As I was reading Kris’s responses I begun imagining what inner-office parties would be like over at Disney/ABC. The guys from Broadcast Publicity in one corner, the guys from Entertainment Marketing in another, and at the center of the room all the cute ABC.com girls dancing with each other and being eyed up and down by members of the other departments. And just imagine the conversations these guys must have. “Hey you’re Tom, right? From Entertainment Marketing?” “Yeah, you must be Kris from Broadcast Publicity.” “….So…. What about those ABC.com girls?”
“Yeah man, they’re hot.”
Perhaps its my lack of sleep, amount of school work, or the fact that yesterday I saw a house being moved on stilts high above the streets of New York… either way I am rapidly digressing. Here is Part Three of the interview I did with Kris White, producer and creator of The Official Lost Podcast. Also, be sure to check out Parts One and Two.
I contacted some (other) Lost podcasters, who are clearly fans of the show, letting them know I’d be talking to Kris, and they naturally (especially being podcasters as well) had some questions:
Josh, of The Lostmeister Podcast, asks:
What theories do you have about Lost? For example, how do you think the show will end? Why does Future Jack want to go back to the island? Who’s in the coffin? What is the smoke monster? Why does Richard Alpert never seem to age? Please share any other theories you might have.
Kris White (KW): Unfortunately, I can’t speak to any theories I do or don’t have, since I do have more of an inside view than most. A lot of times, I’m surprised by the theories of the fans and I’ve actually learned a thing or two from them that I think could be on the money.
Josh: On the March 10th episode of The Official LOST Podcast, Carlton Cuse said that you recently worked on a Disney Channel movie in Utah. In what way are you involved with the movie, and what can you tell us about it?
KW: I did the Electronic Press Kit for High School Musical 2. Let me tell you, I was instantly popular with my soon-to-be nieces-in-law. They wanted to know who I met and what they were like and what color socks they wore off-set.
Big-O, of The Cranky Fanatic Podcast, asks:
Are you an active listener to any Lost podcasts (other than your own)? Which ones?
KW: I’ve perused the podcasts out there, but don’t have as much time as I’d like to listen to the other podcasts. Jay and Jack are hilarious, and I used to be a fan of The Transmission, before they went dark (for the most part).
Big-O: ABC/Disney seems to be putting forth a solid effort to create podcasts for it’s major properties and create other ancillary material for fans. Do you consider them a leader in this area, and how did this come about?
KW: We’re definitely a leader in those areas. Disney ABC has been incredibly supportive in whatever crazy idea my department has come up with. One of my fellow producers, Holli Fisk, just did a music-video podcast with Becki Newton and Michael Urie from Ugly Betty. It was hilarious.
Big-O: How often does Damon wear pants?
KW: Damon wears pants whenever his wooden leg isn’t bothering him. Which is never. Any time you see him with pants on, it was Photoshopped – or he was forced to wear them because he’s in public. 😉
Curt, of The Black Rock Podcast, asks:
As a podcaster I want to know if you do the technical work on the podcast. What kind of recording equipment and audio editing software do you use?
KW: We record on a CDR recorder from Marantz. It has inputs for XLR as well as ¾ inch and allows us to individually mix each channel on the fly. The key though is having nicer microphones. Currently, we’re using two Shure SM86 mics. Of course, we also have a mini-studio in-house that we occasionally use. That room is also used for Radio Tours with our talent. (A radio tour is basically when talent arrives at our offices at 5:30am and calls radio station after radio station for a few hours doing five-minute interviews.)
All our post-production is done in house using Final Cut Pro. Most often, I’ll edit the audio myself to save time. The video ones, though, are definitely put together by one of our capable editors. Ryan Osika has edited most of the video podcasts we did this season for Lost and I think he’s done an amazing job.
Amanda, of The Lost Flashbacks Podcast, asks:
Do you have a favorite character/episode/moment/anything?
KW: I think one of my favorite moments is still the episode Walkabout. When I first saw that episode it was long before we even entertained the idea of doing a podcast, so I was just a new viewer – like everyone else. The shock of realizing the wheelchair was Locke’s still gives me goosebumps.
This season, I, like everyone else, was blown away by The Constant. It felt like a two-hour movie compressed into 44 minutes. What really gets me about that episode isn’t just the intricacy of the time-travel and its implications, but the emotional journey that Desmond goes on through the episode, culminating with his phone call to Penny. Really, I pretty much consigned myself early on that we would learn the mythology of the island in small tid-bits. It was the emotional arcs and storylines that really hooked me early on, and continue to enthrall me.
Amanda: What are you planning on doing with yourself when the show is over?, and might I suggest (voice) acting?
KW: Who knows where I’ll be three years from now. Wherever that is, or whatever I’m doing, I hope to still be in contact with all the people I’ve met on Lost. It’s a talented and creative group from the Executive Producers to the Production Assistants, and it’s been an honor contributing something to the mythology of this show.
