Nate Houghteling runs one of the best content creation operations we’ve seen (and is an incredibly generous host and guest!). If you are on youtube, you most likely have seen Portal A’s handiwork. We are excited about their original series, One Shot, and all the great content they have in store. Check it out!
1. Please introduce yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.
My name’s Nate Houghteling and I’m the Executive Producer at Portal A. We’re a digital studio in San Francisco and Los Angeles (I live in SF). As the Executive Producer, I oversee our slate of branded and original projects at a high level, connecting the various elements that make our projects successful (ideas, talent, writers/directors, production approach, etc).
2. Tell us a bit about Portal A. Where you’re based, how long you’ve been around, what your mission is, etc.
Portal A was founded in 2009 and we have about 40 people in SF and LA. Our mission is pretty simple: to create breakthrough content.
3. Give us a bit of a feel for what it’s like doing work in San Francisco. How is the local film scene and community? How does San Francisco’s videography/film world differ from other cities’?
San Francisco is a great film city with deep roots in both narrative and documentary. In terms of digital video production, the hub of tech means that there’s always plenty of work to go around and dozens of small production outfits have popped up just to service the tech sector. There’s still a scrappy/indie attitude to the film community in SF that differs slightly from LA.
4. So you recently launched a series, One Shot, on YouTube Red. Can you tell us a bit about the show? Main plot, the look and feel of the show, the core message(s) and themes, etc.
One Shot was a series we developed with YouTube Red, YouTub’e new SVOD service. It’s an unscripted show about a breakout choreographer, Willdabeast Adams, traveling this country to find undiscovered dance talent and give them their shot at stardom. The series is shot in a cinematic, fluid style to reflect the language of dance.
5. How did One Shot come about? Where did the concept/script(s) come from, what made you decide to produce that show specifically, etc.
With so many “shiny floor” dance shows out there (Dancing with the Stars, SYTYCD, etc.), we wanted to do something that took dance out of the studio and into the streets. That eventually led us to Will, someone we’ve had a relationship with for a while but have never worked with in this way.
6. What’s it like working with YouTube Red? Why did you choose to work with YouTube, specifically? Were there other distribution avenues you considered?
YouTube was a natural fit for us because we do so much work with them and Will himself is a native YouTube creator. We considered other paths in streaming or cable, but ultimately this made the most sense.
7. What are some tips you can give for people considering self-distribution, working with indie distributors, going with “traditional” distribution methods, etc.?
Put something out into the world. We live in a time where creating a show or a feature is easier than ever. Networks and distributors are still important, but there’s no better way to establish your creative voice and build your own audience than putting something out yourself.
Check out One Shot on YouTube Red today and keep an eye out for the awesome work by Nate and the whole Portal A team!