Nate DuFort is a writer, producer, and director who splits his time between Detroit and Chicago.
Mr. Dufort is a consultant for The Second City, having previously served as Producer, Producing Director, and Producing Artistic Director there, overseeing projects in cooperation between the iconic comedy theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago or Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, managing the partnership at sea between Second City and Norwegian Cruise Line and taking part in the annual Gilda’s Club of Chicago fundraiser Night of a Thousand Noogies. Nate served on the Board of Directors for Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck, Michigan and as the Director of the Planet Ant Film & Video Festival. He currently produces the podcast My Neighbors Are Dead available at myneighborsaredead.com
"If you can be a one person show: create, produce, post produce, and even distribute. You need to 100% express yourself as you are, and then look for the highest bidder that's not going to compromise that."
— Nate DuFort
Nate DuFort (guest): Go where you want to be: a lot of it is creating your own thing. You know, if you can be a one person show: create, produce, post produce, and even distribute—at the lower end of things. You’re creating your own proven grounds in not living within a system. Those people, when found out, are greater appreciated oftentimes than the people that will come up through a system for 12, 14 years. It’s about the journey for me. You are the destination. You need to 100% express yourself as you are, and then look for the highest bidder that’s not going to compromise that.
Simone Salis (host): I am Simone Salis, and this is Hoomans, with today’s guest: Nate DuFort Nate DuFort is a writer, producer, and director who splits his time between Detroit and Chicago. Mr. DuFort is a consultant for The Second City, having previously served as Producer, Producing Director, and Producing Artistic Director there overseeing projects in cooperation between the iconic comedy theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago or Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Managing the partnership at sea between The Second City and Norwegian Cruise Lines and taking part in the annual Gilda’s Club of Chicago fundraiser Night of a Thousand Noogies, Nate served on the board of directors for pPlanet Ant Theater in Hamtramck, Michigan, and as the director of the Planet AntFGilm and Video Festival, he currently produces the podcast ‘My Neighbors are Dead’ available at myneighborsareadead.com. So, Nate, you come if I’m not wrong from a family of woodworkers, is that correct?
N. DuFort: Absolutely. So on my mother’s side, my grandfather, he is a school teacher, a retired now, and a master woodworker that’s in cabinetry, but also he has a couple designs that have sold a. my understanding is all over the world. The denison mirror, something he created, but I also found him as I was growing up, finding really interesting partnerships with people that either studied under him that he taught formally in school. There was a guy, Michael Camp who was a great woodworker from the Michigan area that started making good pars and we would go to his studio and see these things crafted and I was already a musician, so I was already ridiculously impressed with the quality, these things that I would never be able to afford a but to get to play them and just see like this guy has really figured everything out. Uh, so I felt like I had a lot of access through my grandpa, which was really influential on me.
N. DuFort: Did you, did you play guitar? What instruments do you play? I did. So originally I started in middle school with Alto Saxophone and then got addicted to all woodwinds is whatever I found a new musician that I liked, I would pick up a new instrument. So Alto Saxophone and, you know, listening to Charlie Parker, a lester young, and then, you know, as soon as I heard John Coltrane, I wanted to play the tenor saxophone, Eric Dolphy, you know, the bass clarinet. Uh, I taught myself a little bit of flute as well. Um, and I would say that I am good at everything. Great at absolutely nothing. And then you’re one of those people. Exactly, exactly. And then guitar, Bass, drums, and then a lot of the bands that I played with, you know, in the late nineties, early two thousands back in Michigan, um, you know, it was primarily rhythm guitar and singing or Bass Guitar and backup vocals.
N. DuFort: But you definitely had, what inspiration did you have from your grandfather for Petco? That kind of craft. It was really seeing a combination of the artistic and the technical side going into any craft. You know, when you hear Woodworker, a lot of people think construction and um, that feels like a, you know, there’s some unnecessary stigma. It’s a lower class job and I really just never saw things that way. I happily embrace, you know, my working class roots and I think it becomes a real part of, you know, not just my work ethic but also my work aesthetic. So I definitely took that from my grandfather. A person who would get off work, come home, go to another job where he, uh, he can be a little more creative. And again, that combination of creative and technical always really appealed to me as I got into middle and high school.
