05 Erica Jong

Are YOU Well Read? … or, “The Best Part of Crewing My 1st National TV Show”

This summer I signed on to be a member of the production crew at UW Video. UW Video, located on the University of Washington Seattle campus, is a complete video production studio with state of the art equipment, professional staff (including me) and technical expertise.

When I joined UW Video, my first gig was working with one of their clients, Two Dogs Barking Productions. Two Dogs Barking is producing the 2015-2016 season of Well Read, a show for book lovers that is now in its fifth season. It’s a real privilege to work with our amazing Executive Producer Kerri O’Farrell and the Two Dogs Barking Production team of professionals, as well as the incredibly talented filmmakers that make up the rest of the crew at UW Video.

Honestly, you don’t have to be an avid reader or even a book lover to enjoy this show. All you have to be is a person who wants to know what’s going on in the world, someone interested in learning. Sure, our guests come on the show to promote their books, but it’s always interesting conversation with fascinating people. I’ve been working on Well Read since September and the list of guests we’ve welcomed is impressive.

After leaving LA, I never imagined I’d still find myself working with such A-Listers as world-renowned novelist Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights), trailblazing author/poet Erica Jong (Fear of Flying, Fear of Dying), feminist icon/activist/author Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road), and actor/author Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Bream Gives Me Hiccups). We’ve taped over 15 shows so far, and I really look forward to each new episode.

Five episodes had already aired before I came onboard, so my first experience on the show was the interview with Salman Rushdie. Less than 24 hours after I had enjoyed his latest appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, here he was — right in front of me — in Seattle. I remember thinking how he exudes such elegance and gravitas when he speaks.

Later in the season, author and journalist Hector Tobar spoke about his New York Times bestseller, The Untold Story of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free, on which Antonio Banderas’ 2015 film dramatization, The 33, was based. In yet another installment, I was struck by the mercurial Jesse Eisenberg’s razor sharp wit; it’s as if he has two brains operating at 100 miles per hour.

Many of the books promoted on the show are history related, so — as an avid history buff — I find those particularly interesting. The authors of books like Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, The Witches: Salem, 1692, and The Pentagon’s Brain offered up some wonderful historical factoids.

Well Read airs in the Seattle area on KCTS 9, but it can be seen on over 250 public television stations, covering 84 percent of US television markets. So look for it in your area! In the meantime, you can catch up on the episodes you’ve missed on the Well Read website.

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