Marissa Melnyk [Interview]

 

Hey Folks! Happy Friday to you all. I am so damned excited to share this incredible interview with you all. Over the last 3 years or so, I have looked forward to every Thursday for the dropping of the best podcast out there in the digital airwaves today. That podcast would be the brilliant All Fantasy Everything. We’ve talked about it quite a bit here at TWS, especially since I first discovered the podcast through our interview with co-host Sean Jordan! We’ve also had the honor of having fellow co-host David Gborie (who we just talked about last Saturday, actually) on the site a couple of years ago as well. And today we have a third member of the Good Vibes Gang with us here today! It’s the incredible, super producer Marissa Melnyk!

Some of you may know her as the background giggler for AFE, and if you know this, you know that she is an absolute gem of a human being who is adored by the show’s hosts and my fellow fans in the All Family Everything as well. Or maybe from Punch Up the Jam, where she also does some amazing work. Or any other delightful HeadGum podcast she’s worked on! It is such an honor having Marissa with us today gracing our digital pages. While I love all of our guests equally, I really really wanted to learn a bit more about the greatest producer in podcast history! And she does not disappoint! She gave some wonderful answers, and I am so excited for you all to check them out!

So, I will stop my babbling, and just get right into it! Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the even more amazing person, the great Marissa Melnyk!

 

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What inspired you to get into your line of work? Was production in the world of entertainment you have wanted to do so since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world?

I watched a lot of TV growing up and liked the idea of producing entertainment for others. The idea of working on something that could make a stranger somewhere around the world laugh,  felt very fulfilling to me. I’d always been a fan of technology and the “behind-the-scenes” of production, and I put that in practice through making content for the web.

I never expected to fall into podcasting, but it oddly came full circle in my life. The first podcast I listened to regularly was the Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick. My favourite episodes were the “hostfuls”, where Chris, Jonah, and Matt would just gab for an hour. They often would reference their off mic producer Katie Levine, and I always wondered just what her role was on the show. 8 years later, I now find myself working on a show where 3 hosts gab and I sit off mic as a producer. It’s a little surreal that ultimately Katie’s position that I questioned about, I would find myself in years later. 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And where there any sort of lessons learned from this project that you still use in your work today?

I used to love attending local anime conventions, where I would bring my DSLR camera to shoot cosplay montage videos. It was a fun way to practice videography, editing, and get a free media badge for the weekend. 

Many of my freelance videography jobs I got were through people watching my videos on YouTube, or seeing me filming in public. This cosplay side project lead to job opportunities, which eventually built to bigger projects. Looking back on it, it taught me that the best way to get into the industry is to just start making something. Just do the thing and learn every step of the production- from planning, shooting, editing, publishing, and marketing. It lead me to understand what roles I was passionate about, and allowed me to be a flexible player in any project. 

Having that passion project was so valuable. It’s a great learning experience and in the end you’ll have a published product online that can be seen and shared. And could lead to the eyes of your next employer. 

I also learned that word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool – if you’re nice and a good person to work with, the word will spread to others, and more opportunities will come your way. 

I am a proud member of one of the greatest families of all time, the All Family Everything. I never miss an episode of All Fantasy Everything. It’s so great, and the work you do on the show shines through. So, what is it like to work on a show like this? Is it as much fun to work on as it is for us to listen to?

Aha, the All Family is the best family. The boys give me too much credit – I just ensure it’s tech’d and published to the web. it’s their amazing personalities, heart, and good vibes that make the show so special. 

When hosts work day jobs, we often record evenings or weekends – but it never feels like work when you’re working with those guys. They are 100% certified good, funny AF dudes.  And the emotionally-open nature they promote has lead to real positive influences on my mental health, and for many of our listeners too. We’ve gotten some amazing feedback from listeners who started pursuing self-care or therapy after hearing it promoted frequently on the podcast, which is nice to know the show has made a positive impact on people’s lives.