Kris White (KW): Though I wish I could say I was a co-creator of the Zombie Season, I’m more of just an enabler. The Zombie Season has a (sic) life of its own. The only spoilers you can count on is that there’ll be lots of rotting flesh.
AL: How is your telenovela role on Lost coming along? Please tell us you’re going to end up on the show.
KW: Right now, my eyebrows are in separate contract talks with the producers. It doesn’t look like the deal will go through. Since there’s two of them, they expect to get paid twice as much. But for awards consideration, they’ll take one billing – like the Coen Brothers.
So unless I shave them off, I probably won’t be on any shows for some time to come.
AL: All good things come to an end, so I would be remiss not to ask about the final two hours of Lost (for this season). Have you seen the episode?
KW: I have seen the episode. It’s good. The thing that impresses me the most is how many balls they can keep in the air at once. There’s so much going on and so much tension being built. And the payoff is always surprising and definitely worth it. Seeing the Orchid Station alone is worth the wait.
AL: What are the challenges involved in promoting a finale (or any episode) when you can’t reveal too much about it?
KW: The challenges aren’t any more or less difficult than with our previous episodes. At this point, I’d like to think that I’m pretty in tune with what the guys want to push and what they want to hold back as a surprise for the fans. If you listen to the podcasts though, you can get a nice idea of where things are going. But you’ll still be surprised. And of course, the emotional pay-off is what always gets me.
AL: Do you use Lostpedia? If so, to what degree?
KW: Personally, I find Lostpedia to be indispensable. Sometimes I need to find a specific clip for a story we’re cutting or that some press outlet needs, and I know what it is but can’t remember which episode it’s from exactly. Lostpedia’s great for that. Plus, the transcripts of the podcasts and lists of our running gags are highly amusing.
AL: I’m sure that now every Lostpedia editor reading this is asking whether or not Damon and Carlton use Lostpedia.
KW: Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to that question. However, I do know they have their own internal Lostpedia, if you will… Gregg Nations, the Script Supervisor.
AL: What sort of things, if any, do you cut from the podcasts? All the audio podcasts seem to be about the same length, so I imagine that there are things that get cut. Have the producers ever revealed something about the show on the podcast and then ask you to cut it?
KW: We do have to cut for time, it’s true. We generally like the podcasts to come in at 22 minutes tops – like a good sitcom, if you will. Sometimes, it’s just a joke that doesn’t work. Other times, everyone agrees that we’ve almost slipped and said too much.
And for whatever reason, they always make me cut my song that I insist on serenading them with at the end of every podcast. I mean, it makes them cry.
AL: What will be done closer to Season 5 of Lost to promote the show? Do you have any involvement in the online experiences like The Lost Experience and Find 815?
KW: Those great ideas come from Entertainment Marketing. We just go along for the ride. We will be doing something at Comic Con. And, of course, we hope to do more video podcasts. A lot of that is still up in the air.
AL: Comic Con has turned into a really big deal for some fans.
KW: Last year I couldn’t attend because of another press event. The year before that I was there and loved it. I hope to be there again this year.
AL: Can we expect any podcasts between now and then, and over the course
of the hiatus?
KW: We hope to bring you an audio recording from the Lost panel again this year. Other than that, everything is TBD.
AL: With the final Official Lost Podcast of Season 4 here, what can people who haven’t listened to it already expect?
KW: Damon and Carlton have a conversation about Star Wars and Storm Troopers. I would say it rivals the debate that Dante and Randal have in the original Clerks.
AL: Are there any new shows you are really looking forward to (either
this summer or in the fall)?
I’m interested to see Life on Mars. I know the premise but haven’t seen anything else yet. There’s also some mid-season shows that ABC Studios is developing that I’m very keen to see more of as they come along. I can’t talk about them in specifics, of course.
And of course, I’m a sucker for some of the other big shows on the other networks. To name a few: Heroes, The Shield and The Office.
With shows wrapping up for the summer at Disney/ABC you would think Kris might be planning a vacation to Kentucky. This could not be further from the truth. The months leading up to the fall premieres are Kris’s busiest of the year; he says that is typically when he works weeks and weekends in a row.
But that’s the end of the summer, in the meantime, he will have his hands full with some reality shows that sound very entertaining; I Survived A Japanese Game Show is one that caught my attention. Says Kris, “If you’ve ever seen any of those crazy competition shows from Japan – this is that, except a bunch of Americans are thrown into the mix without any knowledge of anything about these shows.”
Kris is currently working on promoting The Middleman, which premiers June 16th on ABC Family. The Middleman, as Kris explained in Part Two of this interview, was created by a former writer and producer of Lost, Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Kris is also working on promoting shows and movies for other Disney channels, such as The Disney Channel.
Finally, I would like to use my last words to thank Kris. Doing this interview has been a thrill for me, and I think it shed light on Kris and his involvement with the show. Thanks again Kris, it was a lot of fun; more than I, or any fan of the podcast, could have hoped for.