled with a lot of insight on both the craft and the strategy to a long term narrative career.

Episode 36 - Walter Partos

Walter Partos is the owner of Partos Company which represents cinematographers, costume designers, production designers, producers and editors. Their artists have won virtually every award in the entertainment industry including Oscars, Spirits Awards, Cannes Gold Lions, Emmys, BAFTAs and MTV Music Video Awards.

Walter started his career as a literary agent and his clients included Quentin Tarantino, Mardik Martin (Raging Bull, Mean Streets), Chris DeVore (Elephant Man), Rolf De Heir (Bad Boy Bubby).

After literary representation, the next step in his career was representing visual artists. One of the first visual artists he represented was cinematographer Jordan Croenenweth who taught him the importance of listening. Now the company represents a large number of cinematographers including a former podcast guest Oren Soffer.

This episode is unique in that instead of a more chronological discussion of Walter's career we dive deep into the intricacies of being an agent with the hour long discussion taking on a more Q&A form about the craft with Walter extolling advice about a number of topics including: how to get an agent, what an agent can do for you, common misconceptions about agents, how to be a professional artist…

We recorded this conversation over the course of a few discussions due to technical reasons. With that in mind, the conversation touches upon the same topics in a few different ways but it all felt helpful so the various conversations have been combined into one episode.

Episode 35 - Joel Edwards

Joel Edwards is a filmmaker that has spent all of his adult life in the industry. Originally from Pasadena, CA Joel and his 4 brothers had moved 7 times, lived and traveled across the US as children. By the time he was in his early twenties he had started a film production business with his brother Jesse. This has grown and turned into a company that is now known as Evolve. For the past 7 years they've owned & operated the boutique content studio which is a strategic creative partner for many networks, production companies & agencies.

Their work is hand crafted, as the duo prefer to play all projects very close to the chest and are deeply immersed in every facet of creative, production & post, design, VFX, sound & score.  Joel and Jesse work as a traditional directing team in larger scale sets, but also work individually as directors; or director/DP's in smaller crew roles when called upon in docu-style cinematography.

They have crafted content for Disney, National Geographic, ESPN, FOX, NBC Universal, Discovery, History, ABC, SyFy, Animal Planet, Samsung, Gatorade, Nike and many other networks & brands. Recognized with numerous industry awards. Just in the past 5 years alone, they have been nominated for 34 National Emmy Awards, winning 5 of them in Best Promo Campaign, Outstanding Cinematography, Best Sports Show & Journalism categories.

Episode 34 - Matty Brown

Matty Brown is a film director that specializes in his own highly unique style of visual storytelling. Starting from modest beginnings growing up poor, and at times homeless, Matty has become one of the most successful filmmakers on Vimeo garnering 16 staff picks. 

Through his incredible success online he has been thrust into the commercial world directing spots for large corporations such as Chevron and Lincoln. He is currently repped by Workhouse Creative.

In addition to his art and commercial pieces, Matty is stepping into the world of narrative with his first short film Thump. Still in post production, the trailer is online and a feature script is currently in development.

Episode 33 - Adam J. Kurtz

Adam J. Kurtz is a designer, artist and the author of 1 Page at a Time and Pick Me Up, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. In addition to his “very personal” personal work, he’s collaborated with brands and cultural institutions like Urban Outfitters, the Brooklyn Public Library, Fishs Eddy and Strand Bookstore.

His design and illustration embraces the world with optimism… and a dark sense of humor. He’s truly interested in the ephemera of daily life and creating honest, accessible work.

Adam has previously held creative positions at Barton F. Graf, BuzzFeed, Houpla and others.

Episode 32 - Ethan Goldman

Ethan Goldman is a media consultant working in creative development with twenty years of experience working in television, film and digital. Currently he is consulting for Big Fish Entertainment, Anchor and Viacom.

Prior to his move into freelance consulting Ethan served as Head of Development at Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets. Before that he was Senior Vice President of Ish Entertainment, where he developed projects for cable tv. Ethan landed that job after working as a creative consultant for various cable networks developing show ideas and original programming for AMC, truTV, and Fuse. His start in the business began at VH1, working for Lauren Zalaznick, contributing to projects like 100 Greatest, Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards, Pop Up Video and Vh1 Movies of the Week.

In this episode we discuss the journey he has been on and dive into how a creative mind like his ends up creating on the development side of the business.

Episode 31 - Jay Wadley

Jay Wadley is a musician and film composer with credits that include the hit series The OA on Netflix and feature films such as Indignation.

His score for James Schamus' Indignation was listed in IndieWire's "10 Best Scores of 2016". Indignation premiered with critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it was acquired by Lionsgate.  Recent projects include The OA (Netflix) and Anu Valia's Lucia, Before & After, winner of the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize: U.S. Short Fiction.  Other TV credits include Lie to Me (FOX), Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story (VH1), The Nine Lives of Chloe King (ABC Family) and orchestrations for Doctor Who (BBC).

