126 episodes

*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.

Producing Unscripted: Make Reality TV Shows and Documentary Series with Joke and Biagio Joke and Biagio | Reality TV Producers, Award Winning Filmmakers, Documentarians

    • TV & Film
    • 5.0, 126 Ratings

*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.

    What Do Producers Actually Do? Ask Our Kids!

    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:

    • 6 min
    Making TV In Quarantine

    Making TV In Quarantine

    First of all, we hope you’re doing okay – we know it’s a very strange, sometimes scary and confusing time. It has certainly scared us – especially because we were smack-dab in the middle of finishing a TV series when the shut down happened. We had to figure out how we and a smattering of team members could finish the show…from home. Not as easy as it sounds. Today we take you through the process of making cable TV from your spare bedroom, share how the day to day of the entertainment business is changing, and share what we’ve learned from TV network executives during this time. And, as you know…we always try to look on the bright side of life – even when it’s hard. So we came up with three good things that have come out of this whole mess, and how those might affect you, too. From our quarantine to yours, we hope you enjoy today’s ep. Even if you don’t get to listen, we wish you well and hope you stay safe out there.









    Going Remote in an Emergency Situation…

    Nobody in any business thinks they’ll be dealing with a world-wide pandemic. That doesn’t factor into budgets and day-to-day plans. We were in the middle of delivering season 2 of Deadly Recall (now airing on Investigation Discovery Wednesdays at 10pm) when California’s “Safer at Home” policy hit. While entertainment companies were deemed “essential businesses” we didn’t feel right staying open and asking our team to come in. So we had to figure out how to take hundreds of hours of footage, and transform our entire post process, to be based around working from home. It’s been an experience.



    In Today’s Episode:

    We share it all. Just some of what we cover:



    * What we’ve learned from TV networks during this time

    * How we moved our production from centralized office to the hodge-podge of working from home

    * What’s “quality control” and how is it impacted when you’re working remotely

    * The three things we’re looking at as positives

    * And, Biagio’s futile attempts to use Duolingo to sound French!



    Press that giant “play” button on the top of this page and listen now!

    Helpful and Related Links

    Find us on Instagram and Twitter

    This post on Hands-On Producing. This philosophy saved our bacon this time, and it can save yours, too!

    All about Showbiz and your mental-well being – we hope it helps some of you right now.

    Let’s Make Some TV Together

    Well, when the world opens back up, 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 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:

    • 19 min
    Producing Personal Projects with Emmy Winner Steve Mazan

    Producing Personal Projects with Emmy Winner Steve Mazan

    The world’s a little crazy at the moment – so we thought this would be a good time to bring you a truly inspirational tale. Emmy winner Steve Mazan, subject of our theatrically released feature documentary Dying to do Letterman, is here today to make you laugh, appreciate life, and believe in the impossible. See, doctors told Steve he might only have five years to live. A stand-up comedian, Steve decided to dedicate whatever was left of his life to living his dream: performing on David Letterman’s show. (Spoiler alert: it’s now fifteen years since his diagnosis, he’s surviving the heck out of cancer, and doctors feel he’s beat it completely.)

    We documented Steve’s incredible journey over many years. What was it like for Steve to open up to cameras at his most vulnerable? Why did he want to? And how did we, as friends, handle the pressure of making the film? What are the real costs and rewards of producing personal projects in Hollywood? After a theatrical release and being named New and Noteworthy on iTunes, how much money did we all make? What should you think about if you’re going to make your own personal project? Today we discuss all that and more. Buckle in and get ready to laugh a lot, cry a little, and celebrate the human spirit.









    If You Haven’t Seen Dying to do Letterman…

    We give away a lot in today’s episode, but not so much that all the surprises of Dying to do Letterman are revealed. That said, if you’d like to see the film first (or after listening) it’s available on Amazon as well as iTunes. Here’s the trailer:





    Steve Mazan: Incredible Person, Unbelievable Journey

    As we discuss today, we first met Steve Mazan when we were just starting out – still working out of a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood, and cutting actors’ demo reels for a living. Steve was a stand-up comic who needed a new reel, and he hired us to do it. After that, we became friends.

    A few years later, he received the astounding news: doctors told Steve he had twelve inoperable tumors around his liver, and that he might only have five years to live, or best case scenario, ten years.

    That was fifteen years ago.

    A Ticking Clock?

    At the time, Steve had no idea he would be a “miracle” case. He felt precious moments were ticking away. There was one dream he’d chased his whole life: performing stand-up comedy on The Late Show with David Letterman. So the amazing Steve dedicated whatever was left of his life to chasing his dream.

    And he asked us to make a documentary about it.



