Zero People Zero: Meghan Casey
…and we’re back!
Meet Meghan Casey, the Production Coordinator of anthonybourdain's Parts Unknown! Learn about her not-so-secret obsession with Reggaeton, get some sage travel advice (really good tips, because you know, that's her job!), and her life story in emoji form (a ZPZ first!)
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Wait, this jacket looks familiar…]
NAME: Meghan Casey
OCCUPATION: Production Coordinator for Parts Unknown
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH ZPZ: About 2.5 years
ZPZ: Tell us a little about yourself.
MC: I grew up in Connecticut, went to school in Boston (Go Sox!), and moved to NYC right after graduation. I have a not-so-secret obsession with reggaeton, can name the breed of almost any dog (like Adam’s dog, Winston) and my favorite meal is anything with eggs.
My family recently moved and while packing up the house we found a VHS from a trip to Ireland when I was around seven. A solid portion of the video is of me giving a tour of a castle complete with improvised Irish accent and facts about the castle’s history. As we move from room to room I’m directing the cameraman (aka Dad) what to shoot and how to set it up. I guess you could say that’s how I got a start to my career!
ZPZ: Tell us how you got to ZPZ. What do you do?
My day depends on where we are in the schedule. Lately I’ve been working with the producers to set up flight and hotel reservations as well as making sure we’re all set with passports, vaccines, first aid kits, etc. I also handle deliverables such as releases, scripts, music cue sheets, etc. that get sent to the network.
ZPZ: Name 3 things that you always bring on vacation that the average person wouldn’t think of.
1) Map: You don’t realize how reliant you are on your smartphone until it stops working and you’re lost and don’t speak the language (see: most of my semester abroad). Having a map allows you to easily get directions from someone as well as have a better sense of the layout of the area. Plus, you might spot some things on there you may otherwise not have noticed.
2) Sunscreen: I always pack sunscreen because #palegirlproblems are real. I am fair and freckly so if I’m outside for more than ten minutes at a time there’s a pretty good chance I’ll get burned. Sunscreen is almost always more expensive at your destination, especially if you’re going to someplace warm or by the beach. Bringing your own saves money AND saves the hassle of having to go pick it up once you’ve arrived.
3) Roll Your Clothes: This is not a “thing” but it is my most useful travel tip by far. Rolling your clothes stops them from wrinkling and also saves a ton of room. Seriously, you’d be surprised at the amount you can fit in a normal suitcase if you do this.
ZPZ: Tell us your life story using EMOJIS.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: She did say she was a big fan of eggs…]
ZPZ: We’ve learned that your Spanish is actually really good, can you elaborate a little on how that happened? Give some tips on how to speak with locals from Spanish-speaking countries.
MC: It was honestly kind of a fluke. When I got to college I ended up meeting a lot of people from Spanish-speaking countries so it was inevitable that I would start picking it up. To really start learning I began to take classes as well as listen to music and watch movies in Spanish. I wouldn’t say I’m fluent by any means but I’m working on it!
It’s a very slang-heavy language so you may think you know what a word means, but if you go to another country it’s something entirely different. A good example is the word popcorn. In Venezuela it would be cotufas, in Mexico it’s palomitas, and in Guatemala it’s poporopos. These guys do a great job of summing it up.
I feel like most people know the basic phrases (“Hola!”, “Como estás?”, “Cómo te llamas?”, “Dónde está el baño?”…). It would be helpful to look up a few local phrases used in the country you’re visiting. For example, “Que onda?” is like saying “What’s up?” in Mexico, but it translates to something more like, “What vibes?” Knowing things like that would make talking to locals a lot easier.
ZPZ: Give us a 5 song commuting playlist.
[Editor’s Note: On a Stromae kick right now…]
ZPZ: Share your favorite tbt.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out this guy’s #tbt]
MC: Growing up my mom would always dress my sister and I in matching outfits even though we are four years apart (about three years too many to be wearing the same thing). I remember hating the outfit at the time and the only way I would wear it is if I also got to wear my favorite shoes: high-heeled jelly sandals with silver sparkles. I’ve seen a similar pair in stores recently and it’s been very tempting to purchase them. (Also, bonus matching outfit pic attached!).
Thanks for reading, y’all. Until next time!
Here we go again! A shiny, new season of PARTS UNKNOWN. The end result of many months on the road, the fruits of the combined efforts of our hard working band of constantly in motion cinephiles. So many amazing landscapes have whipped past us on our way from here to there. So many great meals. So many appalling bathrooms.