N. DuFort: I was really fortunate to go to a high school that put an emphasis on arts and liberal arts. So we had a lot coming at us at all times. Um, by my senior year of high school I was taking a pottery class, a sculpture class, a painting class, a jewelry class, uh, and then also randomly a zen and Emerson and a Dow and thought class. So we were very fortunate with the programming, you know, where I grew up in a, in Plymouth, Michigan. All of those things were passions at one time or another. But in not having a specific passion or a specific plan, I really just wanted to learn a little bit of everything, hoping it would add up to something someday. Are you still that kind of person? It’s about the journey for me. Uh, the destination is death eventually, but in the meantime, it’s taking in as much knowledge, as much life as possible. Uh, experiencing those things, those people, those experiences.
S. Salis: What’s one thing that brings you joy in learning and experimenting right now?
N. DuFort: It’s funny, this shift that happens with parenthood, uh, I would say in so many comedians even get hung up on this right there, their content completely changes to that, of being a parent. Um, but it’s true. The discoveries you make in another person, be it a romantic partner, a friend, a business associate. Um, but there’s none more important than that of your child. So understanding the way that their brain works. I’m taking credit for as much as possible, but recognizing that you’re influenced past a very early age is very minimal on them and they’re going to seek out the things that they like. Recognizing those things, a new interests that’s the most rewarding. Understanding that she has small pieces of her mother’s small pieces of myself, but for the most part by this age, she’s her own person and that has caused many arguments, but they’re the best kind of arguments. Those ones where we both learn about the other person and we incorporate that into future interactions.
S. Salis: That is going to be an unfinished project because the project with freewheel absolutely. Absolutely, and the best part for me is A. There’s no roadmap. It fits all of my interest in having you know, the life of an improviser, artists there is. You have all these passions for you. You focused on a specific one, Improv in some capacity both as an actor and as a producer, director, creative director. Any regular listeners to this show, they might know at this point that the second city of these iconic theater in Chicago where the most famous contemporary comedians came out from like Steve Carrell, Tina Fey’s, Stephen Cole, bear and many more. And you were one of the producers and you worked there right now as a consultant. When did you find out about the second city? How? How did the second city come into your life and vice versa? Well, I was
N. DuFort: studying music and was really interested in different music of the world and there are a lot of themes that kept popping up. I’m in improvisation. It was also, at the time were, a lot of that was happening here in Chicago in the mid nineties. Uh, so I had a radio show in highschool, WSD P in Plymouth. That was hugely influential on me, but it also introduced me to improvisational and free music. As I was reading about that, I picked up a book called something wonderful right away by Jeffrey sweet. And I think so many of us that didn’t really know about that world found it through these books, you know, the stuff that happened on the University of Chicago campus. As I started reading about that, I had a friend sign up for second city classes in Detroit. I had no idea there was a second city in Detroit. It’s the longest running non Chicago or Toronto second city.
N. DuFort: It was there for 13 years and I didn’t know, but when I signed up for classes just hoping to Meld my two worlds, you know, improvisation and truly an obscene interest in sketch comedy. My life changed forever. I think that that improvisation is life changing, you know, not just in the comedic place, but anytime, especially now where you’re asked to be present and focus those moments, have the power to change the world. There are other doors that open because I’m training this muscle immediately within a month or two of being in classes. Started doing voiceover work in Detroit and, you know, almost making a living just off of that, uh, where, you know, job prospects for me, I was working in bookstores and record stores at the time. So this opened up all kinds of worlds and I started auditioning for theater and doing sketches. And the cool thing about Detroit at the time, uh, was everyone was writing from the second you started improvising.
