“A Place Called Fairneck” is a new six-episode podcast by actress, writer, and producer Eva Bilick. The podcast is loosely based on her upbringing in an orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey. The story is available to listen to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, and more.
She recently discussed this podcast and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get into acting, and how did that lead to writing?
Eva Bilick (EB): Five years ago, I was newly unemployed and living in Boston. To lift my spirits and fill some time during my job search, I signed up for an acting class, and within five minutes, I was hooked. I was encouraged by my acting teacher to audition for local theater, and quickly booked a leading role in a six-week run of a new play. From there, I continued to work in theater, independent films, and local commercials. When I moved to Los Angeles two years ago, I realized that most of the actors I met were creating their own content. I got to work, and six months into my new LA life, I wrote and produced “Weird in Bed,” a ten-episode web series that got picked up on WhoHaha and ran the festival circuit in 2019. I went on to write two short films, and my latest project, “A Place Called Fairneck,” is certainly my biggest writing accomplishment to date – I didn’t know I could write this much! Writing has been a very welcome surprise in my life, and I’m excited to keep creating new worlds with this skill.
MM: What real-life experiences inspired your podcast?
EB: I was raised in a vibrant Jewish community in New Jersey full of kosher restaurants, yeshiva day schools, and typical small-town gossip. I wanted to pay homage to my hometown by setting our story in a place just like it. I filled the story with fun and silly details from my upbringing, like the Geese Repeller in episode two – a recording loop of geese honking meant to repel actual geese from flocking to the school grounds and ruining the grass. I made up that name, but I can’t take credit for the concept. My classes in high school were interrupted continuously by either real geese outside our windows, or a very loud and bizarre recording of them.
MM: How did you get this podcast off the ground, and where do you hope it goes from here?
EB: After writing multiple drafts of the first episode, I started working with Kyle Andrews, a very talented writing coach, and development consultant, to help shape my idea and further develop the story. He quickly became my development consultant, as well, and then signed on as a consulting producer before we started recording. From there, I hired Sean George and Rama Vallury to be our incredible sound team and asked some of my favorite local actors to play various roles. It was certainly a team effort to make this podcast happen, and everyone’s talent really shines in the episodes.
From here, I hope to share our first season with as many new people as we can reach, whether they’re already podcast listeners, or new to the podcast world. This is a difficult time for a lot of people, and I’m really grateful to offer a fun story to listen to that’s also free and safe. And, while I’m home, I might just get started on season 2!
MM: What fan feedback has been most memorable, and why?
EB: We’ve gotten a lot of wonderful responses so far. One fan called me psychic since part of the story is about the ten plagues returning just in time for Passover. Of course, in our tale, it’s funny and intriguing. But it has certainly been interesting timing releasing this podcast during a global pandemic. I think fans will really appreciate having something to entertain and distract them when they have cabin fever or are looking to get hooked on a new series.
MM: How do you want your career to evolve over the coming years, and what’s coming up next for you?
EB: I would love to keep writing and developing projects with wonderful artists I’ve met here in LA. I’m lucky to know such talented and collaborative people, and I envision a career creating and developing network or streaming TV shows with them.
MM: Would you like to mention anything else?
EB: HVY readers can follow A Place Called Fairneck on Twitter and Instagram – @FairneckPodcast, and subscribe for free on any podcast app!
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