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The Playback

Episode 1: A world-class, TikTok famous newspaper

Take an immersive look behind the scenes of nonficton storytelling.

Samuel Vladimirsky

April 5th, 2023
Episode 1: A world-class, TikTok famous newspaper
Welcome to the first episode of The Playback! For our first episode, meet Carmella Boykin, a journalist and TikTok producer at the Washington Post. During the pandemic, the newspaper launched their now-viral TikTok account, and is changing the way that news is covered on the social internet.

At last year's New Yorker Festival, Daniel Scheinert (of the now-multi-Academy Award®-winning duo Daniels) pointed out just how often the filmmaking process is compared to a war zone. You're in the trenches following a strict and brutalizing hierarchy, doing whatever everyone else tells you to do, otherwise the whole thing falls apart. He suggested that instead, our craft should feel less like the military and more like summer camp. That yes, even in this industry, you can still build a beautiful, healthy community in which to play and experiment.

For the last few years, the Video Consortium has been my summer camp. As someone who didn't go to film school, I listened religiously to our podcast, Rough Cut, which offered a singularly honest take on our industry. I attended events and meetups, and felt infinitely less lonely. We often talk about "breaking into" the film world, but VC extended a hand.

I wanted to give back to this summer camp. To contribute something to the potluck. And so, I am incredibly honored to introduce a reimagined version of our digital series, The Playback. Every other Thursday, we’ll take you behind the scenes of your favorite nonfiction storytelling, from feature docs to New York Times visuals investigations. Each episode will explore a different element of our craft, including access, animation, sound design, & more. I hope these nine episodes offer you the same hope and nuggets of wisdom they offered me over the last year.


Featuring: Carmella Boykin

Series Producer: Sam Vladimirsky

Editors: Dylan Chant, Austin Smock, Sam Vladimirsky

Animator: Tricia Cenit

Executive Producer: Sky Dylan-Robbins

Footage: Courtesy of The Washington Post

The Playback is a digital series from the Video Consortium that takes viewers behind the scenes of their favorite nonfiction storytelling, from feature documentaries to The Washington Post's viral TikTok account. Each episode explores a different element of the craft and new episodes are released every other Thursday.

Sam Vladimirsky is a director, editor & designer (read: tinker, tailor, soldier, spy) whose hunger for a good story has taken him through the underground tunnels beneath the Met, inside the homes of New Yorker cartoonists, and onto remote farms, developing cities, gun ranges, catacombs, and costume shops. A New Jersey native, he is an advocate for the tiny but mighty team, and collaborative storytelling that is fearless and uncompromising. His work has appeared on PBS, Vogue, the British Journal of Photography & more.

He is currently the Creative Marketing Director at the Academy Award®-winning Breakwater Studios, and directing/editing short docs for PBS's State of the Arts. In his previous incarnations, Sam directed, produced, and edited documentary shorts for The Billboard Creative, co-taught archaeology at the Dalton School, worked in MoMA’s photography department, and served on the education team at the Met. He graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History and French and earned an M.A. in Art History from University College London.

A partial list of things you can talk to Sam about includes: old school VFX, sour Coca Cola gummies, research rabbit holes, cats (not the musical) & the 1993 cinematic masterpiece Mrs. Doubtfire.

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