N. DuFort: You were also writing sketch because there wasn’t anyone there saying you need to just focus on this work on this. We wanted to do it all. So there were times where we were writing six, seven sketch shows a year and really working those writing muscles and that’s why some of my favorite writers of the last 10 years have come from that, you know, Detroit system with a, with second city and planet and theater there. So I didn’t look at it as a career I looked at, is it as the jobs that come from this are temporary, they will get me through the next thing. But I know I’m an improviser for life. How did you end up at the second city in Chicago? You started working at the second city in Detroit. So I was on a touring company. They’re with people that are, to this day, some of my favorite human beings alive.
N. DuFort: Uh, it was on a touring company with Tommy Robinson, might know from snl and detroiters, Jamie Moyer, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. A PJ J. Coke’s my good pal Brett gun. Now I’m Tiffani Jones, Quintin Hicks, you know, so many super funny people, most of them. Second City Alumni. Then the theater closed while I was on the touring company, the theater closed at our downtown Detroit location. It reopened with a new partner in Novi, Michigan a year or so later, and you know, most of us got our jobs back, which was great for me. I saw nothing but opportunity with fat though it was strange being in the suburbs, particularly moving from Detroit, you know, a liberal hub of the midwest to moving to basically city that’s a result of white flight from the city. Our content changed in, you know, none of our favorite thing in the world.
N. DuFort: Instead of commenting about us and the urban experience talking about Detroit very much became talking about them and it became very racially divisive with, with an audience that was not super appreciative of social satire when they’re not on the same team as us politically. The producer there, Caroline Roush, uh, she was going on maternity leave and they needed a stand in producer classic to second city, a history and what Bernie sahlins established, uh, they weren’t going to pay. And it’s also one of my favorite things. And being a producer there was just like, yeah, I’ll step into that. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? Um, I had been producing at planet and theater. I was directing shows there and saw that. So I had some production experience but not at the level and Polish of what second city was doing. It was a black box theater and where the, you know, the shows were very funny to us.
N. DuFort: Would they translate to as broad of an audience as second city would have? I don’t necessarily think so. As good as the work was. So when that position opened up, I happily stepped in for, I don’t know what it was, six weeks maybe. Uh, when caroline came back from her maternity leave, I think she made the call to return to Chicago. Leaving that opening. There were only a few names that were being looked at. I think I performed as a brand ambassador or someone that could protect that brand in such a city. I think I performed pretty well as they asked me to take that spot. So I think I was 27 at the time. I was given the keys to second city and a second city training center and uh, that’s what I did for two years there. The partnership neared its conclusion and Kelly asked, so what’s next for you? And I didn’t know classic me, I had no idea. And he said, well, how would you like to see the world with Beth Kligerman a co producing our agreement with Norwegian cruise line? And I jumped at the chance. I moved to Chicago and it just so happened that a lot of my actors, um, and some of my best friends from second city in Detroit were coming out at the exact same time. So it just seemed like a perfect move.
N. DuFort: IMC, Montas Sally. So this is humans with today’s guest, nate do for producer of the podcast. My neighbors are
S. Salis: dead. Nate, you word for the second city for almost 17 years. And at some point you had been let go. You know, you, you, I think you’d say to yourself, you call a place a family, a community. And he probably still is, but after 17 years and being the one main focus as a passion in your life,
N. DuFort: you know, anytime you have a transition like that, that is as unexpected as that was, you have to relearn a lot of things. Nothing more important than humility a honestly. And, um, it made me rethink a lot of things. Now, I also felt fortunate in that I was surrounded by so many great people, including the owner of second city, Andrew Alexander, all of my fellow producers, uh, so many people that I learned so much from that the idea of a transition wasn’t a huge jump for me for the preceding year or so. I had been very seriously looking at the audio domain. And that’s why I love sitting here talking to you in this medium. Uh, I think it’s incredibly important the autonomy you can have creating in this way. And that’s something that when you’re working for a theater organization as large as second city, uh, you start to realize, oh, my name isn’t even on these projects that I’m working with.
