Allison Cronan ’17 and Kiley Rossetter ’17 have made quite the splash at Wesleyan thus far. Co-founders of the podcast “The Production Report,” Cronan and Rossetter have remarkable resumes within the entertainment industry: Allison has worked for Starz, SyFy, and USA, while Kiley has worked at Universal Studios and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” and now commutes every weekend to New York City to intern in post production at Saturday Night Live. Both film and computer science/math majors, the pair sat down with The Argus to discuss their podcast, their experiences in TV, and their senior theses.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated as WesCelebs?
Allison Cronan: Because Alexa [De la Cruz ’17] is really nice? No but actually, we’ve been doing a radio show on WESU since freshman year that we try to spread hype about.
Kiley Rossetter: Between the two of us, we make our way around campus a lot. Between tutoring, the radio show, Film, TAing—
AC: That, and math, comp sci. I’m on the equestrian team.
KR: People recognize our faces.
AC: I like to think so!
A: Could you tell me about your podcast? How has it developed into its current form?
KR: I think we came at it from the perspective of a very, very vague idea of, “Let’s go on the radio for half an hour and talk about film and TV!” and kind of went from there.
AC: Yeah and then we were [like], “Okay, well, what if we actually talk to people who know more about film and TV than we do…”
KR: Since we were just freshmen at the time…
AC: And the very first interview we did was with one of our friends at Wesleyan’s dad. It’s on iTunes. If you really want to see the origin story of our production, that’s it. The first one is very different from the latest one.
KR: I would say so! For example, in the latest one, you can actually hear us talking and actually hear people’s responses to our interview questions. It’s a beautiful thing.
AC: Yes, the tech equipment got better! But yeah, we just wanted to have other people to talk about a bunch of different things that we wanted to learn more about. So we get people like actors, like Bradley Whitford, [and] show runners because we’re both really interested in TV. We got Carter Bays…we were supposed to have Craig Thomas, too, but he was sick that morning.
KR: Still, we got, like, half of “How I Met Your Mother.” We also had the president of Headline News and the founder of SpikeTV!
AC: We had someone who is a voice coach on Hamilton. We just really like learning about the entertainment industry; at least [that’s the case] for me. I assume the same for you.
KR: Yeah, pretty much. You know what’s changed though?
KR: We’ve gotten funnier, I think. We didn’t used to be before we knew each other. It used to be very, “We’re reporting the news!” and we’ve kind of moved away from that a little bit.
AC: We make a lot more puns now.
KR: I’m not too sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
A: Kiley, I hear you’ve been involved in “Saturday Night Live.” Could you tell me about that?
KR: Yeah, sure! I mean I can’t talk too too much about it, but—
AC: She’s too important to share information with us!
KR: Really, it’s that I’m not important and I don’t want that to get out. I’m a post production IT intern, so I do kind of a 50/50 mix of helping out the post production team with editing—not actually editing the show—but just with different outside projects…and also helping my supervisor with tech support around the show.
A: What made you both want to be involved in the entertainment industry?
AC: I like telling stories. I like talking, which is a good thing for radio.
KR: I love talking. It’s the greatest thing.
AC: Radio is great, too, because you can talk and people have to listen to you, or if they’re not listening to you, you don’t actually see them turn off the radio so you can pretend they’re listening to you.
KR: Exactly. That’s the key.
AC: Also, I just really like how the entertainment industry works. It’s something that tries to stay really current, and I know a lot of industries are like that, too, but it also goes in with the storytelling. And also the creative people involved in it; I love TV people. So I like to masquerade as one so I can hang out with them.
KR: Yeah, I’m all about that. There’s also just something really great about working as a team to create something, and I think in a lot of the other creative professions you don’t quite get the same experience as being a part of this larger unit that you do in movies and TV.
AC: That’s probably why we do a radio show together!
KR: Yeah, teamwork! It makes the dream work.
AC: And the good thing about having a team is that we can come up with really mean jokes about ourselves, and then make the other person say it. So we get the self-deprecating humor, but it doesn’t have to be so clear that we hate ourselves.
KR: Also, if we make a joke that somebody doesn’t like, we can just deflect it onto the other person.
AC: Like, Kiley, why were you so unfunny this week with the jokes that I wrote for you?
KR: Exactly! It works out.
What’ll happen to the podcast when you guys graduate?
AC: To be determined…
KR: Yeah, I think it depends if we end up in the same state. I’d like to continue it. We meet cool people that way; it’s a lot of fun. You know what, no. It’s not going to die. You heard it here first.
A: More broadly, what are your plans for after graduation?
KR: You’re just asking the hard-hitting questions!
A: I’m trying to get the good stuff!
AC: I would want to work for, like, a network or studio. I’m still learning about everything. Every time we talk to a new person on the radio I’m like, “Oh wow, I want to do that job!” But this summer I had two jobs for two different networks, and one was more on the business end with strategy and business development. I really liked that, and that’s something I could see myself doing. Also, I worked for more of development of current and original programming, and I really liked that, so maybe something like that? I’m keeping my options open.
KR: Basically for me, there’s a couple of production companies that I’m very, very interested in. And I’ll sell my soul…I’d love to personal assist. I’d love to kind of just do production coordinating, anything that in gets me [onto] the ground floor for any of these companies, assuming I have options for where I want to work.
AC: Yeah, I might just live in Kiley’s basement.
KR: I’m from Florida, so the joke’s on you because we don’t have basements.
A: I read about your senior theses. Could you talk a little bit about those?
KR: I’m writing a teleplay. So I’m writing an hour-long TV pilot, with the help of my thesis advisor and my four-person thesis class. This week, I’m writing my first scene for it because so far it’s been heavily in the outlining stage. I haven’t mastered the pitch here, but it’s going to be a very weird—hopefully a little funny, but mainly just interesting and exciting—fantasy series since I don’t feel like there’s too much real, hard fantasy on TV right now. And I think that void needs to be filled!
AC: Mine is the most exciting of the film theses: It is the history theory [of] aesthetics thesis, which, mind you, there are more of than there are people doing Kiley’s thesis.
AC: Yeah, there are five of us!
KR: Wow, that’s the thesis to do.
AC: It’s pretty much the cool kid thesis. Instead of writing a creative thesis or making a film, I’m doing more a long form of what we do in our classes which is aesthetic analyses, and then tying in some history and theory and whatnot. Mine’s specifically on authorship and television, which partially has to do with the question of, like, who do you consider the author on a TV show since so many people work on them? And then personally, why are certain people more well known as authors than others? Why do you know Joss Whedon…and Ryan Murphy? Kiley and I are obsessed with this TV show “Lucifer” right now—it’s so bad—but I have no clue who made that show.
KR: That’s very much a Fox show.
AC: Why do I know Joss Whedon’s show and Bryan Fuller’s show but “Lucifer,” who makes “Lucifer”? Also, on the record, I don’t have guilty pleasure shows in general because I don’t feel guilty about TV shows I like. And I don’t think anyone should feel guilty.
A: What’s been your favorite aspect of Wesleyan? What have been your favorite memories here?
KR: I probably shouldn’t talk about the parties we throw.
AC: Well…I love the classes!
KR: And there we have Allison and Kiley…
AC: The Film classes are great. It’s an amazing way of talking about film with people who study just film or writing, and you don’t get that sort of background of why people make certain decisions in films. I like being in Connecticut. I like apple picking. There’s no apple picking in California.
KR: I do do that a lot when there are apples. Actually, I’m just going to piggyback off your answer. The people and the professors make this place. We’ve gotten really close with a lot of the students here and some of the professors, and I don’t know if I’d be doing what I’m doing today—I know I wouldn’t be writing the thesis I am today—without all of their influence.
AC: And we’ve been talking a lot about our radio show! Wesleyan’s radio station [WESU] is amazing. We have a freeform format, which I guess is like a lack of format, where you can do whatever show you want. It’s not like some schools where we have to apply to fill the “pop music” hour. We get to decide that we want to do a show about film and TV.
KR: Wesleyan’s big on…kind of, if you want to do something and you really want it, they will help you make that happen. And that’s cool.
A: What advice would you give to freshmen?
KR: Do everything you want to do. Don’t do too much; people do too much, and then [they] don’t really get to dive in depth into something [they] want to explore. But if there’s something you’ve been dreaming of doing, even if you wouldn’t dare tell anybody else about it, just do it. I never told anybody I wanted to do a radio show. You have nothing to lose. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
AC: Also, in the same vein, don’t do things just because you feel like you should. Clearly, you should finish your major requirements—
KR: Please graduate.
AC: —and you probably want to finish Gen. Ed. But if you’re taking a class that you just hate, but you’re like, “Oh, but I told my mom I would take an economics class,” there are so many other things you could be doing! Either taking a class you like more because there are so many amazing classes here. Also, I don’t mean that against economics classes. I feel like I should add that in there.