Speaker 1 00:03 This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you're someone that loves to learn, laugh, and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don't stop moving because you're in the right place.
Speaker 2 00:33 Hello. Hello, hello. Hello. How are you doing? How's everybody? Man, if you are like me, then these days are going by so quickly. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's, I'm just being inside and so many days are the same. Um, maybe it's that I'm filling my schedule every minute of it. Uh, but it's strange, this sensation of time passing and standing still all at the same time. Maybe it's just me. I don't know. Um, this episode, ah, I'm so excited for it. I'm so excited for you to listen to my guest today. Kat burns. She's one of my favorite well people period, but also one of my favorite choreographers and she shares so much, um, tremendously valuable insight in this episode. I'm jazzed about it. Uh, but before that, of course we have to do a quick round of wins. My win this week is that I am becoming a person day by day, meal by meal. Uh, I am becoming a person that is confident in the kitchen. I'm having more fun and I'm having more creative freedom in the kitchen. And I think that's a win. It's something that for me has always been a kind of point of insecurity. Um, my husband traditionally is the cook of the household and I'm having so much fun, uh, exploring a bit, really digging that. Okay, so now you go, what's going well in your world?
Speaker 2 02:23 You might need a little bit more time. So I encourage you to pause right here if you're really, really winning, which I really, really hope you are.
Speaker 1 02:32 Um, but this episode is just, it's something else we gotta get to it. We're jumping in. Ladies and gentlemen,
Speaker 2 02:39 the one and only cat burns. Yes. Kat burns. Welcome to the podcast. Yeah, yeah. Oh, I love weeds and <inaudible> and yeas, it feels so good. Just smile and I cannot not smile when I, I thank Kat burns. So welcome to the podcast. Introduce yourself for those who may not know who you are, those fools, those nincompoops. Um, people call me cat burns. I'm Catherine, uh, Capitan burns, AKA, you know, Catherine's is my like cool choreo alias. I suppose that that is just kind of taken over. And I'm a choreographer mostly for scripted comedies. Nice. Um, I really love intro asking people to introduce themselves because it's sometimes a different story than what the bio would read. Um, uh, your bio leads with, and I think it should, your Emmys <inaudible> do play. Is it too? It's too right. She's a two timer. She's sure. Just a two timer, a measly two time Emmy winner.
Speaker 2 03:52 Um, and I do think it's, it's cool to like acknowledge the wins, but it's also speaks a lot to you that you do not lead with the accolades, but rather with the work itself. And I love your body of work. I love it so much. I love it. Primarily because it's funny, but also because it's diverse. Um, can you talk a little bit about the range of work that you do and what is the difference between a digital or scripted format or you do also a lot of live work. I know you came up through UCB, like what is the date difference really truly when it comes to choreography between all those different formats. Oh goodness. Well I appreciate your kind words cause you know, I'm a huge fan of yours and I believe I introduced myself on a street corner and I was like, hi.
Speaker 2 04:42 Hi. You guys are awesome. Do you want to do my ECD show? And you're like, okay, great. I recall, I recall. It's so funny. I do recall, I recall because I, well it was a seaweed sisters related, um, acknowledgement and the seaweed sisters, uh, Julian Meyers, Megan Lawson and myself, we don't get recognized outside of dancers very often. Um, and when we were not in a dance studio setting, we were literally on the street corner. Uh, so it, it made me feel like, Oh my God, pay attention. This is happening. You guys this, you would sisters, our thing, we're being recognized. It's like five years ago, I want to say. Yeah, it was a while back. Yeah. Oh, cool. Um, so thank you. Thank you for your fandom. We can, this is a safe place where we can absolutely be gushing over each other. So don't let it stop. Um, but I am so curious about the different, um, <inaudible> uh, places that your work. Yeah. So there's, it's a, it's a multi folded, I was gonna say two fold, but it's uh, you know, lots of folds type or a gummy or an origami fold of answers. Um, I, I think what's really fun about working scripted comedy
Speaker 1 05:58 or scripted in general is that the choreography is always dependent on the scene. And so by default I've been able to hire a lot of experts in a specific genre and then play within story, but still making it proper. Um, and so whether it be like a tango or a musical theater, traditional dance in the street by, or a tap dance or a fill in the blank, or even just like specifics that are funny or trying to make, like one of the tricky things was trying to make 'em like a viral video. Like, you know how like video or people like quote unquote dancing bad. Why? What's the tipping point? Like why is it popular? I need to like recreate those moments as a choreographer when you have two people, it's like the note was like, it's too good, it's too good. And I'm like, it's not, it's just like when you have two people dancing together and unison, it's automatically going to seem more better, more, better.