N. DuFort: And that’s not anyone’s fault. That’s just unfortunately how the system works. The second city name is larger than any individual’s name, so of course the second city, his name is going to go over something that you’ve produced. But, uh, seeing this in podcasting really appealed to me. So I had been connected through the great heather winner. I don’t know if her name has come up at all, which is a long time. I’m a house manager at second city that is tied to Chicago’s music scene going way back. She’s just another one of those amazing human beings in that building that I learned so much from, but she made a couple of great connections for me while I was still there and people that conversation’s really ended up influencing what my possibilities were. Uh, one of those people was, oh, it’s going to sound so name droppy, I apologize, but it’s part of the path.
N. DuFort: We’d explain who they are. Jeff Alrich, uh, and was the cofounder with Scott Aukerman of Earwolf podcasting network who then went on to found midroll, which really cracked the code on monetizing all of this stuff. So I had a conversation that I thought was going to be, you know, 30 minutes by phone with Jeff, he said, I’m actually in town. How would you like to come over to my parents’ house and we’ll do lunch or something. We ended up spending half a day together and it was really a great brain dump, not because of podcasting, not because he’s filling my head with all these ideas, but because he was asking questions, that was always my approach to producing. I’m not dictating anything. I’m asking questions that may or may not steer the outcome of something, but he asked a question that really changed everything for me, which is what can I do for you? What do you actually want and what did you want in that moment? That moment I didn’t want the conversation to stop. So you just asking like let’s keep talking for the rest of what I wanted was to be in autonomous artists slash
S. Salis: yeah. Say So. Whatever you. We’re basically what you said up until now, I’m impressive. Like, you know, when there is such a big change, I think it’s challenging to see it as an opportunity because there is a very practical aspect of that at least I think is the disruption of a routine. If you talk to many people that have had like a big work, change your life, change, shifting your routine, unless you’re very self conscious of what you want and what you need. Knee means when you spend like 50 or 60 hours focused on work, then you spend most of the time all of a sudden looking at yourself in the mirror and that can be overwhelming gray, a routine
N. DuFort: pillar of innovation. But there’s an interesting line because while fear can be a great motivator, it can also be absolutely paralyzing. So finding the sweet spot in between the elimination of routine, uh, you know, for the sake of innovation, but not settling for something that you would do as a result of fear. It’s really a suite area to plan. The great thing is, that’s exactly what improvisation does to our brain is finding something that, you know, I listened to your episode with Kelly Leonard where he talked about changing the, just changing the wiring and the nerves pre-performance or public speaking from being scared to do it, to being excited to do it and just, you know, claiming that word of excitement, uh, can do so much to change your wiring. So upon that conversation with Jeff, he asked me one more conversation. I asked him to predict the future of audio and this was she almost two years ago, um, and it was something that I was already working on in my head, but he said in response to what’s the future of audio, what do you listen to in the car with your daughter?
N. DuFort: Said I listen to the fucking frozen soundtrack again and again and again, just think about. And so I did. And so for the last two years, uh, we have been working on launching a children’s network of audio content here from the Midwest. Three shows that will go out this fall. We’re in production on all of them now. Preproduction takes for ever when you don’t have financial backing, but the great thing about this city is there is a, there’s a huge amount of talented people say Cameron Pool. That’s exactly, and they are overlooked because we’re in the midwest. It’s a blessing and a curse because there are people that aren’t necessarily being taken to the coasts quite yet, but at the same time their talent is at the level of anyone doing work anywhere. You also started
S. Salis: to work on my neighbors are that and my neighbor is there at that is a show which is a dean intersection of comedy and horror, a you take improvisers, standup comedians and they played side characters or minor characters that might have been or actually were in, in favorite horror movies, films. And uh, maybe it’s someone that was there just for half a scene or just a few frames specify or total event at character. And then Adam Peacock, which is the host of the show. And you were the producer interview those characters and try to improvise in, right? Correct.
