In the Media

Washington Post: Did ‘SNL’ settle on someone else’s joke? It doesn’t matter.

Dec. 9, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. MST

If you’re single and dating, you’re likely to relate to last week’s “Saturday Night Live” sketch hawking a fake dating app called Settl, which allows users to only swipe right. The sketch (which you can watch here) features women who want to get married NOW — and most important, before their sisters. They talk about going on “tons of okay dates” with “normal guys” whose characteristics they’re “now willing to overlook.”

The sketch capitalized on a familiar feeling for online daters: Is this all there is?! At this point, I’d settle for a normal human. 

But is the sketch too familiar?

Two men — Matt Condon and Ben Zweig — are claiming that “SNL” ripped off their September presentation at Comedy Hack Day in Los Angeles, about a dating app called … wait for it … settl. Their fake app also only accepts right swipes! “At settl, we try to really push a culture of acceptance and positivity for abandoning relationship expectations,” Zweig says in the settl presentation, which has the feel of a mock TED talk.

“SNL” hasn’t commented publicly about the accusation. (I reached out by phone and email and haven’t heard back.) But whether or not the joke was stolen, no sketch about mediocre online dates — and the impulse to give up and settle — is all that original. The premise might be as common as the lackluster dates found on any dating app or site.

Here are a few other examples: Earlier this week, Re/Code pointed out that the Settl sketch closely resembled YouTuber Ryan Higa’s mock TV ad for Notice the familiar phrasing in the final line in “SNL’s” sketch: “Because, remember — it’s not giving up. It’s settling up.”

And then there’s JDate’s parody, an ad for a site called Eh for those who are “sick and tired of having high expectations when you meet someone on a dating site.” How’s this for a romantic How We Met story: “When I first met Nathan, my initial thought was: ‘Sure, ya know. I guess.’”

Seen any other videos like these? Drop ’em in the comments.

In the Media Ashley Greene Shows Off Her New Home with Husband Paul Khoury Five Years After Condo Fire

Before Ashley Greene and her husband, Paul Khoury, got married, they were excited about making a union in their home. But the space was the one thing they struggled to combine and agree upon.

To resolve their conflict, the Twilight actress and Khoury, who is a partner in Lokai, turned to designer Kelli Ellis of the online makeover series Design Therapy, part of the The Design Network.Over five webisodes, Ellis puts the couple through a series of tests in their living, dining and guest bedrooms in order to harmoniously combine their styles.

The redecoration of one space brought up a particular painful moment for Greene.

In the first episode, the actress gets emotional while talking to Ellis about the pieces in her guest bedroom, as she explains that the furnishings in the room are the only pieces that survived a fire that destroyed her previous home.

After Guest Bedroom

The West Hollywood condo suffered a devastating fire in 2013. Law enforcement said at the time the cause was not determined. Firefighters were able to save one of Greene’s two fox terriers that were in the apartment at the time.

“I woke up to it being completely engulfed in flames,” Greene says. “I lost pretty much everything except those pieces and so I’ve kind of been holding on to them.”

“It doesn’t really fit the aesthetic of what I want for the house and I do want to make this our home,” she adds. “We’re getting married. We want to start things fresh. I think it’s time that those things pass on and move on. It’s been a journey.”

RELATED: Inside Ashley Benson’s ‘Sex and the City-Style’ Manhattan Apartment: ‘I Took More Risks’


The other rooms, thankfully, didn’t carry quite as heavy a history. Ellis began her work in the couple’s living room, where she mentions she really sees “a fight” between Greene and her then-fiancé’s styles, as they had essentially split the room down the middle to have his and hers sides. The dining room was a more masculine room, with a vintage wooden table as the centerpiece surrounded by muted chairs.

“We decided we wanted something that could be beat up a little bit because we like to do a lot of arts-and-crafts nights,” Khoury tells Ellis.

WATCH THIS: Ashley Greene Reveals the Souvenir She Stole from the Set of Twilight.

In the final episode of the mini-series, Ellis transforms each of their spaces to be a cohesive mix of their styles, keeping the elements they loved, like a purple chair in the guest room and the 1980s table in the dining room, but sprucing up the space so it feels more like they created it together.

RELATED: Bella Swan’s Home from Twilight for Sale for $350K — See the Interiors, Unchanged Since Filming


“We’re really excited to kind of move forward together with the way the house is decorated now,” Greene says. “Going through all of the actual therapy side of it was really fun and it was perfect to do before you get married. It’s just another building block to work with. It’s really cool now that the house reflects both of us.”

In addition to getting interiors inspiration, viewers can actually shop the pieces they’re seeing in the home (both before and after), on the Design Network site.

Greene and Khoury wed in June in front of family and several famous friends, including her Twilight costar Robert Pattinson, Liam Hemsworth, Zac EfronBrittany Snow, Lauren and Aaron Paul, and Evan and Ashlee Simpson-Ross, as reported by Brides magazine.