As always, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what we can do differently, how far we can push it—what stories can we tell that we haven’t told before.
You might notice that in the premier episode, set in Shanghai, that I am, from time to time, wearing a colored pocket square or foulard. This is not, as a matter of course, normal for me. But there is a method to my madness. These tiny notes of color are our first venture into actual production design—a calculated effort to give the episode a specific “look”.
I have long been besotted with the works of Chinese director Wong Kar Wai—and his frequent cinematographer, Christopher Doyle. His films, “In the Mood for Love” and “Chungking Express” in particular, are gorgeous meditations on longing and desire and missed connections. They are spectacularly shot—and a while back, I noticed how tiny elements of color in the foregrounds of the frames are often connected to similar colors in the background—giving scenes a lush, unified atmosphere that feels natural and un-designed. So we tried—as best and as cheaply as possible—to do that. You will notice scenes tied together by colors. Cameraman Mo Fallon and cameraman/editor Nick Brigden did, I think, truly epic work on this one.
I mention longing and desire. And in many ways, that’s what this episode is about. China is experiencing an explosive period of change and growth as millions of people are joining the middle class. Millions and millions of people who want and will soon demand the cars, TV screens, apartments, gasoline, access to information and mobility most of us take for granted.
China—Shanghai in particular—is a very different looking place every time I go. And I believe that the world as a whole, largely because of what’s happening in China, is going to be a very different looking place. If you live in New York (as I do) and think you live in the most modern, sophisticated city in the world—or even at its center—Shanghai can come as a rude surprise. In spite of its nominally communist system, it is the most go-go, unfettered, money and status mad, materialistic place on earth. Its skyline alone is confirmation that money talks loudest. In no other city could you build the world’s largest, tallest and ominously curved phallus—stick it right up into the clouds like a giant “FUCK YOU!” to the world and not have trouble with the NIMBYs.
After Shanghai, we have an erratic line up of weirdness comprised of shows like Paraguay, The Bronx, Jamaica, Vietnam, Tanzania, Iran and a show about heroin in Western Massachusetts and New England that will be an eye opener.
ZPZ cofounder, Lydia Tenaglia on working with anthonybourdain.
Zero People Zero: Daniel Robles
Welcome back to another Zero People Zero!
This week we have ZPZ’s awesome IT guy, Daniel Robles! Learn how he keeps ZPZ’s electronic heartbeat ticking, what hot keys you should be using (if you haven’t been already), and what movie quote he lives by.
ZPZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
DR: I was born in the Dominican Republic in San Pedro De Macoris, living there was pretty adventurous to say the least! As a crazy lil kid, I’d run through abandoned farms, graveyards, fishing, pretty much anything that was there. But the one story that stands out to me was when I was about 4-5, I encountered a man with a very round belly and asked him, “Oh, when are you giving birth to the baby?” Haha!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Evidence that looks can be deceiving]
DR (cont’d): At 7, my family and I moved to New York, where I was introduced to junk food (uh-oh). In 2004-2007, I worked security for the New York Yankees (yes, I met all of the players, got some autographs, and met a ton of celebrities!) My first year working was the year they lost to the Red Sox in the American League Championship series. A horrible night to say the least…
[EDITOR’S NOTE: #RE2PECT]
DR (cont’d): I married my wife, Anabel in 2011, she has been the most understanding, inspirational, caring, dedicated, loving person that I have ever known. It was an amazing day!
By the way, I’m also a huge gamer and tech enthusiast, I can talk about it for days, so I’ll stop it right here…
ZPZ: What do you do at ZPZ? Give us the lowdown.
DR: Being an Information Technology technician I maintain our Servers, Phones, E-mail, Network Switches, User Data Backups, Web Domains, Network Printer support, Remote Desktop support, anything with an electronic heartbeat at ZPZ. My Daily responsibilities are to make sure the backups are syncing properly, making sure the network runs stable. Checking network security to make sure that there aren’t any external threats trying to access ZPZ data. There are also times when I am assigned special projects for other departments to help workflow or change the way things are done. I am also on call when anyone needs help I can assist remotely or by coming to the workstation and fixing the issue.
[EDITOR’S NOTE : Thanks for keeping the internet up-and-running so we can read this!]
DR (cont’d): I have never worked in anything media related so the BIGGEST perk is just being in this company; I have always been interested in TV Production. I am still in awe of everything that is accomplished here and seeing the many different things that people do. I’m amazed every day because I’m always learning something new when it comes to the aspects of production.
ZPZ: What are your favorite hot keys? Give us some advice to help troubleshoot when things are going wrong.
