Talking Podcasting with Eva Bilick
Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Los Angeles based actress, writer, and producer Eva Bilick. She has a new audio dramedy podcast “A Place Called Fairneck.” She wrote, produced, and stars in the project.
1. As an introduction, I wonder if we can discuss your comedy web series ‘Weird in Bed’?
Oh, “Weird in Bed,” my first little baby. I wrote it after a bad breakup when I needed a comedy outlet. Each episode features a different co-star and different absurd scenario – only a couple of which are based on real-life, promise. My dear talented friend Katherine Dudas directed twelve episodes over three days, and the whole process was fun, smooth, and the standard I will forever set for a successful film shoot. It got more views than I could have ever hoped for on social media and screened at some festivals in 2019. The best way to watch it now is on Youtube or my website – evabilick.com
2. How would you compare the Drama ‘Prolific Artists’ vs. writing and producing comedy?
The biggest difference for me between drama and comedy is that I laugh more behind the scenes with comedy. Other than that, the process looks pretty similar. I rehearse with my fellow actors, deep dive into the character, and, if I’m producing, take care of all the boring coordination that goes into running a set. And, when it comes to writing, whether it’s drama or comedy (or that sci-fi short story I wrote about a pregnant woman who turns into a Praying Mantis), I am most conscious of staying true to the characters and making the story as engaging as possible.
3. Can you give us a bit of insight into the behind-the-scenes of creating a podcast with multiple artists, including actors, consultants, storytellers, illustrators, musicians, and more?
Producing is easier when you cast a wide net. Get all the information, insight, and help you can get, and everything becomes a lot easier. In the case of Fairneck, I didn’t set out to create such a big production, so as I finalized the episodes, I reached out to as many podcast producers as I could. I got some great advice (like, “There are no rules in podcasting, so just do whatever you want.”), met some amazing people, and got clarity on how to approach pre-production. At the same time, I interviewed sound engineers across LA, put out casting notices, and asked talented friends of mine to contribute to the project. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
Once the big-ticket items were in place, I focused on the smaller, less glamorous tasks, like setting the schedule, ordering food for the cast & crew, printing scripts, and thanking everyone for their patience as I made script changes up to and during some of our recording sessions. (On more than one occasion you could catch me in the studio chewing on a pen cap and reworking dialogue in the middle of a take).
4. Please describe your new audio Comedic Dramedy Podcast “A Place Called Fairneck”?
“A Place Called Fairneck” is a scripted podcast about the plagues coming back to a small Jewish town just in time for Passover (yeah…I didn’t realize how strange the timing of our release would be). We debuted earlier this month in the top twenty comedy fiction podcasts in the country on Apple Podcasts’ chart (#14 to be exact, but who’s counting?), and we were featured on Broadway World, HVY, and the “Notable New Podcast” section of This Week in Podcasts in our first week. Our ratings and reviews have been overwhelming, and we’re all so grateful for the response from our listeners.
The story is narrated by a cheeky twelve-year-old journalist, who comically recounts the tragic events that lead to a beloved member of her community dying in a freak plague-related accident just before the holiday. It’s like Sliding Doors in a modern orthodox North Jersey community. It’s funny, keeps you guessing, and full of wacky and fun character dynamics.
5. Eva Bilick, just for fun…who are some of your influences in the entertainment industry, and why?
I’m a big fan of David K. Barnes, the creator of Wooden Overcoats, one of my favorite fiction podcasts. He is an incredibly talented, thoughtful writer, and works with a team of amazing artists to put the show together. He’s certainly an inspiration to me now that I’m entering the world of audio dramas. I also love web series pioneers like Issa Rae and Ben Sinclair, whose series went on to become incredibly successful TV shows. I love an artist who creates their own work.