From writing movie reviews in The Crescent’s Entertainment section to working on movie sets in NYC with some of your favorite actors and actresses, Reece Feldman has soared. I sat down with him (via Zoom, of course), to talk about his current gigs, how he got there, what life in the city is like, and advice he’d give.
Q: Tell me a little bit about what you’re currently doing.
A: Currently, I’m working full time on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I was in the production department for season four, and I’ll be joining the writer’s department for season five which is really exciting. I will be looking over and editing and such, kind of like a writer’s assistant. I won’t be script writing, but I hope I can just get one joke in there that makes it. I’m also working as the Social Media Manager for the feature film Not Okay. Those are my two big things at the moment.
Q: How did you get there?
A: Basically, during my time at Tulane, I did a summer internship working for a really small kids TV show called Wonderama. It was very small scale, but it was testing the waters. I really hit it off with the production manager, CJ, who asked for my resume. I was like, okay, I got along with her great, I’ll give her my resume, but didn’t think it would go further than that. Fast forward a year … we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I just graduated. I’m applying to jobs. Nobody is hiring. Then out of nowhere, I get a call and they’re like “Hey, we got your resume from someone. Can you start working on a show that is filming across the country for two months?” Turns out, CJ had sent them, so it was really coming full circle. In less than a week’s notice, I was working on this traveling reality kids TV show. It was super fun; we went to 10 different states and it was basically like summer camp. The kids were awesome. The crew was awesome. That’s where I learned everything about production, basically.
Then, I started making Tik Tok’s. While I was doing that, they began to morph together. Since then, every job I have gotten has come from someone I’ve met on the first job. You just kind of network. I’ve worked on some really cool stuff. I worked on Worst Cooks for The Food Network. I was part of Real Housewives of New Jersey for a few months. That was really fun. They are actually super sweet ladies … *Shoutout to The Real Housewives of New Jersey*… people are always like, “it’s scripted”, but no, they really do yell and scream. Yes, we make them go to dinner somewhere fancy, but they’re doing the yelling and screaming on their own. I also did an alien documentary for the travel channel which was a lot of fun. Eventually, I made my way to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and that’s where I’ve been.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your Tik Tok journey.
A: I had the app back in 2018 to scroll through, but I never made a personal account. During quarantine, I had an informational interview with someone who suggested I make stuff. I didn’t know what I would make, but they suggested I try out Tik Tok. I’ve always wanted to make things on my own, but it’s tough to make movies or stuff like that. It’s not easy to get the assets, so instead, I took to Tik Tok to do my little videos, have fun, and just put something out there. I called it @guywithamoviecamera, as a subtle nod to one of the most influential films ever made, the 1929, Russian classic, “Man With a Movie Camera”.
When I worked my first job on the kids show, I did a vlog-style voice-over video about it. It did pretty well and I’ve just been making them since. It’s been really cool because it’s led me to be able to do other things. For example, on the movie I’m working on now, they didn’t hire me as a Production Assistant or anything, but rather to run their social media. That’s exactly what I want to be doing … paving that road between movies and the people watching them so that they become more accessible and so that the actors and the crew feel like people. I want to make the entertainment industry more open so that it feels more attainable for those aspiring to be in it or for those who are simply just interested!
Q: What is the typical day in the life of Reece look like?
A: We’re not currently filming for the show, so right now it’s actually very chill. I’m doing all of the in-between stuff for seasons four to five including paying bills, making sure all of the shops are taken care of, answering questions that come in, dealing with accounting, and so on. But from December to July, it was 12-14 hour workdays. No sleep, no rest, go go go, four or five coffees a day kind of thing. Every day is different based on what comes up. There are few things that will always be constant, such as making sides for the next day of filming, but sometimes it’s just really random stuff. One day I’ll be buying thousands of dollars worth of flowers, and the next day I’d be dropping off a script at someone’s house in a different state.
But, as I said, I am also doing work for the film. Two weeks ago I was doing a full shift at The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and then I’d head over to set to grab content for the movie. Those would be like 18-hour workdays. That’s the cool thing about production. It’s flexible. My bosses at Maisel understand that everyone is trying to make stuff and advance their careers.
I’m not complaining. I’ll sleep when I’m older. I love it so much. There is no other industry I would do these kinds of hours for.
Q: Have you ever gotten fan mail from someone on Tik Tok?
A: Actually, yeah, there have been some really cool ones. Someone once made me a crystal bracelet and said they made the colors which reminded them of me. I thought that was really sweet. Everyone knows I love coffee, so some people send me actual coffee beans. Everyone is just really nice. It’s kind of like a pen pal. People tell me their favorite movies, give me movies to watch, or tell me facts about movies. Some will be from other countries and tell me to check out their favorite movie, which I think is so awesome. This is exactly what I wanted: to connect with people. It’s the same thing I hope to do with the movie. There’s no reason for there to be a barrier between people making content, such as movies and art, and the people that are taking it in.