N. DuFort: Yeah. So Adam is one of my best friends. Going back to my second city beginnings, Adam was actually my stage manager when I was on touring company. He was awful at it. Adam was always meant to be on stage, has none of the leadership skills, you need to have a as a touring stage manager. And we gave him hell out there. Um, he was in Chicago and he was wondering about what was next for him and we had done a pilot before I left second city, but he kept going on tour or he was doing these contracts with Norwegian cruise long enough for four and a half month gig where he was at sea and couldn’t necessarily follow through on the project. When he got back, I had a hard conversation with them. I said, I need you to commit to this right now or I’m going to pull out of it.
N. DuFort: And he said, yeah, let’s do a real pilot. So we got our pal, Allan, Lynette, who was on the second city, etc. Stage currently, uh, to do a pilot with us. And our only rule of thiS was we only wanted to work with people. We liked a, it was a very strict, no asshole rule. Um, we have seen so many people in this community have such problematic behaviors, uh, people that have taken advantage of the blind spots in the larger institutions to, you know, be predators, a be jerks in general. And uh, we wanted to do our best given our knowledge of the community to, uh, to circumvent that and just work with, you know, people that we thought were genuinely nice. It just so happens that those people are also hilarious. So it worked out really well for us and you know, uh, right upon launch it seemed that we got quite a bit of good traction enough that we’ve been able to pull some really cool people from outside of our community as well. Yeah. And credit because most of them
S. Salis: people that you invite are also people that, you know, through your work for almost two decades at the second cd and beating the comedy community in your role. And you had amazing guests. Uh, you hAd. Well, there was one episode, I think it was your second episode. It was a very, very high, very height and uh, and then you had voice actors from arif, from bojack horseman, and you know, we have so many guests and my neighbors heard that he has been recommended by the aav club, by splitsider and, and so the no jerks rule is reflecting well in selecting friends that are also hilarious. Like you said, I think that’s the most important because it takes one church to bring down the morale and a project and this is
N. DuFort: host to be fun. that’s why we do it. No one is creating a podcast. well, I’m sure there are in comedy known as creating a podcast saying, I want to be rich. This is our art. This is our work. This is separate from commerce. If it can work out that both are happening simultaneously, that is absolutely a win. But for us, we want to improvise and have conversations with fun people and we’re in a great spot now that we’re talking to networks. Deciding if that even makes sense for us to translate to a network for yourself. As you mean for yourselves as a project, you are not sure he would be good for you guys to join our network because of the independent creativity that you have or it’s a when it’s a great question. Uh, so a lot of networks look at us and say that our numbers are quite high enough for them and it’s like, well, we’re at 75 percent of what you’re asking.
N. DuFort: We don’t necessarily want money, we want amplification from you. Uh, and for the most part they’re saying like, great, that’s cool, but also you guys podcast is too long, so we can’t justify putting x amount of ads in there. well that was the entire point of the podcast was to keep it shorter. So I don’t know if you’ve seen the running times on them, but they’re typically, you know, 18 to 20 minutes, 20 minutes mark, which. So you know, exactly. You know, we were looking at it as where when gimlet launched alex bloomberg was looking at the commute time, you know, 20 to 22 minutes for most of these episodes. Now a lot of their shows go longer now. And I think it is a business decision to do so for us, you know, we have time for a midroll add a and beyond that we don’t want to make the hour long show what we wanted to take was and nothing against them, but we want to take our favorite part of comedy, bang bang, which was just the character interviews, you know, when andy daley would on and do a character that was the stuff that I’d listened to over and over and over again.
N. DuFort: And we jUst wanted to do that. That was it. Get people in and out. We have started to adjust our format to, you know, meet what networks are looking for and are super happy with that, but we don’t want to increase our length, you know, beyond 25, 30 minutes tops. So what you got out of actually being going through this great transition in your life and unexpected, an unexpected moment is a revitalized and renewed interest for, for your own passions and finding independent creativity and, and pursuing that and being able to amplify that. exactly. it’s great. I keep stumbling into things and I won’t say that it’s locked because you know, to, uh, to embrace luck. There’s a lot of preparation, obviously that goes into being ready for the moment that an opportunity presents itself. Good pal of mine. I’m ben jones that, you know, actually transitioned on the second city the same day as I was laid off, gave me a call a day later that was, hey, do you want to come to this note session for an episode of love and radio?
