AwardsWatch Oscar and Emmy Podcasts (interview)
Podcasts from AwardsWatch on the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG and more.

Christopher Scott never wanted to dance. Now he's a three-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Choreography. 

After his mother packed him and his sister from Maryland to Hollywood to give them better opportunities, Scott defied having to enter a dance class, opting for track and field instead. "If you had told me I was going to be a dancer I would have laughed in your face," he says.

He entered Hollywood High School in the 9th grade, and applied and was accepted into the performing arts magnet program. It was in his very first semester that he checked out the school's production of West Side Story (his sister was in it and dating the "coolest guy in school") and out of sheer boredom learned the songs and the dance moves and landed a part in the production. During his four years in the program, he had leading roles in several stage productions and studied various styles of dance, particularly excelling in tap. To hone his tap dancing skills, he spent many weekends as a street performer on the Venice Beach boardwalk and the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California.

In 11th grade, three-time Emmy winning actress and choreographer Debbie Allen (and future So You Think You Can Dance judge) came to the school to audition dancers for the opening of the American Music Awards with Mariah Carey. "I feel like the luckiest kid in America," he says. It was his first paying job and when he got his paycheck (about $650) he thought 'I think I'm gonna go with this,' and his dancing career began.

Since then Chris has worked with renowned artists such as Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, Khalid, and Gloria Estefan, and has worked on a variety of film and TV projects including the Emmy-nominated 82nd Academy Awards, Step Up 4: Revolution, Step Up 5: All InDancing with the Stars, and America’s Best Dance Crew.

In 2009, Scott teamed up with Harry Shum, Jr. to choreograph the super hero inspired web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, aka The LXD. An experiment in storytelling through dance, the series is the brainchild of writer/director/producer Jon Chu. 

In 2011, Scott made his So You Think You Can Dance debut and thereafter made frequent visits choreographing contestants' duets and group routines. He received Outstanding Choreography Emmy nominations for his work on the show in 2012 and 2014.

In my interview with the three-time Emmy nominee and Scott talks about his leap from dancer to choreographer, his love of props in routines, reveals his advice for new dancers and the song that got away - the only tune he hasn't been able to snag the rights to (yet).

Christopher Scott is nominated for Outstanding Choreography for So You Think You Can Dance.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

This interview runs 25m.

Opening: So You Think You Can Dance theme

Closing "Say You Won't Let Go" cover by Boyce Avenue (used by Christopher Scott in one of his nominated dance routines featuring Allison and Logan)

Direct download: Christopher_Scott_interview_.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 10:18am PDT

 
Costume designer Meghan Kasperlik has made a name for herself in the world of feature films after first cutting her teeth in the fashion industry and then television.
 
Out of college she jumped at the opportunity to work with the legendary Patricia Field (Emmy winner for Sex and the City, Oscar nominee for The Devil Wears Prada). Building her resume on shows like Hope & Faith, Cashmere Mafia and Royal Pains, Meghan made the jump to feature films, working as an assistant costume designer on The Dark Knight Rises, American Hustle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2Noah and Joy before being the head costume designer on Little Accidents, Crown Heights and It Comes at Night.
 
 
Her work on Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes brought her to the HBO movie that would earn her her first Emmy nomination, Bahrani's update of Fahrenheit 451 which made its world premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival and stars Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon. 
 
In my interview with Meghan the Emmy-nominee talks about her approach to color and texture when she designs, how she's an expert second-hand shopper and some of her costume design inspirations and favorites of all time (including Keira Knightley's iconic green gown from Atonement).
 
You can see some of Meghan's most recent work on the upcoming second season of Netflix's The OA.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

This interview runs 23m

Opening: "Fahrenheit 451" from Fahrenheit 451 music byMatteo Zingales and Antony Partos (Milan Music)

Closing: "Resurrection" from Fahrenheit 451 music by Matteo Zingales and Antony Partos (Milan Music)

Direct download: Meghan_Kasperlik_Emmy_interview_Fahrenheit_451.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 3:35pm PDT

Bill Groom is no stranger to the Emmys, he's a four-time winner for HBO's Boardwalk Empire. With its expansive sets and designs of Atlantic City, both the boardwalk and interiors, Groom was more than ready to take on the mid-century look of New York City for Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which earned 14 Emmy nominations for its freshman season, including one for Groom's meticulously detailed production design. 

In my interview with Groom we discuss his incredible body of work which includes HBO's Vinyl, ABC's miniseries When We Rise and the feature films Eat Pray Love and Milk, the process of location vs sets and the leg work involved in recreating the period with accuracy and detail. 

Bill Groom is nominated in Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More) for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel episode "Ya Shivu v Bolshom Dome Na Kholme."

The next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will hit Amazon in late 2018 or early 2019.

This interview runs 34m with opening and closing music.