Q: What are the coolest parts of your jobs?
A: From the TV angle, the coolest part would probably be getting to see something be made and then appreciating how much work goes into it. You watch a scene in Maisel, where it’s like the two main characters Midge and Susie just sitting in a diner or eating in a deli, and you just think like “Oh they are just sitting down and we know there are cameras there.” But really, there are 50 extras that have all gone through weeks of the process to get into costume, to get their makeup done, to get their hair cut to be era accurate. Then you look in the deli and the prices are accurate to the inflation of the time. There are so many details and moving pieces that go into it. You need literally hundreds of people to make a scene that most people would probably not remember if you asked them to describe the episode. It’s that attention to detail and how much of a collaborative team effort that I truly love to see.
Working has also changed the way I write. I’ll realize I won’t include a scene in a movie I want to make because of the fact that it would be too expensive, or I’d need too many extras, or because the camera wouldn’t work there. It’s working and seeing how things are made that allow people to better understand how to make it yourself.
It makes me appreciate it so much more. I can’t watch anything now and hate it. Even if it holds a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, I know that there were thousands of people who didn’t sleep for months who made it. Regardless of how bad it is, I appreciate it and I will watch it. I’ve always watched all the way through the credits, just so that that random person whose name goes across the screen for six seconds gets noticed, even subconsciously.
In regards to Tik Tok, the coolest thing is getting to have the chance to make videos with the cast. With Maisel, I have two videos that are going to be coming out as season four gets closer to release with Tony Shalhoub and Rachel Brosnahan. With Not Okay, making videos with Zoe Deutch and Dylan O’Brien is so much fun. It’s cool because it allows a different perspective. I get to see what it’s like not just from behind the camera. They are all just super nice, humble people despite their level of stardom and talent. They are all genuinely good people. It’s all very odd, though. You know me, I used to want to be a movie critic. The people whose movies I was watching, now I’m making videos with them.
Q: Do you have any side projects you’re working on?
A: My friends Julia, Talia, and I have a podcast called Shows and Tell. It all goes back to what I studied at Tulane and what I did for The Crescent: studying film. At Tulane, I majored in Communications and Film Studies, and with The Crescent, I wrote movie reviews. That’s what I love to do … I love to analyze. I won’t lie, Julia and Talia do most of the work. But it’s a nice way for me to talk about shows and movies. People often come to me asking for recommendations and I’ll tell them why they should or shouldn’t watch a particular show or movie. Julia is very focused on the gossip and scandals of it all, Talia typically goes into a deep dive of production, and I go into a deep analytical theory. The episode we just recorded is on Outer Banks and why I think how bad it is actually factors into how good it is. I discuss how the characters are so unrealistic where it doesn’t feel like there are stakes. We watch as spectators as opposed to being invested. It’s the same thing as Tik Tok in the sense of I just do it because I enjoy it, and if it’s big that’s great, and if it’s not, that’s great, too. You can check it out on Spotify or Apple.
Q: What do you like best about living in the city?
A: It’s hard to describe the feeling. I like the opportunities. I have so many different little friend groups and the city has so much to cater to all of our needs. I have my friends who are more into sports and we can go to a park and throw a football, then I have the artsy friends who I’ll go take pictures in Brooklyn with, and then I’ll have the friends who visit and want to go to a museum or a certain restaurant. Every single weekend looks entirely different. There’s so much to do, whether it be the park in Brooklyn or going to some random bookshop in Soho, and it’s easy to get around.
My favorite thing to do is try new coffee shops. I’ve probably been to well over 100 different ones and each one has its own distinct vibe. It’s very fun.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to current Crescent members, or others, wanting to follow their dreams?
A: I’d tell them what was told to me, which was “what it is you want to do, and whatever it is you have to do to get there, even if it’s not on the scale you want, just do it.” I like to make TV shows and movies, but I couldn’t start off doing that without the funding or materials. So for me, I decided to make little Tik Tok videos, and it actually opened up so many doors for me and has helped my career unintentionally. It’s the same for anyone. If you want to go into music, just put videos out on YouTube or start putting your own songs out there. If you want to be a writer, showing that you can write and actually publishing stuff, like on The Crescent. If you want to be a cook, start a food Instagram account. If you want to go into science, make videos explaining environmental change. Even if they aren’t perfect, you’re still creating discourse and it’s still something to show other people. It’s one thing to say you want to do stuff, but it‘s another thing to actually follow through. We have too much access to technologies and platforms to create, and these are all at our fingertips, it would be a shame to not use them. If you keep throwing darts, one of them’s going to stick.
Q: What do you want to leave readers with?
A: Be sure to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season four when it comes out and also the movie Not Okay when that releases in 2022!
Podcast: Shows & Tell
Tik Tok: @guywithamoviecamera
Cover photo: Reece Feldman