Who Is Joshua Pullar?
By Alixandra Rutnik on Sep 09, 2021
Creative Producer and One Club Member talks video editing for NowThis
I love a good docuseries, like “Explained” or “Our Planet” on Netflix. But I think I am going to have to add some of the NowThis episodes to my rotation. After watching three short yet very educational videos, I learned a lot of new things and you will too.
Did you know seaweed sequesters carbon and might actually have the potential to save our planet? Or @thetrashwalker on Instagram is posting and exposing NYC stores for trashing an abundance of usable products and edible food every day? Or single-use plastic straws may not have been as bad as we originally thought?
One Club Member and creative writer-turned-creative producer Joshua Pullar is the video editor behind the NowThis Original Series “Who is?” and “One Small Step.” “Who Is?” focuses on politicians and their stories, while “One Small Step” focuses on sustainability practices.
We caught up with Josh to learn more about his passions and his path into video production.
Where are you from originally and how did you end up in NYC?
I was born and raised in London, UK, and I moved to NYC in 2016 to live with my wife Hana. My favorite place in NYC is my Bed-Stuy stoop, it's where my friends, family, and neighbors come together.
So your BA is in film and creative writing. How did you get into creative production and content editing?
My entry into film and writing was through theatre. I studied for four years at the BRIT School in London to become an actor but decided to change tracks at university. Well, I say decided, but the film and acting course I was set to join was canceled, and they offered me creative writing instead– I was excited by the prospect of trying something new. Learning to write prose, poetry, and screenplays was instrumental in understanding how to structure a story told in a video format. There's often an invisible rhythm to video edits, and my background helps me craft that in the projects I work on.
"Learning to write prose, poetry, and screenplays was instrumental in understanding how to structure a story told in a video format."
What is your creative process for producing and editing videos for NowThis?
"Who Is?" and "One Small Step" have vastly different tones, so the approach to each show varies.
"Who Is?" looks at politicians and the people in power in the U.S. I work with a small team to identify whose story we want to tell, the most important, or often outrageous, moments in their lives, and how that affects their place in the political system and the power they wield. The strength of the show is in how it distills a personal history into a couple of minutes, without sacrificing historical context, or jokes.
"The strength of the show is in how it distills a personal history into a couple of minutes, without sacrificing historical context, or jokes."
I've worked with an incredible roster of talent while producing and editing on the show, including Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Talib Kweli, Aisha Tyler, and some great comedians like Yedoye Travis, Mohanad Elshieky, and Mary Beth Barone.
"One Small Step" is all about sustainability and the environment. The show seeks to give anyone an entry point into the conversations around sustainability, and also leave them with some action they can take to be more mindful about the environment.
I think the show is at its best when we're out in the field getting hands-on with people and practices that are directly contributing to a more sustainable ecosystem. For instance, we visited Suzie Flores a kelp farmer in Connecticut and learned all about how seaweed can sequester carbon. And we spent time with Anna Sacks a dumpster diver in Manhattan @thetrashwalker to highlight just how much is going to waste. We're constantly on the lookout for people who are doing interesting things in the sustainability space, and our pre-pro is often just sharing links and thinking of the stories we can tell.
"We're constantly on the lookout for people who are doing interesting things in the sustainability space, and our pre-pro is often just sharing links and thinking of the stories we can tell."
The pandemic lockdown in early 2020 posed some unique challenges for the show, and we tasked ourselves with talking to experts who could explain the effect the pandemic was having on sustainability practices. For instance, was it still safe to use reusable bags? (yes!). We also challenged some of the sustainability gospel, like the prevalence of metal straws, and learned that sometimes an action with good intentions can have bad outcomes.
What advice would you give to aspiring producers?
Producing on set or in the field takes technical skills and knowing how to manage people, especially interview subjects. Be attentive to everyone's needs. I always like to make sure a subject feels part of the setup. Ask them if they feel comfortable sitting or standing where they are, and invite them (or their hair and make-up) to look at the shot on camera. When everyone feels part of the production, the mood tends to be more relaxed.
What kinds of personal projects are you working on right now?
My personal creative time is more often taken up with photography projects. This year I've begun working with cyanotypes, and in the future, I plan to make prints from the fruits, vegetables, and fungi I grow in my Brooklyn backyard.
At the moment I'm interested in building a creative space to work in, rather than an individual project. Converting a barn into an edit bay, photo studio, and screening space is a goal.
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