Unmasking a Killer is our new true crime documentary series for CNN and HLN. It premieres Sunday, March 18, at 9pm on HLN. Todd Lindsey brought us the show. Additionally, he became the series Supervising Producer. A true passion project, we were thrilled when Todd trusted us to be his partners. Today, Todd discusses the journey: from ten years of research to completing a documentary series for CNN / HLN. The ups, the downs, working through creative differences, dealing with law enforcement, trying to catch a killer, and so much more…
Unmasking a Killer…and a Determined Producer
First of all, let’s call it like it is – very few people chase a documentary project for over a decade. But Todd Lindsey was committed to bringing this story to TV screens everywhere. Not just because he loves the project. Todd has made real connections with the law enforcement officials, surviving victims, and family members whose lives were shattered. Additionally, he’d love to see this perpetrator caught.
A Long Journey for Todd Lindsey
You can’t spend ten years on a case without becoming attached. As a result, this project was close to Todd’s heart, and he was ready to make it.
From booking interviews to noting cuts, Todd was involved with every aspect of production. His passion and commitment were remarkable. There were many late nights and long edit sessions. We were thrilled that Todd was such a huge part of the entire creative process.
Unmasking a Killer – The Podcast
We’ve always told you that we’re just “part-time podcasters” and “full-time producers.” We still feel that way. However, we were thrilled when CNN asked us to host a companion podcast for the Unmasking a Killer TV series. They announced it in the CNN pressroom.
You can read our behind the scenes on making the podcast here.
Here’s the preview episode – please consider subscribing and leaving us a five star rating and review:
From the release:
Unmasking A Killer the podcast is hosted by Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina of Joke Productions and features never-before-heard analysis from Detective Sgt. Ken Clarke of Sacramento Sheriff’s Department plus bonus content that didn’t make it into the television series and in-depth commentary by Paul Holes, Contra Costa DA investigator, Carol Daly, retired Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department investigator, Jane Carson, a Golden State Killer victim, who appear in HLN’s on-screen program.
The HLN television series Unmasking A Killer premieres Sunday, March 18 at 9pm ET/PT and is executive produced by Joke Productions. The five-part docuseries profiles the terrifying real-life story of the Golden State Killer – a man responsible for a staggering 51 attacks and 12 murders in California. Investigators have searched for the sadistic criminal for forty years and with recent evidence suggesting he may still be alive, in 2016 the FBI Sacramento announced a national campaign and $50,000 reward to identify the perpetrator.
Weekly episodes of the podcast will become available at midnight the day of HLN’s linear premieres on CNN.com/podcast, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio. The first episode debuts Sunday, March 18.
You can already check out the trailer for the podcast and subscribe on iTunes here. While a companion to the TV series, each podcast episode will stand on its own. One of our very first guests is Todd Lindsey.
We hope you’ll give the new podcast a listen, and consider leaving us a five star review.
Viewers can Help Unmasking a Killer
As Joke said in this press release from CNN,
This series is unique in that it presents a call to action. The goal has always been for this series to shake loose new tips that will bring the Golden State Killer to justice. HLN offers us the best platform to do so.
Someone, somewhere, knows this killer. The FBI believes he’s still alive. He may be in possession of the stolen items we document on the show. Each episode ends with a call to action, inviting viewers to call the FBI tip line if they have information. The FBI is also offering a $50,000 reward for info that leads to his capture.
Just some of the things we talk about today:
- Todd’s path to becoming a working producer
- The original TV special Todd made on this case, and why he felt it didn’t go far enough
- Todd’s decision to team up with us over other production companies
- Working with a news network versus an entertainment network
- Sharing creative control on your passion project
- Resolving creative disagreements
- The kinds of cases Todd thinks make for good documentaries
- And…why graphics played a crucial role in the Unmasking a Killer original sizzle reel
Hit that giant play button at the top of the page now. It’s an in-depth and informative conversation about making true crime in 2018.
Helpful and Related Links
Check out the Joke Productions blog post for Unmasking a Killer
Subscribe to the Unmasking a Killer podcast on iTunes.
Check out our podcast ep with Unmasking a Killer co-producer Alexis Linkletter: Casting True Crime Series.
Follow us on Twitter @JokeAndBiagio
Let’s Make Some TV Together
Are you looking to pitch your own true crime documentary series, unscripted TV project, or reality TV show? Think you might want to pitch to us? Here’s what’s next:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.