Speaker 1 06:56 Just the word I like to use because it's like, I don't like to say something's bad. I like to say it can be more better. It can be more and better and you are the more better maker. Um, I think part of that recipe is definitely accessibility. Like you don't want to choreograph steps that only a trained dancer could do. So it's like every, every man dance. Um, and do you do a good job at choreographing dance on a normal non dancing type characters? I like to call them dance enthusiasts. Dance enthusiasts. That's way kinder than what I call them. I call them, I call them normies. Normies that's cute. I just nor McDonald dancing. When you say normies, which many nor McDonald's. Normies plural. Um, uh, so how many episodes of television would you say you have choreographed to take a ballpark for me?
Speaker 1 07:55 Well, I actually did a show a year ago celebrating a hundred, cause I was like, when I graduated college, people are like, what's your dream job? And I said I wanted to quit for TV and film, but I have no idea how to do it. And you know, I had to celebrate that because I was like, I guess I figured it out. Yeah, you did. And so well sometimes you've got to celebrate a little milestones cause we can be so hard on ourselves on a daily basis that we're not doing enough or creating enough or being disciplined enough or right. Girl, I am here for celebrating. Actually I just started a new podcast habit. I start every episode with wins. Well just talk a little bit about what's going well. That's awesome. I used to have a thing where I would keep champagne in the fridge cause there was always going to be a reason to celebrate. Yes, I am about that life. And now since we're in lockdown you're going to need to keep at least five cause you can't be leaving. The house is often. Exactly. Um, okay. So let's back
Speaker 2 08:56 up a teeny tiny bit. You mentioned after college when they asked you that question and you answered, I want to choreograph TV and film but you didn't know how, what was your next step?
Speaker 1 09:07 Uh, well it was more of like that's a, that's a fantasy job that doesn't really exist or not for you. Right. Uh, so I worked in post-production for years and thought I could use my degree and be an editor and I worked in post houses and like lob dailies and patch. Did you bake those for recording? Like lobbied editor's reels over and was just like in the machine room learning about editing and the more responsibility I got, the more anxious I got. But I started, you know, I studied film in college and Mmm. So I was already doing that. And then, you know, you talked about the difference between scripted in stage and then I started at UCB right when they opened their doors pretty much like I was working next door at the clothing shop, um, when they went door to door to meet their neighbors and I was like changing and I stuck my foot out and I was like, and my mom was in town and was like, hi, welcome to native.
Speaker 1 10:00 I was like, she doesn't work here. I'll be right out. And, and they were like, you're in. And they were like, you're funny, you should take internships. And I was like, great. And then I just started being a part of that community, like from the ground floor. And so I learned the art of choreographing for a script in a way to like heighten the joke without distracting. And I was already, I'd got a dance agent. I was taking OCLs hip hop class. Yes. After like six months of living in LA. So I got the agent, I was dancing sporadically doing like show girly type musical theater, tall girl jobs that I was much taller than everyone else in LA.
Speaker 2 10:37 Tiny. We're all micro types. Yeah. Did
Speaker 1 10:40 they move so fast? How did they get down to the floor and then one kale, tiny legs. Tiny legs. Yeah. I was like, I still have my bevel. You know, you gotta have a sensible walk and a good bubble. You're tall.
Speaker 2 10:54 Oh, you ma, you have to have a sensible bevel no matter what I would argue. But definitely if you're tall. Um, okay. I wa I want to branch in a hundred different directions. I am taking notes. Uh, but I very frazzled. I didn't even answer your first question. I'm pretty sure you did. We talked a little bit about formats and the places that your work lives, which is on 160 episodes of television primarily, right.
Speaker 1 11:20 But also on stages because you do that. Yeah. And I just did a musical here in LA and I, I've done like comedy musicals and LA, uh, which obviously like stage is, is much more collaborative I think is the biggest difference. You have the writers in the room sometimes or you have the director in the room and you have the actors in the room and you have time and you're playing and you're creating, I mean obviously like a UC base, the ECB schedule is like, learn it, do it, done. It's very quick and you're just the point. Yeah. Yeah. Your dress rehearsals off in the performance cause no one's getting paid and to learning learning curve. But I just did this musical with a wonderful New York team. The musical was called found and you did it at, um, it's, I am a theater companies musical.
Speaker 1 12:02 It was our first ever done at the LA theater group. And again, got closed, you know, three weeks before it was supposed to finish the New York team. Um, and they were so collaborative and awesome and I was like, Oh, this is what pops up. <inaudible> you get to actually create in a room with creatives. Yes. On television schedules. You're often trying to get into the minds of creatives. Like you're each department heads given a specific ask very, very quickly and within like a 10 minute or less creative conversation, you have to then go off and do your work, present it, change it on the fly if it needs to be changed and be like, this is what I think you want. And from all your references, ID do deduced <inaudible> yeah. Anyways,
Speaker 2 12:47 I did dance. This was the dance pretty much. Um, ah, okay. That's fascinating. So a difference between stage and film being, the amount of time you have and the people that are part of these creative conversations.
Speaker 1 13:02 Everyone's process is different. I mean, I think a lot of choreography hours, and this also totally depends on the budget of the show they give. It has a budget for rehearsals and the choreographer can have a skeleton crew. They can kind of like massage the choreography and change it and get it to a way and have a few days and have a process. But if you're like, hi, hired for two days, you have one day of rehearsal, slash prep, slash casting, slash creative slash, whatever, and the next thing you know is you're on set trying to like leave this dance with a bunch of people you just met. You're also trying to figure out their personalities and how not to step on toes, but also your dads be perfect. I'll be fast, pleasant and you know, protect the dance and protect the dancers but also serve the story and serve the process of that. That is making
Speaker 2 13:50 television. Okay. I had to jump out right there because that'll just happen real, real fast and I want to make sure that you all caught all of that. Cat just gave a Lightspeed masterclass in what it means to be a choreographer. Yes, we decide what the dance is, but then we must lead the dance or teach the dance and occasionally that's two people that we've never met. We have to navigate so many personalities, not just the dancers, but the entire teams. Then we have to protect the dancers, of course, meaning looking out for their working conditions and making sure they're taking breaks and well taken care of, et cetera. But also we've got to be fast and I mean we don't have to be, but it really helps if you're pleasant or easy to get along with. And then of course there's the whole serving the story and serving the big machine that makes the TV show or the stage show or the music video or the fill in the blank. I think it's super important to remember, especially for the young aspiring choreographers that being a choreographer means so much more than making up the steps. Okay. Let's get back into it. Kat and I talked about the many hats that she wears, the many jobs that she's had and the thoughts that led her to become an Emmy winning choreographer.
Speaker 2 15:28 What was the, um, what was the step or the <inaudible> or the kickball change that took you from editing room to, uh, dance studio or choreography, I guess?
Speaker 1 15:39 Um, I was always a kid that did a million things so differently. Like when I was young. It was like suck or student did it to that every dance class imaginable. I was always booked, right. Like I my and I would like highlight all of my times that like college thing happened and I'd be idea as an adult to just do one thing stressed me out and made me so anxious. I felt like I was making like, like signing a death sentence of being like I'm going to do this for the rest of my life and I was super scared. Um, so I think a lot of times I just did a bunch of side jobs. Just did, I wasn't working towards a career necessarily. Like I went, I went, I went to college. I thought state school was supposed to be the thing that you do.
Speaker 1 16:27 And I was like such a rule follower that I had a hard time listening to myself and people were like, I remember like the advice being like what do you think about when you're at a stoplight? I was like, Oh like I'm always making up things in my head. And even when I was like bored at concerts, I would just zone out cause I'm like, no one's dancing. This is boring. And I would like choreograph something in my head and I would feel better. And I just realized if I wasn't dancing or moving, I was sad. I honestly feel that a lot currently with what we're going through and like I'll feel such an angst for the world and my cart would be so heavy. And then all, I've been just dancing in my studio for hours on end because it's the only thing that makes me feel relief and joy. Um, so I, I think, I think I, I worked in posts, I thought I wanted to be an editor. I had a million side jobs, I was a paramount page. And then I would like work at a steak house. And like I served, well when I first graduated college I thought I was going to be a Rockette. I made it through all of the, the cuts and stuff and then they just never called.
Speaker 2 17:29 Well, I'm so glad they didn't because we got to have you instead. I get that dream though. Oh my gosh. And that audition process is brutal. Congratulations.
Speaker 1 17:40 Holy smokes. What was my first professional audition ever, ever. And then at the end of the audition, um, this is the second day,
Speaker 2 17:49 they're taking
Speaker 1 17:50 all my measurements and I said, I just wanted to let y'all know this was my first audition and you were so nice. Oh really? Oh, is it? Okay. I had a four by six picture. I just didn't know. I went to the university of Missouri. I didn't do like, I never went to New York for a summer or anything. I had never taken from like professionals ever. Actually,
Speaker 2 18:12 hello? I love this. That's such a great example of all the grooming in the world doesn't ensure that you will get your foot in the door and at the same time you can be totally ungroomed and come through the side door or the back door and do phenomenally well. Yeah, I mean, I envy
Speaker 1 18:29 people that had all this, this massive education and like mine was just like the local dance studio or the dance team. And that was that. And I just was always dancing in my room. Or like at the time it was recording VHS is and learning the dance room and Spears, you know, or whatever, studying for exams while watching cats,
Speaker 2 18:48 the VHS recording of the Broadway show. I mean, all right. Jumping out again this time I had to do it because I think it's very, very interesting that the thought of doing one thing made Kat anxious and propelled her into doing so many seemingly odd jobs that really stands out to me because to so many people, there's contentment in doing one thing and having one career and having their job. I think that a lot of people out there would actually feel anxious at the thought of doing all the many things that cat did from serving steaks and working retail to working as a paramount page, um, pages by the way. Uh, give tours and direct guests and do a great number of tasks on the paramount lot. Um, but dang, she, she even worked in an editing Bay. I guess what's so special to me about Kat and about her journey is that at least from the outside looking in, all of those experiences gave or refined the skills that made her a great choreographer. Yes. Like the dance, the passion, the love of movement and moving has always been there for her. It always brought tremendous joy. But what brought success was the combination of that love of dance plus her many, many unique skills and experiences.
Speaker 2 20:28 Let's jump back in and hear about the one moment. Well, the one heartbreak that changed the way Kat thought about being a choreographer. It took a heartbreak.
Speaker 1 20:44 Uh, I was with, I was with someone for eight years, my whole entire twenties, and when that ended, I was so heartbroken that I had no choice but to make myself happy. And that was after I'd been doing UCB classes. I liked dance to Christmas times. I had like dance gigs and I was still doing a million jobs. But there was something about that timing that I was so desperately sad. The, he kind of was my whole life and when that ended I was like, it was a very clear change of thought. I had been doing this musical that I choreographed and was in called freak dance, the dirtiest forbidden Boogaloo at UCB and that best eroded whoever dares dance, nastiest wins. And it was like a spoof of all the dance flicks and like the white girl learns how to be poor so she can be a good dancer PD center and then they have to do this dance battle and they make just enough money to win back the community center, yada yada.
Speaker 1 21:45 I'm so glad that exists. We did it every Friday for two and a half years at UCB and then one day they were like, we're making this into a movie. And we all thought we would get replaced by everyone bigger and better. The only person that got replaced was the 20 year old playing the mom and she was replaced by Amy Poehler. So like that makes sense. Um, and right around the time of this breakup, I was filming this movie and they had asked me to like storyboard, what some of the dance numbers would look like. And I was like, I'm not an artist, but I knew it. And there was, there was a something called work that, but, and I was like, well, what if there was like a butt flower from overhead? And I was like, butts coming in at like an encapsulated her. And then she had this reveal and was a different outfit, but like storyboarded what they used to, they couldn't afford anyone else.
Speaker 1 22:33 It was also, Mmm. So that was my first job and I was also in it and I also didn't have an assistant, so it was crazy. And we shot it all in 13 days. It was an original movie musical. The original music with the non dancers as leads and like drew drogue is my favorite comedians and one of the stars. How Rudnick they were like the two world's best dancers. And then we hired the best or was obsessed with America's best dance crew. So we hired like quest crew. And, um, anyways, so like all of these comedians were like dance dancing in front of all of these crews and I'm just there heartbroken. And I had these epiphany that I was like, Oh, I thought my whole life was supposed to be love and appreciation from this one person. And if they weren't there I would crumble. And I quickly said to the cast, I was like, I love you guys so much and I need you guys so much. So that was a pivotal moment for me as a creative to have experiences with the people I was having comradery with at the time. My coworkers were my family and I would experience and aligned with
Speaker 2 23:46 all of this
Speaker 1 23:46 creative comradery that got me through a dark time. And it was just, it's kind of stiff. It's kind of stuck with me. Like I, I really, I really feel fortunate that I'm able to like dive into a project with an open heart because I truly look at my collaborators. I mean you like, we've gotten to know each other through working together and I have so much love for you but we have no, yeah, separate <inaudible> doing something together really. I mean like maybe a few times, but it's always like let's get a glass of wine. Great. I see we're working together. I'm going to like suck up as much yummy hang time as I can. Cause I don't know, again, cause we're both busy as the way LA is. Everybody has something next, you know.
Speaker 2 24:27 Well that is the way LA was my friend.
Speaker 1 24:33 Certainly people are still like, Oh I can't, I've got a zoom it too. Or Oh I can't, I stopped like I said 1130 this morning. And I was like, can we do four? Can we push back?
Speaker 2 24:49 Kat and I talked for a while about the way the LA and the entertainment industry are uh, maneuvering through this covert crisis. But the radio waves are pumped and coursing with that talk and there's just so much other goodness to come in this episode. I thought I might just leap frog over that if you don't mind. And skip ahead to my favorite video submission ever. And the importance of good lip sinking because why not?
Speaker 2 25:26 When you get an audition submission request from your agent for a cat burns project, you go, Oh <inaudible> because working for you is such a treat. Really, truly, I am a sucker for a lovely process. So I got this audition notification and I was like, Oh yeah, I can do this. It's asking for a doo-wop style background singer and she's singing to her mom. Um, I happened to be in Denver at the time that I got this notification and it was with my mom and it was in my sister's gorgeous house and it was like, okay, yeah, this is, this is a no brainer. So I taught my sister the shots and she filmed it for me and I lightly choreographed this thing with just like a Shanae here and a hip hip here. Nothing like crazy cause I had watched the show before and it's never, um, it's never meant to be the like, uh, sit down and watch this dance. It's like you could do this dance
Speaker 1 26:28 or male that you're male. It's like he's cool. It's like
Speaker 2 26:38 it was a sidebar side side thought of mine to be a dance commentator for dance, YouTube videos in that same, in that same voice. Okay. So made, made the a audition submission sent it in. And I don't remember if you texted me directly or if my agent did, but you were like, that is obnoxious and hysterical. And will you assist me on this project? Yeah, it was so funny. It was also cool to get my family a peek into my world, right? Like, uh, audition submissions happen or happened pretty regularly and in a very like in a three hour turnaround, I'm expected or asked to create a, create a thing, memorize the lines, make up the moves, capture it, edit it and submit it. And so they got to be there for that. That was super fun. And then
Speaker 1 27:29 what about your video too is like, a lot of times, you know, as much as I say like I want good acting, the lip sinking is really important. Like, I trust that dancers can nail a dance step, right? It's really important to me is how you're emoting. So I see you as this like 1960s, like, you know, shoo bop, shoo Ottawa to dancer. Um, and you totally embodied that character and the lip sinking is really important. Like, um, I had an audition for Carly Rae Jepsen and it was, um, we're holding an audition for her and it was like two backup singers that were dancing. And so in the audition I was like, you guys, you're moving your heads too much. Like you'll never believe that they're seeing into a mic to like actually pretend like you're seeing into the mic. Um, don't you have to, it's a strange thing to like not whip your hair around because a lot of times dancers really aren't that focused on there. The on being the star and being seen and like with our hair around our face and like
Speaker 2 28:28 make some sexy faces was not really about the face, you know? Right. I have this theory that we're dancers are um, attractive, not necessarily because we're good looking but because movement attracts your eye. Like if you imagine a jungle setting and a Bush Russell's over here, your eye goes to that and I think dancers have gotten really are the good ones anyways, have gotten good about being attention, getting when they need to and just the right amount of Russel versus being distracting. And especially if you're in a tight shot, moving your head around is distracting and <inaudible> as you mentioned, very plainly, not the way that background singers would do it. Um, that's a great consideration. I think it's an important skill and maybe we don't spend enough time on it. And you also
Speaker 1 29:16 the the why it's hard is that to believe that we'd be a good lip sync or you have to sing out loud so your breath is different. So although it looks like an easy dance when you're actually singing out loud, the, the, the beats are counterintuitive to like, like the pickups of the lyrics are going to be before the one. And it's tricky to get your brain around the lyrics and have your body do what the music is doing. As you're acting, singing out loud and thinking about your breath, you can't just breathe through your nose and make whatever weird sounds you need to make to get through the day. Aggression of the dance for sure. It's a much different skill. I came across this issue, uh, a handful of times like hands full, like multiple hands, like NBA basketball player hands full of times working on in the Heights where we had huge groups of dancers, a part of musical numbers, but we weren't the people that recorded the vocals.
Speaker 1 30:11 We weren't the people that um, you know, not all 150 of them have the script, you know, for a chunk of time during rehearsal we would sit down with pages and learn the lyrics. But even that is expected to happen quite quickly. And not a lot of dancers have the same memory for words that we have for moves. So it, it really is a special skill. I suggest that everybody listening to this podcast right now <inaudible> a a movie musical moment, whether it's LA LA land opening number or <inaudible>, anything from crazy ex-girlfriend challenge yourself, give yourself how much would, how much time would you say is allocated to learning lyrics for an episode of crazy ex? When we did the tap number? Um, the prescription one, it wasn't that long. I want to say that was like maybe 30 minutes. Well, probably like it was like 30 minutes at the top of rehearsal and I've actually had an, I had a big audition in New York.
Speaker 1 31:05 Um, there's a really great show out now called, uh, dispatches from elsewhere. It's Jason's Eagle's new show on AMC. I worked on the finale number and they're singing and dancing, spoiler alert. Um, and I had to just teach the lyrics real fast because people saying the lyrics was as important as the dancing and there was this really amazing dancer. And then I looked back at my video because I don't like making cuts, so I just bill and everybody, I really want to see everybody. I want to properly give everyone a chance to be seen by me cause I don't come to New York, I don't have auditions much. Um, so anyways, he was like, I was like booked and then I looked and I was like keep doing it. Lip sync, a word. And on most of the jobs I do dancers get FaceTime like closeups and like, Oh and I'm so, so for any depressants and the, it was all, it was all like flu walks, the teen flu walks a teen.
Speaker 1 32:01 Our lawyers won't let us say brand names. Like it was very tricky vernacular. Yes. Medical terms on top of that medical terms, you get pills, pills, therms. Um, but w Hmm, we had, we had a, we have one day of rehearsal so you could like overnight rehearse it. That's true. I remember on the day Rachel changed, she changed the lyrics. So what's tricky is that you had to learn it and then on the day after you've been practicing, I think you said change the name of the dog and then change this lyric where we record it in post. So you guys had to say lyrics out loud. This was what was 30 minutes or less. You had to say lyrics out loud that did not match the audio. You are hearing all while doing Newcrest, you're fast tap dance and then staying in line and it was like super precision based and like you're high, you're a little high here on your airplane arm you need a little bit lower.
Speaker 1 32:57 We're taking in all of the, you know, the movement notes that we're used to, but there's also not just the learning of the lyrics but the unlearning of the old lyrics and then the relearning of the new lyrics. This is great. Really, truly, if you're listening, make that an additional challenge. If you're listening, you're listening, you're listening. If you're, if you're hearing, um, then yeah, try to learn a thing in 30 minutes and then change it, but don't change the thing that you're playing back. That song has to say the same. Your lyrics change. Oh my gosh. And the signing very slightly and then he moves or shot. It's like you have to adjust your timing and your blocking based on what the steady cam operators doing or, or at any point in time, the show runner who's a showrunner is basically the one that hires all of the writers.
Speaker 1 33:49 They're like the head, they don't usually say head writer, but they're the one who like keeps a tone of the show in general, you know, on the right track and everything and they're the one that's sold the show in general. But at any point they can come in and say, why are you doing this? Or, or like, um, or like for that number it was like as you guys were holding, I like added a like a little, a little bop. Yeah. Yeah. And then, um, just constantly finding it until you, like for me it's like playing until you find what makes you laugh and like got there. That's it. That's it. That's it. That's it. Okay. Do that. And then, and then at any point someone could say, no, don't bounce. And so you've just been rehearsing it with the balance and something as simple as that.
Speaker 1 34:28 Like your body wants to bounce, but you can't. Um, tricky. I don't know. It's tricky. And then, and then when I favorite things to like hark on park, her harp, whatever you look that up as I finish this, this tale of woes, but basically <inaudible> okay. Once it's cut the end of that she goes Mmm. Basically it's just like, Oh you guys are, Oh you don't want to dance anymore. Okay. Like going from dance or to pedestrian and now, Oh wait, this is one of my favorite things to do. Walk like a dancer. Like it's hard cause we do that in real life. Yes. X sporadically. And um, I was in a commercial and I had to walk to the elevator and I was wearing heels and they were like, um, excuse me Katherine, you're like standing like pretty cause I was like beveling, just like, it's my rocket in me. I just like can't, you know like when we're in heels and more like a tight skirt, as a dancer you walk differently naturally. So I had to be like, Oh, I have to ditch how I naturally walk and walk. Pedestrian, just go to the elevator, like for don't dance, walk to the elevator, don't sit in your hip. Pretty
Speaker 2 35:38 pretend like you don't know how to walk in heels as well. It's actually for me, kind of difficult to navigate the middle ground between like dancing like a pro dancer, like JT, backup dancer, pro dancer and dancing like a non dancer that moves well. And then dancing goofy like uh, your, your UCB show right now. Raggle Taggle dance hour, which I do want to give the floor to for a second cause it's amazing. We did an opening number, which I want you to talk about, give a little context. Um, but I watched the footage back and I looked at myself, I was like, dude, you were bad dancing. And that's not the goal. The goal is actually to be dancing really well, but not to be a dancer. And so that's another layer of intricacy.