Opening music: "Egh-choh-choh" by The Barry Sisters

Closing song: "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Bill_Groom_Emmy_interview_Marvelous_Mrs_Maisel.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 9:40am PDT

Cort L. Hessler, with his 2014 Emmy for Stunt Coordination on 'The Blacklist'

Cort L. Hessler lll, with his 2014 Emmy for Stunt Coordination on 'The Blacklist'

Emmy-winning stunt coordinator Cort L. Hessler lll got his start in Florida, where he grew up, at Disney when the theme park came to his high school scouting for talent. He water skied, did live shows, anything and everything that was available to him.

When Universal Studios opened in 1990 he auditioned for, and got, a Miami Vice-style show in the park's lagoon and that kicked off his film and television stunt career. With live shows and film and television being shot for onlookers and tourists to see, Hessler jumped in head first, filming stunts in the park. That led his first big break, the NBC primetime show SeaQuest 2032 starring Roy Scheider and Jonathan Brandis. Hessler doubled for Brandis and he became a go-to for water and underwater stunt work.

On The Blacklist, a job he got over Facebook while working on Blue Bloods, Hessler is proud of the level of practical stunts he employs (including more than one character on fire, CGI-free) and the safety he demands on his set.

In our chat we talk about his directorial debut on the show last season (he'll have another one next season), his favorite types of stunts, his favorite sequences from this last season, his advice for those interested in this (sometimes literally) backbreaking work, and if the Oscars will catch up to the Emmys and Screen Actors Guild in recognizing stunt work.

Season 6 of The Blacklist will return this September on NBC.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th (where Hessler’s category is slotted) and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Cort_Hessler_The_Blacklist_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 12:10pm PDT

For Ben Kutchins, his love of film and filmmaking started out the way it did for a lot of kids; finding an old 35mm camera in a parent's drawer, dusting it off and giving it a go. Looking at life through a lens became a hobby, then a passion and during college he interned, as many people who are interested in film and live in Northern California do, at Lucasfilm. That internship turned into a job but he saw the tides turning from film to digital and that he was on track to a working at a desk, which he didn't want.

Pushing back, he left a job offer from Lucasfilm and entered NYU's film program. It was everything he wanted; shooting over 60 short films, learning the language of film and learning from and with Reed Morano (Emmy-winning director of The Handmaid's Tale) and Rachel Morrison (Mudbound, and the first ever female director of photography nominated for the Cinematography Oscar).

Throughout his career Kutchins has been inspired by cinematographers like Oscar-winner Emmanuel Lubezki ("He moves the camera in the most naturalistic way that I've seen of any modern cinematographer"), Roger Deakins ("The best lighting cameraman I've ever seen), Gordon Willis ("He knows how to give each location its own beating heart") and more.

For his work on Netflix's Ozark, Kutchins earned the first Emmy nomination of his career in the category of Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour). But he'll tell you he didn't get there alone ("I take every day as a gift, I don't take that lightly"). He had been the cinematographer on a film starring Jason Bateman (The Longest Week) and that relationship earned him a spot on Bateman's team for the Emmy-nominated Netflix hit ("We get excited about the same things, we're real film nerds"). Working with Stephani Lewis (costume designer) and Derek Hill (production designer, who's also Emmy-nominated) on finding the look of Ozark, Kutchins calls it a "melding of minds" and "gearing towards the same aesthetic."

Ozark returns to Netflix for its second season on August 31st. You can watch the trailer here.

The Emmy voting period ends August 27th at 10pm PST.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be a two-night affair on Saturday, September 8th (where Kutchin's category is slotted) and Sunday, September 9th.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will be Monday, September 17th.

Direct download: Ben_Kutchins_Ozark_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 8:22am PDT

From left: Melissa Sweeney, Ted Sarandos, Sean Callery (photo: Image24 PR)

From left: 'Jessica Jones' creator Melissa Rosenberg, Netflix's Ted Sarandos with Sean Callery with Emmy win for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for Netflix's Jessica Jones (photo: Image24 PR)

It doesn't get more Emmy-tastic in the Music Composition categories than Sean Callery.

Callery has received 17 Emmy nominations and 4 wins, making him one of the most nominated composers of all time. 10 of his Emmy nominations are for the hit Fox drama 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, where Callery composed all nine seasons and is the only composer to have been nominated every year for a series that ran more than three seasons. Altogether, Callery won three Emmys for Outstanding Music Composition for his work on 24

His fourth, and most recent win, came in 2016 for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for Netflix's Jessica Jones, starring Krysten Ritter.

He also composes the music for hit series such as Showtime’s Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama Homeland, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, ABC’s Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland, and CBS’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired drama series Elementary, starring Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller.

I had the pleasure to chat with Sean about his prolific composing career, the intricacies of being a Television Academy judge in the Limited Series music sections, and how music is a primal form of human communication.

In our conversation, Sean talks about his first major moviegoing experiences that helped shape his own likes and inspirations with composing, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jaws

Describing creating the Emmy-winning theme for Jessica Jones, Sean found the voice of Jones through film noir but with an original spin, playing with the playful and hardened elements of the character.  

Sean also reveals the golden piece of advice that every composer wants to hear before creating a score. 

Sean resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie.

This interview opens with his Emmy-winning main title theme from Jessica Jones and closes with music from Homeland's 7th season and sixth episode, "Species Jump."

