“Don’t Spend Time Worrying About Getting Promoted” With Madeline Radman, EP of The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over
“Don’t spend time worrying about getting promoted. Spend time doing you best work. That’s how you get promoted.”
I had the pleasure to interview Madeline Radman, the Co-Executive Producer of The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over, A Four-Part Docuseries on Investigation Discovery. After a series of more than 170 combined incidences of burglary, rape and murder from 1974 to 1986, California’s most sought-after serial killer garnered several titles: The East Area Rapist, The Original Night Stalker and–most notably–The Golden State Killer. With a serial killer case spanning a decade, one person can’t solve it alone; which is why Investigation Discovery (ID) calls upon forensic expert Paul Holes to join former law enforcement, citizen sleuths, civil district attorneys and victims themselves to expose the aging killer before he dies. THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER: IT’S NOT OVER explores evidence through a new lens with increased DNA technology, audio recording analysis and geographic profiling.
What is your “backstory”?
After graduating from college with a degree in International Studies, I decided to try something I really wanted to do. As opposed to the kind of thing I thought I should be doing, I wanted to work in TV and Film. I moved to New York City and was lucky enough to get a job at NBC in the Sports and Olympics Unit. Fascinated by every aspect of the production process, but without a film school degree, I had a lot to learn. I started as an Executive Assistant sitting at my desk, eavesdropping on my bosses conversations and then googling the terms they used. That wasn’t the only hurdle–I knew nothing about sports. I did my best to study, but I’ll never forget the day when I was shadowing a graphics Associate Producer and casually asked what the college basketball bracket he was working on was. The live control room went from chaos to quiet. Despite my lack of locker-room talk, I was determined to do this work. Thanks to the patient and professional folks at NBC Sports & Olympics, I eventually found my way. After a top-notch education in TV production I moved onto Fuse Networks. As a music lover, Fuse was a much better fit. It was there that I learned that combining passion, whether it be sports, music, politics, social justice or good ole fashion storytelling with the medium of Film and TV can be incredibly powerful. Once I realized this career was more than call times, per diems, set jargon and wrap parties, my fascination became an obsession and I started to rise in the ranks. I left Fuse a Producer and moved into the freelance world of Series TV. The first show that I worked on was a true crime show called Nightmare Next Door for Investigation Discovery. Once again, I had a lot to learn, but I was eager to learn. After producing for years, I began Showrunning series for a number of cable networks like Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, BET and The Weather Channel. In 2016, I took a new look at true-crime by combining an active disappearance investigation with personal stories of each victim for ID’s series, The Vanishing Women. Yes, I now know the technical terms and have confidence in my abilities, but more importantly I’ve learned to approach each story with humility and respect. This gives me results I can be proud of. Thanks to the success of that show as well as the guidance of my Showrunner, Jen Anderson, the Executive Producer at Sirens, Valerie Haselton and the Executive Producer at Investigation Discovery, Jeanie Vink, I was offered the opportunity to be the Co-Executive Producer of The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over. I’m honored to be a part of this production, and hope it helps bring attention to this case.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your production career?
I documented a band that was playing for the United States Military at Guantanamo Bay on New Year’s Eve. I was really conflicted about this shoot because it was right after reports leaked that prisoners were being water boarded there. It was a conflicting experience where I really struggled with whether to tell the story that the network wanted to see, or the one that I felt needed to be told.
Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like?
Working in Sports, Music and Entertainment, I’ve worked with a lot of famous people. For lack of a better word, they really are “cool.” People like Rihanna, Anthony Kiedis, the guys from Pheonix, The Avett Brothers and Dax Shepard all looked me in the eyes, provided honest answers to my questions and even hugged me at the end of the interview. My favorite moment was with Erika Wennerstrom, The Heartless Bastards, for whom I’m a huge fan of. After our interview, she plucked an eyelash off my cheek and told me to make a wish before she blew it away. That was pretty awesome.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Amelia Earhart and Harriet Tubman. In grade school, every report I did was on one of them. I always thought they were interesting, but now I understand the incredible strength they had to do what was in their hearts no matter the price.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Production?
My uncle was a Cameraman for NBC News in Indianapolis, so he was the first person I talked to when I decided to go into this field. When I asked for his advice about producing, he said, “Don’t. Do anything else.” Then he sat me down, gave me a beer and showed me his camera. This business isn’t easy. If there’s any part of you that’s unsure, take his advice and do anything else. If you still want in, say yes to every opportunity and don’t be scared to fail.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I wish I had a great example for this, but I don’t. I would love to say that I worked on a story that brought someone immediate justice. Who knows, maybe the Golden State Killer series will help uncover some new clues. However, if it doesn’t, I’ve still got time to do some good.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.
1. The minute details of the work will eventually pay off. Load the footage at 2am for your executive producer to get it when they wake up.
2. Don’t spend time worrying about getting promoted. Spend time doing you best work. That’s how you get promoted.
3. Come to work with the right attitude. That, and a willingness to work hard goes a long way.
4. Listen to the people above you even if you don’t want to become them. They have valuable experience, and this job is all about experience.
5. A certain amount of second guessing is good, but too much will you’re your production. Learn to make decisions and learn from the decisions that turn our wrong.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Aaron Sorkin. That guy knows how to tell a story, and I’d love to learn more about his process.