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The Mt. Freelance Podcast
39 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
In our 12th and final episode of Season One Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance custom designer Amanda Needham to the show. Amanda got her start designing costumes for going out at night in her younger days as a club-goer in 1990s Portland, Oregon. Fellow Mt. Freelance podcast guest David Cress gave her a shot at costume design for commercials and she never looked back. Amanda has worked on independent films like Wendy and Lucy and TV shows like Shrill, Portlandia, Baskets and Chad. Sometimes even on more than one at the same time! Her work earned her all kinds of recognition including winning an Emmy not once but twice. In our interview Amanda talks about how she got her start, her approach to the creative process and how she does her best work when she is helping to create a character and backstory through costume design. She also talks about being a mom, balancing work and family and how she was initially supposed to make 14 costumes for Shakira’s Super Bowl performance but had to make 50 when the performer decided all her dancer’s needed to wear them. And that’s a wrap on Season One. Thanks for listening.
32 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
In our 11th episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance stand-up comedian Amy Miller to the Mt. Freelance podcast who speaks about her creative process, being a woman in comedy and how challenging the pandemic has been for pandemic. Good news, she’s touring again! And you can buy tickets. Amy Miller is a headlining stand-up based in Los Angeles by way of Portland and Oakland. Prime-time TV watchers will remember her from Last Comic Standing, and comedy fans know her story-based style of comedy based on her own experiences and observations. When we think of the creative community, we often focus on folks who are designers, photographers and producers. But Amy reminds us that musicians, artists and yes, stand-ups are so obviously freelance that they typically don’t even use the word. It’s just part of the gig. In our conversation Amy shares some insights into her creative process, touches on the challenges of being both a woman comedian, being a comedian in the pandemic, and even being a woman comedian in the pandemic. And also reminds us of the power and excitement of live events with performers and audiences members together in once place. Give it a listen and get ready to have some fun.
34 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
In our 10th episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome designer and apparel designer, the one and only Bob Smith to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Like so many designers, Bob went to the Kinko’s school of design, getting his start making band posters and fliers for the deli he worked at. This landed him a short stint at the Wieden+Kennedy studio before getting a job designing t-shirts at Nike in the late 1990s. He couldn’t help but notice Nike was exclusively focused on performance. So, he found an empty office, transformed it into a coach’s office with the help of the Home Depot and filled it with vintage Nike apparel and his own designs. While his immediate superiors were annoyed he wasn’t cranking out enough t-shirt designs, he eventually convinced the company to launch Nike Sportswear, an instant success that landed Nike on fashion runways and in stores like Barney’s. He shares that story with us! As well as how we came up with the idea of a Nike + Pendleton collaboration to benefit the American Indian College Fund, and why he left New Balance to create his own brand, Ore-Cal Sportswear. Not only is Bob a great designer and storyteller, he’s got loads of advice and insight into the creative process. Hear him explain why “a good idea is a good idea is a good idea”, how his rule of “complain for 10 minutes then shut up or do something” about changed his life, and why freelance is a series of micro-decisions. But our favorite might be “just because you like making pies doesn’t mean you should open a bakery.” That’s exactly why Aaron and Andrew are freelance and started Mt. Freelance and aren’t running our own agency.
32 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
In our ninth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance producer and entrepreneur Arlo Rosner to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Arlo got his start in the creative world as a cinematographer, before becoming a producer and eventually running his own production company. He’s been instrumental in creating campaigns shot all over the world for almost any client you can think of. But what got us excited about talking with Arlo is how he uses being freelance and the skills he’s learned as a producer to create not just side projects, but entire side businesses. This includes helping to relaunch iconic Manhattan bar Max Fish, and creating the always vegetarian often Vegan restaurant Superiority Burger in New York City, which GQ Magazine named the best burger anywhere, meat or otherwise. As Arlo explains, why go through the heartache and headache of being freelance unless it’s allowing you to do things you couldn’t if you were full-time. This week’s episode is a must-listen for anyone with a big idea they need a little inspiration for bringing into the world and also offers great advice for creating a team that works well together.
