Quarantine Creatives with Heath Racela

Heath produces and hosts Quarantine Creatives with Heath Racela.  In each episode, he talks to a TV, film, radio, or media industry professional that is grappling with the rapid changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.  The show features thoughtful conversations about how we got here, what getting back to normal might take, or what the new normal might look like.

New episodes are released every Monday and Thursday on all major podcast platforms.


Episode Guide

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Scott Carty is a Seattle based broadcaster on radio and TV, who became known for conducting interviews with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but he left broadcasting at the start of the pandemic and has turned his energy towards building with his new venture, Backspace Sheds.  Scott talks with Heath about his own path into media, behind the scenes stories from interviewing big stars, his move to Christian radio, and why he decided to become a builder.  Scott hosts the podcast The Scott Carty Party.


Matthew Zachary founded OffScrip Media in 2019 as a podcast network featuring raw, unapologetic shows about patient advocacy, which call on his own experience as a cancer survivor at age 21 and as the former CEO of the nonprofit Stupid Cancer.  He talks with Heath about the opportunities of the podcasting space, why audio is such an intimate medium, and what he has learned about why patients struggle with the myriad challenges of the American health care system.

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Yankee Senior Food Editor Amy Traverso

Amy Traverso is the Senior Food Editor for Yankee Magazine and co-host of the public television series Weekends with Yankee, which is in pre-production for Season 5. She and Heath share stories about working for a legacy brand with a print and TV component, the challenges facing both the restaurant industry and TV production, what makes New England such a unique and special place, and ways that the definition of New England can become more inclusive. Amy is also the author of The Apple Lover's Cookbook.


Broadcaster and Musician John Tesh

John Tesh's career has spanned several decades and several different areas of focus.  He started in radio and television as an anchor and journalist, hosted Entertainment Tonight for a decade, composes and performs music, and has hosted the radio show Intelligence For Your Life since 1997.  He talks with Heath about his relationship to his father growing up, his battle with pancreatic cancer, and where he gets his faith in God.  John's memoir Relentless was released earlier this year.

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The Good Lord Bird's Hubert Point-Du Jour

Hubert Point-Du Jour has been a working actor on both stage and screen for many years, but The Good Lord Bird on Showtime is the biggest role he's had to date.  He talks to Heath about playing an enslaved person before the Civil War and the parallels between abolitionist struggles and the current fight for racial justice.  Hubert also discusses how he developed a passion for acting, the work he's put in to learning his craft, and working with famous directors like Phylicia Rashad and Leigh Silverman.


Singer/Songwriter Scott Cook

Scott Cook is a troubadour from Edmonton, Alberta who has spent the last 13 years on the road across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia playing 150 shows per year.  Because of the pandemic, he has spent the last six months at home.  Scott talks to Heath about finding himself both on the road and at home, the parallels he sees between his own battles with addiction and climate change, and his new album and book Tangle of Souls. 

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Sacred Cow Filmmaker and Author Diana Rodgers

Diana Rodgers is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, host of the podcast Sustainable Dish, and the filmmaker and author behind the new film/book project Sacred Cow that looks at if meat can be a healthy and sustainable part of a diet.  She talks with Heath about what drew her to this subject, working on her first documentary film, and what she sees as the broken and vulnerable parts of our national food system.


Puppeteer, Actor, Producer, Director John Tartaglia

John Tartaglia was one of the youngest puppeteers ever hired on Sesame Street at the age of 16.  Since then, he's originated roles in Avenue Q, created and starred in Johnny and the Sprites and Splash and Bubbles, and is now a performer and executive producer on Fraggle Rock for AppleTV+.  He talks with Heath about the technical aspects of puppeteering, plus the challenges of creating shows for cruise ships and theme parks, and the roots of his admiration for Jim Henson.

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Filthy Rich's Aaron Lazar

Aaron Lazar is an actor and singer, having performed in 11 Broadway productions, plus movies and TV.  On Fox's Filthy Rich, which premieres on September 21, he plays a reverend on a Christian broadcasting network.  Aaron talks to Heath about his own journey of self-discovery and his relationship to the unknown, plus his feelings about our identity as Americans and how the pandemic may be changing that.  


Ratched's Jon Jon Briones

Jon Jon Briones stars in the new Netflix series Ratched, which is a suspenseful prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest set on the California Coast of the 1940s.  Heath and Jon Jon discuss working with Ryan Murphy, Sarah Paulson, and Sharon Stone, plus growing up poor in the Philippines, performing in Miss Saigon all over the world including Broadway and the West End, and how his kids found their passion working in the entertainment business. 

