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Geoffrey Gould
Official co-host for
Paranormal View; Saturday nights at 8pm eastern, 5pm pacific
Paranormal View; Saturday nights at 8pm eastern, 5pm pacific

Saturday May 05, 2012
The Show Must Go On; Mark Phillips
Our guest tonight was Mark Phillips, executive producer of My Ghost Story on the Biography channel.
para-x itself was being victimized by hackers during the day, so This Edition, we went ahead and did it as its own Podcast.
I had been delayed: Henry and co-host and resident Ceiling Cat Barbara Duncan spoke with Mark before I was able to get on, Henry confessing to having been sick of late and losing his voice. Thankfully, CC had "about fifteen pages of questions," Henry indicated, and reported my eventual arrival, and their being ready to carry on.
CC introduced Mark regarding My Ghost Story, reporting it being the highest rated show on the Biography channel, as well as other projects he has produced for Court Tru, et al.
Mark started out amusingly indicating loving the show's recorded intro and that it made him run and lock his front door. He was pleased to be a guest, what with the show not having an actual host as such, he's one who works at Getting The Word Out, so he appreciates being on The Paranormal View. Mark said that My Ghost Story runs Saturday nights from 7-8pm pacific time, and 10-11pm eastern. Currently they're running two episodes back to back, and that in a few weeks they'd be airing Celebrity Ghost Stories episodes, which is their show's companion piece. Mark concurred My Ghost Story being the highest rated show on Bio, and that the previous Saturday it delivered the highest rating in the Saturday time slot in the network's history. When the network exec called to report that, Mark couldn't really explain as to why it's so popular.
Mark described the show's premise: that everyday people who have had paranormal experience who also have visual evidence such as video. The experiences are often fantastic and invariably compelling. CC concurred that the guests' believability is what brings it home. Mark remembered how one exec described it, like a group sitting around a campfire swapping ghost stories, and providing the evidence that their story is true. He loved that notion and ran with it, having them sit in a spooky chair as though surrounded by a dark gloomy night and to the bottoms right and left sides of the screen is a soft pulsating glow... like that of a campfire.
Sometimes the people who experience extraordinary things have investigators come, and it's the investigators that capture the evidence, so sometimes the show has the storyteller and the investigator who caught the evidence.
Understandably, CC was curious as to Mark's previous interest with the paranormal, whether he believed in it, etc. Mark had always been fascinated with it, and was acquinted with late Queen Mary investigator Peter James; he took Mark on a one-on-one tour of the Queen Mary, which flipped out Mark. He indicated being taken to the bowels of the ship, hearing banging where they should not have been, visiting the First Class Pool and dressing rooms, et al., all of which really turned Mark's head. It was 1992 and when Mark would suggest the idea of a show dealing with the paranormal it was met with less than bubbling enthusiasm. He'd wanted to collaborate with Peter regarding ghosts of rock and roll. He did one project for TruTV called predator Taskforce in which they took southland cops going after child caught fifteen criminals, and he started to get Calls to produce other shows. One similar show he worked to create The Protectors, didn't work out, but at the same time they asked him to produce a special he titled Hauntings Revealed, which, when they got around to decided to green light, they suggested it be retitled as My Ghost Story, which he thought was brilliant, a really well branded name, particularly for a show to be on a channel called Biography. But it was the end of August and they wanted something shows air impossibly fast: for Halloween. It was suggested he make it look like their Sunday Show I Survived, as for that the storytellers sit in a sort of Black Limbo, very static. Mark however, took their advice and "aped" I Survived, and even as he delivered it (and it aired), he felt Off about it, and the suits agreed that... it didn't look Good. One of the execs asked how he'd change it and how he'd make it look, to which Mark gave a list of his concept/s for the show. He was allowed another special, Mark made it Look Great (though crediting his co-exec producer Hudie Ayalon as really helping make it Look Great), and it was knocked out of the park, and they've been making the series ever since.
Henry was able to report that I had arrived, which I silently had, right as Mark had been speaking of the show being retitled. I apologized for my tardiness, having attended a USC set of shorts being screened (one of the shorts being Sweet Tooth, in which I starred), the shorts-block of programing event having run later than scheduled/anticipated.
Henry pointed out that I'd had numerous paranormal experiences myself, but, aware of the show's stipulations, I quickly clarified none are on video. Mark ran down the critera: good visual evidence, though audio evidence as well, but there has to be some sort of Evidence.
Mark gave us the process for those who are brought on to the show; people submit to them, and then they're directed to self-record a template of questions or it'd be done over Skype. Once they are sure the person submitting is a Good Storyteller, the guests are flown to LA and put up, and brought to a studio where they're sat down on "the ghostly chair," and interviewed for about an hour. After all that, a field producer goes to the Storyteller's location and shoots POV B-Roll, not a re-enactment, so the story is told cinematically, the editing of which is a grueling process as they generally have five stories per episode.
Mark didn't hesitate suggesting anyone who fits the aforementioned critera can contact them via email at myghoststory@mppt.tv (mppt = Mark Phillips Philms Telephision), and that listeners could to go the show's page (at which one can also watch episodes of the show), from which is a submission link. On the show's page are also a few web-only stories and Behind The Scenes information, one of which he admitted was of his own experiences working on the show.