    Producing Personal Projects: Costs and Rewards

    We’re not gonna lie: taking on this project scared the heck out of us. How could we make a documentary about our sick friend and still keep it real and honest, without our feelings affecting the film? Was it even possible? And was it necessary? Plus, we were good friends with Steve. If there’s one thing many of us have learned the hard way, it can be a very bad idea to team up with friends on any kind of business endeavor. Especially one as intense and taxing as making a documentary.

    Defining Success When Producing Personal Projects

    When you take on personal project, you simply can’t do it for the money. As you’ll hear in today’s episode, Dying to Do Letterman did well:



    * Had a very successful Kickstarter campaign cover...

    • 1 hr
    Hiring in Hollywood: The Flipside

    Hiring in Hollywood: The Flipside

    Want to work in Hollywood? Want to make something in Hollywood? Then one way or the other, you’ll be dealing with the process of hiring in Hollywood. Today we share our hiring philosophy, helpful anecdotes, and straight talk on the challenges of interviewing and hiring. We even share what we ourselves need to do better. Applying for jobs in the entertainment industry? Interviewing potential candidates for your next TV or film project? Here’s everything you need to know about hiring, firing, recruiting, interviewing, and more. Listen now and find your perfect job match – no matter which side of the table you’re on!





    Finding the Right Fit

    Finding the right person for the job. This is the goal, the most important thing…and the hardest part of hiring in Hollywood. There are a lot of talented  people who, for whatever reason, might not be the best fit for your production. How do you get to a place where you can make smart decisions?

    Hiring in Hollywood? Be Clear

    First of all, it begins with communication. What, exactly, does the job entail? It sounds simple, but it’s not. Credits almost never translate perfectly from one gig to the next. 

    For instance, at some companies Story Producers run interviews, while at others they spend their time stringing out stories in an edit bay. Some do both. What does your project need? Be clear in the job posting, be clear in the interview, and be clear when you actually want to hire someone. Do they truly understand the job they’re about to take on?

    Applying for the Gig?

    If you’re the one applying for a gig, make sure your resume details your exact responsibilities. We often receive resumes that read more like credit lists. As you now know,  seeing someone’s title alone isn’t helpful when hiring in Hollywood.

    How Big Is Your Production? 

    What was the size of the company the person previously worked at, and how does that match up with your workplace? For instance, there are large production companies with hundreds of employees. They have multiple levels of bureaucracy. It can provide a level of “cover” and anonymity that doesn’t exist on smaller productions. 

    Don’t get us wrong…there are plenty of good people working at big production companies. However, there are also some who are used to letting others carry a lot of the weight, and prefer “blending” in to the background. On a smaller production or at a smaller company there is no place to hide. These people can become overwhelmed fast.

    Some people thrive on the responsibility that comes with a more hands-on position. Others are perfectly happy staying out of the spotlight. They prefer a job with multiple levels of management and less intense scrutiny. Make sure whoever you hire is ready for the work environment they’re entering into. Be honest about how much will be on their shoulders. Do they still want the job?

    References – Necessary, but Usually Useless

    Get references, but don’t rely on them. References are necessary, but they’re notoriously unreliable, when hiring in Hollywood. And one, solitary reference can be as useless as credit lists themselves. You have to do your level best to get more than one reference on anyone you consider hiring. The more the better.

    Why is this so important? A person might want to give a friend a good reference (even if they’re not really sure the person is right for the gig). Or, someone may have a personal issue with the applicant in question and provide an unfair review. So you have to get an aggregate of opinions and interpret them as best you can. 

    Don’t Discard Someone with One Poor Reference

    • 25 min
    2020 Perspective for Filmmakers, Producers, and Creatives

    2020 Perspective for Filmmakers, Producers, and Creatives

    Holy cow, it’s 2020! As we enter our seventh year (!) of the Producing Unscripted podcast, we’re so grateful to all of you who’ve supported us on this journey. With a New Year comes new podcast episodes, beginning with today’s. We’re discussing the big picture of working in the entertainment industry in 2020. Our goal is to help you get to a place where you can balance your life with your work…and figure out how to stay happy all the while. (No, not easy!) We also share our own struggles, explain why we’re taking a new look at what it means to work in this business, offer what we think is your most important key to happiness in this industry, and share the theme that will shape the podcasts we bring you this year. 















































    Happy Belated New Year!







    As long time listeners have probably realized, this is our first podcast ep since October 2019. We’ve missed you! We’re happy to tell you that our absence is due to our current TV production (can’t say what, but it will air later this year.) So making TV has pretty much swallowed us whole these past few months. Now that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll be back to podcasting regularly.







    An Emotional Start to the Year







    In today’s episode we briefly mention the big “hits” we took to start the year out. We lost two peers within 30 days of each other, both our age, and both dying far too young. The loss affected us (it’s still affecting us). It’s a huge reminder no matter what your business is, nothing can replace your loved ones. Like we’ve said before, it’s just TV.