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Spirit Series Directors Richard and Leslie Strauss

Richard Strauss founded Spirit Series in 2001 and serves as National Executive Director, while Leslie is National Co-Director.  Their program brings drama-based learning to children in grades four through eight.  They discuss with Heath the origins of the program, how it builds confidence and teamwork, and the challenges of moving an in-person program to a remote workflow once the pandemic closed schools.


Our Cartoon President EP RJ Fried

RJ Fried is the show runner, an executive producer, and a performer on the Showtime series Our Cartoon President and Tooning Out the News on CBS All Access.  He talks with Heath about the delicate task of properly satirizing President Trump, the challenges of moving an animation workflow to home production, why he thinks the show could outlive the Trump Administration, and the advice he's received from Stephen Colbert.

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Never Have I Ever Co-Creator Lang Fisher

Lang Fisher is a writer and producer who co-created Never Have I Ever for Netflix with Mindy Kaling, a teen comedy that focuses on the life of an Indian American teenager.  Lang talks with Heath about the development of the series, how her own background influenced the story of Devi, and casting first time actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan in the lead.  She also talks about some of the early plans for season 2, which may begin shooting later this fall if it can be done safely.


Ample Hills Founders Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna

Husband and wife duo Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna founded Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn in 2010 after Brian left a career as a screenwriter and audio producer.  The brand grew quickly, counting Bob Iger, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Oprah Winfrey as fans.  Brian and Jackie talk to Heath about their fast climb and steep fall, declaring bankruptcy just as coronavirus was shutting down New York and ultimately losing their roles in the company they founded.

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Kaitlin Keleher oversees production on both TV and podcast projects at America's Test Kitchen.  She talks with Heath about the technical, creative, and logistical challenges of shooting America's Test Kitchen from home this year.  She also shares some of the secrets of what make podcasts like Proof and The Walk-In so popular and the challenges of growing and evolving a brand that is so well known and beloved.


Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg is known for using techniques like time lapse, high speed, and macro images to change our perception of the natural world.  Louie's latest film is Fantastic Fungi, which looks at the role that mushrooms play in creating soil, providing food for humans, and altering our consciousness.  Louie shares with Heath how the release strategy of his film was impacted by COVID, the lessons that he has learned from nature, and shares some behind the scenes insights into his process.

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Actor and Singer Sarah Stiles

Tony award nominee Sarah Stiles is known for her work on Broadway, including in the stage adaptation of Tootsie. Her most recent project, the Netflix comedy series The Crew, was halted due to COVID-19.  She talks to Heath about the new regulations in place when she returns to complete the series.  She also discusses learning to puppeteer for Avenue Q, the differences between acting for stage and screen, and her debut EP "You Can Ukulele with Me," which is available on all music platforms.


Full Frontal EP Alison Camillo

Alison Camillo is one of the Executive Producers of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.  She talks to Heath about writing and producing the show remotely during the pandemic, figuring out the technical challenges of Sam recoding the show from her backyard, and not compromising on quality despite the strange times.  Alison also discusses her history with The Daily Show, where she worked for 18 years prior to joining Full Frontal, and what it was like to move to a new home during COVID.

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The Daily Show's Desi Lydic

Desi Lydic joined The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in 2015 as a correspondent and starred in the Comedy Central special Desi Lydic: Abroad in 2019.  She joins Heath to talk about the challenges of making The Daily Show from home, how she finds common ground with her Fox News watching family, the work that goes in to a good interview, and the importance of closing the gender gap.  


Chef Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich is a chef, restauranteur, author, and host of Lidia's Kitchen and Lidia Celebrates America on PBS.  She joins Heath to talk about cooking during the quarantine and how TV production has changed for her during this time.  She also shares memories of growing up on her grandmother's farm in Istria and talks about the classic Italian techniques for preserving and storing food.

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Author and Podcaster Sarah Kendzior

Sarah Kendzior is a St. Louis based author and anthropologist who has applied her studies of authoritarian regimes overseas to the current political climate in America.  She talks to Heath about her new book "Hiding in Plain Sight," which claims that "the Trump administration is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government," plus her thoughts on what to expect with the fall elections, and how to still find hope.  Sarah also cohosts the podcast Gaslit Nation.


Disney Historian and Former Imagineer Tom K. Morris

Tom K. Morris began his career at Disney working as a front line cast member in Disneyland, before going on to design attractions, lands, and even whole parks across the world.  He talks with Heath about the book he's currently writing about the early designers of Disneyland, most of whom came from the film industry.  He also discusses his work on Journey into Imagination, Splash Mountain, Hong Kong Disneyland and Cars Land.

