This month I got the opportunity to catch up with the people behind the improvisational podcast IMDp – The Improvised Movie Director Podcast. The podcast is an improvised comedy interview where each episode the regular host Martina Minnow interviews a guest about a movie they’ve made. The movie is made up of the titles of two already popular films and the guest has to improvise what the film is about. Today I speak to Sabrina and Steve all about the podcast to find out more about it.
So Steve, what is the show all about?
Steve: It’s an improvised comedy interview. Each week our regular host Martina Minnow (played by Sabrina) interviews a guest about a movie they’ve made. We also have resident improvisers who create cut away scenes from the films. No one apart from Sabrina nobody knows the title of the movie (or the director’s character name) until we start the record. Everything is made up on the spot and built together as a team, supporting, encouraging and “yes and-ing” each other all the way. Then I go back and add a sound scape to the film clips to bring them to life.
How did the podcast come about?
Steve: I mainly do video editing but I had been looking for an audio project to do for a while. I like the idea of working only with sounds to build a world, but I needed a vehicle. I’m a big fan of “The Dead Authors Podcast” which isn’t going anymore but I still go back and re-listen to the episodes all the time. Our podcast is sort of similar but giving it the movie twist gave me the opportunity to create different worlds each week. I asked Sabrina to come on board as host because she is amazing. We’ve worked together loads before and her creation of Martina Minnow was better than I could have hoped. She pulls off “pompous but likeable” (which was my only note when we started) perfectly. Sabrina assembled the rest of the team, bringing in Vicky Hawley and Rory Vieyra.
For those who have not listened to the past episodes, what have they missed?
Steve: So much! We’ve created 20 mash-up films so far (plus each episode ends with a trailer for another film so actually far more than 20). Each one is different, each guest has their own style, and they’re all brilliant fun to make. Plus each episode is only 20-25mins long so nice and easy to catch up with.
If they want to catch up on the old episodes, where can they find them?
Sabrina: All of our episodes are available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Acast, Overcast… wherever you get your podcasts from, we’re there!
We are so lucky to have our talented friend Marty Sears in the team! Each week we send him the titles of the episodes that we’ve recorded, and he creates the most amazing mash up artwork.Sabrina
How do you decide what each of the episodes are about?
Sabrina: I think about who our guest is, what we’ve recorded recently and what movie mash up I would love to see that day. I decide on the morning of the recording and walk around my flat practising the movie name and director name until they sound natural. It took me a really long time to nail the rhythm of ‘Some Like It Hot Fuzz’. Try it – it’s harder than you think! Or maybe it’s just me…
Each episode takes two different film titles and merges them together – where do you get the title ideas from?
Steve: It started as a game in a WhatsApp group during the first lockdown. My friends and I took it in turns to mash up two titles and write a synopsis of the new film. Just as a bit of a laugh. When we started the podcast in November last year I typed up a list of the best titles and put them in a spreadsheet, and we’ve all been adding to the list ever since. Marty, our artist, is constantly coming up with new, hilarious, combos. Before each record Sabrina goes through the list and decides which title she is going to use. It is a surprise to the rest of us. We only find out when Martina introduces our guest.
What has been your favourite so far?
Sabrina: I’ve really enjoyed all of the episodes we’ve recorded, and I love that each one is really different. My favourite so far has been Who Framed Peter Rabbit because hearing Rory play Jemima Puddleduck as a femme fatale is something I will never forget!
Steve: My favourite titles or favourite episodes? We’ve had some really funny titles (and so many in the list that we haven’t used yet) but I think my favourite so far have been Sliding Jaws or Shaun of the Dead Poets Society. But favourite episode is really hard. They are always so much fun and I get to sit back and just watch them happen.
Now we can’t talk about the titles of shows without talking about the graphics that are made for each episode – tell us all about them!
Sabrina: We are so lucky to have our talented friend Marty Sears in the team! Each week we send him the titles of the episodes that we’ve recorded, and he creates the most amazing mash up artwork. Steve and I get so excited when we see we’ve got a new image through from Marty – they never fail to make us smile!
“No one apart from Sabrina nobody knows the title of the movie (or the director’s character name) until we start the record. Everything is made up on the spot and built together as a team, supporting, encouraging andSteve
“yes and-ing” each other all the way. “
What are your aims for your podcast for the rest of 2021?
Sabrina: We’re already making plans for our Christmas episodes – watch this space – and preparing for our first live recording in August. We’d love to grow our audience, so if you know anyone who might be interested in 25 minutes of improvised movie fun, please send them our way!
Steve: We’ve got loads of episodes already in the can and I am beavering away getting them ready to publish. We’ve already got enough to get us to the end of the year and we’re planning a big end of year finale. I can’t wait for them to go public and share the titles, posters, and guests with everyone.
How do you decide who to have as a guest on each show?
Sabrina: We’re really fortunate to be part of the London improv community, particularly through our friends at Hoopla Impro. It’s great to be able to meet so many different improvisers – and each guest brings something completely different and exciting to the podcast! We come up with the titles, but it’s the guests and the resident improvisers who bring them to life.
What make you different to other podcasts out there?
Sabrina: We have a blend of pure improv – the films are entirely made up each week – alongside building up the backstory of our recurring character, Martina Minnow, who hosts the show. It’s a running joke amongst the team that none of us are entirely sure how old she is, how many celebs she’s had romantic liaisons with or quite where her rivalry with Roena Roe stems from. Having a constant character means that we can build a cinematic universe of set designers, props masters, choreographers and actors who make repeat appearances throughout the episodes. It gives us a fun platform to build the improvised movie on each week, and it gets richer with every episode.
Who would be your dream guest to appear and why?
Sabrina: I would love to have Pippa Evans on the podcast – she’s an improviser I really admire and I feel like she’d create a really exciting director character and a fun film for us to improvise together.
Steve: I would love to get some of the improvisers from the Comedy Store Players or Austenatious on the podcast. I’d also love to get Paul F P Tomkins (From the Dead Author Podcast) on too. That would be incredible.
What other podcasts are you a fan of and why?
Sabrina: We’re big fans of Vicky’s World, which features IMDp resident improviser Vicky Hawley in an improvised dungeons and dragons podcast. I also love ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’ by the QI Elves.
Steve: Anything by Long Cat Media – they have some brilliant fiction podcasts and the sound design is incredible. Their new musical “The Ballard of Anne & Mary” was recorded remotely during lockdown and you would never know, it is superb.
Are there any plans or have there been any live versions of your show?
Sabrina: We have our very first live recording scheduled for 3rd August at The Miller in London Bridge. We’ll be recording two episodes and would love to have you in the audience! We’re excited to see how the format will work in person and seeing our resident improvisers on their feet rather than on a screen.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting a podcast?
Sabrina: Go for it! You will learn so much just by doing it. We’ve made changes to the format, our audio kit and how we record because of the lessons we’ve learnt along the way. And always keep the bloopers. We have a lot of unreleased audio of us all laughing ourselves silly, and it is so wonderful to listen back to.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
We’re on Facebook and Instagram – you can find us by searching for Improvised Movie Director Podcast or @improvmoviepod. Please give us a follow – and let us know if there are any film mash ups that you would love to see.
Finally, in three words why should people listen to your show?
Steve: Funny Movie Mash-ups!