*Named "New and Noteworthy" across all podcasts, as well as TV & Film, Arts, and Education. Subscribe now.
Ready to create, pitch, and sell reality TV shows or documentary series and specials? From creating pitch tapes to meeting with TV networks, developing your ideas to discovering reality TV stars, this podcast features tips on working in unscripted film and television that you won't find anywhere else. Get top-industry secrets and even pitch your shows to Award-Winning Documentary Filmmakers and Unscripted Television Producers Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina.
Recently, the duo have helped new producers bring projects to television on MTV, BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL, A&E, and CNN/HLN. Your show could be next. Subscribe now.
ABOUT JOKE AND BIAGIO: With over a decade of experience in unscripted film and television, this married couple has made TV shows, specials, and pilots for A&E, The CW, Biography Channel, NBC, CBS, Discovery, CNN, HLN, E!, IFC, Logo, Oxygen, Style Network, VH1 and MTV.
Their feature length documentary DYING TO DO LETTERMAN played in theaters across America, was invited by the International Documentary Association to qualify for Academy Award® consideration, and named “New and Noteworthy” on iTunes alongside The Dark Knight Rises, Brave, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Subscribers to this podcast will learn the secrets of the Unscripted TV and Film worlds, and how to apply them toward career success. Subscribe today.
3 Ways Podcasting is Changing TV
It’s an exciting time to be a content creator – for all of us! Not long ago, documentaries were gloomily known as the “D” word…since no one wanted to buy them. Now they’re hot as ever thanks to streamers like Netflix and cable networks who’ve followed suit. On the flip side, podcasting was once thought of as a geeky pass time (hello, Biagio!) It’s now exploded in popularity. In some cases podcasts have even beaten TV at the game of winning pop culture buzz. Being TV producers and filmmakers, networks have begun asking us to find ways to marry the two worlds. Along the way we’ve learned a bunch, and today we’re sharing 3 ways we see podcasting changing how television is developed and made. We’ve got the answers you need, some landmines to look out for, and real-world advice for this new frontier where TV gets married to podcasting.
Knee Deep in TV and Podcasts
We’ve been doing this podcast, Producing Unscripted, for a long time now (since 2013!) It’s a small little thing we record on Biagio’s iPhone and put up when we can during production “breaks.” (Which have been less and less lately – thankfully we’ve been in production non-stop, but we miss you all!)
This is a really a personal endeavor. It’s something we do for fun and to meet new people. For the most part, it’s been a really positive experience. Plus a way for us to talk about what we do at our company Joke Productions.
But we never considered ourselves “pro podcasters.” Then, to our surprise, podcasting would suddenly become a much bigger part of our career.
Unmasking Podcasting & TV
Several years ago, we were making a series for CNN and HLN called Unmasking a Killer. They approached us about producing and hosting an Unmasking a Killer Podcast with the series. It was an eye-opening experience, and we learned some valuable lessons we discuss on today’s episode.
And if you want to hear the two of us doing material that’s far more serious, you can check out the Unmasking a Killer podcast.
That was our first glimpse into where it looks like the worlds of TV and podcasting are heading. Networks everywhere were exploring how they could participate in the podcasting space.
Unraveling Podcasting & TV
On our current series, Unraveled, podcasting has become even more crucial. We developed the series itself as a hybrid. Rather than making a TV show and producing a podcast “on the side” we’re filming a TV series about podcasters who are investigative journalists. The project captures them actively tracking down leads and interviewing people, all while making a podcast. Each two hour TV episode has an accompanying seven hours of podcast eps. That’s a lot of content!
To get an idea of how deep the it goes, check out the Unraveled Podcast.
For you editors and techie-types, Adobe wrote a story about Joke Productions and how we edited the podcast in conjunction with the TV series.
The Future of Podcasting and TV
It’s become clear that if you’re a st...