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The Jim Henson Company's Halle Stanford

As President of Television for The Jim Henson Company, Halle Stanford leads development and production of all television projects.  She and Heath discuss Zoom fatigue while working remotely, producing Fraggle Rock shorts with iPhones, and how the company has evolved and changed in her tenure.  She also shares behind the scenes stories from The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a new series on Netflix that she executive produced and for which she was just earned her eleventh Emmy Award nomination.


TV and Radio Host Ernie Manouse

Ernie Manouse is a fixture in Houston, Texas, hosting both TV and radio shows for Houston Public Media's PBS and NPR stations.  He currently hosts Houston Matters Special Edition, a radio program that looks at local effects of COVID-19.  Ernie talks with Heath about mask compliance, school reopening, and the mood in Houston.  He also discusses his career in broadcasting including hosting Manor of Speaking, a show about Downton Abbey, living out as a gay man, and encounters with Al Pacino and Julie Andrews.

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Voice Actor Stefan Johnson

Stefan Johnson is a Cleveland based voice actor who has voiced campaigns for McDonald's, the Orlando Magic, SEGA, Boost Mobile, Wells Fargo, and many more brands.  He also does character work for animation and video games.  Stefan talks with Heath about the path that led him to voice acting and what it took for him to make the leap to doing this work full time.  He also shares advice for people that want to get started in the business.


New York Times Columnist Ronda Kaysen

Ronda Kaysen is a home and real estate reporter who created the Right at Home column and writes the Ask Real Estate column for The New York Times.  She talks to Heath about how our concept of home has shifted because of the pandemic, the challenges facing New Yorkers navigating COVID at home, plus how HGTV and This Old House define our sense of home.  Ronda is the co-author with Michelle Higgins of The New York Times: Right at Home: How to Buy, Decorate, Organize, and Maintain Your Space.

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ABC Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee

Ginger Zee is ABC's Chief Meteorologist, appearing daily on Good Morning America, plus on World New Tonight, Hearts of Heroes, and was even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  She talks to Heath about her home studio setup, her family's battle with COVID-19 in March, how to change minds about climate change, sharing personal struggles, and what she loves about the Disney Parks.  Ginger is the author of Natural Disaster and the Chasing Helicity series.


CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem

As a member of President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem handled the response to the H1N1 pandemic, among other large logistical challenges, and she now shares her perspective as an analyst on CNN and professor at Harvard.  She joins Heath to talk about the current state of the Coronavirus response, what her own routine looks like these days, and her prediction for school reopening this fall.  Juliette is the author of "Security Mom" and a columnist for The Atlantic.

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Broadway Director Leigh Silverman

Leigh Silverman is a New York based live theatre director for both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.  As one of the most prominent female directors, she advocates for women in roles of power in the theatre.  She talks to Heath about how she got her start on the touring company of RENT, the challenges of directing for the stage, and what the future of live theatre might look like post-COVID.  She also discusses her quarantine project- directing a shot from home video for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.


The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Michael Zegen

Michael Zegen plays Joel on the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and is also known for his work on Rescue Me and Boardwalk Empire.  He talks with Heath about the evolution of Joel Maisel, how he and Rachel Brosnahan bonded before playing a married couple, and Michael's own fears about being a standup comedian.  Michael also talks about how COVID closed down the live musical Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice in which he was starring and what performing theatre was like in the days just before the shut down.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Marin Hinkle

Marin Hinkle is perhaps best known for playing Rose Weissman in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (for which she was nominated for her first Emmy Award) and Judith on Two and a Half Men, but she has worked in live theatre, film, and television for many years.  She discusses what led her to acting initially, how the 1950s wardrobe and set affect her performance as Rose, and how even though COVID-19 has delayed production on Season 4 of Maisel, it hasn't kept the cast from reuniting over Zoom.


Comedian and Star of 'Robbie' Rory Scovel

Rory Scovel created, writes, and stars in the new Comedy Central show Robbie about a small town basketball coach in Georgia.  Rory talks about the development of the series and how religion and race became important motifs.  Rory also discusses his last standup tour before the pandemic and finding his comedic voice through improvisation.

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Casting Director Jennifer Euston

Jennifer Euston is an Emmy Award winning New York based casting director that has cast some of the most memorable ensembles in recent television, including Orange is the New Black, Girls, and GLOW.  She talks with Heath about how the pandemic has affected her process, how her love of classic films of the 1930s and 40s influenced her decision to go into casting, and about the new project she's casting, a Jenji Kohan show that's all shot remotely.