In the Media

The Hollywood Times: Dana Richie- Award winning Filmmaker and Producer and Founder of Backlot Productions

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/20/20- Dana Richie’s new award-winning film, Gateway is gaining momentum. “The idea for Gateway came from a national movement called Choices Matter, which aims to educate people about non-opioid options available to manage pain after surgery. They came to me initially asking for short-form content around patient stories; however, after our first shoot in Maryland, we knew this was going to be a bigger project. The organic nature of this film was very special.- Dana Richie

You don’t just tell stories, you continuously find innovative ways to bring stories alive. Tell us about your creative process. 

Dana RichieStorytelling is my passion. Ever since I can remember, I was creating fictional characters and telling stories to anyone who would listen. Family members, friends, even teachers. That process solidified my desire to tell all kinds of stories, so when I accepted my first job as a news print reporter in Houston, Texas, I quickly learned that everyone has a story to tell. This made me very interested in non-fictional stories too. As I continued to interview people telling true-life stories and took a deeper dive into their journeys, I realized that no two stories are ever the same, and telling those stories should be approached with an innovative attitude and customized care.

When did you get your first break? 

Dana RichieI got my first break after college when I landed a role at CNN in Atlanta as an entry-level “Video Journalist”. They had us running the TelePrompter live for the anchors and even live studio camera! It was a trial-by-fire education and I learned a lot. I was able to learn the ins and outs of television production and continued to hone my storytelling skills.

What is it about the entertainment business that intrigues you the most? 

Dana RichieWhat intrigues me about the entertainment industry is the incredible opportunity that I get to interact with so many creative people who share the same love of storytelling. I’m also fascinated by how fast the industry is changing and how much progress is being made from linear to non-linear formats of storytelling that have an extraordinary reach and remarkable speed of content consumption.

Tell us a bit about your diverse background. 

Dana RichieSince I love telling all kinds of stories, I find that formats have no boundaries. A series, a commercial, a documentary, a scripted show… all are challenging and exciting formats in which to tell stories that can have impact and rally the audience engagement. I especially like it when someone walks away with an emotional response to my content, always a great feeling.

You are an award-winning filmmaker and producer. What are you most proud of? 

Dana RichieI’m very proud of my debut documentary, Gateway, which premiered October 2019 and explores the opioid epidemic through the eyes of three families who have battled addiction following surgery. As a new filmmaker, it’s been a humbling and incredible experience to share the emotional stories of these documentary participants in an authentic way that best represents their struggles, hope, and truth. I’m looking forward to telling more stories that are just as heartfelt and impactful. Directing and producing Gateway was a real labor of love and a great team collaborative effort.

Tell us about MUSIC FIRST

Dana RichieMusic First is a scripted sitcom I’m developing and producing about my days as a VH1 News producer. It’s set in the early 2000s in an MTV-style music newsroom and I’m collaborating with Brian Graden Media on the project. (Brian ran MTV & VH1 for over a decade). I’m currently co-writing the pilot. Expect an announcement on this project soon!

Tell us about your new film, Gateway. Why is this so special to you? 

Dana RichieThe idea for Gateway came from a national movement called Choices Matter, which aims to educate people about non-opioid options available to manage pain after surgery. They came to me initially asking for short-form content around patient stories; however, after our first shoot in Maryland, we knew this was going to be a bigger project. The organic nature of this film was very special.


Gateway ended up being a 40-minute short documentary that follows the lives of three families impacted by the opioid epidemic. We follow a mom who got addicted to opioids after a C-section, a doctor who doesn’t prescribe opioids anymore, another mom who lost her son to opioids at the age of 18, and a young woman who has been struggling with opioid addiction. Gateway is special to me because of the special people who are in it and all of the special friends I made along the way. It’s also special since it’s my debut documentary.

Share some of your awards for Gateway. What are a couple of points that you want the audience to know? 

Gateway has won the following awards: 

  • Won Best Director and Best Documentary Featurette from the Festigious Film Festival
  • Won Best Documentary Feature from the LA Movie Awards
  • Received an Award of Merit for Documentary Short and Humanitarian Award from the Best Shorts Competition
  • Received an Award of Merit for Documentary Short from the Impact DOCS Awards
  • Official selection for the Docs Without Borders Film Festival
  • Selected for screening at the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, NJ this March

What’s next for you? 

Dana RichieNext up is a mini-documentary in association with Bards of Nevermore about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Dana Richie- Award-Winning Filmmaker and Producer and Founder of Backlot Productions 

In the Media

Reel 360: On the Backlot with filmmaker Dana Richie

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, they are making “Herstory”

Dana Richie doesn’t just tell stories—she brings them to life… This Reel Woman is continuously finding innovative, boundary-breaking ways to do it. From documentaries to scripted series, to original branded content and beyond, Dana combines her visionary approach with her ability to cut straight to the beating heart of a story—whatever that may be—to create something entirely new, authentic, and ahead of the curve.