DR: My favorite shortcut is for spotlight (Command + Spacebar) it’s the quickest way to access any file or app on the fly from any program. When in apple mail you can you use (Command + Shift + i) to start a new email message.
If anyone has watched the IT crowd haha, they’ll know the first quick fix is always to restart your computer if it’s having issues.
The second is when having issues deleting things or moving them around repairing disk permissions on disk utility found in Applications> Utilities> Disk Utility> then highlight the hard drive on the left and select repair disk permissions.
If you’re running out of Hard Drive Space, delete whatever you don’t need from the downloads folder, a lot of people don’t ever do that and run out of space.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s some sound advice!]
ZPZ: We’ve seen you around the office with some pretty sweet shoes, show us whatcha got!
DR: Haha, it’s funny you noticed. My collection has mostly always been Jordans, Nikes, and Adidas. I actually sold a bunch of them… I’m growing up .
Here are my top 4 sneakers:
1) Jordan XI - Cool Greys, I got them for my wife too but she’s wearing the Space Jams in the pic
4) Nike Dunks- These were a super special Edition Serena Williams Collection Royale FIRE! haha
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Daniel to give us his top 3 shoes, yet he was only able to narrow it down to 4, oh and btw don’t ever get THESE…]
ZPZ: What are the top 5 songs on you’re playing right now?
1) Through the Wire - Kanye West
This was when Kanye made the most sense, going through the hardships, disappointments, just kept working hard.
2) Breathe - Fabolous
Classic Fab, still underrated. Still has better flow and Rhymes than most other rappers. No real context just like the song.
3) Show Me - Kid Ink
No real context again haha. It’s really catchy.
4) H.A.M – Jay-Z, Kanye West
Another infectious song, but more of a guilty pleasure…
5) Nike Head - Lexicon
This song definitely spoke to me at a time when I was obsessed with sneakers. [Editor’s Note: So is this guy]
ZPZ: Give us a movie quote that you live by? Why is it so important, funny or memorable.
DR: ”Man’s reach exceeds his grasp.”
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember this haiku?
From The Prestige, it just stuck with me. We often try to do too much and stretch ourselves to the breaking point. Go watch it!
ZPZ: Tell us about Orbi! How is the experience? What is he like? How does it feel to a first-time dad?
DR: Orbi is the man of the house (haha)! He is incredibly strong for a 2 month old. The experience has been really amazing and eye-opening, he’s constantly on my mind when I leave the house, and when I come back, he lights up with a huge smile (my wife is jealous haha). He is a handful in a good way, really active (he was like that in the womb). As a couple, Anabel and I are still learning a lot, but he loves having us close by and constantly pulling on my beard and wife’s hair (haha). Being a first-time dad is scary/fun; scary because you don’t want to make any mistakes and fun because he brings us a lot of joy and we are proud to say that we are his parents.
Thanks for sharing, Daniel. Now go all Matrix and do your thang!
Zero People Zero: Chrissy Varley
Here we go again! Check out this week’s Zero People Zero.
Meet Chrissy Varley, ZPZ’s receptionist. In this installment, Chrissy gives us the low down on how to handle yourself during small talk, why she’s actually a princess on the weekends, and why she’s known as “The Mother of Packages”. Get to know more below.
NAME: Chrissy Varley
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH ZPZ: 1 year and 2 months
ZPZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
CV: I’m from Mahopac, NY (upstate, about an hour and half north of Manhattan). I went to School of Visual Arts as a Directing major. Singing is one of my favorite things to do. I like to break out into song at any given point. I grew up in theater and musical theater, so it’s never really left me. On the weekends, I perform as a Princess/Hostess/Mascot at birthday parties…
[We couldn’t let it go]
[Help us, Chrissy, you’re our only hope…]
CV: Two of my best friends from my home town, Andrew DiDonato (Diddles) and Ryan Lakestream, work here. I found out Lisa Gentile lives in the next town down. So if we are home, we frequent the same movie theaters and shops, which is pretty cool. Also, I usually put myself in embarrassing situations on purpose, so it’s very rare when I actually get bashful. I love to make a fool out of myself!
[Editor’s note: This is what we call homegrown talent]
ZPZ: Tell us a little bit about your job here at ZPZ.
CV: I am Zero Point Zero’s Receptionist. Actually you can see that all my responsibilities/daily routines are written on a post it note taped to the back of my Daenerys Targaryen Pop! Figurine.