Mark spoke of one field producer, Steve Bowler, was doing some B-roll, and was being pushed and shoved by invisible hands, and he was able to get footage of mists; the Suits were concerned it was Breaking the Fourth Wall, so Mark produced it as a mini-story for the show's website. A number of camera people have has weird experiences at the locations, but many don't want to go on camera.
Mark is amazed at how many various types of people they've had, one being not only a female police, but her community's Chief of Police, contributing stories and security footage, and it'd taken her a long time to come forward. Mark is always fascinated about paranormal activity take place around crimes scenes. We discussed the Queen Mary for a bit, and how they've gotten some good stuff there (at the time I was unaware of their previous discussion of the famous ship on which I got one Class A EVP, and I've had Other Experiences which I quickly related). Mark stated they'd had numerous people have and recount their experiences on the famous haunted ship, and stressed if I ever Got Anything More to come on the show...
CC pointed out how she's been to the USS Hornet many times, but while she got a Class A EVP, she's gotten no video or photographic evidence. Mark recommended the USS Salem in Quincy Massachusettes.
I took us into the first break, as Mark, who was called via his phone, not Skype, couldn't mute it. Coming back, which had the wonderful spoof-promo, which had Mark laughing his guts out, as he put it.
Henry asked what exactly what an Executive Producer does; Mark clarified he's the Show Runner, getting the show on time and under budget. In such "reality television," they barely have a director as such: television is a producer's medium, though many if not most producers are writers. Mark works with the editors, and luckily has some of the best editors in town.
Mark spoke of the special Holiday Hauntings episode (season 3, episode 10), which were stories that took place around Christmas-time. As they have many love-involved stories, there could be a Valentine Day episode, and an Historical Hauntings one for July 4th and such. He wants to do a Labour Day compilation, such as people dying at their work and remaining. Another idea would be Holy Hauntings, which would be regarding churches and churchyards and such.
Mark related that in late 2001/early 2002 a normally gruff New York cop, Joseph Lani, assigned to Staten Island, to which WTC debris was shipped. Stuff started to Follow Him Home; he took photos of mysterious crucifices, clocks stopping at the same time; he quit the force and eventually wrote a book on his experiences titled Running With The Bulls.
Mark's conveyed how own mother up in Canada had an experience with a visitation from her late husband; she doesn't watch My Ghost Story as it scares her... As it is there's no story Too Scary for him to air, and Mark inferred the scarier the better. The only stories they don't air are clearly fraudulent, or self-promotional.
He's working towards the show being more international in nature.
As Mark and I are local, I mentioned some of my Theatre Experiences, and Mark was well aware of the Matrix Theatre, but was not aware of the haunted aspect.
With his recent media blitz, Mark has been able to generate more submissions, but he finds it a hard show to promote due to its lack of host and stars. Henry suggested Mark create a brief audio commercial to promote the series either during our show or on para-x in general.
We clarified Mark didn't have a Facebook profile himself, though the show does.
Listing demographics, 65% of the show's viewers are women, average age of which is 45, which is exactly was Bio seeks, being a female-skewing network; he suspects the men watching are those watching with woman and/or hoping to get laid.
CC took us into the second break, this time Mark being warned that during the music-break the mics were live...
He initially helped invent the Ghost Hunters show, and ironically was actually fired due to the darkness of the footage during the hunts. It was his last work-for-hire; now his own production company deals with networks.
Mark is developing a series called Our Past Lives, which is more than just its title suggests; one can submit to that via the same email.
CC wondered if they did a "what are their circumstances now?" aspect months later, which Mark said by the time the show is about to air, it is months later, and they do up a title card with any updates. Mark however, realized CC had given him a good idea, or checking into the earlier episodes' storytellers to see what may have happened Since Their episodes, what with so much time having passed.
So far no injuries yet from those sent to the locations to film the B-roll. Henry pointed out noticing how in regular ghost hunting shows, the cameras are pointed more at the investigators than anywhere else. Mark clarified that that was as they Weren't Capturing Anything; when those shows are being made, there are far more cameras than one realizes, so if the audience isn't seeing it, it's because Nobody's Seeing it.
Mark and I spoke of Linda Vista, a location he and I both love, but we've each respectively had Zero Experiences there, as they tried to Get Stuff there.
Mark provided the same myghoststory@mppt.tv email again, really spelling it out clearly. As he and I are local, Mark even invited me to be in touch with them to see the show being done, et al.
As we wrapped out (and I provided the show's various page locations [my hub page, the show's official site, that we're findable on on Facebook], et al) Henry pointed out the subsequent week our guest would be Kenneth Harman, author of Ghost Under Foot: The Spirit of Mary Bell.

May 05 edition podcast
Recommended by tonight's
guest Mark Phillips:

Running With The Bulls |
The Road to Fresh Kills |
A Journey into the Paranormal

Author: Joseph R. Lani
''My Ghost Story'' on Biography
My Ghost Story on Biography

Mark Phillips' experience

Steve Bowler's experience


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