A graduate of the Yale School of Music (MM, AD), Jay has won two Charles Ives awards from the Academy of Arts and Letters as well as an ASCAP/SCI Student Composer Award.  He's been commissioned by Carnegie Hall's Ensemble ACJW, the Yale and Williams College among others.

His films have been featured at Sundance, Berlin, BFI London, Rotterdam, Tribeca and Montreal film festivals.  His arrangements and orchestrations for Rufus Wainwright, Mark Ronson and Calexico have been performed by The San Francisco Symphony, New York City Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Episode 30 - James Burns

James Burns.jpg

James Burns is a film director with a career that includes multiple short films in Tribeca film festival and has been working with Vice directing content for over a year. James has a unique story having been in and out of the prison system since he was 6 years old. He has spent time in solitary confinement which has shaped his perspective and current drive to bring to light issues within the prison system. After turning his situation around, his life’s story was adapted into a Hollywood movie titled “Jamesy Boy” starring Mary-Louise Parker, Ving Rhames and James Woods. Following the film James worked to create a career in film as a writer and director.


Now with years of success under his belt, James focuses a lot of his storytelling on the underprivileged and marginalized trying to give a voice to the voiceless. Using his unique vantage-point, James gains access to subcultures shining a light on society’s problems in an attempt to start conversations on ways to improve these issues.

Episode 29 - Ricky Staub

Ricky Staub is a film and commercial director as well as the founder of the production company Neighborhood Film Co. His most recent work, The Cage, was the first in a new series of works from Film Supply called Film Supply Originals. The project served as Ricky’s first narrative film that he wrote, directed and edited. In the episode we discuss this project at length going into the details behind how it came to fruition and the challenges faced from ideation to completion.

Neighborhood Film Co. is unique in that it works with the formerly incarcerated through a paid apprenticeship program that teaches the ins and outs of the film business and offers real responsibilities and opportunities to those involved. With three apprentices per year in an eight month program, Ricky’s company helps create a new foundation for the participants.

Episode 28 - Shal Ngo

Shal Ngo is a director and writer splitting his time between narrative and commercial work. He is on the directing roster at Acres having been there from its inception as the company’s first director. One of Shal’s notable projects for Acres was his work on the Bill DeBlasio for Mayor campaign. The campaign has been credited for a significant boost in DeBlasio’s polling and was viewed as a beneficial factor in his election win. Narratively Shal has been working on an ongoing short film series called Tangents.

This podcast episode takes on a special approach as we recorded it on-location in Vietnam where Shal and I were filming his latest sci-fi short film. Having just wrapped production the day prior, we sat down to discuss the project, our collaboration between director and cinematographer as well as the usual podcast journey of chronology and discussion about moments throughout Shal’s life.

Episode 27 - Oren Soffer

Oren Soffer is a cinematographer primarily working on narrative in addition to commercials and documentaries. After growing up in Israel, Oren studied at NYU’s film school where he spent time working under Reed Morano ASC. Upon graduating it has been a constant stream of narrative and commercial work building his chops and aesthetic. Some commercial clients include Discovery Channel, Bloomberg News, Time Inc, Refinery 29, Target, MTV, Nickelodeon, L’Oreal and Skype.

tIn the podcast we take a deep dive into the craft of cinematography. Not just the technical aspects but the mental ones as well both in the micro view of being on set and the macro view of how to shape a career as a director of photography.

Episode 26 - Michael Tringe

Michael Tringe is a filmmaker, business owner and all around industry thinker who has spent the majority of his career democratizing film. Working in both the creative and business aspects, Mike has seen the power of the internet as a transformative tool for creators. A tool that allows for education, monetization and of course distribution. An interesting career with stints at CAA, Vuguru and Blip among others, he eventually co-founded his own company called CreatorUp! which is a self described digital storytelling academy.

In the podcast we discuss Mike’s path from teaching film to students in Morocco to his current role teaching creators globally through his CreatorUp! platform. Along the way we discuss the influence of the internet on Hollywood, the rise of Youtube and the Youtube star, the pitfalls of the early years of internet filmmaking and the steps the industry has taken in trying to create an ecosystem that works for the creator and platforms alike.

Episode 25 - Todd Wiseman Jr.

Todd Wiseman Jr. is a producer, director and the co-owner of NYC based production company Hayden 5. Having skill sets in both the creative and business aspects of the industry, Todd is that rare character who is equally comfortable and happy creating his own work or helping facilitate others. Having directed or produced works with screenings at Tribeca Film Festival and with big names such as Oscar Isaac, Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen, Todd is a true industry professional maximizing the advantages of Hayden 5’s indie-like approach to the craft.

In the podcast we discuss how his time at NYU Film School helped set him on his path to owning a production company from an early age and how he navigated the early years. We also delve into how he balances his producing/directing mindsets and goals while managing big projects and talent.

Episode 24 - Molly Kaplan

Molly Kaplan is the Head of Multimedia at ACLU National. The job is unique within the ACLU in that while the majority of its employees are lawyers, Molly is one part artist, one part campaign specialist. Her job is to help captivate the American public bringing to their attention the issues the ACLU is undertaking on their behalf. Her more formal film roles would include executive producer, creative director, director, producer, editor… every project requires a different hat.