An award-winning filmmaker and producer, Dana honed her craft at the era’s most iconic news and entertainment networks, including CNN, ABC News 20/20, and Viacom/ VH1.

Dana carried those skills with her into the entertainment world. She joined Viacom/ VH1 and helped launch flagship programming such as I Love the 80s, I Love the 90s, Best Week Ever, and Where are They Now — while simultaneously working on Behind the Music, the network’s groundbreaking and critically-acclaimed documentary series.

Dana was also VH1’s Red Carpet correspondent, covering the Oscars, the Grammys, and other major award shows. She interviewed the biggest names in film and music as well, going on the set for movie and music video shoots, and creating highlight packages that engaged fans.

Her diverse background molded Dana into what she is today: a storytelling expert with a savvy for captivating, easy-to-consume media.

Dana’s company Backlot Productions is the product of that expertise as well as her intuitive understanding of content and where it is heading.

When Dana started Backlot Productions in 2002 it was a side project. Having been in the business of creating digestible content and programming for so many years, Dana was able to foresee the untapped potential in that category for brands.

What she didn’t foresee was how rapidly her client base would grow through referrals, networking and word-of-mouth.

Landmark brands like SONY, Smartwater, Hennessy, L’Oréal, General Motors, Jeep, Refinery29, Yahoo!, Humana, Hulu and Hard Rock Café have sought out Backlot not just to shape their stories—but to do so in ever-more innovative, relevant and resonant ways.

A fully-integrated content agency, today Backlot spans entertainment marketing, branded content, reality shows and scripted sitcoms. Taking a 360-approach to content creation, every project is both authentic and results-driven— tailored to the client’s unique voice, demographics, and goals.

Not too shabby for someone who was mentored by Barbara Walters.

Currently, Backlot is at work on Music First, a scripted sitcom she created that is particularly personal for Dana. Inspired by her experience as a VH1 producer and correspondent, the show centers around a music network newsroom in the early 2000s. Also in production is Bionic Boss— that a docu-series that takes viewers inside a very different kind of workplace: a company that makes prosthetics for amputees.

Dana stays centered with yoga and meditation, and throughout her nearly-three decades in the industry, she’s developed a mantra of her own: “Keep Going.” Those two words have guided her success as a journalist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur— and they continue to drive her forward as she, and her company, and media as a whole, continue to evolve.

Let’s meet Dana.

What Did You Originally Want to be When You Grow Up? I knew early on that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry so I’m living my dream! 🙂

How Did You Get into Entertainment/Media? While at college in Texas, I got an internship at CNN Atlanta and ended up with a full-time job there upon graduation.  After two years at CNN, I got a job at ABC News 20/20 where I developed my interviewing skills for being a future documentary filmmaker and content creator.

Who Were Your Mentors? Barbara Walters was one of my personal role models and mentor when I worked at 20/20.  I watched her style, etiquette and techniques as I worked on her stories. I had the opportunity to learn from the best.  No one interviews like Barbara and I was so lucky to get an on-set education with her, even as a junior member of the team.  It helped me grow as a creative; deeply influenced my own interview style, and compassion

Name Your Biggest Achievement My documentary Gateway, sponsored by Choices Matter, that debuted in October 2019 on the opioid epidemic that’s currently on the film festival circuit.

Biggest Disappointment Early in my career, an investor partnered with my production company Backlot, which I’ve led for over a decade.  The partnership didn’t work out. Though we remain friendly I learned great lessons about perseverance and fortitude, never give up and believe in yourself against all odds – it works!

Name Your Biggest Pet Peeves Inconsistency, lack of integrity, no follow through.

Predictions for Entertainment/Media over the Next Decade Brands will become their own studios driving customized content to engage fans.

Name a Job You Had that Would Surprise People I worked in my local Houston, Texas bagel shop.  It lasted one day!

Who Plays You in Your Life Story? Carrie Bradshaw.

What do You Wish You had More Time for? Relax.

Do You Talk to Yourself? Positive self-talk is crucial for success.

What Inspires You to be Creative? Romeo, my beloved 13 year old Beagle/Chihuahua mix.

On the Backlot with filmmaker Dana Richie

In the Media

Bustle: New ‘Gateway’ Doc Offers A Familiar Look At The Opioid Crisis

Every day, more than 130 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. The new documentary Gateway, from director Dana Richie, explores this crisis through the lens of three families of addicts whose reliance on opioids began when they were prescribed the medication by their doctors to manage pain after surgery. The film examines how routine surgeries are an often-overlooked contributor to the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“What [Gateway] represents is doctors being more thoughtful when it comes to how they prescribe [opioids],” Richie tells Bustle. “Because we do show the dangers that can happen if it gets in the wrong hands or if they’re prescribed to someone who potentially could go down that path.”

