An Interview with John Lehr, Linda Morel, & Mark Bracero of Triple Threat Media

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With the launch of the Triple Threat Media we find actor/show writer John Lehr (Quick Draw, 10 Items or Less, Jailbait, Jesse,  and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!) working on the creative aspect, alongside Emmy award winning producers Linda Morel (Key & Peele, A Black Lady Sketch Show or With Love, as well as countless shows for Nickelodeon, USA, Comedy Central, TV Land, Paramount TV, and NBC), and Mark Bracero ( Queer Eye, Real Housewives of Potomac,  Real Housewives of Atlanta and Chasing Papi, as well as several shows in post production for VH1, Bravo, and Netflix) to produce content for broadcast, streaming, corporate social, and fashion brands.

How did Triple Threat Media come to be?

John: Linda and I have been working together for years. Linda worked on the pilot of my first show for TBS called “10 Items or Less” and I loved her immediately. We’ve done a ton of projects over the years and after shooting some corporate videos for a huge silicon valley company last summer, we decided to make it official. I have the creative show-running experience and she brings the physical production show-running experience. We knew we were a good team but needed someone with post production showrunning experience to close the circle. Fortunately Linda has an Emmy award-winning brother who EP’s on “Queer Eye” for Netflix! Thankfully the siblings adopted me and I became the gringo red-headed stepchild on the team. Now we are a very unique three-headed monster that can take a project from creative all the way through post in a truly integrated way. I don’t know of any company that does what we do.

It is mentioned that creation content and production is carried out with a holistic approach, can you elaborate on that aspect?

John: There is a LOT of crossover, but each of us specialize in different parts of the production conveyor belt. I come from the creative side: writing, acting, creative EP’ing and showrunning. Linda comes from the practical productions side: budgeting, scheduling, crew staffing, accounting, fire putter outer, and non-writing EP’ing and showrunning. Mark comes from the world of Post: post supervising, budgeting, project management, staffing, QC and non-writing EP’ing and showrunning. Both Linda and Mark have won Emmy’s doing what they do. I’ve created, starred and written shows for TBS, Hulu, Sony, etc. Together we cover every facet.

But the really interesting thing is that we’ve all worn each others’ hats as well. Mark is an amazing writer and creative developer. Linda brings her super-talented eye for great scripts and projects. I was the post production supervisor on my show “Quick Draw”! All of us enjoy “crossing over” to each others’ disciplines and we have great respect for each other.

How does it feel to be working more behind the scenes as opposed to in front of the camera?

John: I love them both. Initially I went into producing mainly to get my own projects made but as I have done more and more I have really enjoyed the art of producing. I remember entering as a showrunner EP for my first show “10 Items or Less” thinking this crew of 100 people were there to execute my “vision.” It was such a myopic POV. At some point everything completely flipped and I realized my job was actually to discover what each crewmember does best and to bend the creative to take advantage of their talents. This is a collaborative art form and if we are not taking advantage of all of this creative talent, we are dummies.

What do you hope to accomplish most with your work in the company?

John: I want to remain nimble and flexible as a production company. Variety is the spice of life and providing a wide array of creative projects while employing our talented crew and working with kick ass clients is the continuing journey I would like to see for Triple Threat.

What was it like to work as an International Artist Development Manager for Warner Brothers Records? What did you learn there that has also proved useful in your television work?

Linda: I had the time of my life! A big part of my job was organizing press for new album releases in foreign territories and then traveling with the bands to accompany them to do interviews and shows. I had to learn organization skills, personal relationship skills and how to hold it together under pressure. I was very young with a lot of responsibility. All of those skills translated in to being a good TV Producer.

What was it like to work on Black Lady Sketch show and Key and Peele?

Linda: My first producer credit was on a sketch comedy show called Culture Clash for Fox. Going back to do sketch comedy later in my career is such a joy. It’s like making 2 short films a day, most of the time in different genres. It’s a grind compared to shooting 8 pages a day on a regular scripted show but we usually laugh all day and have to be on our A game as it’s a fast paced process. Also, being able to work with such diverse cast and crew is a bonus!

What advice would you offer others wishing to work in today’s entertainment industry?

Linda: Don’t talk about it, be about it. I am always on the lookout for a “worker.” That person is someone who knows that what we get to do for a living is a privilege. Whether that is in front of the camera or behind the camera, there should be no task too small. The film industry is a bit of a paramilitary operation. You have your generals, lieutenants, captains and soldiers. Everyone is working towards a common goal and we are only as good as the sum of our parts. If you have great leadership and a great army, you cannot fail. I know film school degrees are important to a lot of people but to me, all I want to know is that you pay attention to details and you complete tasks.

