I met Debbie Rolf and her roommate Ashley Warren at a Geek Girl Brunch, which is a wonderful event where geeky girls get together to eat delicious food and hang out. The two pals run a podcast called You Haven’t Seen?!.
It is a energetic and humorous podcast in which they watch a film that either one or the other or both has not seen yet and then discuss. The first episode is about the first Alien movie by Ridley Scott (one of my favorite sci-fi films). The show has almost 20 episodes so far and a fun tumblr that you can follow along with.
Debbie shared with me a bit of the background behind the show and herself.
NKP: Tell me a little about yourself.
Debbie: Well, I grew up in IL, went to film school in Miami, and moved here (NYC) about 2 years ago after graduation. I work in post-production as a video editor and assistant editor. It’s a job that I really love, and I’m really happy that I can legitimately say that it is how I make money. (I went to visit a friend in London and when they asked me at passport control what I did I got so outwardly excited that “video editor” was the answer that they immediately became suspicious and asked me questions for like 15 minutes lol) I freelance, and right now I’m a seasonal editor at the Tribeca Film Festival.
I am also a huge nerd, and recently have been making an effort to make my geekiness more than just a hobby. I’ve been working at NYCC the past 2 years, which is something I really love, and I recently started writing articles about Doctor Who at The International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club’s blog. (http://www.geekgirlpenpals.com/author/darolf/)
NKP: How did you and Ashley meet?
Debbie: In 2013 Edgar Wright was promoting his film The World’s End, and there was a screening at BAM of his “Cornetto Trilogy”. He was there to introduce the films, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would do a Q& A with him after an advanced screening of The World’s End. I’m a huge fan of his, and having just moved to NYC a month or so before, I didn’t really know anyone well enough to ask them to sit in the dark with me for 9 hours. I frequently go to movies alone anyway, so I was there by myself. Ashley was also there by herself, and as the theater started to fill up she came over and asked about my bracelets (I have 2 with quotes written on them that I wear every single day) and then asked if I would mind if we sat next to each other for the day, since it seemed like we were the only 2 people there by ourselves. I figured that since we had both decided to spend an entire day alone watching these 3 movies, there was a good chance we had other things in common, so I said yes and we hit it off! Unsurprisingly, we found out that we like a lot of the same stuff, and even studied abroad in the same country, so there was a lot to talk about.
NKP: What inspired you to come up with “You Haven’t Seen?!”
Debbie: I was doing a mix of freelance gigs and interning, and one of my internships had suggested that I think about a podcast for them, and then the project didn’t go anywhere. I was frustrated, because I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I had gotten really excited about the idea of being involved in making one. Ashley and I were g chatting right after I got the news, and she asked what some of my ideas were, because maybe we could do one. So, we went through my ideas and figured out which ones would be something we could do, and You Haven’t Seen?! came from there. It took us a couple of months before we figured out how to do it. I’m on the production and technical side, so I record, and edit and make sure it gets up on iTunes, and Ashley does the social media and marketing. But once we did the research, we committed and we try our best to get out 3 episodes a month. One of Ashley’s friends also has a podcast, and Ashley listens to a lot as well, so we were both excited to be a part of a medium that we both love.
NKP: What are you Favorite kinds of movies?
Debbie: I’m a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, but I generally love those genres in basically any medium. I also really love Weimar cinema, I took a class on it in college and I think it is a such an interesting time period for film in both historical context and what they were doing stylistically. My dad loves westerns, so those also hold a special place in my heart even if they wouldn’t be my first choice, and I also love a good action movie.
NKP: What movie would you say really gets to you?
Debbie: Oh gosh this is hard…
Mary Poppins always gets me, because I frequently watched it at a low point in my life. I have nothing but good memories of it, but I also have very strong emotions attached to it, and when I saw Saving Mr. Banks I started crying as soon as I heard the opening music.
The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is what I would always watch when I was sick (I could watch 1 movie before I had to do homework and anything that is 5 VHS tapes long = obviously the movie I’m going to pick) My mom and her sisters also quote this movie in just about every conversation they have about anything.
Any of the Harry Potter movies. They were such a large part of my childhood. I recently was able to go to the Studio Tour in England, and it was such an amazing reflective experience for me. I never realized how much of an impact those films had on me, but in retrospect, their impact is huge. Not really stylistically or anything like that, but literally growing up with that film series never made me doubt that making movies could be a career. I always loved movies and thought that making them would be the best thing ever, and having those movies as a constant kind of made me realize that it was possible. I draw a lot more inspiration from the series than I realized. I actually work with a graphic designer who sites Harry Potter as one of her major inspirations for getting into graphic design. She realized that she could do that for a career when she realized that someone had designed all the products in the movies, the newspapers and signs and stuff. Basically, those movies inspired a whole generation of filmmakers, myself included, because we were constantly reminded that there was a team of hundreds of people who were making those books come alive. They helped give me the confidence that yes, this is something that I could do not only as a viable career, but a way that I could bring an entire new world to life. Even though I haven’t made any movies yet, it’s still a huge inspiration that it’s possible.
NKP: What do you like to do when not watching movies?
Debbie: Watch a lot of TV! Haha, hobbies that don’t include staring at a screen include reading and running and listening to podcasts. I also like to write physical letters and journal, and I write the blog posts I mentioned previously as well as sporadic pieces on a personal blog. I really like traveling, I did it a lot out of necessity in school, and I’ve been trying to see if I can do that more. Last year I stayed with a friend in London, and this year I’m going to visit a friend in Los Angeles. I’ve been trying to go to more conventions as well since I love NYCC so much, I’m going to Special Edition NYC and I somehow managed to get a Sunday badge for SDCC (otherwise known as the single most nerve-wracking Saturday of my life.)
Thanks Debbie for sharing your story with us! I am a huge NYCC fan myself, having gone the past few years.I usually go in cosplay and have done Final Fantasy’s Judge Zargabaath, Bleach’s Rangiku Matsumoto, Babydoll, Poison Ivy, and Princess Zelda to name a few. Can’t wait to hang out again at the next Geek Girl Brunch which is…TOMORROW!
The You Haven’t Seen?! podcast is a fun listen and I hope you all give it a try. If you have a story you would like to share with Nerdy Kitten Pants please go to the Share a Story page for more details.
Woo! See ya cats later.