With everyone spending a lot more time at home these days, finding fresh, evergreen content can be a challenge. Digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Quibi go through great lengths to set themselves apart. But one unique platform called EverTalk, which is available on AppleTV and Roku, accomplishes this in large part thanks to the design of their studio.
Founded in 2017, the EverMedia Group has quickly become the “Netflix of Talk.” There are currently 96 shows on the network hosted by notable figures in a variety of fields including former co-host of The View and current host of Dish Nation Sherri Shepard, NY Times Best Selling author Anna David, KTLA news anchor Courtney Friel, and thought leader Erika De La Cruz. Thousands of celebrities, reality stars, and public figures have been interviewed on the network’s various shows including Scheana Shay, Kyle Richards, Dr. Drew Pinksy, Danny Trejo, Jenny McCarthy, Kristin Chenoweth, Gabby Bernstein, US Representative Val Demings, Roma Downey and Tosca Musk among many others.
Every show shares the same set and format except for their daily show, EverTalk Live. Formerly Good Morning La La Land, it was a first of its kind live streaming daily digital talk show. The other shows feature 20-30 minute long lifestyle-centric interviews.
The West Hollywood Studio
The 1000 square foot studio is housed in a storefront location in West Hollywood on the border of Beverly Hills. Co-founder Andy Waldman was very intentional about selecting this space. “We wanted to create an intimate space for conversation coupled with the essence of the city. It’s centrally located to some of the best hosting talent and we wanted to make it convenient for guests to take time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed.”
While this has advantages, it also comes with challenges—mainly sound interference from the city’s notorious traffic. “The single greatest challenge is of course the sound, as most production studios are well insulated from all outside noise,” says Waldman. “The good news that our sound engineers can compensate for this reality in post-production and all our episodes are edited to remove as much as the outside sound as possible.”
The design of the studio has evolved since the network began and was most recently renovated in April 2019 by BBI, which is a design firm owned by EverTalk producer Emma Merryman and her best friend, graphic designer, Kelley McQuillen. “We love branding and decorating. One day we got to talking about how cool the space could be with minor changes and improvements. We spoke to Andy Waldman, who was open to change but didn’t know how and didn’t want to spend a lot of money. We made a deal with him—if he gave us $5,000 to use exclusively for a redesign of the studio, we would spend nights and weekends creating a space he would love,” Merryman tells me.
The women pulled it off in just two weeks. “Our vision for the space was to improve the Evertalk brand experience through design. We wanted this small space to be hip, trendy, and functional for the hundreds of influencers and celebrities who walk through these doors every week,” she shares.
Evertalk’s space is cordoned off into several sections including a step and repeat for guests and hosts to create additional social media content. Additional lighting allows for the best possible shots and encourages sharing.
There’s also a dedicated area for guests to touch up their hair and makeup with a professional mirror and tools. The Hollywood glam style chair and palm leaf print wallpaper truly enhance the mood of the space.
The pre-production waiting area features contemporary bookcases that hold a library of books written by the studio’s various guests, along with candy bowls.
Although one large room is used for many different purposes, there’s still a flow to the studio as a whole.“We bought everything on a budget and tied it all together by repainting furniture, changing out fixtures, adding fun wallpaper, and pairing luxurious textures like velvet with gold accents. It was a great experience for BBI and we proved that there is a cheap way to chic,” Merryman explains.
A white vintage style room divider separates the set. Equally comfortable and sophisticated, it looks more like a living chic living room than a place to shoot a talk show. The sofa and coffee table were purchased from Z Gallerie and are accessorized with West Elm throw pillows along with printed logo ones. BBI sourced the rest of the decor from Living Spaces and Rolling Greens.
In addition to creating an atmosphere, everything must be suitable for the camera. “As for finding set pieces, that is always challenging,” says Waldman. “We want items that can have a bokeh effect, which has the items slightly out of focus behind our guests. It helps create separation which gives a higher level of production. We also don’t want to choose items that have too many colors as its more challenging to color match those items with our multi-camera shooting style.”
Waldman felt it was important not just to decorate the set, but also to give the entire space a clubhouse-like feel and create a sense of community. “We encourage our hosts to use the space for pre-production, so we wanted to make it both comfortable and functional for them to work and do some pre-interviews as well.”
An Ever-Evolving Set
The set is also constantly evolving, with refreshes every six months or so. From a design perspective, EverTalk wants to give their hosts a variety of content creation options.
It also changes as production technology advances. “We often have to re-arrange our set to accommodate the latest in production equipment to provide the best-produced talk shows possible,” says Waldman.
Pivoting During The Pandemic
While the studio has been closed for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been preparing to re-open. But like many businesses, they were forced to pivot and operate virtually, with hosts conducting interviews using Instagram Live. The positive side of this was that viewers were able to get a peek into the homes of both the hosts and guests.
No one is more proud of what EverTalk has accomplished than Jezlan Moyet, who is the co-founder of EverMedia as well as the co-host and co-creator of EverTalk Live and Trading Belle. “Now more than ever we recognize how much community and conversation matters, and Evertalk’s mission is to encourage more of what matters… to inspire, to empower, and to entertain. We are #evertogether.”
(Disclosure statement: the writer of this article has a show on EverTalk).