N. DuFort: And it’s like, yes I do. That’s one of my favorite shows. So I meet john and steven, you took part in that right? You took part into the episode of love and radio. So it was great because I got to meet those guys and give a little bit of feedback. Um, I’m sure nothing that changed, you know, the workflow or the art for these, uh, these gents. But it became my single favorite episode of radio that year. An episode called blink once for yes, about john’s brother. and then steven called me up a few months later and said, hey, what should audition for a role? And then he called me back a few months later, hey, I want you to. So you know, being able to voice an episode of love and radio, even a small section was a little bit of a dream. You do. The voice work I get to do in chicago is primarily, you know, corporate training, vicious radio commercials. Yeah. It’s stuff that is fun and it’s enjoyable, but it’s not for a show that has a, you know, a double factor to it like love and radio, which their free form storytelling is that exactly maps over my, uh, my preferences.
Speaker 3: Imc mona sally said this is humans. You can listen to every episode on your favorite podcast app or with the transcript available on humans. Don’t afford. Today’s guest is made before writer, director and producer of the show. My neighbors or dad
N. DuFort: steve jobs in 2010 when introducing the new apple tv defined podcasts and specifically like independent media creation as the amateur hour. I think that was partially like hypocritical because, you know, podcasts are huge part of the whole digital revolution. and at the same time I can see why though. Did steve jobs have a point, the late steve jobs about this kind of independent media being amateur hour about it? Does it matter? I do think he had a point. I agree. Okay. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that that is the most exciting thing about it. It’s amateur hour in that most people don’t have corporate sponsors dictating their content, uh, making a podcast and you know, we don’t need another podcast from a two white guys sitting around talking about marvel movies. What at the same time, there is an audience for that and that excites me.
N. DuFort: It’s taking radio back. It’s taking art forms back and amateur may have a negative connotation to it, but for me, all it means is non-corporate. And that’s really exciting. It’s interesting to see so many of the podcast network succeeding that are in blowing up. You know, even with his public radio pedigree, alex bloomberg was going out on a limb and creating something that, who knew if it was going to attract to the listeners that did new. Now gimlet is all of a sudden seeing as the big bad giant that it’s very, especially after you know, that really misguided sitcom alex inc, you know, it, uh, but at its core, that was so fucking punk rock. You know what bloomberg did a that I appreciate that that first season of startup is legendary for a reason and the results of it and it was kind of amateurish or at least it was performative in that way.
N. DuFort: Um, which I can appreciate the theater of that. It’s still entertaining. but the amateur thing is again, it’s part of the narrative that we haven’t cracked. It means we’ll then when these things monetize, no one’s gonna see us coming, which is great and I don’t mean that specifically about my shows, but about the medium in general. And as you look at what’s happening in the audio drama world right now, people are, for better or worse, pulling more content from, from audio dramas than almost anywhere else right now. Seeing what’s happening with the bright sessions from lauren shipping paul bay with a black tapes in the big loop. All of these great shows that are getting or hopefully soon getting great deals to turn that content to another medium. I feel that in some cases, nope, the audio was perfect and maybe this doesn’t make sense for the storytelling.
N. DuFort: It’s a quick cash grab, but there are some storytelling or sub storytellers that their, their work being so much to so many people that we know can responsibly and empathetically handled the shift to any medium. I would listen, watch, read lauren ship and do absolutely anything immediately. She’s that good of a storyteller and there are a lot of people out there doing that stuff. I feel the same way, you know, on the comedic side, uh, with the magic tavern guys. I mean, arnie camp is a quiet genius. And how he put that together with, uh, with maton adult, it’s, it’s truly masterful how, uh, how that show came together and how much it means to so many people. And how many copycat shows that I’m a, I’m sure in some way we’re copying what they’re doing. I’m not seeing amateur as the dirty word that perhaps jobs was this a decentralization of creativity.