AFE’s host dynamic emanates the same magic that drew me to podcast listening in the first place, and now having the opportunity to produce that content for others to enjoy makes it rewarding work. 

 

 

What would you say is your favorite AFE pick thus far?

It was Nicole Byer’s first pick in the “Dating” draft. The stakes were high – It was her first time on the podcast for a very open-ended topic, so she could’ve gone anywhere with it. Nicole was set to draft first, and since the first pick tends to set the tone of the entire show, there was a lot of pressure on what it would be.  I remember waiting with bated breath to see what she would draft as her #1 pick about “Dating” … and her answer was “Being Eaten Out”. 

It made me laugh a lot. She nailed it.

Another wonderful HeadGum podcast you work on that I never miss when it comes out, is the incredible Punch Up The Jam. It’s so much fun, and again, you do amazing work on it! So sort of the same questions: Is working on Punch Up The Jam as fun to work on as it is to listen to?

Demi and Miel are such incredibly talented people, and I’m always blown away by their work every week making the punch ups. That’s another show I felt so lucky just to be in the same room. What listeners don’t get to experience is the amazing energy during the recording – When the song clips play there’s often scream-singing, dancing and head banging. The hype is contagious. 

That show’s format is incredibly fun to edit and taught me a lot about mixing music in podcasting. Fans might notice the latest All Fantasy Everything musical draft episodes (such as Weddings Dance Songs, Disney Songs, and an upcoming Love Songs episode) have musical clips heavily incorporated in the mix, and I thank PUTJ for giving me the practise.

Plus that show has such a killer theme song. Anytime I hear “PUNCH IT” I wanna throw a fist in the air. It’s just so good.

And what would you say is your favorite Punch Up that Miel or Demi have made?

Hands down, it’s the “Sk8r Boi” punch up they did together. They turned my middle school anthem into a hauntingly beautiful musical performance. Having grown up as an angsty Avril Lavigne-loving teen who also loved broadway musicals, this punch up really resonated with me. 

It’s so well produced and truly an experience – an absolute gem of a track hidden at the end of a podcast episode. 

Your Instagram is deifnitely one of my favorites. You get into the BEST shenanigans involving the world of video games, podcasting, etc. I understand you were actually just back in your homeland for the Toronto International Film Festival. Simply out of curiousity, how was your trip? Were you there to promote a specific project, or just because you are dope and you do dope shit?

Aha TIFF was great. I used to volunteer with the festival for years before I worked there freelance. Working there was a very rewarding experience since it introduced me to my mentor, Aaron Van Domelen, who taught me most of what I know today. 

This trip however, I wanted to enjoy the festival instead of work it. I also brought my Michigan-based boyfriend Zach, and it was great to experience the city through his eyes. Would an American love the city as much as I do? Luckily, he loved it! Toronto’s an amazing city, and it really lights up around TIFF’s season. I was recognized twice there from my podcasting work – which is just so wild to me? Most people who listen to podcasts don’t know what the show’s hosts look like. So the fact that people could recognize me who works off-mic on a show is just crazy to me. It’s really magical when it happens though, because it allows me to geek out about my love for the podcasts with a listener.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I recorded my first guest appearance on All Fantasy Everything! We drafted Bucket List Items, which is a topic I’ve been wanting to draft for nearly a year. Just had to wait until I had the nerve to appear on-mic.

HeadGum is also launching a slate of new original shows soon with some amazing new talent. Be on the lookout for it!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Just about every podcast episode makes me laugh, so the last thing that made me smile would be the last thing I edited. At the time of writing, I just finished editing All Fantasy Everything “Scariest Fictional Characters” In the episode there’s a lot of mention of “peepee poopoo” and David had a bit about “cutting off his dumps” which made me laugh a lot. It may not sound like the best sell for the podcast, but it was really silly. 

I’m thankful that I get to laugh a lot at my job 🙂

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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