This is not the only list of filmmaking podcasts you’ll find on the internet. However, it is a list that’s current and listened to by a filmmaker; me. Why such an arbitrary number like 11 you ask. Simply put, these are the 11 that I download to Podcast Addict, the app that I use for my podcast subscriptions each week. How do I listen to this many podcasts on one topic? I’ll let you in on my secret. I increase the speed to 1.8, which is apparently the speed at which my brain works. These are the 11 that have survived my podcast royal rumble to be my personal best podcasts about film and keep their spot in the rotation.
I believe in a well-rounded curriculum when it comes to learning and staying engaged with filmmaking. So instead of ordering them from first to last, I’ve broken these movie podcasts into different categories:
- Film Review
- Hollywood & The Entertainment Industry
- Micro-Budget / Indie Filmmaking
- Film History
Film Review Podcasts
This is Chicago’s very own film podcast from WBEZ, an NPR affiliate. A weekly review show that is incredibly nearing its 800th episode, having been started in 2005 by Adam Kempenaar. He and co-host Josh Larsen have scholarly conversations, sometimes tense, about films new and old.
Typically they review a new release and tie that into a top 5 list towards the end of the show. In between, there are fun segments like Massacre Theatre, weekly polls, movie marathons, and the annual Golden Brick award given to the best first-time filmmaker. My personal favorite though is Filmspotting Madness, an annual NCAA style tournament bracket that pits actors/films/directors against one another in a deathmatch. The losers’ films are hypothetically burned and lost forever. GASP! Filmspotting is the most interactive podcast that I listen to. It’s also the only one in its category. It’s just that good.
Hollywood & The Entertainment Industry Podcasts
Let’s face it, if you want to make movies, you’re going to need to have some idea of what the Hollywood hotshots are doing. The Business is a KCRW production focusing on, you guessed it, the business side of Hollywood. Each show starts with a weekly roundup of the biggest news stories and industry goings-on, which is predominantly the reason I listen to it. What follows is host, Kim Masters interviewing an industry professional about their latest project. Her interviews can be irritating at times as she tends to have trouble turning off her inner Hollywood gossip reporter. At 30 minutes though the episodes are more than tolerable and you can always turn it off after the opening segment.
The Treatment makes the cut mostly because Elvis Mitchell is a national treasure. It’s another KCRW special but focuses entirely on Elvis’ interview in which he will inevitably overanalyze his guests’ styles and motivations in the best way. I often think to myself that they must leave the interview having felt like they just went to therapy. Every once in a while there is an episode that strays a bit and focuses on someone from the world of art and pop culture. These episodes are easy to skip, as I usually do, but consider yourself warned. This one only has a 30-minute runtime as well, making it easy to listen to an entire episode on your way to work.
Micro-Budget & Indie Filmmaking Podcasts
I was reading Noam Kroll’s blogs before he ever had a podcast so it was an exciting day for me when he launched Show Don’t Tell. This podcast is dedicated to the micro-budget filmmaker. Noam himself is a working micro-budget filmmaker so he knows what he’s talking about. He has made two micro-budget feature films during the podcast’s tenure, so it’s rewarding to feel like you’re right there alongside him throughout the arduous journey. Noam has a very down to earth personality but he’s also very technically savvy, which can feel a little overwhelming at times. Yet he manages to convey this knowledge without being boastful or pretentious. This is my favorite in the micro-budget category.
Film Riot and host Ryan Connolly have been around seemingly since the dawn of internet video. The Film Riot YouTube Channel is of the weekly tutorial variety and worth checking out in its own right. The podcast is a welcome extension of that YouTube presence in audio form, focusing more on interviews with hungry indie filmmakers. Ryan has a very approachable mentality when it comes to filmmaking and anyone who grew up on 80’s and 90’s Spielberg will have an added appreciation for his aesthetic. He’s also a working filmmaker, having made 16 short films to date, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable. I fully expect him to make a blockbuster hit soon. The only downside to the Film Riot Podcast is that it only happens twice per month.