38 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
In our fifth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome actor Ayanna Berkshire to to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Ayanna started acting as a teenager and has been a working actor for two decades, with a career that spans Hollywood blockbusters, Independent films, episodic television, award-winning theater productions and yes, even commercial work. Perhaps best known for playing Cora in Twilight she is a resident artist of Artists Repertory Theatre and a 2020 recipient of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship. What makes Ayanna’s career particularly impressive is the breadth and quality of her work and the fact that she’s been able to thrive as a working actor based in Portland, Oregon. In fact her IMDB page reads like a history of Portland film and televisions from the past two decades. While we don’t always immediately think of actors as freelancers, Ayanna assures they most certainly are. In our interview Ayanna drives into her craft, sharing insights like what filmmakers need to do in order to set actors up for success and touches some of the challenges actors and performers, and in particular female actors of color, face. And she offers up a long list of insanely practical and inspiring advice for any and all creative people from the dangers to selling out when you’re young to the importance of forming a connection with the people you are working with right now because they are the ones who will create opportunities for you down the road. This episode is a must listen for anyone looking for insights into the craft of acting or looking to get fired up about digging into your freelance career and investing in your future.
38 minutes | May 26, 2021
In our fifth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance illustrator and full-time professor Kate Bingaman-Burt to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Kate is one of the hardest working creative people we know. On the one hand she teaches design at Portland State University and is constantly innovating ways to help her students share their work and get exposure to the “real world”, even going as far as to host student portfolio reviews inside agencies like Instrument and Wieden+Kennedy. She also has a thriving career as an illustrator, which started years ago when she gave herself the assignment of drawing her credit card receipts to help her get out of student loan dept. That project eventually lead to a daily drawing practice, and work in the New York Times, books, galleries, museums and brand campaigns. She also has a thriving studio and workspace space called Outlet where she preaches the gospel of zine-making and Risograph. In our interview Kate shares her story, how she works, and even walks us through three of the current freelance projects she’s involved in and even specifically talks about how much she’s charging on each and how she charges and negotiates in general. If you’re looking to get inspired to make and do more, or have a personal project you need a little motivation to get going on put on your podcast ears and turn up the volume.
39 minutes | May 19, 2021
In our fifth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance producer David Cress to the Mt. Freelance podcast. David got interested in film and enrolled in Mt. Hood Community College, which offered him the chance to learn every aspect of filmmaking, from the expected like production and editing to the intangibles that most film schools neglect but are vital for actually making a film, like how to find funding. He started his career in infomercials but quickly formed an alliance with director Vance Malone and started Food Chain Films. Whereas most Portland production companies at the time represented a single director, they borrowed from the Los Angeles model and signed a roster, eventually making local but also National and even Super Bowl commercial work. David moved on to the feature world, producing a number on independent films including Paranoid Park for Gus Van Sant, and Matt McCormack’s Some Days are Better than Others, which starred Carrie Brownstein. When she had a pilot for new show picked up David got the call and line produced it for free. Which lead to 7 seasons of the iconic show Portlandia. David has since produced the shows Chad, Shrill and several episodes of Documentary Now. David has always been an advocate for filmmakers and regional filmmaking here in the Northwest. In our episode he shares his story and how he’s always put doing great work first and found ways to become invaluable to people doing interesting projects. It’s a must listen for aspiring filmmakers, producers and anyone looking to build up their creative community.
35 minutes | May 12, 2021
In our fifth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome freelance copywriter and novel writer Kathy Hepinstall to the Mt. Freelance podcast. In the advertising world, Kathy is a legend. She has been freelancing as a copywriter for the best agencies and clients around for decades, often coming on for a few days to write the manifesto that leads to years of great creative, or coming on as a creative director for a few months to help steer the work and mentor young and even not so young teams. At the same time she’s written twenty novels. Eight of which you can find wherever you buy or borrow your books. We’re especially partial to The Book of Polly, a coming of age story about a young girl who worries her chain-smoking mom will die before she can uncover the secrets of her past. And we’re not the only ones, as she’s working on a feature film script based on the book for a major studio. But what makes Kathy truly special is, if you’ll excuse the pun, she’s an open book. She’s an active mentor who uses her time and platform to share information and ideas to help other creative people and writer’s especially thrive. And she’s deadpan funny. This episode is a must listen for anyone who writers ads, novels, screenplays or even emails. She share some great insights into how to be a successful writers, and how and why she would like to key the car of whoever created the term “writer’s block.” If you’re wondering how Kathy has been able to accomplish so much, the answer is right there in the podcast. For Kathy being a freelancer means you can and should charge for your value instead of your time. Which means more time for you.