I’ve known Molly for a few years now having first worked on a project with Joey L. for the ACLU. It was not until our current collaboration, the Know Your Rights Campaign, that our working relationship manifested into something much greater. To cut straight to the point, working with Molly is nothing short of fantastic. A true collaborative partner, the power of her inclusive and open minded nature is evident in the final products she creates working alongside talented filmmakers.

In the podcast we discuss the somewhat meandering path Molly took to get to her current role. Having started in the food industry traveling around the world studying olives, her way in life has never been concrete or straight forward. I believe it’s important to note and discuss this fact for everyone out there who thinks success comes from clear and definite goals. We also discuss our working relationship and what makes for optimal client/vendor collaboration. Lastly, given the outcome of the election, we discuss the importance of the ACLU specifically examining the role film pieces play in legal cases that are under the national spotlight.

Episode 23 - Patrick Lawler

Patrick Lawler is a director, cinematographer, editor, motion graphics artist… the list is long. It’s honestly best to describe him as an artist who uses film as his medium. Having a background in music videos, the genre’s flexible rules allow him to try out new ideas and interesting tricks without worrying about the confines of more traditional storytelling. Having now started a production company called Deca, Patrick is looking to expand into narrative film work after spending the last decade honing in on his unique visual aesthetic.

Patrick was one of the first big users on Vimeo back in the platform’s infancy. No coincidence that social media is how we first met and it’s fascinating to see how being a part of that first internet wave influenced and helped shape our careers. We discuss this interesting time in our lives and the industry in the episode along with Patrick’s approach to internet relevancy and how he likes to engage his captive audience. 

Patrick has worked with bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Run The Jewels, Big Sean, Riff Raff, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Raekwon and DJ Shadow among others. He's worked on commercials for LRG x Star Wars, Audi, Honda, Cadillac and Intel among others and has been teaching courses and giving lectures for the RED camera company for three years.

Episode 22 - Ezra Cimino-Hurt

Ezra Cimino-Hurt is an artist, craftsman and small business owner. He is the proud mastermind behind Case of Bass, a shop that turns vintage luggage into beautiful boomboxes. Ezra grew up a capable carpenter without a real understanding of what he wanted to do in life. He spent time in the film industry as well as construction before stumbling into what would eventually become a dream job he made for himself.

I first met Ezra in 2012 at the Portland Design Week screening of my documentary Graffiti Fine Art. Case of Bass was only a year old at that point but the idea and execution felt like an obvious hit. It’s been a long road since then and this episode delves into the trials and tribulations any creative faces when committing to their ideas. Straight up, Ezra is an inspiring guy. His positive attitude and zest for life make him a pleasure to be around, the good vibes are infectious and they are clearly the foundation of his company and the cases. 

This episode is slightly different in that we are not speaking directly with a filmmaker but I’m encouraged by the conversation we were able to have and draw parallels from one type of freelance life to another. We recently collaborated on a short film about Ezra and Case of Bass called Updating Philosophies - There Is No Away, please check that out beforehand to get an even better sense of the products and Ezra’s life philosophy.

Episode 21 - Tiffany Chang

Tiffany Chang is a film and commercial producer currently living in Vietnam. Originally a commercial editor at a boutique post production house she felt the need to get out of the edit bay and have a more varied working environment. Transitioning into freelance producing she found consistency working with production company Acres (previous guest Matt McLaughlin co-owns Acres). From there the desire to branch out even further has resulted in her moving abroad where she nows lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.


I’ve known Tiffany for 3 years originally through Acres and it’s creatives. Her wit and sharp commentary have always been a joy to witness. Now that she lives abroad it has been great getting to hear her stories and compare/contrast with the experience I had living in Brazil for two years. Our similar experiences were the reason why I wanted to sit down for an episode as I know many freelancers who have contemplated working and living abroad.

Episode 20 - Joe Simon

Joe Simon is a cinematographer and director based out of Austin, Texas. Originally a sponsored BMX rider, Joe took his need to film himself biking and turned it into a full blown career. From there he dominated the wedding film industry filming celebrity weddings such as Tony Romo’s as well as global destination weddings for high end clients. After reaching the top of the wedding world Joe transitioned into documentary and narrative filmwork. He started a production company called The Delivery Men and freelances as well, most notably for the CNN show The Wonder List with Bill Weir.

I’ve known Joe for 6 years now having first met at the original Masters in Motion, hosted in his home of Austin, Texas. He has always been a laid back guy who never took himself too seriously. He’s simply a hard working talented dude who puts in the time to execute at a very high level. A real pleasure to be around, it is easy to see how people gravitate towards him for freelance work.

In the episode we discuss his path from BMX to weddings to proper filmmaking. Within that journey we chat about the value of having a collaborative partner, his new passion project “Everything has a Feeling,” and the ins and outs of working on The Wonder List.