Troy DeVolld: Sheer Poetry – Life, Dreams, Work and Reality in Los Angeles
The lure of the entertainment industry, and of course, Los Angeles. It’s something many of us dream about. If you’re a kid from Cleveland like me (Biagio) or a girl from Belgium like Joke, it can seem larger than life, like a fantasy world that’s a million miles away. Many of us come. Some stay. Some move on. But one thing is for sure – L.A. has its own special kind of magic. Now, TV Producer extraordinaire and best-selling author Troy DeVolld has taken the time to really explore why so many of us belong nowhere else but the city of Angels – and he’s done it in the most surprising way! Get ready for a completely unique discussion about life, dreams, work, and the reality that is showbiz and Los Angeles. There are valuable tips and insights here for you that will help you not only chase success, but frame it in a healthy way. What Troy has to say honestly just might change your life for the better, so read on!
Troy DeVolld: Loving Life
If you’ve been around the unscripted television world at all, you’ve heard of Troy DeVolld, including on this podcast. He literally wrote the book on Reality TV (literally.)
Try not to stare too hard at the amazing IMDB page for Troy DeVolld. He’s not only a best-selling author. He’s also a prolific TV producer, and has helped guide some of the biggest unscripted TV shows in history (The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Basketball Wives, and The Surreal Life just to name a few.)
Last time Troy was on this podcast, we discussed the notes process (a must listen if you ever plan to work in this industry.)
But recently, Troy went through a life event that affected him deeply…
On today’s podcast, Troy talks about why 2020 changed his life (and it’s not because of Covid.) He went though something scary, but as he says, if you’re gonna live in Los Angeles, “you have to learn to turn lemons into steak.”
This turn of events inspired Troy to really think through his time living, working in, and loving the city of Angels. He took pearls of wisdom and great advice and wove them into two…POETRY books!
Now, we know some people are like, “Poetry? Uhhh…” But if you have an affinity for L.A., showbiz, or just chasing dreams in general, this is some of the most fun, rewarding, and insightful reading you’ll do…as evidenced by Joke’s copies of the books. She’s marked up a favorite poem or two:
The poems are short, inspirational, funny, and manage to say so much in so little space – kind of amazing, honestly. If you’d like to pick them up, they’re available on Amazon…and somewhere else very special…
100 Poems about Los Angeles
Another 100 Poems About Los Angeles
For the persnickety among you, those are NOT affiliate links. But we hope you’ll pick them up, they’re great! And Troy DeVolld is just awesome.
Now, as for the other very special place you can get these inspiring books – Troy says if you track him down on his Instagram account a href="https://www.instagram.com/realitytvtroy/" rel="noopener noreferrer" t...
2021: Staying Creative, Productive and Motivated
It’s 2021, and we all know it can be near-impossible to stay motivated in this most challenging of times. If you’re anything like us, things like quarantine, no social interaction, and global pandemics tend to slow down the old creative juices. It’s been hard for us, and probably for a lot of you, too. So today we’re breaking down how we’ve managed to stay at least semi-productive and almost sane. Plus, the four-and-a-half year journey to our new 10-hour anthology TV series…which, or course, we’re producing from home! Join us in taking on 2021 with gusto—or at least breathing deeply all the way through it.
Throw the Rules Out the Window
We’d be lying if we told you we had a roadmap for navigating the entertainment industry in today’s world.
Does’t matter if you’re a top studio executive or an aspiring filmmaker. There are question marks everywhere, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
In today’s episode, we discuss how we’ve stumbled our way through it so far. That includes producing our new 10-hour anthology TV series Unraveled with a host of people working from their homes…including us.
Hopefully we offer some thoughts you’ll find useful, or at least supportive as you continue on your creative endeavors while staying safe and healthy.
Unraveled: Our New TV Series
Unraveled is our latest TV series, which also includes seven 1-hour companion podcast episodes for each 2-hour TV installment. It’s hosted by investigative journalists Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensen.
Listeners will remember Alexis Linkletter as a long time collaborator with us over at Joke Productions. She’s been on this podcast several times, and we’re thrilled to give her the opportunity to appear in front of the camera on this new series.