Are you enjoying working with each other?

Linda: I’ve known John for quite a few years and we’ve worked on a few projects together. High budget, low budget, no budget…they are always a good time. John is one of the most creative and funny humans I’ve ever known. He brings out the absolute best in me and my work. To be able to be in partnership with him now is super exciting and I know that we will be producing some great stuff!

Mark and I have been working together since we were 5 and 7 years old. Oh, the hours and hours of television we would watch together and dream about making our own some day…we are brother and sister and this will be the 2nd time we will be collaborating professionally. In the mid oughts, we did a series of Spanglish shows for Mtv3. We had a blast. Now that we’ve both gone on separately to win Emmys and work on some pretty great shows, we are looking forward to collaborating again, with John, and bringing all of our experience and passion for what we do, to TTM.

Mark: I very much am! Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with like minded colleagues and people who have creative chemistry. I found those projects to be incredibly rewarding and in some cases harder to produce because you feel the bar being raised and you have to step up to the challenge. John and Linda definitely raise the bar. Our areas of expertise compliment each other so well and the challenges ahead are welcome because we make a great team.

John: Oh man these are two of the kindest, hardworking and talented people I have ever worked with. I’ve known Linda for years and have been impressed with her creative talents and unique ability to interface with her crew. EVERYONE loves to work for Linda. If I can’t find her on set I always know to look for her with transpo. And believe me, if the teamsters love you, you’re cool as shit. Mark is an avid storyteller and I am really enjoying a creative partnership. He’s uber talented and his knowledge of post permeates every stage of our work. I’ve always thought the best writers and directors know how to edit and Linda and I are determined to put director and writer hats on Mark. He’s special.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about?

Linda: Anything that comes from the brain of John Lehr! John has written a couple of shows that I can’t wait to dig in on. Mark also has a couple of projects that take place in the queer space that I’m excited about too. As a production company, we will be providing services for Revry, which is an LGBTQ + streamer, for some of their most popular shows in the fall. All of this excites me!

Mark: We are co-producing a Latin Drag competition series for Revry TV I’m really excited about. Not only is representation and exposure of the art form and lifestyle incredibly important – the world of drag and competition reality is evolving and it’s really exciting to be able to be a part of pushing the boundaries beyond what was once considered just female impersonation.

John: We have two docu series we are working on but of course I am particularly excited about two comedies we have in the pipeline. We have a deal with a studio on one and the other is at a network. We should know more soon and will announce. We also have an upcoming reality series that is so fun to work on.

What was it about the entertainment industry that first drew you in as a child? What do you still love most about the television industry?

Mark: Growing up in North East Los Angeles and as a teenager having the major networks and studio’s in my backyard I would regularly attend tapings of various television shows where I fell in love with the medium. Being exposed to the behind the scenes of this world intrigued me. When I would later see the finished product air on TV it felt like magic. I’ve always loved the art of storytelling in its various genres in TV and media and I love watching the evolution of it…but the one thing that has never changed; “story is paramount.”

As someone who has also worked in the music industry are there things you learned there that have served you well in your television work?

Mark: Being open to “evolution” – music, generes, styles, artists, influence on pop culture, the business, was/is constantly evolving and having been on the front lines watching the constant reinvention and always looking forward helped me understand change is fuel in any creative environment, it’s essential.

How does your work in reality television differ most from your other projects? What do you find most challenging about that?

Mark: I think what makes reality a different challenge than other projects is the unpredictability, which can be exciting and disappointing at times. Even if a show is formatted, whether it’s unstructured reality, competition or docu-series etc., you’re capturing real life happening in real time and you have to be ready to pivot at any second and ready for the content to take on a life of its own. This is particularly challenging in post-production due to the volume of content being captured and being charged with shapeshifting it all into a fantastic and entertaining story or event! It’s also my favorite part of the process.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Linda: We are doing what we love and what we are good at. Having all three of us bring our expertise to this company is a wonderful opportunity for us to put some great content into the universe!

Mark: Yes… don’t forget; story is paramount!

John: I’m so proud and happy to be working with great humans like Linda and Mark. And it’s not just because they are both Emmy winners. I swear! The truth is, we all love to make stuff and now we get to do that together.

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