N. DuFort: And creatives and distribution that comes with podcasting, does it include more diversity? Is it also bringing more diversity? It has to and I think it is. The big companies are always going to have these problems because of their, you know, their hiring processes. It’s almost any corporation in America are there more voices out there. It’s my hope thAt the autonomy can break that, but at the same time everything is about those connections. Right. So are we seeing lgbtqa like voices on networks? Well, in comedy we are, but elsewhere I don’t know yet. Yeah, I mean that was part of the, the children’s thing for me is I’m making sure all of our shows are run by women. What are. Yeah, what’s happening with that show? What are your pillars? What do you just it because you had, for example, the rule with, uh, adam, when you created my neighbor to start at the first rule was no assholes.
N. DuFort: Which rules did you lay down? Which pillars did you lay down for this children’s show and shows and network? Originally I had an idea for five shows with myself acting as show runner and all of them, and that idea lasted about a day before I went to my partner and asked her, how can I be better besides the obvious, how can I be better as a human being? No creative talking. No, I get. I get that encouragement and advice daily. Thank goodness she makes me a better human being. I asked how can I do better and she said, you need to let go of control and do what you did at second city and again, the great thing about second city is the voice of that theater is very much the voice of the people currently on stage. That is the only thing that gives directors and producers a life there.
N. DuFort: You don’t have a say in content and the generational mores follow that of the people currently on those stages with age range of typically 25 to 30 years old, so it may not be finger on the pulse, but it’s relatively close for theater in new work and applying that to our own art is incredibly important. So immediately I went and found some creatives and said, this is what I’m thinking, what’s your take? And you know, we writer’s room, all of it. And my voice became vat of corralling, making sure there was a workflow, um, you know, hitting certain targets and timelines, but ultimately taking a step back, I can give notes on structure. I’m giving some notes on, you know, the things that will affect production. But when it comes to character and content, I’m very happy to have queer writers making most of the content for this stuff or hosting most of these shows and most of them being women.
N. DuFort: Can I do better? Yes. But am I going to try daily 100 percent. That’s my job as someone that is doing this right, is I have to give voices to people that may not have those opportunities. And if I’m creating a platform, I’m, I would just be silly not to take advantage of those voices. No one needs to hear me right? Children’s content at this point. I’m not a child as much as I may appreciate and have been inspired by much of that stuff in my life. It’s my time to sit down and help other people. Your approach to production is actually the one of a facilitator for the message that you want, you think deserves to reach a wider audience right now and improve. So it’s kind of a social work approach to production the one you’re keeping now? I’d like to think so.
N. DuFort: And I’d like to say that, you know, that was in part learned from working at second city. Andrew’s biggest step forward in diversifying the theaters was in creating the detroit theater where he wanted to specifically pull more african american talent. That was the theater I walked into and thought that type of diversity was natural to second city and improvisation. And it wasn’t really until I started coming to chicago are going to improv festivals that I realized, oh no, second city of detroit is something very, very special. uh, so I felt lucky that that was my first exposure and have carried some of that in. The other part of it though is just seeing as I was in chicago, the problems everyone was having, that every troop that, uh, I was initially going to see was a bunch of, you know, white, cis dudes and flannels and I needed to adjust, you know, I was going to see these people because I knew them and thought they were funny or I heard they were funny and I realized like I’m falling all over myself.
N. DuFort: I’m making all kinds of mistakes and not even diversifying what ma, what I’m viewing. I had to do better. I still need to do better. I mean, we all do. We all do. Going to improve these amateur hour podcast that I’ve been doing lately. What are some ethical imperatives? Did you discover it throughout life? And you give to yourself what are some personal beliefs that you have and you try to live by? A lot of them came from experience, honestly. Um, you know, I was overweight as a child and, and now right back on that bus. But in between that time, you know, what would be seen as an average or normal body. And it’s that fucking word, uh, that, that word normal. Yeah. That, that is where almost everything bad in our judgment comes from is anything that strays from, you know, what is considered center or normal is extreme or not good or not healthy or not beautiful.
