My Freelance Work

  • ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Austin Rogers would prefer you not call him ‘quirky’


    Austin Rogers, as “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek noted over the course of 12 nights, is a New York City bartender.

    But to millions of fans who came to enjoy Rogers’ amusing hand gestures and attitude over the course of his dozen-night streak on the notoriously difficult game show (and for those who did not), the 38-year-old New York native was clearly more than that.

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  • Mill Valley Film Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary


    When filmmakers and stars walk the red carpet at the Mill Valley Film Festival, they probably notice something. Namely that the “carpet” can be a packed-dirt floor surrounded by trees.

    “I see Emma Stone coming in on her fabulous high heels into the redwood grove when we showed ‘La La Land’ last year on opening night,” recalls festival director of programming Zoë Elton. “Later in the evening she said, ‘I wished I’d brought my sneakers with me!’”

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  • New Golden Age of Television Casts Spotlight on the Work of Artisans


    When women in striking red cloaks and white bonnets reminiscent of the costumes from “The Handmaid’s Tale” started showing up at protests for women’s rights this year, it seemed like an odd marketing strategy for Hulu.

    But this was no PR stunt: the outfits, worn by enslaved women in the drama and created by Emmy nominees Ane Crabtree (costume designer) and Sheena Wichary (costume supervisor) leaped from the small to the big screen thanks to viewers who saw a connection between the craft and reality, and knew the outfits spoke louder than chants or signs.

    Not so long ago, the notion that a below-the-line craft could be part of viewers’ conversations was nearly unheard of. But production values have become so spectacular on TV that audiences have started taking note of the heretofore almost sub-rosa existence of categories like cinematography, production design, costume design, hair, makeup and sound, and made them a vital part of any awards season conversation.

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  • With one role, Bob Odenkirk has played four characters — is a fifth in the cards?

    L.A. Times Envelope - 8/17/17

    Con games are about trust — but Bob Odenkirk, who has a trustworthy face, insists he could never pull one off. “I would feel too guilty,” he says. But Odenkirk, whose roots are in comedy writing for “Mr. Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” has made an acting name for himself as a con artist of multiple personas, including Saul Goodman (on “Breaking Bad”) and Jimmy McGill (on “Better Call Saul”). With its third season just ended, “Saul” has cleared the way for Jimmy’s transition into the more cynical Saul, while Odenkirk keeps everyone guessing (and laughing).

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  • ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Leftovers’ star Ann Dowd feels a certain kinship with both Emmy-nominated roles

    L.A. Times Envelope - 8/17/17

    If the name Ann Dowd doesn’t ring bells for you, just turn on the TV: She’s a veteran character actress who happened to score her first two acting Emmy nominations this year, one for taskmistress Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaid’s Tale” (supporting) and one for “The Leftovers” as Patti Levin (guest actress). And while she has a way of scaring audiences straight with her dour, stern looks it never takes long for Dowd’s nuanced performances to reveal there’s a beating heart under that strict surface. She met with The Envelope recently at the Beekman hotel in New York and spoke about finding herself in both roles, and learning to know when to let go.

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  • Peak TV means so much gets overlooked at awards time — The Envys are here to fix that

    L.A. Times Envelope - 8/17/17

    Peak TV is a boon for audiences. But Peak TV is a trial for those who hand out television awards each year: The dizzying array of choices means there’s no way many worthwhile performances and series will even get talked about, much less a nomination or an Emmy Award. So we’re here to help. By looking deep into the nitty-gritty of the past season, The Envelope is singling out the lesser-noticed, spotlight-worthy moments and performances among some of our favorite shows. And keep in mind, we’re looking at an entire season of episodes, so no complaining about spoilers. So with that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, we give you The Envelope’s Envy Awards.

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  • Setting the scene in ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Atlanta’ and more: Writers explain the draw of nominated episodes

    L.A. Times Envelope - 8/17/17

    A season takes months to write, weeks to shoot, hours to watch – and once it has an Emmy nomination, often what separates it from winning and losing an award can boil down into just minutes. Such pressure! So how do writers determine what the “key” scene is in their Emmy-nominated episodes anyway? Here’s what the 12 nominated writers shared with us when asked just that and as we learned, the definition of “key” varies widely – and contains multitudes.

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  • Decoding Episode Appeal to Voters Starts With Pilots

    Variety - 8/11/17

    Better Call Saul” co-creator Vince Gilligan has a theory about why he got an Emmy nomination for directing “Witness” this year. “I can make this short and sweet instead of laying a bunch of creative or artistic claptrap on you,” he says. “It’s probably name recognition.”

    To Gilligan, the reasoning behind why any episode gets nominated for an Emmy has long been out of reach. “ ‘Witness’ is a perfectly competently directed episode of television, but we had better episodes of ‘Saul,’” he says. “I literally can’t sit here and say this is why it’s superior.”

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  • ‘The worst pain a woman can go through’: ER docs misdiagnosed my twisted ovary - 6/28/17

    In early June, Anne Wheaton, wife of “The Big Bang Theory” actor Wil Wheaton, began experiencing excruciating pain on her right side, pelvis and torso. In the ER doctors suggested it was a kidney stone, gave her medication and sent her home to see if it would pass. Days later, her agonizing pain was getting worse.

    “I’ve had two kids, and it still wasn’t at that level of pain,” Anne Wheaton told TODAY. “The surgeon [later] told my husband that this is the worst pain a woman can go through.”

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  • Watch what happens when Andy Cohen talks about his growing empire

    L.A. Times Envelope - 6/15/17

    Andy Cohen is a busy man. “I subscribe to the [Ryan] Seacrest-ian model of employment, which is to keep adding things that I love,” he says, and his résumé proves it. The former Bravo exec is now host and executive producer of the network’s “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” and EP of “The Real Housewives” franchise. He has a SiriusXM “Radio Andy” channel, is a bestselling author with his Andy Cohen Books imprint, tours with Anderson Cooper and is the host-executive producer for Bravo’s new “Andy Cohen’s Then & Now” and the revived “Love Connection” on Fox.

    But that crazy workload didn’t stop him from offering The Envelope’s Randee Dawn the interviewer’s seat on the set of “Watch” and … well, watch what happened.

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