Interview With Kris White Part 3: All Good Things…

Be sure to read Parts One and Two of this interview: Part OnePart Two

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.

Audibly Lost (AL): Since the Zobmie Season was announced on the podcast, and you created the podcast, clearly you are a co-creator of the Zombie Season. What can we expect from it? Any spoilers?

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.

That concludes Audibly Lost’s Q&A with Kris White.

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.

To listen (and see) Kris White in action check out The Official Lost Podcast (with Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse) and The Official Lost Video Podcast on ABC.com.

Be sure to read Parts One and Two of this interview: Part OnePart Two

Interview With Kris White Part 2: The Podcast Of Things To Come

UPDATE: To read Part Three of the interview click here.

Last week I posted Part One of my interview with Kris White. Kris, for those that don’t know, spends his time at Disney/ABC publicizing shows, including Lost, and has gained notoriety in the Lost community as the creator and producer of The Official Lost Podcast. Here is Part Two of the Q&A I conducted with him.

Audibly Lost (AL): You talked a bit about your role in the creation of the podcast, what were Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse’s reaction to it?

Kris White (KW): Damon and Carlton were instantly excited by the possibilities of a podcast. They recognized the opportunity and welcomed the chance to connect with fans, even though their time was limited by, you know, writing the show.

AL: Was there a sense at the time that these podcasts would become such a huge deal for fans?

KW: We knew pretty early on that this was going to be something influential. But we never knew it would be as big as it is.

AL: If you could discuss your role at Disney/ABC in detail I think many people would appreciate it. You’ve always been a rather mysterious figure, despite your job being briefly explained in the podcast.

KW: Much as I love Lost and am an absolute fan of the show, it’s not my only responsibility. I produce podcasts and internet featurettes for a variety of shows all across the Disney ABC Television group. I do the Grey’s Anatomy Audio Podcast, and I’ve created podcasts for many of our past shows, like Commander In Chief.

But that’s not all (I sound like an infomercial, right?), I also do Electronic Press Kits for everything from High School Musical 2 to Dancing with the Stars. Electronic Press Kits are the building blocks that news and other entertainment outlets use to create their stories. It consists of soundbites, behind the scenes footage and clips.

Oftentimes, we’ll also create special featurettes for the internet. I just did a walk-through behind the scenes of ABC Family’s The Middleman with Executive Producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (also a Lost alum!). His new show is based off his comic book by the same name and we wanted to give viewers a special look at that show. That featurette should be out in the next few weeks. The show premieres on June 16th.

That said, Lost is one my favorite shows. Whenever a new script or cut of an episode comes across my desk, I usually drop what I’m doing to take a look at it.

AL: So how often do you get to read the scripts before the shows come out? Also, do you ever get a chance to hang out with Carlton and Damon outside of doing the podcast?

KW: Basically, I learn things about the show on a need-to-know basis. Oftentimes, that means reading the scripts as soon as they’re written and seeing the shows long before the public does. We have to because we’re interviewing cast members and shooting video podcasts sometimes months in advance. However, there are certain big picture things that I don’t know, like how the show is going to end. That said, we do get to hang out with the guys a little when we’re doing our podcasts. It’s not all business. They’re about as funny off-mic as they are on.

AL: You seem to have a lot of fun doing these podcasts for Lost. Even things like selecting the [amazingly corny, where did you even find it?] theme music or playing Carlton’s banjo music really make me laugh. There is definitely a level of creativity here. Do you consider yourself a creative person? What do you try and do to make the promotional material for the show as fun as possible?

KW: Most of our music comes from a music library that we are able to access. For the theme music, I basically selected the corniest music I could from several genres and let the gang pick their theme. Of course, they couldn’t decide – so we let the fans do that instead.

We always love trying to find new ways to do something fun with and for the fans on the show. My favorite thus far was the cross-over story from Damon and Carlton’s past. That one forced me to really pull out a lot of stops. It was like being back in film school. We did everything with like a three man band… from casting the parts to creating the props (like the “comic book” young Damon’s reading).

AL: How is your publicity team structured?

KW: Our publicity team is great. My department itself isn’t that big. We’re called Broadcast Publicity and we basically support all the individual network publicists for our shows. Right now, we have three full time producers (including myself) that go to set and do electronic press kits, podcasts and other things for our shows. There’s also a slew of other people on the team that are responsible for producing radio tours, satellite tours, coordinating press lines, and even making sure our talent has a warm bed to sleep in when they get flung far and wide for press interviews.

AL: Can you tell us a bit about how your work has evolved as the ways viewers interact with technology and communication evolve as well?

KW: Our job is changing rapidly and every day. Before I got here, we’d never done a podcast, much less a featurette just for the internet. We’re constantly evaluating what’s out there and how we can use it to connect our fans with the shows they love. A lot of that means working with some of the other fabulous departments here at Disney ABC. ABC.com, for one, has been key in getting our podcasts developed and out there. Another great team to work with has been our friends in Entertainment Marketing. These are the folks who made all those notes in a bottle appear telling people to tune in for the original premiere of Lost back in 2004. They’re also the ones who created “Lost in 8:15” and “Lost in 4:23”.

AL: You’ve become a bit of a celebrity for the Lost fan community, with people even sending in questions to you for The Official Lost Podcast. Do you get recognized by fans?

KW: The last time I was recognized was at Comic Con. And this guy only knew me because of my voice. This was before the video podcasts. In general, I don’t get recognized though. Although one friend of my fiancée flipped out when he learned who I was. He was like, “You’re marrying that guy?!”

With that we close Part Two of our interview with Kris White. Stay tuned to Audibly Lost for Part Three, the final part of the interview later this week. In it Kris takes questions from other podcasters and fills us in on what work he’ll be doing over the summer. And to read Part One of the interview just click here.

To listen (and see) Kris White in action check out The Official Lost Podcast (with Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse) and The Official Lost Video Podcast on ABC.com.

UPDATE: To read Part Three of the interview click here.

Pre-Finale Podcast Roundup

With the finale now less than a week away Lost fans are doing their best to hype themselves up for the event. Despite the fact that there was no episode this week there was in no way a shortage of podcasts released. Here are some that may hold you over until next Thursday:

  • Official Lost Podcast – The final podcast of the season. :( As happy as I am to have it I will miss the almost weekly updates from Damon and Carlton: Listen!

  • Jay and Jack – They podcasted this week, ’nuff said: Listen
  • The Hydracooler – Well, I have nothing but praise for this podcast because I’m a big fan of one of the hosts, Emily, who I know from Big-O’s podcast. I’m really excited that she’s podcasting and she’s got a great couple of people podcasting with her. Of note, they will be doing a podcast with The Lost Community soon as well: Listen
  • The Lost Community (Book Club): This week they finally get to the Valis podcast they’ve been plugging: Enjoy it!
  • Cranky Fanatic – This week on Cranky Fanatic there was a group commentary of “Meet Kevin Johnson.” I managed to make an appearance and complain about things in true Cranky Fanatic fasion: Listen (and watch with it)
  • The Lostmeister – Josh did an audio version of the first part of the interview I did with Kris White this week. Of note all of my questions were played by his wife… does that make me the Audmeister? or maybe conjoshted? This has left me in an utter state of confusion and identity crisis, have a listen: Click this to hear stuff
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