Direct download: Sean_Callery_interview_Jul_26_2018.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 1:11pm PDT

Composer Nathan Barr has received critical acclaim for his unmatched versatility, incorporating eclectic instruments from musical cultures across the world. Nathan recently completed construction on his new 8,000 square foot personal studio in Tarzana, California that can house 50-60 musicians. The studio, Bandrika (named after the fictional country in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, which I had forgotten!), houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ that was installed at Fox studios in 1928 that recently went through a four-year restoration. With 1,500 pipes, able to mirror hundreds of different instruments ("It's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for music," he says.), its music can be heard in iconic films including Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Sound of Music, and Patton. Barr and his team are currently compiling a list of composers that have used the organ including Oscar winners John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrmann.

I chatted with the two-time Emmy-nominated composer about his work on The Americans, how his pianist mother and banjo-playing father introduced him to music in Japan at five years of age and becoming a collector of rare and unusual instruments from around the world such as a human bone trumpet from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare Glass Armonica, gourd cellos, many of which you can hear on any number of his original compositions. We also talk about some of his favorite composers and film scores including The Third Man and its classic zither.

Since the end of The Americans, Nathan scored the dystopian action thriller, The Domestics, starring Kate Bosworth and Tyler Hoechlin, which hit theaters June 29th and is currently scoring season two of AMC’s multi-generational western epic, The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan. He's also putting the finishing touches on his next collaboration with director Eli Roth, the upcoming adventure film The House with a Clock in Its Walls (see trailer below) starring Jack Black and two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  The film's release on September 21 will mark the Wurlitzer's 21st-century debut for movie audiences. 2019 will find Nathan scoring Amazon’s upcoming fantasy, period drama, Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Nathan Barr currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Direct download: Nathan_Barr_interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 7:48pm PDT

Before earning an Emmy nomination last week for her work on the series finale of Once Upon a Time, Cindy O'Connor began her career as a musical theater composer...well, actually it goes back further than that. Her parents love to regale their friends with stories of Cindy composing at the age of 5, writing song on her keyboard called "The Aku-Aku Foot Disease" while her family was living in Japan. It all began there. Flash forward to 1993, writing the music for All That He Was in collaboration with Larry Todd Johnson where she won the National Playwright Award and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for New Play. The darkly comic musical, about one man’s struggle with AIDS where the deceased functions as host and narrator, invisible among the friends and family assemble to pay him final respects, has since been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and several theaters across the US.

O'Connor worked from the ground up in television and film, with Emmy-winning Oscar-nominated composer Mark Isham taking her under his wing. The two have collaborated for over a decade and share that 2018 Emmy nomination with Michael D. Simon. Throughout her musical career she's worked on the Oscar-winning film Crash, Blade, The Conjuring 2The Black Dahlia and as the composer for shows like The Black Donnellys and the television adaptation of Crash

I chatted with Cindy about her first Emmy nomination (and being the only female nominated in the Music Composition categories), jamming with Pat Benatar and the importance of advocacy for women composers and in the film and television industry. She's also a member of the Alliance of Female Composers. On September 4th she'll be a part of KCRW Presents The Future is Female: A Concert Celebrating Female Composers at The Wiltern in Los Angeles that will also include Tamar Kali (Mudbound) and Ronit Kirchman (The Sinner), both featured in 5 Female Composer You Should Know. Tickets are available here

Here is my interview with Emmy nominee Cindy O'Connor. 

Direct download: Cindy_OConnor_-_Once_Upon_a_Time_-_Interview.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 2:30pm PDT

I chatted with Screen Actors Guild nominee Leonardo Nam, star of HBO's Emmy-winning sci-fi series Westworld, which just had its second season premiere last night. We talked at length about the importance of visibility, opportunity and representation in films and television and his early role models and acting idols, Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. 

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Korean parents and then raised in Australia, Nam knows a little something about cultural diversity. TheLA-based actor constantly defies stereotype with his versatility and is actively making sure other Asian-Pacific and Asian-American actors and filmmakers get noticed, including his ambassadorship with the Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film competition sponsored by HBO and his support of multi-cultural designers in what he wears on the red carpet. 

Nam broke big with the 2004 Paramount Pictures film The Perfect Score, playing a lead role opposite Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson but is beloved for his role of Brian McBrian in 2005's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and the film's sequel (for which he was almost replaced). He talks fondly of his mentor on that film, Debra Martin Chase, who really went to bat for him for a role that was written as a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy. We might fan out over the movies juuust a little bit. Nam also reveals a touching story of a young female fan of the book who was not happy when she found out he was cast but had a change of heart once she saw him in the film.  

Talking Westworld, Nam teases a bit of what's in store for Felix's hero status after helping Maeve escape last season and what Westworld, and television like it, has to say about the state of the world today. 

Westworld season 2 airs every Sunday on HBO. Listen to the full interview below. 

Direct download: Leonardo_Nam_interview_Apr_23_2018.mp3
Category:Interview -- posted at: 2:40pm PDT

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