Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SpidVid: Passion Projects With Big Dreams

A big thanks to SpidVid for my interview about "Passion Projects With Big Dreams".  They spoke with me and talented creator, Kai Soremekun, about our work in the industry.  I felt honored to be featured in the same episode as Kai because I had interviewed her for The Web Files in 2010 about her web series, Chick, which now features the writing of former Web Files' director, Sandra Payne.  It's a very small industry.

You can listen to the interview here or you can read the transcript below.

Michael London: Hi, I’m Michael London and welcome to Spidcast, the future of collaborative video production brought to you by Indie Source Magazine where they believe free is better and I like the way they think.
Hey, it’s ladies’ day on Spidcast and on this episode we’re talking with entertainment reporter and host Kristyn Burrt and also Kai will be here. She’s an actress and filmmaker with a very cool web series and production and she has some other stories to tell as well.
What do you say? Let’s jump right in. First up is Kristyn Burtt. Kristyn, welcome to Spidcast.
Kristyn Burtt: Thanks for having me.
Michael London: Kristyn, if you would, give us a little Reader’s Digest version. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kristyn Burtt: Sure. Well, I’m an entertainment reporter and host here in Los Angeles and I work on the red carpet. I do a lot of press junkets. But my favorite thing to do is sort of demystifying Hollywood and what goes on behind the red carpet. Hollywood is a bunch of smoke and mirrors and we really shouldn’t buy into all of it and I think that’s the real main thing that I love to sort of get in there and tell people the real secret behind Hollywood.
Michael London: So that being said, tell us one great secret.
Kristyn Burtt: One good secret?
Michael London: Yes.
Kristyn Burtt: You know, I think my favorite thing, and this is for women out there, you really shouldn’t buy into how everyone looks and think I should look like that. Because people have a team to make them look like that. You know, a stylist, manicurist, facialist and there’s lots of Botox going on. There’s the trainer. There’s everything like that. But if you see something in terms of, like in a magazine, everything is, you know, airbrushed and Photoshopped so I think sometimes we set ourselves up for these unrealistic images. But I am like, understand when I am on the red carpet and I see people in person, it’s the greatest equalizer out there. You see who has bad skin. You see who’s wearing the Spanx. You know that they’re just like us. There’s one or two that like freaks of nature that are like gorgeous and don’t need a thing, but most people are human and that’s what everyone needs to understand.
Michael London: So, Kristyn, you gotta know that women everywhere are saying “I love her” because they do tend to hold themselves at times way too high of a standard. So what was your path towards to what you’re doing right now?
Kristyn Burtt: I guess I took a non-traditional path and I think now if I was just graduating from college, I couldn’t do this path just because the way media has changed so much. But I was on a scholarship at NYU for dance, so my goal was to be on Broadway and that sort of changed. After I graduated, I was dancing professionally in New York but I got hired to host this children’s dance video which was how to hokey-pokey and electric slide and do the YMCA and it did extremely well so I started getting hired for host jobs and it was one of those things where I was having a lot of fun but I was also making more money in one day than I would on a two-week equity contract doing this show. And I thought hmmm, there must be something to this so I did both for a little while but I also realized that I needed some on-camera training because I was pretty enthusiastic but very raw. And I got to a point where I just thought okay, something’s going to have to give” because this dance career, you’ve got to give a 110% at all times for the physicality of it.
My agent in New York was like no, you are great. I think that you can make a go of this host career but you’re going to need you to go west. He was like because in New York, they want edgy, urban, and ethnic, and you are none of those” He was like go west, my friend, and see what happens and that’s exactly what I did.
Michael London: And then tell us a little bit about being part of this new wave of content delivery – that being the internet.
Kristyn Burtt: Yes, it’s just really fun because what I would like the most is that I can put the content out there and you get immediate reaction from people whether they like it, whether they don’t, whether they hated your questions, which I do get sometimes. But that’s a great thing because of things like Twitter and YouTube and Facebook and my site, it’s great because I can interact with people, they can ask questions about their favorite celebrity. Where, on television, you know, you kind of have to wait for it to air or it’ll only runs once and if someone missed it and they didn’t DVR it, that’s the end of it.
