Remote Controlled: ‘Better Things’ Boss Pamela Adlon on the ‘Joy’ of Directing

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum sat down with “Better Things” boss Pamela Adlon — along with the cast (Celia Imrie, Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood and Olivia Edward) — at the show’s FYC panel at the Television Academy and discussed the process of putting the show together in preparation for the show’s upcoming third season.

Listen to this week’s podcast for free below and at Apple Podcasts:

Creator and director Pamela Adlon said she never expected to be a director during her acting career, and it came to her as a surprise when she was tapped to direct “Better Things.”

“I didn’t really have a choice, I don’t think, it just happened organically. I didn’t seek out to be a director ever, it was never on my radar in my life,” Adlon said. “I could never imagine I could be doing it. It was too daunting and you just need to have all these technical skills and years of film school.”

Despite having been previously rejected from film school and lacking directorial experience, Adlon said her experience as an actress helped her run the set efficiently, because she said she had a better understanding of how to manage everyone’s time and what a production needs. On top of these skills, she also expressed gratitude in being able to work with the show’s other three female leads, saying that she continues to learn from them.

“I’ve been working for so long, I’ve seen the excess of people taking people’s time, and the excess of money spent and it doesn’t need to be that way. It’s easier than you think to make great work and to keep people happy and to keep your set running, so it was for me an experiment to make a model of that,” Adlon said. “I have the greatest joy of shepherding these three and giving them tools and things that I’ve learned. So for me as an actor, it’s playing off these other actors and listening and not being married to the words that I wrote or that I’m going to creator this scenario just allowing it to happen for me organically. It’s learning every day.”

Looking forward to the third season, Adlon said she hopes to keep continue the show’s success in connecting with its audiences.

“I just want to keep it moving in the direction life moves, just the way all of us go we’ve gone through massive changes since we’ve seen each other and it’s kind of epic,” she said. “I want people to have the response to it they have, I love it that people are so passionate and it touches them.”

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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