YouTube Maker Jimmy DiResta

Jimmy DiResta has been working with tools since childhood, which led him to a career as a TV host on FX, HGTV, DIY Network, Discovery, and NBC.  However, for 8 years, Jimmy's primary mode of reaching an audience is through his successful YouTube channel, with close to 2 million subscribers.  He talks with Heath about the TV business, what he's learned about being his own boss, and how he makes money by creating and distributing his video content.

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Comedy Director Payman Benz

Payman Benz is a comedy director who has directed episodes of Black Monday, Brooklyn 99, and Last Man on Earth, plus sketches for shows like Who is America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Key and Peele.  He talks with Heath about his quarantine project Rascal Activism, the role of a director on a comedy set, working with Sacha Baron Cohen, and directing the new Comedy Central show Robbie which stars Rory Scovel.


Erin and Ben Napier are the stars of HGTV's hit renovation show Home Town.  They join Heath to discuss how Coronavirus will impact production on Season 5, why they love old houses, the satisfaction of hand crafting, the resourcefulness of Southerners, and the role of faith in their lives.

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Roy Wood Jr. is a standup comedian, actor, and since 2015, a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.  Roy talks to Heath about the challenges of finding comedy with the pace of news right now, the role of the police in his comedy, how his role at The Daily Show has had to evolve because of the pandemic, and the future of standup comedy in the time of COVID.


Jordan Carlos has a unique point of view on the television business, having worked as an ad writer, standup comedian, actor, and comedy writer for shows on BET, MTV, VH1, HBO, Netflix, and Comedy Central.  He is perhaps best known as a writer and contributor to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.  Jordan and Heath discuss how The Nightly Show would cover 2020, the perils of being a black writer brought in as a "diversity hire," and doing standup comedy in a parking lot during the quarantine.

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Nick Offerman is truly a jack of all trades: actor, comedian, author, musician, podcaster, and woodworker, just to name a few.  He chats with Heath about the current state of the country, the Parks and Recreation Special episode, playing Ron Swanson, staying busy during the pandemic, and how the Coronavirus crisis may lead to a healthier relationship with everything from commercialism to agriculture.


Tom Ashbrook was the host of NPR's On Point for 16 years and is the co-host of the new podcast Swing State.  He joins Heath to discuss the news of the last few months including the protests over the killing of George Floyd, the pandemic response, and the situation in Hong Kong.  He also opens up about the loss of his wife to cancer and his public firing from WBUR.

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Vashi Nedomansky, ACE, is a Los Angeles based editor who has edited 11 feature films plus more than 50 national commercials.  Vashi and Heath share memories of creating and editing home videos as kids and the thrill of having your first work screened.  Vashi also relates filmmaking to hockey, which he played professionally for 10 years.  And he discusses how post production workflows have had to adapt to Coronavirus.


As Executive Editorial Director and co-host of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country, Julia Collin Davison is usually very comfortable cooking in front of a camera.  During this quarantine, she is creating instructional how to cooking videos for social media, and has learned that it can be a very different process.  She also discusses the food trends that she's seen during the pandemic and which habits we might carry with us after Coronavirus fades.

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Eddie Sotto has had a long career designing public entertainment spaces like high-end car dealerships, destination retail stores, and theme parks, having served as Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Walt Disney Imagineering.  Eddie and Heath discuss the parallels between filmmaking and theme park design, the challenges to public venues in light of Coronavirus, and using creative thinking to safely entertain theme park guests.  Eddie owns Los Angeles based Sotto Studios.


Chris Agos is an actor, voice over artist, and the author of "Acting in Chicago" and "Voice Over Start Up Guide."  He shares stories with Heath about good and bad networking, how actors can stay busy and hone their craft during this pandemic, and ways that he thinks technology may impact production and acting after COVID-19.  He also discusses his role in "For All Mankind," which is streaming now on AppleTV+.

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Dion Lim is a news anchor and reporter at ABC7 News KGO in San Francisco.  Dion discusses the challenges of working out of a home studio, reporting stories in the time of social distancing, racism and violence targeted at the Asian-American community, and her own struggles with body image as a woman working in the news business.  Dion is the author of "Make Your Moment: The Savvy Woman's Communication Playbook for Getting the Success You Want."


In the first episode of Quarantine Creatives, Heath talks to actor and director Scott Foley (Felicity, Scandal, Whiskey Cavalier) about being at home with three kids, woodworking and other home projects, his postponed shows for Fox and HBOMax, and when he thinks scripted dramas can get back to work.

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©2020 by Heath Racela.