I am a big fan of podcasts so when I heard that Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara had a podcast all about reading and anything to do with book and literary life, I was extremely excited. These ladies are hilarious, smart, and listening to them feels like I’m just chilling at home with my best friends. I thought the Ms. In The Biz community should know more about this great duo so here we go!
You ladies are known as voracious readers to the fans of the Reading Glasses Podcast, but you are both also well known in entertainment industry. Can you tell our community a bit about your backgrounds in the biz?
Brea – I started my career as an actress and still continue to act on TV and in a lot of genre films. I now also write on and produce a show called EastSiders and write comic books. I also direct shorts and I did a feature a few years ago called Best Friends Forever (which this site gave a lot of shout outs to so thank you!).
Mallory – I write and produce for an independent production company called Dark Dunes Productions. I do freelance screenwriting and producing, but I’ve been working at Dark Dunes for five years now as my main job. We’ve got a feature coming out soon called Yamasong: March of the Hollows that’s a puppet film with the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Fillion and George Takei!
What is the Reading Glasses Podcast all about, and how did you come up with the idea for the podcast?
Mallory – The idea for Reading Glasses came right out of me and Brea’s natural interactions with each other. We were having dinner with a friend of ours one night to talk about a film project and while Brea and I were deep in conversation about book lights, the friend said, “You guys should do a podcast about this, about reader stuff.” We both really liked the idea and started talking about what a show that centered on reader culture would be like.
Brea – So now every week, we talk about book culture and literary life. Everything from what is a beach read to book technology to really specific stuff like spooky non-fiction or horse books. We like to do deep dives into things you may know about but may not know much about. We interview a different guest each week about everything from essays to memoirs to what it’s like to work in a library. We sort of define the show by what it’s not — we don’t do book reviews. We are for book culture generally!
Has doing this podcast amplified other areas of your careers?
Brea – I think for me, people think of me as a person who resides in the genre actress world so doing a book podcast was a shock for most people. Maybe even against brand. But anyone who knows me, knows it’s totally who I am. I have read a book a week for as long as I can remember. I think I fight in the industry a lot to be taken seriously as a writer/director and hopefully people can see that I can do different things or act in different types of roles when they hear the podcast.
Mallory – Along with being a filmmaker, I’m also a prose writer. Reading Glasses has made my connection to the reader community much stronger. A connection like this is invaluable to an author, especially since I have a book coming out next year!
That’s awesome Mallory! So excited to read it! Speaking of community, there is a really large community that has formed around Reading Glasses. Why do you think that people have connected so strongly to the podcast and to others who rock “Reading Glasses” themselves?
Mallory – I believe that Reading Glasses resonates with listeners so strongly because you don’t need to read a particular book or genre to be able to enjoy it. We designed Reading Glasses so no matter how much or little you read and no matter what kind of books you read, you’ll be able to enjoy it and get something out of it. Brea and I work hard to foster a positive environment that counts all reading as reading and all readers as readers. I think that makes listeners feel comfortable and connected – both to us and other fans.
What have been your biggest joys in doing the podcast?
Mallory – Besides getting to talk about books all the time, it’s definitely the positive feedback from fans. We get tons of emails from listeners who tell us that Brea and I helped get them back into reading or helped them feel unashamed about their reading preferences. It makes my day every time.
Brea – I love getting to talk about books every week with my friend Mallory! Sounds so simple but it’s really a joy. Also, through the process of making it, I learned to edit sound and that has been a great skillset. I actually really like sitting down and editing us every week. It’s a different muscle I get to use than the normal creative work I do.
What have been your biggest challenges in your first year of the show?
Mallory – Brea does all the technical wizardry (which I still can’t figure out) and I do most of the writing. For me, the toughest part the first year was settling on the format. There were some segments we ended up cutting. It took us a few months to get into a groove with what parts worked and how long they needed to be. Once the format clicked, planning and writing episodes got so much easier.
Brea – Yeah. For anyone planning on doing a podcast, give yourself some space to be free. We thought it would be one thing and we ended up with something else. There is so much you can do with podcasting! Doing a podcast every week is a LOT of extra work. It’s definitely a new part-time job for me which I don’t think I realized. It makes you appreciate all those well put-together podcasts you listen to every week.
Any funny stories or weird anecdotes that have come out of doing the show?
Mallory – Doing a podcast opens you up to over-familiarity and people feeling like they can give their opinions about everything you do. Because of this, we get hilariously weird feedback. My favorite was one guy who was, for some stupid reason, really upset to find out that Brea doesn’t wear glasses. He was incensed that the show is called Reading Glasses, but only one host actually wears glasses. I hope he’s still mad.
Brea – Also we got a review that said, “Too silly.” Which is basically what I want on my tombstone.
Any advice for other people who are interested in starting a podcast?
Mallory – Keep it consistent. Make sure your show releases regularly, at the same time and day, and that your episodes are around the same length with the same format. Listeners like being able to count on when the show comes out and what exactly they’re going to get!
Brea – Any time anyone wants advice on making things, I always say just do it. Start it now. Not tomorrow. You won’t be any more ready tomorrow than you are today.
Brea, I know you are addicted to snacks as documented very well in the podcast. What snack are you eating right now?
Chocolate. Always. How did you know I was eating while answering this interview???
Mallory, I feel like I see you reading a new book every single day on your Instagram posts. Just how many books would you say you read in a week?
Depending on my work schedule and the length of the book, I usually finish one to four books a week. In addition, I almost always have an audiobook going. But please keep in mind that I get through a lot of books mostly because reading is my main leisure activity. I don’t really watch TV! I do read very quickly, but I don’t have magical reading powers. I just make a lot of time for reading.
Aside from more awesome podcast episodes, what do you ladies have coming up that we can check out?
Mallory – My book, The Lady from the Black Lagoon, is available for pre-order now! It’s both a biography of Milicent Patrick, the woman who designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a memoir of my work in the horror film industry. It’s out on March 9th, 2019 and it’s like Julie and Julia for monster movies.
Brea – You can check out a film I’m in called Dead Night on all the platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, etc.). EastSiders Seasons 1 – 3 (short seasons perfect for binging) are all available on Netflix. I acted in Season 2 and became a producer for Season 3. If you just want to see my face, I’m on some medium or other if you just type in my name.