    Dealing with Other Producers and Filmmakers







    The back-half of today’s episode discusses the two types of producers/filmmakers you’re likely to run into. At some point, you’ll fall into one of these two categories. We have an opinion about which is better, and share which camp is right for us. It might be right for you, too.







    Chasing Dreams Should Make You Happy







    We want you to know we wish you success in all your endeavors. Even more so, we wish you happiness. Life is too short to let the rigors of the entertainment industry wreck you. Instead, let’s all work towards making our business a better place to be. Ready to enjoy the chase more than you do now? Hit that giant PLAY button at the top of the screen…and Happy New Year!







    Helpful and Related Links







    Showbiz and Your Mental Well-Being: It’s Just TV…







    The entertainment industry has a way of knocking you down time and time again. But you know what? We’re all just telling stories. It’s not brain surgery. Here are some thoughts on taking care of your mental health and remembering what’s truly important.







    Success & Happiness in the Entertainment Industry with Daniel Strange







    Dan Strange is a commercial director and unscripted TV producer and editor. He discusses finding true success and happiness in this industry. It’s a no-holds-barred discussion of day-to-day working life in the entertainment industry. It’s also chock-full of useful tips. Plus, the ep includes an AMAZING Richard Marx story you won’t want to miss…







    Production Hangovers: How To Survive, Recharge, & Move On







    Production can wreck you! At the end of a grueling calendar you will be fried.

    • 15 min
    Our Top 3 Scariest Moments on Set

    Our Top 3 Scariest Moments on Set

    It’s Halloween, so pull out your sage, salt, and white candles! Today we’re talking about something truly spooky…our top 3 scariest moments on set! If you’ve been around production of any kind, you know things pretty much never go as planned. And sometimes, those “fun developments” can scare the pants off of you. Here are three very different kinds of “scary” that struck our sets like a witch’s evil spell. How did we survive? Listen now…if you dare!







































    Production Can Be a Nightmare







    There are very few endeavors that have as many moving parts as producing a TV or film project. Working with a crew of 20 or 200? Either way, you’re trying to manage very different personalities, share a creative vision, keep on schedule, and above all, avoid disaster.







    But sometimes, no matter what you do, you end up in a living nightmare. One day you’ll laugh about it (maybe.) As we’ve learned over the years running Joke Productions together, there’s no telling what evil may lurk just around the corner!







    Just some of the “spooky” we’re sharing today:







    * Demon dogs in the workplace* Using your crew as a blockade in the middle of downtown L.A.* Trying to stay calm while hanging up on network executives* Freaking out when lawyers tell you to ignore your basic human instincts* How to create a homemade sauna that probably won’t kill you* And…what to do if a practicing witch claims you’ve been paralyzed by a ghost (happened to Biagio!)







    So perform a little spell of protection, toss that salt over your shoulder, and listen now! Happy Halloween!







    Helpful and Related Links







    One spooky fact? Breaking into Hollywood takes some of this…







    What could be scarier than… actively developing and pitching paranormal shows?







    Thinking about working in this business? Here’s 5 scary things about producing TV shows.







    Want to survive the living nightmare when it strikes your set? Here’s 7 weird tips to survive production and save your sanity.







    Our very scary time making the pilot Sister Witches with Joey and Natalie.







    Follow us on Twitter – @JokeAndBiagio – we try to respond to all tweets, though it can take a few days (or weeks!) if we’re in production.







    Let’s Make Some TV Together!







    Are you ready to take on the horror flick that is working in unscripted TV and film? Brave enough to face off with intimidating network execs? Not too scared to team up with us? Here’s what you need to do next:

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
126 Ratings

126 Ratings

LisaSGoolsby ,

Great Listening and excellent advice

I have been listening faithfully. I love your format and your easy, practical, and honest advice. Great podcast. Love you guys.

DrCharlesParker ,

Strong, Get-It-Done-Now, Helpful - Start Here

First of all, we writers do love words. Words package the product, and without the right words it won’t get sent, much less delivered. It takes a team and these guys become team members - without a contract. Listen up, connect with their membership structure - and package your stuff up for your own next travels.

Sam Tau ,

Thankyou 🙏🏽

It has taken me just over 3 months, but today I just completed listening to every single podcast from the beginning in 2013 to 2020 & I applaud you both alongside all the guests you had on & Joke, yes people are listening 💚

I just wanted to say thankyou & that I appreciate this exceptional guidance & that you are both really GOOD & super star human beings. I look forward to applying all I have learnt through you both & I hope to meet you one day to potentially collaborate. Meet you through your portal.

Sam

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