REVIEW: New podcast goes behind-the-scenes of the indie filmmaking process

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Season one of "Make Cool Sh!t" follows award-winning actor and writer Josh Ruben on his journey to write, direct and star in his first-ever feature film. (Jared Shuff | Collegian Media Group)

While multi-million dollar film companies push out formulaic content like a factory line, independent filmmakers are lucky to even get their films off the ground. It takes blood, sweat, tears and a nice chunk of money to get an indie film made, which begs the question — what actually goes into the process of making a movie?

MCS Media announced the first season of its docu-series podcast “Make Cool Sh!t” in early February and launched on March 2. The podcast is hosted by comedian, actor and writer Aaron Kheifets, known for his work with College Humor and Comedy Central.

Season one of “Make Cool Sh!t” follows award-winning actor and writer Josh Ruben on his journey to write, direct and star in his first-ever feature film. Ruben — another College Humor alumnus — has starred in hundreds of comedy shorts and written for shows like “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “Adam Ruins Everything.”

Each episode centers around a specific aspect of the filmmaking process, breaking down the elements in an informative yet entertaining manner. Kheifets narrates the highs and lows of Ruben’s creative efforts, from writing the screenplay to gathering a film crew.

The first few episodes focus on Ruben’s background, the technical and business aspects of filmmaking and pre-production. While this might not interest everyone, it offers a unique perspective of the filmmaking machine, showing how all the gears work together to create a quality production.

The idea for “Make Cool Sh!t” came from podcast executive producers and MCS Media founders Mike Bulger and Donny Dykowsky. They wanted to explore the creative and technical processes behind — well — cool shit. Even if the product failed, the story of how and why it failed would still be interesting.

Bulger and Dykowsky agreed to help fund Ruben’s film, and in return, the filmmaking process became the concept of their first podcast series. The series features behind-the-scenes audio and interviews with different members of the cast and crew.

Ruben’s film, a horror/comedy called “Scare Me,” premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to largely positive reviews and is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Aya Cash (The Boys), Rebecca Drysdale (Key & Peele) and Chris Redd (SNL) star alongside Ruben in his feature film debut.

The team faced plenty of obstacles when making the film, from funding to casting to a literal polar vortex. However, these obstacles never stopped Ruben and his team from making cool shit.

The podcast currently has seven episodes available through various streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Stitcher. This podcast is great for film students interested in the realistic making of an independent film or anyone who just wants to know how cool shit gets made.

Jared Shuff is the Collegian culture editor and a junior in secondary education. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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