Season 2, Episode 5
What was the most important lesson critically-acclaimed director Jeremy Podeswa learned at Ryerson? Plus, his favourite scene from Game of Thrones!
Amanda: This is Ryerson Rewind — a podcast featuring alumni, sharing their fondest memories from Ryerson.
Jeremy: My name is Jeremy Podeswa. I was in the Film and Photography program; a 1984 graduate. Well I’m here at what used to be Maple Leaf Gardens and this didn’t exist when I was a student here so this is a completely new experience and I kind of love it, it’s a great facility. But, you know, it feels familiar and strange at the same time, which is as it should be because it is new and many years have gone by. But you know, it’s nice you do kind of fall right back into it, coming back through those doors, it’s fun. All I can think about when I think about the early days of Ryerson is how exhausted I was all the time. Because we worked really really hard and you know making films is a really typical enterprise, and especially if your learning as you’re going it’s...there’s a lot to take in, a lot to master the craft, and so you know we all worked crazy hours, I remember even you know in the photography department, working in the lab all night long to get prints for the next day and then the film department just working all nighters shooting and you know, it was an exhausting but exhilarating time because we all felt like we were learning something and we’re starting our lives and it all felt really great. I would say a big shout outs to my fellow classmates who are still in the business, many of them, that include Bruce MacDonald, and Adrian Mitchell, and Peter Metler, we’re still really tight friends, and everybodies still doing great work. And I’m really excited that we’re all in it together, and still friends. We hung out together all the time, and you know exploring Toronto, and Little Italy a lot, in each other's apartments, and that kind of thing, but we worked together a lot too, and that was a big thing. Like, we all crewed for each other, so you know, I would be somebody’s continuity person, or somebody’s AD, or somebody’s production manager and they would work on my thing. And so it was that kind of blending of life and work and all that stuff was great. You know at Ryerson I learned many things, I learned a lot of tools, they really helped with with film making and every aspect of it, but I think the biggest thing I learned was an appreciation for film as an art form, and this idea that you should try and find your own voice as a filmmaker. And that’s something that I really always try and do and has really stuck with me from the very beginning is to not be a generic filmmaker but to be a really specific filmmaker, and to do things in your own unique way. Most recently I’ve been directing a lot of TV shows including, Six Feet Under, Boardwalk, Empire and Homeland, The Pacific, Walking Dead, True Detective, American Horror Story, True Blood, a little thing called Game of Thrones, some people may have heard of it. There’s so many moments of Game of THrones that I’m proud of, I think, you know they’re not always the big extravaganza moments like sometimes they’re really small actor moments. I think the death of Little Finger was something that was really a beautiful scene, even though it’s violent. It was, you know working with an actor and doing something that was so specific and so, you know, moving was really great. But everyday on that show was a pleasure, working with so many good actors, with such good writing, it’s hard to pick just one thing. I usually get a lot of people asking me for advice who are recent graduates from here and from all over, and they find me somehow and they kind of want to know how do you get from there to there. You know I’m happy to help people whenever I can. What I tell young filmmakers is about finding your own voice, and about being really passionate about what you do. I also caution people that if there’s anything else they could do, that they would enjoy doing as much as film making, they should probably do that because filmmaking can be a long lonely road, and it can take a long time to establish yourself, but it can also be really rewarding so, I think if you’re really driven and you’re inspired then it’s a great thing to do. And I’m very happy that I’ve done it, so I’m happy to share that with people.
Amanda: This podcast is a production of the Ryerson University Alumni Association. I’m Amanda Cupido, a proud member of the board of directors, and the producer and editor of this podcast. For more stories like the one you just heard visit Ryerson.ca/alumni.
Jeremy Podeswa has been a director on the rise over the last two decades with directing credits in a number of hit television shows ranging from Six Feet Under and Dexter to True Blood, Homeland and most recently The Handmaid’s Tale. He is the winner of two Genie Awards and the 1999 TIFF Best Canadian Film for The Five Senses. He has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for episodes of Game of Thrones.