Just Shoot It focuses primarily on filmmaking, screenwriting, and directing, but has covered a slew of other topics throughout its run. It’s another podcast that doesn’t make you feel like you’re being talked down to by jaded industry professionals. Hosts Matt Enlow and Oren Kaplan seem just as curious about others’ process as we, the listener, are. Many of the guests are bootstrapped indie filmmakers that are out there making their movies and going for it. This brings a freshness and energy to each episode that is contagious. If you’re not motivated to finish that screenplay after listening to this podcast, you may never be.
A brutally honest approach to a podcast about the everyday struggles of being an independent filmmaker. This is the most accessible podcast of the bunch thanks to hosts, Alrik Bursell and Liz Manashil. Their genuine curiosity and fascination with all things filmmaking, makes it feel like you’re learning the process right along with them. Again, both Alrik and Liz are struggling filmmakers themselves so you’re constantly rooting for them. I think one of the aspects of podcasting that makes the platform so unique is that you feel like you could meet these people in real life and have a conversation with them as if you’ve known them for years. That is certainly how I feel about Alrik and Liz.
This one likely has the biggest following just from the sheer amount of stuff that host Alex Ferrari puts out into the universe. Two other podcasts, (one of which also makes this list), a blog, courses, a streaming network, a couple of books, and probably other things that I’m not privy to. Many episodes revolve around surviving the actual business of film which is very helpful though does come across a bit preachy and salesy at times. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve often needed a kick in the pants, which this podcast has provided me with. Alex may be the Gary Vee of the filmmaking podcast world.
Quite frankly, Scriptnotes is the quintessential screenwriting podcast. If you’re a filmmaker, you’ve heard of it. It’s hosted by John August and Craig Mazin, who are ACTUAL screenwriters of movies and shows that you have ACTUALLY seen. John is the writer of Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Go, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and Aladdin. Craig wrote two of the Scary Movies, two of the Hangovers and the HBO hit series, Chernobyl. Perhaps their biggest coup however is somehow making a podcast about putting words on a screen interesting and doing so for 400 + episodes and counting. If you write screenplays, you should be listening to Scriptnotes.
This is the other Alex Ferrari production that I mentioned made the list. As one of only two screenwriting podcasts to make it, this one has a slightly less intimidating feel to it. We’ll call it the minor leagues of screenwriting podcasts since the above mentioned Scriptnotes is in a tier all by itself. Again, you do have to deal with the spamminess that comes with most of Alex’s work, but there’s some great information packed into each episode along with very knowledgeable guests.
Film History Podcasts
No film education would be complete without a history lesson. Enter You Must Remember This, which focuses on Hollywood’s history. Hosted by Karina Longworth, each “season” spans a certain era, actor, or filmmaker. Previous topics have included Charles Manson’s Hollywood, Star Wars, The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, and The Blacklist. You Must Remember This is everything great about listening to podcasts. It feels like it’s in black and white and that you’re back in old Hollywoodland. The amount of time and research involved must be painstaking and certainly makes you appreciate the long breaks between seasons. So if you don’t remember any other podcasts from this list, just remember You Must Remember This because unlike the others, you don’t necessarily have to be a filmmaker to enjoy this one.
Other Worthwhile Podcasts About Film
The following are filmmaking podcasts that often get recognition on lists like this one. However, I have not personally listened to them and therefore can’t and won’t recommend them. Just know that they exist in the universe and other people seem to like them.
There’s no shortage of filmmaking podcasts out there and by the time you’re reading this, there will inevitably be more. However, podcasts come and go quickly because people simply don’t realize how much work goes into them. Most of the best filmmaking podcast lists I come across feature at least one that hasn’t released an episode in more than six months. My goal with this article is to include only podcasts that won’t meet that same fate. My podcast list is always expanding and contracting so if you have a filmmaking podcast or know of one that I should be listening to, let me know! Maybe it can be one of 2021’s best podcasts about film.
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