We still can’t say a lot about the show, other than our first episode is about the Long Island Serial Killer, and a revealing deep dive into the investigation behind it.
However, the podcast is already live!
Listen to the Unraveled Podcast Now
The Unraveled podcast with Billy and Alexis is available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you stream your podcasts.
It would mean a lot if you could rate, review, and subscribe!
See the TV Show Soon
The first televised episode of Unraveled premieres on Discovery+, the new streaming platform, March 9. It will then play on Investigation Discovery later in the year. We hope you get to check it out. It’s the most in-depth, explosive series we’ve ever made.
Helpful and Related Links
As we all work to stay calm and creative, we think this episode about Showbiz and Your Mental Well-Being feels appropriate!
What a difference a year makes. Here was our Welcome to 2020 episode for filmmakers pre-pandemic. Ah, we were so excited for the new decade! A lot of the advice still stands, however.
Our previous look at Making TV in Quarantine – seems like forever ago! And of course, our kids commented on the whole situation.
We did a whole podcast episode on our new favorite TV show – and how it relates ...
‘Twas the Nightmare Before Editing!
It’s Halloween time and episode 128 is our annual “spooky” take on the unscripted film and television business. This episode’s question was inspired by a Producing Unscripted podcast listener named Justin, who wrote in with a question about editing. We’re just beginning post-production on our brand new TV series (more coming soon!) and facing a TERRIFYING amount of footage. So we decided to focus today’s episode on three spine-tingling things that can haunt you in post-production. Now…curl up under your blanket, embrace the horror, and listen…IF YOU DARE!
Post-Production: Full of Terrors…
Truth be told, there is so much about post production that can make your hair stand on end. Just some of what we talk about today:
* Fighting the “ghost in the machine”
* Protecting your work…especially when thing get scary!
* Avoiding horrifying mistakes – and fixing them when they inevitably happen
* Facing nightmarish deadlines while staying sane and doing good work
* The spooky truth about style – what it does for production, and what inspires it
* And…the two of us make way too many Halloween puns!
So be brave and hit that giant play button at the top of this page!
A Spooky Question from Justin…
Again, special thanks to Producing Unscripted podcast listener Justin, who wrote in with the question that reminded us just how scary it is to take hundreds – or thousands – of hours of footage, and start to put it together. Justin had this question:
Can you talk more about string-out edits? Specifically, I’m wondering where you put B-Roll…if it’s a linear edit… or do you have the B-Roll in parallel video tracks, in the approximate place they are slated to go? How does that work in your production pipeline at the string-out stage?
Great question, Justin! We answer that on today’s podcast, too!
A Quick Announcement…
We told you in our last episode that we’re working on a top-secret new TV series. We STILL can’t tell you what that is, but…thanks to this Deadline Hollywood article, we can tell you about ANOTHER project and that our next major Joke Productions release…is a podcast!
A true crime podcast named Unraveled for Investigation Discovery. The podcast is hosted by true crime investigators, producers, and podcasters Billy Jensen and Alexis Linkletter.
Alexis, you’ll remember, has worked with us for years and gave GREAT advice about casting true crime series when she was on this podcast.
From the Deadline Hollywood article:
Unraveled will launch in early 2021 and will be hosted by investigative journalists Billy Jensen (Murder Squad) and Alexis Linkletter (The First Degree). With a series of episodes dedicated to one captivating true crime topic, Unraveled will kick off with a seven-episode arc surrounding the Long Island Serial Killer. Since 2010, this unsolved mystery has become one of the most infamous cold cases in U.S. history, and the podcast takes a deep dive into new evidence and uncovers new revelations, rocking everything true crime aficionados thought they knew.
