Working

Working

Hosts Rumaan Alam, Isaac Butler, and June Thomas interview creative people about how they write, compose, paint, and more.... Show More

Episodes

September 20, 2020 50 min
This week host June Thomas talks about the underrated art of scrapbooking with Ali Edwards, who managed to turn her love of crafting into a full-time career. In the interview, Ali discusses her most popular scrapbooking projects, like “December Daily,” and explains why the practice of pairing photographs with words and artistic flair can lead to personal growth and reflection.  After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk...
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This week, host Isaac Butler learns the finer points of costume design from Brenda Abbandandolo, who recently dressed two different characters played by Seth Rogen in American Pickle. Brenda also designed costumes for The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco, and spent some time working on SNL’s digital shorts. In the interview, she talks about how costumes can communicate information about characters and how prac...
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This week, host Rumaan Alam talks about the importance of museums with writer and art advocate, Kimberly Drew, whose Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art set her apart as one of the most promising young voices in the visual art world. It also led to a job as social-media manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the interview, Kimberly discusses her new book, This Is What I Know About Art, and talks about the role art has played ...
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This week, host June Thomas talks to novelist, journalist, editor, and radio host Kurt Andersen, who talks about the curiosity and drive that has fueled so many of his creative pursuits. He also discusses his latest nonfiction book, Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, and he ponders the legacy of Spy magazine, a publication he co-founded in the 1980s.   After the interview, June and co-host Isaac Butler discuss the difference b...
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This week host Isaac Butler traces the creative origins of Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer-winning musical A Strange Loop. In the interview, Michael talks about his early songwriting attempts and the gradual process of turning a monologue about his experiences as a young, Black gay man into a one-man show and then turning that one-man show into a “proper musical.”  After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas discuss Michael’s ...
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This week, host Rumaan Alam talks to artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya about his unique style of intimate studio photography. In the interview, Paul breaks down the difference between artist and photographer, shares what it was like to get recognized for his work early in life, and explains why critical success doesn’t always translate to monetary success.  After the interview, Rumaan and co-host Isaac Butler talk about why it’s so difficul...
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This week, host Isaac Butler talks to composer Michael Abels about what it’s like to write music for suspenseful movies like Get Out, Us, and the recent HBO movie Bad Education, starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney. In the interview, Michael digs into the collaborative nature of film scoring and offers tips on how to capture your creativity.   After the interview, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about the music they listen t...
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August 2, 2020 46 min
This week, host June Thomas talks about her deep love of audio fiction with longtime radio and podcast writer-producer John Scott Dryden. First, they discuss the U.K. origins of the genre and the growing appetite for audio fiction in the U.S. Then they dig into John’s production process and discuss how he creates immersive stories using sounds and voices from all over the world.  After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam an...
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This week, host Rumaan Alam talks to cartoonist and New Yorker cover artist Adrian Tomine, who just released a graphic memoir called The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist. In the interview, Adrian talks about what it was like for his childhood hobby to become a full-time job, and how his art has evolved over the years.  After the interview, co-host June Thomas interviews Slate writers Dahlia Lithwick and Molly Olmstead abo...
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This week, host June Thomas talks to Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and Fred Armisen, creators of the HBO show Los Espookys. The three comedians talk about what it was like to craft a bilingual TV show with dialogue in both English and Spanish and why the show isn’t set in a particular country. They also discuss the show’s supernatural elements, which intentionally lack specific rules and logic.  After the interview, June and co-host I...
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This week, host Isaac Butler talks to novelist and celebrity profile writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner. In the interview, Taffy shares how she’s able to land interviews with celebrities and how she structures her pieces. She also explains why she’s a “champion advice-taker” and tells the story of how her bestselling novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble, started as a failed magazine pitch. Don’t miss her New York Times Magazine profiles of Gwy...
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Host Rumaan Alam talks about elevating Black voices in the book publishing industry with Tracy Sherrod, editorial director of the Harper Collins imprint Amistad Press. In the interview, Tracy explains how the predominantly white publishing industry has created barriers for Black authors over the years. She also digs into the details of her work, including the process of negotiating book deals with new authors.  After the interview,...
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This week, host June Thomas digs into the romance genre with bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, who started her career as a lawyer and then went on to release five novels including Party of Two, which was released on June 23. In the interview, Jasmine talks through her writing process and shares how she was able to publish five novels in such a short period of time. She also explains why her characters don’t fit into the usual tr...
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Host Isaac Butler talks to novelist Mira Jacob about the process of writing her comic book memoir, Good Talk. They discuss what it was like for Mira to switch mediums, how the constraints of that medium helped her tell her story, and why it’s so hard to share personal details with a large audience.  After the interview, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about how fatherhood has helped them get more work done.  Send your questions ...
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Host Rumaan Alam chats with comedy writer and performer Cole Escola, who’s known for his roles on Hulu’s Difficult People and truTV’s At Home With Amy Sedaris as well as his sketch comedy videos on YouTube. In the interview, Cole talks about his new special Help! I’m Stuck!, which he filmed alone in his apartment and released on YouTube. He also discusses his comedic influences and talks through what it means for his work to have a...
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This week host June Thomas learns about all the work that goes into making YouTube food videos. Her guest is online cook Adam Ragusea, who explains how he was able to monetize something that started as a fun side project. He also offers tips on how to make engaging videos that get to the point and respect the audience’s intelligence and time. Then, he talks about how he overcame the awkwardness of speaking directly into a camera le...
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This week, host Isaac Butler talks to documentary theater makers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, whose plays include The Exonerated, about the criminal justice system, and Coal Country, about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia. Blank and Jensen explain how documentary theater works, from interviews with subjects to a live performance where actors perform interview excerpts verbatim.  After the interview, Isaac and c...
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Host Rumaan Alam talks about art curation with Sheena Wagstaff, who leads the Metropolitan Museum's program of modern and contemporary art for the Met Breuer and the Met Fifth Avenue. First they discuss the curator’s role of deciding which works of art are culturally important. Then Wagstaff makes her case for why people should see art in person and why it’s such a tragedy that no one is able to see the Met Brauer’s current exh...
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Host June Thomas digs into the craft of acting with Alison Wright, who portrayed Martha on The Americans and now plays Ruth on the new TNT adaptation of Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 movie Snowpiercer (which itself was based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige). Wright explains how she developed Ruth’s unique accent in Snowpiercer, how she utilizes the tools of Method acting to tap into emotions on stage, and why she thinks Daniel...
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This week, host Isaac Butler talks to crime novelist and TV writer Megan Abbott, who describes her creative-writing rituals, her go-to story structure, and the challenges of adapting one of her novels for television.   After the interview, Isaac and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about the surprising origins of the terms story beat and character beat.  Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com. ...
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