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Comedic Arts’ Miara Turns Pitching Hollywood Into ‘Get It to Dutch’ Podcast

Andy Miara
Andy Miara

Pitching screenplays to executives is tough, but it can be quite amusing, too. That’s what Andy Miara’s new podcast, Get It to Dutch: A Screenwriter’s Journey, is all about.

The Comedic Arts assistant professor knows a thing or two about pitching ideas. Miara has created pilots for Comedy Central, Adult Swim, and TruTV. He also was the head writer for the Onion News Network.

Miara is the co-creator, co-writer and director of Get It to Dutch, which is a scripted fictional series following three screenwriters trying to get the greenlight from Hollywood executives.

The podcast debuted earlier this month and is available on iHeart, Apple, and other places you listen to podcasts. He answered questions about the podcast, his experience pitching, and Weird Al Yankovic.

What is Get It to Dutch: A Screenwriter’s Journey about?

Miara: It’s a very specific satire of life in Hollywood. It is 100 percent built around our experiences of slogging through the trenches. I think it’s both super recognizable to anyone and also translatable to anyone of any walk of life.

The running joke is executives being “big fans,” and when you start that’s great to hear, and then you learn that’s what executives say when take a pass on your idea.  The agent says they’re “big fans,” and you learn that they hate you, and they want nothing to do with you. When you get a note of “big fan” it’s like, oh no. The characters get a lot of “big fans” and that sends them into emotional tailspins.

Greg Hess, Mark Raterman, Andy Miara, Brendan Jennings.
Left to right: Greg Hess, Mark Raterman, and Brendan Jennings play fictional versions of themselves in the podcast.

Tell us about the podcast.

Miara: It’s a scripted comedy podcast. There are 12 episodes that are 30 minutes each. It follows three aspiring screenwriters who get together each week to share and read an original screenplay one has written. They read, rate them, and give notes. The goal is at the end of the season they’ll pick the best one and get it to their one Hollywood connection, Dutch Huxley. Early in the process, things go wrong and hijinks ensue, as dreams of getting big and breaking into Hollywood become more unattainable. They take meetings, general meetings, and it culminates in a big pitch meeting at end of season.

The three guys have a Three Stooges dynamic. The main performers for the podcast are Greg Hess, Mark Raterman, and Brendan Jennings. They have performed as the Cook County Social Club for years. I’ve worked with these guys for almost 20 years on a ton of different projects. They’ve got a great dynamic and play fictional versions of themselves for the podcast.

What do you like about the podcast?

Miara: All of us in the group have been interested for a while in wanting to do something in the podcast space. We had done a lot of work in the low budget comedy universe of TV for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central. Recently, a lot of that space has disappeared and moved into the scripted audio space. We were interested in doing that and finding a way to do scripted comedy in podcast space, which is really dominated by the conversation genre.

It felt like a cool challenge, and on the creative level, we had all wanted to do a character-based comedy. We wanted to do something about guilty pleasure-style movies. We thought about writing the best bad movies we could come up with. The characters’ ideas are one inch off plausible. We discussed a kids’ sport movie, erotic thrillers, Lord of the Rings style movies, or millennial coming-of-age stories.

There’s a slate of guest stars. Tim Robinson, Rob Huebel … and Weird Al Yankovic plays the guys’ lawyer, who just spends his time driving around L.A., keeping them on the phone as he charges them for long calls.

Where did you record it?

Miara: We were all together and recorded it last summer and fall in iHeart Studios in Hollywood.

Brendan Jennings, Greg Hess, Andy Miara, and Mark Raterman
Left to right: Brendan Jennings, Greg Hess, Andy Miara, and Mark Raterman.

How has this experience helped you become a better educator for Emerson?

Miara: On one hand it’s really cool to move into a new space with scripted audio. In a lot of ways, what I teach is about fundamental skills that are applicable across media, whether someone is going into sketch comedy, sitcoms, or film. The idea is you can learn these skills and apply them anywhere. That was proof of concept, we take what we all know in sketch and TV and apply it to a new medium.

And what I’m hoping to do is create a class around podcasting, specifically narrative and scripted podcast. After this experience I’ve gained a lot of insight into best practices and technique in a space that is new and is available to our students.

Did you talk to students about the podcast?

Miara: I kept them up to date on it.

What else would you like people to know about the podcast, yourself, etc.?

Miara: I would love for people to know that the podcast, first and foremost, it’s very funny. It’s for people who love comedy, and also for people who love movies. And the guests we have are playing fun characters.

One thing I’d like to say about Emerson, is the College was incredibly supportive of this project that required a lot of time and travel on my part. They’ve been incredibly supportive of giving me the freedom of moving into the podcast space, and encouraging me to come back and share the experience with students.

It’s the proof of concept of teaching at Emerson. That we’re maintaining our creative practice at the same time.

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