3 Things Ted Lasso Can Teach You About Making TV & Film
For episode 127 we’re mining great advice from an unlikely place…the new Apple TV series Ted Lasso. What on earth does a fish-out-of-water sports sitcom have to do with making unscripted film and television? Quite a lot, actually! We’ve been inspired by this show, and we’re using the great advice delivered by the unsinkable, everyman coach at its center to reveal truths about working in the entertainment industry. In a time when we can all use a pick me up, this show fits the bill. Get ready for some uplifting advice about showbiz you never thought you’d get from a fictional football coach. And remember…”be the goldfish.”
You’re probably wondering what the heck a sports sitcom about an American football coach in England has to do with the Producing Unscripted blog and podcast. Ted Lasso, which has been praised by numerous critics including the Hollywood Reporter, was a huge surprise for us. If you have Apple TV or are thinking about getting it, this show is pretty darn wonderful. And today, we’re using it to highlight important truths and poignant advice for working in the entertainment industry.
If you don’t know much about the show, Ted Lasso stars Jason Sudeikis as an uber-optimistic college football coach who is tapped to take over coaching of a flailing British football team – that would be known as a “soccer team” to many of you. It of course is completely different from coaching American football, and it’s something Ted Lasso has never done before. On top of that, for various reasons he doesn’t even know about, he’s set up to fail.
The surprise Apple hit actually started out as an NBC Sports comedy sketch over five years ago. Impressively. with the help of Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence, the show is deeply layered and far better than most people could’ve imagined. The journey of how Ted Lasso made that transition is pretty interesting. If you haven’t seen anything yet, here’s the trailer:
Ted Lesso and Documentary / Unscripted Television?
One of the great things about Ted Lasso is the wisdom the titular character drops upon the way. While watching, the two of us couldn’t help but notice how much of it applied to working in showbiz – so much so that it inspired today’s podcast episode. Just some of what we discuss today…
* How horseback riding and filmmaking have similar gotchas
* The reason feeling comfortable is WAY overrated
* Why you might want to “be the goldfish”
* Why curiosity is more important than you think – and evaporates at the worst possible time
* What tip might help you turn an average story into a great one
* How coaching a British football team is actually a lot like being a filmmaker or producer
* The new secret TV series we’ll be working on for the next year
* And…here’s to hoping our kids go back to school someday!
Let’s Make Some TV Together (Remotely, Anyway!)
Have a great concept and package for an unscripted TV or film project? Looking to team up with us at our company Joke Productions? Here’s everything you need to know:
What Do Producers Actually Do? Ask Our Kids!
For episode 126 we, like you, are stuck in quarantine. It’s turned into a long, hot, “can’t go anywhere” summer. We thought it was time for a little popsicle. One of the questions we get from friends and family members who aren’t in the business is “what does a producer do, anyway?” So we thought we’d ask some special people to give us their opinion…our kids!
Meet Our Kids
With school cancelled and kids working from home with “online” learning, we’ve been lucky enough to spend more time with our children than ever before. Since we, too, are working from home, our kids are getting a little glimpse of what we do all day long.
Today we ask our daughter and son, “what do Mommy and Daddy do?” Their answers surprised us, and the whole thing turned into a fun family project we could do while quarantined.
Warning: this is a short, fun and light podcast ep, just 7 minutes. You probably won’t learn how to succeed in Hollywood from this one!
Want Something More In-Depth?
If you’re craving some more “in-depth” industry podcast eps, we will be back sometime towards September (we’re waiting to see what happens with the kids’ schooling). In the mean time, if you missed it, here are a few industry-centered podcast eps we did recently that have more practical information:
* 2020 Perspective for Filmmakers, Producers, and Creatives
* Hiring in Hollywood: The Flipside
* Producing Personal Projects with Emmy Winner Steve Mazan
* Making TV In Quarantine
Let’s Make Some TV Together (Remotely, Anyway!)
As you can imagine, at the moment it’s taking a long time for us to review submissions due to the current Covid situation. But you can still learn how to pitch your packaged concepts to us, and use this time in quarantine to really hone your concepts. We hope at some point you get to work with our company Joke Productions. Here’s everything you need to know: