Saturday, December 1, 2012

Katherine Walker

Emmy nominated Katherine Walker works in unscripted television, as a producer, director and writer. She grew up in Virginia, lived on Kauai for ten years and is now based in Los Angeles. She has worked with Entertainment One, Discovery and Mark Burnett among many others. 

And now, the envelope please.

6 Questions with Katherine Walker:

1) What is the least interesting thing about being a director?
"Having to execute things you know won't work due to politics (working with big egos/little talent)
2nd least interesting--looking for work/job interviews, esp with people who don't understand what you do."

2) What is your favorite vice or virtue?
"Vice--Indulging in intoxicants, on occasion (binge-celebrating!); listening to music really, really loud and blowing speakers!
Virtue--kindness, especially to someone who is down-and-out or having a bad time / charity"

3) What is the best thing you ever ate?
"Fresh Maine Lobster (especially outside on Robinson Wharf!)"

4) What are your favorite and least favorite words?
"Favorite: verisimilitude, bemused, exacerbate, onomatopoeia, wonky, yowza
Least favorite (generally using a noun as a verb) like the economy 'impacted' my life and 'loan money' (it's 'lend' money); turn-key."

5) To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
"I never learned how to set boundaries (due to some pretty bad childhood trauma) so I have a very high tolerance for abusive situations (which are quite prevalent in the 'film' industry); I don't know how to advance myself like others do, meaning I am not that great at politicking for my own benefit; I just work hard, have integrity and try to be true to the process--when a lot of times, I should have really been more concerned with self-preservation. We'll see how it ends up in the end."

6)  What decision in your career are you most thankful for?
"Being persistent on a few key occasions: 1) securing my first PA job on "The Lost World" by contacting the A.D. repeatedly; 2) getting Harrison Ford a cup of coffee and delivering it to him even after someone else gave him a cup; 3) not giving up when the EP on "Amazing Race, season 3" told me he wouldn't hire me as a producer--I suggested a drop in title, then, and accepted the Associate Producer role. The episode 311 that I put together in post that year won the series' first Emmy. I guess, overall, not giving up. Which is ironic because now that's all I think about -- getting out of the rat race and like the Frank Zappa song says, 'moving to Montana.' The problem? I really love what I do.
The reason the Harrison Ford story is significant (duh!) is not because I got him a cup of coffee--it was because I was only hired for 3 days and ended up doing every day on that movie over 5 months (because I worked very hard for the First A.D. but also because I approached Mr. Ford without being intimidated at all) -- a similar story was with Robert DeNiro when he was standing in the doorway of his trailer and no one would talk to him, they were all too scared. We were delayed over an hour due to a camera issue, and it was a Sunday and the gear had to come from Panavision Woodland Hills for some reason.

I went up to the stairs and looked up -- he asked me what was going on. I figured, if anyone knew about cameras it was him (due to Scorsese) so I told him the diopter broke and what was going on, he said thank you. By the end of that shoot ("Fifteen Minutes"), on the set, his hair & make-up person yelled at the director (who had kept Bob ducktaped in a chair for over 2 hours of re-takes--as he was getting the crap beaten out of him) that I was the only one who they would deal with! The little PA!

Well, not so little. I'm 6 feet tall!

Anyway, by being honest and upfront with big time actors, I actually gained their respect and they loved the fact that my attitude was "You're making $ 20 million? Get your ass to set!"

Thanks to Katherine for doing this and thanks to you for reading!


  1. This is kinda crazy too--I did this 'interview' (I can't even remember how/when! But I have a vague idea of the timeline based on what I say!) that I just ran across:
    Hope you are well. These '6 questions for' are very cool. KW

  2. And this is my blogspot link but you need to be in 'timetable' to get the best view and it just defaults to whatever it wants! This is the link to your page on my blogspot. That's my "could run for office' blog; the wordpress versions are what I use to write, and their content is far more dicey -- when it comes to corporate culture and having to reign in eccentricities to be an executive. I definitely have a new level of observations just 3-5 years later....