PIERSON TO PERSON
About This Show
Longtime documentary and non-fiction TV producer Brent Pierson talks with a variety of colorful people about everything from living in Los Angeles and working in the entertainment business and other interesting fields to creative expression, pursuing one's passion, and the many nuances of the human condition.
Most Recent Episode
BOB NIEMACK is the zealous executive producer of Discovery’s long-running docudrama medical series “Untold Stories of the ER.” Bob began his action-packed production career as an editor and won a national Emmy for editing the groundbreaking documentary “Scared Straight!” – a film he says came dangerously close to never being seen. (49:13) EXPLICIT EPISODE NOTES - Posted June 24, 2017: Tomorrow will mark my 25th appearance as the announcer at BOB NIEMACK’s mostly-annual softball game. Bob loves to celebrate his birthday by playing softball with friends, family and TV colleagues, and I’ve had the privilege of providing live, amplified commentary over the years at what he calls the BBBB: Bob’s Birthday Baseball Bash. But Bob’s PIERSON TO PERSON episode STILL SWINGING has nothing to do with baseball – or softball, for that matter. Although the title is certainly a nod to our summertime tradition, this episode is really a profile of one of my first production mentors who, after 45 action-packed years in the television business, is every bit as enthusiastic about the work he does as he ever was. I met Bob when he and his producing partner and wife, Ann Hassett, hired me as an associate producer in 1990. Bob and Ann had produced several award-winning documentaries for HBO and were just starting up a new one when I went to work for them at Niemack/Hassett Productions. NHP documentaries focused on a wide range of difficult human experience: alcoholism and drug addition, teen pregnancy, suicide, drunk driving, prostitution, mental illness, incarceration and parole, etc. As a former sociology major at UCLA, the topics that Bob and Ann covered were right up the darker part of my alley and learning how to make films about complex social issues, while assisting them in that process, was an amazing opportunity. The two years I spent working for Bob and Ann was like going to film school – albeit a very small, private one – and I “graduated” not only with invaluable production skills, but a filmmaking ethos that I’ve carried with me ever since. I’m talking about a compassionate and respectful approach to telling personal stories of real people, which Bob summed up beautifully when we sat down to record this podcast episode: “The job of a documentary filmmaker is very much akin to the role of a therapist. You open up with a question and then you patiently listen. And my guiding principle for the entire process is that when we’r