I listen to a lot of podcasts, including several about the Canadian TV and film industry. Writers Talking TV, from the Writers Guild of Canada, is excellent, as is Sabrina Furminger’s YVR Screen Scene. If you haven’t already, listen to past episodes of the TV, Eh podcast by clicking on it in the top banner.
The latest podcast I’ve added to my subscribed list is Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays. Hosted by Lara Jean Chorostecki (X Company) and Jennifer Pogue (Endlings), the podcast—now in its second season—sets itself apart from the podcast genre in a couple of ways.
First, it spotlights female voices from all sides of the camera. Secondly, each upload features a personal essay composed and read aloud by the interview subject, followed by a brief interview that delves deeper into their words and career journey. The result is can be a personal experience, a work of fiction or even a stream of consciousness.
We spoke to Lara Jean Chorostecki and Jen Pogue about the podcast, how it came about and what they hope to achieve with each episode.
Jen, can you give me the background on how the Women on Screen Out Loud podcast began? Is it part of a Women on Screen initiative?
Jen Pogue: Lara Jean and I were both associate producers for Women on Screen and have helped out with some of their programs that they’ve run and presentations they have each year. It was LJ’s idea to come up with this notion for a podcast, and she basically said, ‘Hey. You produce things and make things happen sometimes. I have this idea. I want to make it happen. Let’s have a coffee.’ And we had a coffee, and I was like, ‘Yeah, it sounds great. Let’s figure out how to make a podcast.’ So that’s kind of how it came to be.
LJ, was it something you’d been thinking about for a while?
Lara Jean Chorostecki: As Jen mentioned, we were associate producers with Women on Screen with Lauren MacKinlay, Farah Merani and Ciara Murphy. I was doing the casting for their showcase with the web incubator that they do.
I’d been working with them for a while, and I was trying to figure out a way, in my limited spare time, that I could have another passion project to kind of get into. I was listening to a lot to NPR kind of podcasts, and this kind of a truncated format came to mind for me, where something that you could—back when you had to travel to work—that you could listen to on your way to work, or you’re doing half an hour on the treadmill, or going for your jog in the park. I really liked the long-form interview style, but I was really attracted to these short things that I would listen to while I was doing exercise or making breakfast or whatever it was.
Then I was thinking about how Women on Screen could get involved with this kind of very contained podcast idea. So, instead of an interview where you just talk to people forever, it’s got a focus. That’s the idea of the essay, which I’ve heard in a couple of other podcasts, where someone talks about what they do in their own words, and then you focus in on what they say. So that was the idea, that instead of this long interview, we would interview people in the Canadian landscape, in front and behind the camera, female-identifying, and talk about what they want to talk about. Instead of what I or Jen as the interviewer wants to talk about, it’s like, ‘OK, what have you written about? I’m so curious.’ So it’s a platform for people to tell their own stories, essentially.
I was listening to Kanietiio Horn’s podcast, and thought, ‘This is unlike anything that I’ve heard before,’ and followed that up with Stephanie Morgenstern’s, which had a totally different tone.
JP: We do our best to approach people of all different vocations of the camera. We really want to represent all that. A lot of them aren’t necessarily given this opportunity to speak or write too often. It’s been great.
How important was it to get a mix of people from all different parts of the industry?
LJC: Really important to us. I know the next episode that’s coming up is Alicia Turner, who’s a stunt coordinator. When we started, I think stunt coordinator was one of the first ones that we put on there that we were like, ‘Really want that.’ Giving a platform to women in the industry who challenge…
JP: Challenge, motivate and inspire…
LJC: …On all sides of the camera. That’s not our mandate, that’s actually the Women on Screen mandate, so we just took it and ran with it. Of course, there’s going to be writers and directors, and actors, because quite frankly, they’re the ones who love to write anyway. But these jobs that we don’t really know much about, like editors… we kind of understand what they do, but we don’t. Stunt coordinators. We have Lindsay Somers on this year, who’s an intimacy coordinator, which is a brand new job she kind of is spearheading it and inventing it as she goes along.
It was really important for Women on Screen, and for what Jen and I were passionate about, that the people who listen are able to be inspired in a way that shows them you don’t just have to be in front of the camera, or you don’t just have to be a director, to fulfill your passion of making films and making TV.
Download Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays from your favourite podcast catcher.
Images courtesy of Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays.