#29: Santa Claus

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

Back in December, a Work Stew listener suggested that I interview Santa. I liked the idea, and I got right on it. After all, seasonal workers are an important element of the labor force. I wanted to know how Santa landed the gig, how much it paid, and—mandatory ‘ho ho ho’s aside—whether it was any fun.

Fortunately, it was easy to get in touch with Santa: it turns out he has a LinkedIn account. But actually booking an interview was much harder. On December 5, Santa sent this reply to my interview request:

“Kate, I would be glad to help, but this is a very busy time for me. Is it possible to do this after Christmas?”

The more I thought about it, and the more I consulted with my four-year-old, the more reasonable this seemed. I made a mental note to follow up in January—late January, in hopes that he might be rested and ready to dish. He did not disappoint…but then again, he rarely does.




#28: Filmmaker Gabrielle Burton

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

I was interested to speak with Gabrielle Burton in part because she has pursued a path I considered but then abandoned. For about two years after college, I worked as a production assistant for various film companies in New York. I answered phones, fetched cappuccinos…and nearly died of boredom. I didn’t stick with the film world long enough to get to the interesting parts—writing, producing, directing—and I often wonder what might have happened if I had persevered.

Gabrielle did persevere. She worked on the TV show Law & Order trailing directors as part of their director training program. She earned a Rotary Scholarship to study film in France. And, very wisely I think, she has surrounded herself with reinforcements: several years ago, she joined with her siblings in founding Five Sisters Productions, an independent film company through which the Burtons collaborate on a wide variety of creative projects.

About Gabrielle Burton: Gabrielle is a writer, director, and actor. Her current project is Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, a documentary about drag kings and queens in Columbus, Ohio. Gabrielle directed the grassroots success Manna from Heaven with her sister Maria (MGM/Sony). Among other credits, Gabrielle also wrote, produced, and acted in the feature comedy Temps, co-produced the romantic comedy Just Friends, and produced the marital comedy The Happiest Day of His Life.

Photo: Gabrielle (second row, left) with her sisters Maria, Jennifer, Ursula, and Charity.