- Mother of Packages
- Receiver of your lunch Deliveries
- Wielder of Fortune
- Protector of the Plants
- Keeper of the Cable TV
- Gatherer of all pick sheets
CV: I started out in the equipment room (2nd floor, as we like to call it) with Chris Faulkner, who got me the job. I was his Teacher’s Assistant at SVA when I was attending. After 3 months on the 2nd floor, which I still love (EQUIPMENT REPRESENT!), I was asked to be the receptionist.
I don’t think there is a better place to work. I look forward to coming to work because the energy here is so positive, bright and friendly. I enjoy seeing everyone’s faces everyday, interacting with them, and I know this sounds strange, but I really like delivering mail/packages. It brings me joy to see someone so relieved when they have been waiting for a package and it finally arrives. It makes me feel like Santa Claus.
ZPZ: Give us your best small talk advice since you’re ZPZ’s receptionist.
CV: My best advice is to just be yourself, laugh and have fun. It’s all about the rapport: listening, body language, knowing when to blab yourself. I enjoy talking to people, chatting with them about there day, which is why I love my job so much. I’m a people person!
ZPZ: QUIZ: WHAT ZPZ SHOW ARE YOU!?
1) Choose a character:
Julia Child The Hardy Boys Buzz Aldrin Daniel Boone
- A black swan
Choose an activity:
Read a history book Help your friend find his cat Enjoy live music Backpack around the French countryside Relax poolside
- Have a cocktail party with friends
3) Word to describe yourself:
Adventurous Charismatic Genuine
Your Spirit Animal:
Tiger Grizzly Bear Flamingo
What type of food are you (not what you eat, what type of food would you describes you best:
Bison Burger Blowfish sashimi Kale Salad Coffee cake + coffee
Tape Matches/Flint Dictionary
ZPZ: YOU’RE city.ballet!
You love to perform in front of people and can transform yourself into any role. You wear your seeds on the outside and aren’t afraid to show it. You know it’s a cutthroat business, but intuitively, you know how to handle any situation.
ZPZ: TBT: Show us your favorite TBT. Tell us what’s happening in the photo.
[Baby Chrissy. Chowing down since 1990.]
[The one time in my life I felt like a rock star: During a rock concert in my high school. I’m singing Cherry Lips by Garbage]
ZPZ: Do you have any pets? If so, share!
CV: I adopted two cats from Kitty Kind in Union Square: Gigi and Mallow. Gigi is the darker one, Mallow is the orange one. They were Hurricane Sandy Rescues and were found in Breezy Point during their major fires. Oh and fun fact, they both have similar personalities to Sansa and Arya from Game of Thrones. Mallow is like Sansa (orange) and is a princess, Gigi is like Arya, and she carries around straws in her mouth like a little sword.
That’s it, y’all. Chrissy’s heading out!
Zero People Zero: Yeong-A Kim
Hey guys! Welcome back to another installment of Zero People Zero.
Meet Assistant Editor of anthonybourdain's Parts Unknown, Yeong-A Kim. A deadly Gonggi master (Korean jacks, a ZPZ Beer O’clock staple game), Yeong-A tells us her secrets to being a successful editor, how she appeared on camera on an episode of No Reservations, and what she’d cook if the president, the pope, and Ryan Gosling came over for a dinner party. Hey, girl.
ZPZ: Share a little story with us.
YK: Did you know that I had a speaking part in the Burning Questions episode of No Reservations? If you ever come across the raw footage, I apologize in advance. I basically froze in front of the camera and the whole crew. All I had to do is ask Tony a simple question, but that turned into 10+ takes. To my surprise, however, my rather cringe-worthy performance actually made the cut thanks to the magic of Chris Martinez’s editing.
ZPZ: What’s your job at ZPZ?
YK: I work mainly on Parts Unknown with ZPZ’s veteran editor, Jesse Fisher, who has edited my favorite No Reservation episodes: Romania and Harbin. The edit for each episode takes about 9 weeks. The first week is spent going through the footage and organizing. Jesse then gives me scenes to cut that usually go to Acts 5 and 6. I have the most fun during this phase, where I get to experiment with the footage and find the right music/natural sound that will enhance the feel of the scenes. As the deadline approaches, the experiment phase transitions into final cut. This is when I have to become extremely efficient. After I finish on my end, I send my cuts to Jesse for approval, and from there we deliver the episode to the network for notes. We are currently working on the Bronx episode, and we’re scheduled to lock our cut this week.
ZPZ: How did you find out about ZPZ?
YK: My parents sent me to America with a dream that one day I would work in corporate finance. I earned a degree in Economics and was looking to get a toehold on the fast-food industry when one day, helencho asked if I would be interested in interning at ZPZ. When a full-time position was offered, to my parent’s consternation, I accepted, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now my parents are fans of the show, and they often brag to their friends that I work for an Emmy-award winning show, sometimes showing the Burning Questions clip where I make an appearance. It’s funny how that one serendipitous moment has been so life-altering.
ZPZ: Any advice you’d like to give someone who’s into editing?
Below tips are from veteran editors at ZPZ:
• There’s a sign, which reads, “JUST FLY THE HELICOPTER" hanging on a wall in Chris Martinez’s office. It means that transport helicopter pilots do not directly take part in combats in a war. Instead, they pilot their choppers into battle zones in order to transport the soldiers to and from battles. The phrase ‘just fly the helicopter’ means editors are merely the pilots, not the combatants. When you are hired to fly the helicopter, don’t try to be a combatant. Put 100% of your creative effort on the rough cut. But once it’s time for notes, don’t take it personally if your work has been changed for variety of reasons.
• DO NOT SAY A WORD ABOUT YOUR CUT BEFORE SHOWING IT TO ANYONE: expectations can ruin the viewing experience. Rule of thumb in editing is to curb expectations.
• IF YOU HAVE TIME TO THROW IN TITLE CARDS FOR B-ROLL, SPEND THAT TIME LOOKING FOR B-ROLL: not all editors agree on this, but even if it’s not a perfect shot, it feels more complete when seeing the actual footage as opposed to a slate.
• STAY AWAY FROM DISSOLVES TO END THE MUSIC, LOOK FOR A GOOD STING: even if the song has a great beginning, if it has a weak ending, don’t use it.
What were your top 5 songs of the last five years?
2010: Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
Graduated from college and felt unsure of myself and my future. Listening to this song was cathartic. I felt like the writer of this song understood me.
2011: Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa
This is the song that kicked off our annual Black & Yellow birthday bash.
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, watch the video below…
(Ephraim and Yeong-A know what it is…]
2012: Cray-on by G-Dragon
Sure, PSY’s Gangnam Style wast popular, but this is real K-pop.
2013: Happy Together by The Turtles
Inspired by what was going on with Proposition 8, I re-watched the film ‘Happy Together’ by Wong Kar Wai. Prior to watching this film, I always associated the song with heterosexual bias, but the love between the two men in this film is one of the greatest love story ever told.
2014: Oh Pilsung Korea! by YB
Another world cup has come and gone, and it was a disappointing year for Korea. This song came out in 2002 when Korea (for the first time in its history) not only made it past the first round, but my country’s team got to the semi-finals. This goes out to all my Korean unnis in the office — Anna, Kimberly, Nari, and Helen. Repeat 2002!
ZPZ: Snap some pics of what’s happening in post department these days.
Chrissy — She’s the first person i see every morning, smiling. How can you smile before noon?
Prema — Working hard in the bullpen area, while others are drinking on 21.
[Ross — 19th floor mascot, often seen at 3 AM sleeping here to make the call time]
[Manny — The morning after the Hunt wrap party. He needs his beauty sleep.]
[Benny — Representing String & Can. Fancy mix room and equipment $$$.]
[Lin & Lorca – This is a typical edit room view. (Not staged at all.) ]
[Martinez — This is just a bonus for Martinez Fanclub at ZPZ. ]
ZPZ: If you were to prepare a feast for the president of the United States, Ryan Gosling, and the Pope, tell us what you’d make.
YK: As a Korean, I am proud of our culture and our food. Unlike many people at the office, I am not good at cooking. I would, however, cook a dish I feel comfortable preparing called, Budhae Jjigae, which translated means, solider stew. Budhae Jjigae is a spicy, kimchi-based stew, which contains some western ingredients like hotdogs, baked beans, corn, cheese, and Spam. Solider stew came about during the Korean War, when many Koreans were destitute and hungry. Reports and witnessing of Korean people picking through the American food garbage warmed the hearts of G.I.s and thus many American soldiers gave away some of their rations to the local hungry people. The Koreans then took these American food items back to their homes and added them to their traditional dish, Kimchi Jjigae. This is how Budhae Jjigae was born. (This is also why Koreans love their Spam.)
Budae Jjigae remains a popular dish to this day, and restaurants that specialize in serving this dish can be found all over Korea.
I think president Obama would find this meal interesting because it is rooted in American military history, the pope would appreciate Koreans’ resilience and their collective hope for the future, and Ryan…well, who doesn’t appreciate him…
Now go and play some Gonggi against a master!