With web, it lives out there forever. It’s amazing to me that sometimes interviews that I had done two or three years ago, which are still out there on YouTube, people would get back to me and ask questions or Oprah writes feedback and I think that has been the most incredible thing. I love being able to interact with people because you’ll see what people like and you’ll see what people don’t like. And that can also affect your coverage because you sit there are think, well, people aren’t looking for information on the celebrity but they’re really interested in this movie or the character or this person so it really can dictate what you’re covering as a journalist.
Michael London: And Kristyn, a moment ago, you said that someone just jumping into this business right now probably couldn’t follow the same path you did. What advice would you have for those newbies just jumping in?
Kristyn Burtt: I think, now, you definitely need a broadcast journalism degree and that means that only being able to work on camera but it means also being able to write, produce, and edit your own segments. And with that whole YouTube generation, that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for a journalist that’s really well-rounded, that could do all jobs, and that really has a point of view. I mean, you need to have a kind of a plan, like who are you as a journalist, what you like to cover? You can’t just cover – I’ll cover a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of politics, a little bit of international news. You need to focus on something, go for it and really get out there and create a name for yourself.
That includes doing internships that includes getting there on social media and starting to build that social media young. Start building it out there when you’re 18 years old so that by the time you graduate, you can say oh, I have five thousand followers on Twitter; oh, I have, you know, a thousand people that follow me on the Facebook page or Instagram, or whatever it is. Because this is the wave of the future and this is the direction that media is going.
Michael London: Let me ask you about Jesse Ventura, then. Is he crazy? Or is he just so smart that he seems crazy?
Kristyn Burtt: He is so smart that he seems like he’s crazy. That was probably one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had and also probably the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had. In that, you know, Jesse Ventura, there’s only one opinion and that’s his. So my job as a news reader on his show was to – if he said, I would say white. Like I there to debate with him and irritate him a little bit. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity to just listen because he had so many fantastic stories. He was a former Navy Seal. I grew up in a generation where he was a wrestler with a pink feather boa around his neck and then he was governor. And at this point where he was the former governor but he was teaching at Harvard and everything else. You know, there’s a lot to learn there. He didn’t ask much about me in the time that I worked with him, but I absorbed a lot of knowledge and I thought it was a really fun place just to grasp some ideas about politics and about life that I wouldn’t necessarily thought of. He was a really outside-of-the-box thinker.
Michael London: I’m going to ask you some questions about you now so you have so many irons in the fire, tell us where we can see everything, Kirstin.
Kristyn Burtt: My main hub where everyone can find all of my work and that’s probably the easiest place to go is and there, I sit there and put all of my jobs and all of the media that I do on that site. But this summer, I’ve been working a lot because of the big summer movie season with and that is NBC/Universal’s property. I do the press junkets here on the west coast. So I just recently interviewed the cast of Magic Mike including Channing Tatum and also Matthew McConaughey. So it’s just kind of fun to get out there and interview the big celebrities and see what else is going on.
And of course, I also host the “After Show” for “So You Think You Can Dance” and this is on It’s a new site that was started by Maria Menounos who is entertainment journalist on “Extra” and we discuss what happened on the show. We bring in former contestants and do interviews with them and it’s a really fun format because people can call in. We do it live and debate like what happened during that episode. So that’s been a really fun show.
Those are the two projects that I’ve been working on mainly this summer in addition to some other jobs like I do, some live streaming for Hyundai. I’m going over Germany with Pfizer. They have me host a game show in Europe once a year. So, there are some fun things that are coming up this summer but the two main projects are iVillage and AfterBuzzTV.
Michael London: So its summertime 2017, what do we find Kristyn doing?
Kristyn Burtt: 2017. Well, I hope to be doing a little bit more producing by then and really continue on this path of covering the red carpet but not in just the glamorous way but for people to understand that, you know, Hollywood’s great and it’s so much fun and I love living here but at the same time don’t buy into it. You know, it has its own truth and its own reality so I would really love to get, sort of, that type of show up and running and really get people to understand like this is the real Hollywood. Take away, like the curtains come from Oz and there you go.
Michael London: Excellent! Kristyn Burtt, thank you so much for joining us today on Spidcast.
Kristyn Burtt: Absolutely, thank you so much for having me.

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