Speaker 1 36:26 Yeah. I think that's what I've found with my work. It's like, it's, it's easy, not easy, hard, not hard, but we're properly living in a world. Right. So like the reference for this number was the pink mr <inaudible> pink, the mill kids or something. It's like an eighties dance show. We're going to link it because it's, it's a game changer. So I, the end of season one wanted the cast of crazy ex to recreate this video and I had that had the costume department hand dye sweats to match the color palette of the early eighties. This is what we call full out. And then obviously everyone was like tired or busy and so they've just been sitting in my storage for four years. Um, but costumes, the costumes are the people that were tired, the costume department ready to go whenever there very expensive to keep, but it was worth it at the end.
Speaker 1 37:24 But we did the, we recreated the opening video finally. And my dream came true and it's like feel like, like why it's so funny and enjoyable is because they are trying to hit it so hard, these little children and it happens to be sloppy and fast, but like you have to go for it with the Gusto and energy of like this is the best thing anyone's ever seen. And it's like eighties. You just have to hit really hard. Also like nineties hip hop. Oh Sam hit it so hard that your every bone hurts and it doesn't look like much or just punching. But like woo, there's a difference. Um, so you have to hit it with full exuberance.
Speaker 2 38:02 There is a difference. It's those shows. Okay. I want to talk about something you just, you mentioned, um, I, well blah, blah words. So I wanted to ask how do you do funny, but I think you've already answered my question when you're talking about the crazy ex episode, uh, with the pharmaceutical drugs and we're just sitting there, Bob like hands on me, he's just bopping. And you said you just play with something until it makes you laugh. Is that your general approach to humor and
Speaker 1 38:36 kind of, I mean, and even like in a good way I, I've said this before, but like, um, I think it's a lot of times when I approach my work, like if it wasn't funny it'd be cool. No, like we're trying to like properly live in a genre and a lot of times it feels a bit like a puzzle <inaudible> in my brain for a while. So like it's important for me to know the tone of a show and to know what their funny is. Like I worked on workaholics and their village is much different than the crazy ex village. What they find funny and their sense of humor, I mean comedy is also super relative, just like dance. There's like a wide array of good dancing or what you think is good. Right? I can't tell you how many times a script is like Mike Flossie and you're like, but what about Fauci are they referencing to <inaudible>?
Speaker 1 39:26 Do they want it to be hyper-sexual? Do they want it to be awkward? Cause like when I think about Fauci it's like, well he's, you know, he did like he was inverted, he had, he had musicality that matched his movements, you know what I mean? So it's like trying to find what it is about that reference that they like. So you kind of have to like get in the brains of the reference and then play within it. <inaudible> and then for me it's like, because I've studied comedy and I've, I spent my whole childhood watching movie musicals and things like it's um, I dunno, there's like a, there's a, there's a good or bad or creative process you have to like know when to put the pencil down I guess. So for me it's like finding it and then sometimes like in crazy ex we kind of found this thing of like, Oh gross.
Speaker 1 40:13 Okay. Yeah, that's it. That's it. And you kind of have to push the envelope. I mean there was like S and P issues to standards and practices. So we're a network show. You can't just create whatever you want. It has to be approved. And West side story is super particular and has like legislation against you doing like exact choreography, same with possie foundation. So, but you know, choreographers don't own their work and aren't unionized. So know cat burns, enter intercut burns the organizer. I wasn't sure if we would get to this point and I know that not everybody listening is a choreographer, but I do think that this is really important too. Everyone in creative fields, no matter what they are, uh, choreographers right now, specifically an organization called choreographers Alliance, which is a nonunion organization are working really, really hard to win choreographers SAG-AFTRA contracts for our work because unlike everybody else on a TV film or digital sets, choreographers do not have the protection of those union contracts, which means no healthcare, no pension and no residual structure.
Speaker 1 41:25 Um, which meant hours work, uh, overtime or anything like that. So Kat is a staple in the community that's working to win us an agreement that would support us in that way. Thank you so much. It just seems like it needs to happen. Everyone else, literally everyone else on set, unless you're in an assistant role, has union protection and then they have it for STC, which is stage directors and choreographers Guild. So for Broadway shows, Vegas shows some touring shows, they get a royalty every time their work is used, they own their work, they can, you know, that's obviously not going to happen necessarily in TV because it's called a work for hire clause. If you're a freelancer, um, and writers as well, like, but if they use their work again, they have to pay them. Um, and if you have the union then let's say dirty dancing, right?