37 minutes | May 6, 2021
In our fourth episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome producer turned Oscar short-listed director Aaron Ruell, to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Aaron is an accomplished commercial director and art photographer known for his beautiful art direction, intentional choices, and wit. But it took him a little longer to get there as he did his friend a solid, agreeing to play “Kip” in a little indie film that has become a beloved cult classic called Napoleon Dynamite. In our episode Aaron will talk about the challenges of being a filmmaker and a dedicated parent during a global pandemic, share some of what he’s been working on, and open up on his creative process when it comes to both filmmaker and photographer and how he balances vision and artistry with how commercial filmmaking works. He shares his desire to be more involved in the edit, his approach to collaboration and treatments and also how the unique visual aesthetic he’s developed came right out of the small town he grew up in versus a sense of nostalgia. And yes, we go there and ask him all about what it was like to completely by accident become a cult movie star. Turns out it wasn’t quite what he wanted. So if you’re curious to hear how he intentionally blew the chance to star in the Transformer franchise this is the episode for you. The Mt. Freelance podcast is hand-crafted by the producers, mixers and sound designers of Digital One, right here in Portland Oregon, and sponsored by Stumptown Coffee.
44 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
In our third episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome producer turned Oscar short-listed director Sue Kim, to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Sue Kim has spent her career as a print, commercial film, digital and experiential producer working for ad agencies and brands up and down the West Coast. But when she took her son to a Rubik’s Cube competition, she knew she had to take the reins and direct her first film. “The Speed Cubers” is a wonderful short documentary about a relationship within the world of competitive speed cubing that will make you cry. Sue will take us through how she quit her job to get the film made and what working with Netflix to bring the film to life was like. Sue is full of insights and ideas on how to successfully create the freelance career of your dreams and shares some important advice for fellow freelancers on how to get hired again and again. Wondering what Mt. Freelance is? It’s the online course and community that helps freelancers in the creative industry get the work they really want, charge what they are worth and build the freelance business they dream of. Co-founders Aaron and Andrew end each episode by answering a listener question about freelance. The Mt. Freelance podcast is hand-crafted by the producers, mixers and sound designers of Digital One, right here in Portland Oregon, and sponsored by Stumptown Coffee.
33 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
In our second episode Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome globe-trotting, commercial photographer Marcus Smith to the Mt. Freelance podcast. Marcus Smith is a freelance photographer who has shot for the ESPN Body Issue, and created campaigns for Nike and Jordan Brand working with athletes like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and even worked with Aaron on an adidas project with Damian Lillard. Marcus went to college for business, but discovered his passion for graphic design and photography creating album covers and fliers for musicians. But it was a personal project documenting a high school basketball team for a season that lead to his incredible career. In his interview Marcus shares his journey, taking us through the evolution of his personal project, Crew Love, and touching on some of his favorite projects. It’s a must listen for anyone thinking about pursuing their own personal project and looking for ideas on how to support each other as freelancers. What’s Mt. Freelance? It’s the online course and community that helps freelancers in the creative industry get the work they really want, charge what they are worth and build the freelance business they dream of. Co-founders Aaron and Andrew end each episode by answering a listener question about freelance. The Mt. Freelance podcast is hand-crafted by the producers, mixers and sound designers of Digital One, right here in Portland Oregon, and sponsored by Stumptown Coffee.
38 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
In our first full episode hosts Aaron James and Andrew Dickson welcome Strategy Director and School of Ideas founder Lisa Prince to kick off the Mt. Freelance podcast. Lisa spent a decade working at Wieden+Kennedy, working her way up to Global Group Strategy Director providing guiding insights and ideas on accounts like Old Spice, American Express and Proctor and Gamble. She left to spend a year “doing nothing” which led to starting The School of Ideas, her business that helps brands and agencies use strategy and insights to come up with big creative ideas. Lisa is smart, fun and her interview is a must listen for freelancers considering doing business as a business instead of in their own name, creatives struggling with financial planing, or anyone looking for ideas, insights and solidarity on their freelance path. What’s Mt. Freelance? It’s online the course and community that helps freelancers in the creative industry get the work they really want, charge what they are worth and build the freelance business they dream of. Co-founders Aaron and Andrew end each episode by answering a listener question about freelance. The Mt. Freelance podcast is hand-crafted by the producers, mixers and sound designers of Digital One, right here in Portland Oregon, and sponsored by Stumptown Coffee.
1 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
Aaron James and Andrew Dickson created Mt. Freelance to help freelancers in the creative industry get the work the want, charge what they are worth and create the career they dream about.They’ve been hard at work with the producers, mixers and sound designers of Digital One, right here in Portland Oregon, to create the Mt. Freelance podcast!While there are lots of podcasts about advertising, filmmaking and the creative process, this is the podcast where creative freelancers from the world of advertising, film, and even stand-up comedy talk about what it’s like to work for yourself and build your own career when you are your own boss. Expect great interviews full of stories, insights and actionable ideas, plus questions answered from freelance listeners, and a catchy theme song that we apologize for in advance because it will get stuck in your head. If you’re interested in getting a taste of the podcast before you listen to a full episode this is what you should be listening to!
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