N. DuFort: And you know, I learned that relatively early on and I will trip and fall over it to this day. Um, you, I first heard this expression from a, from jen ellison who I’ve learned so much from stumbling ally and that’s very much, you know, my approach to so many things as I will fall and please be patient as I pull myself back up because I promised I am on your side. But those judgments also growing up, not having money, you know, coming from very much a working class, divorced family, you know, single parent, a mother raising me is seeing how we treat people that are less fortunate than us for, you know, uh, in administration that calls itself christian, a very strict atheist by the way. But, you know, uh, the lack of any christian values and how we treat people less fortunate than us.
N. DuFort: Absolutely kills me. So in the work that I try and do is, uh, you know, the elimination of normal, uh, the elimination of status quo and being as accepting as possible. I hate that it’S taken me this long to realize, recognize and act on that. But for the first time in a long time, I’m calling the shots on my career as meandering as that happens to be right now. I don’t like to take advantage of people. I specifically don’t like to take advantage of artists and I don’t want to assume normal where ever I have the opportunity to do otherwise when those are pretty much the things I live by. Whatever you say. Could it be just as simple and beautiful as being humanist? Do you identify yourself as a spiritual person? I do with, again, enormous lapses in the lapses are not in spirituality, but they’re in self care.
N. DuFort: I consider myself a spiritual person when I remember and make time to be that is um, you know, especially living a freelancer’s life again for the first time in a long time. Uh, I’ll say it’s self care comes with less frequency, uh, than it should or that you know, a doctor would encourage, uh, so yes, with long periods of maybe unintentionally denying that you very much ha are one of those people that are at the intersection of tech and arts. what’s one word of advice that you would give to a younger person in between tech and arts to pursue a fulfilling life and career without going crazy worked for yourself when you can, you know, if you can be a one person show, you know, create, produce, post, produce, and even distribute, you know, at the lower end of things, you’re creating your own proven grounds in not living within a system.
N. DuFort: Those people when found our greater appreciated oftentimes in the people that will come up through a system for 12, 14 years that have all those skills that are seen as being a technical person. A lot of it is creating your own thing. So I’m looking at you right now in this thing you’ve created with this podcast and just how beautiful it is. Neither one of us having our phones out, sitting across from each other, having a conversation that I will admit because of my brain is all over the damn place. I don’t know how you’re going to edit this, but also listen to your show and I know you’ll find a way. Is it going to be good audio? I have no idea, but you’ve created a really beautiful thing once. Enough people here that I know you weren’t asking for personal advice, but I’m turning it into that because I’ll take it.
N. DuFort: This is a testament to your skill more than any job you could be doing for someone else in postproduction. It’s not that that stuff is easy. It’s very hard to learn the skills to do it well, but you’ve created your own thing that also delivers upon that. You know, at second city. So often we say the advice we give to interns or anyone asking is go to where you wanted to be and create that thing for that, uh, that company, that building that institution. Make yourself invaluable there. And it’s a little bit backwards for people that want to be artists or want to, um, uh, you know, ride the line between a creative and technical. You
S. Salis: are the destination, right? Like you need to 100 percent, express yourself as you are, and then look for the highest bidder that’s not going to compromise, that may do for currently the producer of my neighbors started debt that you can find on my neighbors or that.com. And I’m guessing today on humans. Thank you so much for being here today. Thanks for having me. May do foreign is a writer, director, and producer. Currently working on my neighbors and a dad at podcasting intersecting horror and comedy improvisation. Hosted by adam peacock creative consultant. For the second cd, you can listen to mr [inaudible] current work by visiting the website. My neighbors are dad.com.
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