Speaker 1 42:15 Like that's been like Kenny Ortega. His work has been used so many times and he's never made any money past that. Same with bins. Patterson from smooth criminal, you create like how easy would it be to be, Oh, we're going to use this choreography. We're not going to hire Kenny because he's off directing in Canada. We're going to pay him X amount of money just like you would a song. And then the, and then like they can just take the exact choreography and never pay the choreographer or anything. It's so broken. It's so broken. But we did it. And it's about celebrating the wins. As you say. I was asked to recreate Christine and the Queens music video tilted work with my favorite, it's one of my favorites for better things for season one. And, and the reason why I was asked this, cause I work with non dancers and they, and it was, it was the whole family.
Speaker 1 43:03 It was the mom, the grandmother and the two daughters. But put on a performance for you. I don't want to ruin it if you haven't seen the end of season one. I haven't done, I'm going to, I'm writing it down right now. That sounds fascinating. I already, you already know what's coming, but it's okay. There'll be emotional and beautiful. And I said they were like, we already got the rights to the music and everything and I was like, well did they pay the choreographer? And the awesome line producer was like, well, let me look into it versus saying we've already paid. But, um, they actually paid the choreographer for much of that work. Um, but that was a big win. They paid the court and I said, you have to credit, there is no union. Like I wouldn't get credit. And then the person who originally acquire graft, it wouldn't get credit.
Speaker 1 43:43 Right? Like they can do whatever they want. But I said the original choreographer, Mary and I was like, you have to say originally choreographed by and then like adapted by me cause it's not my choreography, but I was hired as quote unquote stuff choreographer. But I need, I just think it's interesting because now people are doing like tic talk videos and they understand currency of dance and like even in this time we're giving away or work for free, we're teaching classes for free. We're trying to help the community. But like, you know, this is how people make their money. Ah, I, I do want to dig into more of those technical issues and I want to celebrate you going to bat for an instance like that, which I'm sure happens all the time and I'm sure that choreographers who <inaudible>, uh, maybe don't have as much experience or aren't as in passionate about the subject as you are, wouldn't even to ask
Speaker 2 44:32 if that had happened. So I'm really glad that you spoke about that.
Speaker 1 44:35 I think that's super important. Choreographers definitely have asked me like even what should my minimum rate be? So like if you're getting a job and you don't know what to ask or even how to run a set or anything, like reach out to someone that you know that's working if you don't have an agent yourself. And then also I think it's important that we ask those harder questions. People are only going to give you what you fight for, you know, otherwise I'll just take advantage and also to know when to back off. I have a solid rule of threes. Like I'll ask something like three different ways just to make sure that I was heard. And then the answer the third time is still no, I go, okay, well I at least try it.
Speaker 2 45:11 Here we go. I at least tried thrice. Yeah man, I really wish we had more time to dig into all of these lovely icebergs that we just saw the tip of. But I think that there will be time for that and I hope that people will go find you. Find more of you. Um, you've done a handful of podcasts as well. I think that you can be found in this, in this audible world as well. What other podcasts have you jammed on? I'm totally in
Speaker 1 45:38 organized. Uh, uh Oh and then Heather enables, yeah.
Speaker 2 45:43 Yes, the dance room, the dance. And then
Speaker 1 45:47 there's been a, Oh, the big book club. My friend Michael McMillan has a, she has a podcast about, um,
Speaker 2 45:52 about Bigfoot. So I have a lot of non, non dance related content that my mom and I
Speaker 1 46:01 did a podcast for. My friends, a beauty beauty vegan podcast called natch beaut. She's a passionate vegan and finds women owned businesses through beauty and beauty is not my world. So my mom will, that being the guest, I was just there to be made fun of. Pretty much, which I'm,
Speaker 2 46:18 you were the link. You were the link between the worlds. Um, well thank you beyond for being my guest today and for sharing so freely. All of your wisdom and humor and insights and tips about lip sinking. You know, there is not a podcast for that yet. Thank you so much for being here. High five across the screen. Great. I think we missed your, you're doing such a good job. Ah, I so appreciate that. Thank you so much. I'll talk to you soon. Bye. I thought you were done. No. Now I'm here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website, the Dana wilson.com/podcast finally, and most importantly now you have a way to become a words that move me member. So kickball, change over to patrion.com/wt M M podcast to learn more and join. All right, everybody now I'm really done. Thanks so much for listening. I'll talk to you soon.