Choices Matter on YouTube

Gateway marks Richie’s documentary directorial debut and quickly morphed from a patient testimonial campaign for an alternative pain medication to a doc diving deeper into those patients lives. “Everything that came out of the interviews was extremely emotional and very authentic,” she says. “We felt that the stories just needed to be as long as they needed to be, and if it turned into a documentary then that’s fine.”

Coyne PR

Those patient testimonials include Jen Wysong, a mother whose post-C-section pain management plan led her to addiction. After suffering through years of drug abuse and setbacks, Wysong has now been clean for three years, and works as a peer support counselor at the same treatment facility that supported her journey to sobriety.

Richie was also able to sit in on the peer group Wysong runs at the treatment facility. “Listening to their stories, opening up about their struggles and what their lives are like; these are all amazing women who for whatever reason, found themselves in that situation,” she says.

Coyne PR

One of the more heartbreaking stories in Gateway is that of Jennifer Weiss-Burke, whose son Cameron became addicted to opioids after a number of surgeries related to his devotion to sports. Cameron died of an overdose at 18-years-old, and his mother has since opened a recovery center for adolescents in his name in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“She took this tragedy and was able to turn it around. Through helping others in the youth recovery center. I think it helped her feel like she’s making a difference in their lives and also helped her heal too,” Richie says of Weiss-Burke.

Coyne PR

Since premiering in 2019, Gateway has won Best Director and Best Documentary Featurette from the Festigious Film Festival, as well as Best Documentary Feature from the LA Movie Awards. But for Richie, it’s about the film’s impact, not the awards. “The more people that talk about [opioid addiction] and the more we share this information, the more we have awareness, which will ultimately lead to prevention. The more voices we hear, the more united we become, the more we can help to eradicate this epidemic,” she says.

You can watch Gateway online now. For more information on how surgery contributes to the opioid epidemic, visit Plan Against Pain.
In the Media

Albuquerque Journal: Stories of Grief, Hope and Recovery


Opioid addiction.

It’s an epidemic that wreaks havoc on lives.

Jennifer Weiss-Burke, of Albuquerque, knows firsthand of the damage of opioid addiction.

Albuquerque resident Jennifer Weiss-Burke appears in the documentary “Gateway,” which examines the opioid epidemic. (Courtesy of Gateway Film)

Weiss-Burke lost her 18-year-old son, Cameron, to a heroin overdose on Aug. 13, 2011.

Weiss-Burke is featured in the documentary “Gateway,” which is making the rounds on the film festival circuit.

The film is about three families affected by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery.

It provides an intimate look into the struggles that can be caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of the medications are not properly understood.

Weiss-Burke agreed to tell her story because of the angle the documentary takes.

“It shows multiple sides of the opioid epidemic,” she said. “From a prescribing side, it shows recovery. It shows the side of loss and it covers such a broad range. These are issues that people need to hear and understand.”

The drug dealer in Cameron Weiss’ case was found guilty by a federal jury on May 13.

After losing Cameron, Weiss-Burke began a mission to build something that she wishes would have existed for her son – Serenity Mesa, a recovery center for adolescents battling addiction.

“When we created Serenity Mesa, it was out of frustration and despair,” she said. “I had lost my son and I wasn’t able to get him effective treatment because he was under 18. I spent thousands of dollars trying to get him help.”

Serenity Mesa has been open for nearly five years.

About 140 kids have gone through the program.

“Some days, I see my son in a lot of these kids,” she said. “They are all struggling with an addiction. They fell into it with prescribed opiates. They don’t understand the long-term effects. Cameron was in and out of jail, and it was a constant struggle for him. People don’t realize that it’s an hourly struggle. The slope is slippery, and we’re trying to provide some stability to these kids. They need to realize that a lifestyle change has to happen.”

The film also follows Jen Wysong of Baltimore, who fell into addiction after receiving an opioid prescription to manage pain after a Caesarean section.

Although her path to recovery was riddled with setbacks, she has celebrated more than three years of sobriety and is now a peer support counselor at the same treatment facility that supported her journey to sobriety.

Also featured is Dr. Richard Chudacoff, a New Jersey-based OB-GYN who is at the forefront of addressing the opioid epidemic by providing his C-section patients with opioid-free surgery.

The film is directed by Dana Richie.

“The film is meant to start a conversation for change,” Richie said. “We wanted to educate that there are nonopiate options available to manage pain. It’s too easy to go down this dark path of addiction.”

The production took six months to complete.

Richie and crew were in New Mexico for about a week with Weiss-Burke.

“Jennifer was chosen because of her amazing work with recovery,” Richie said. “When we started to hear Jennifer’s story, it was so powerful. We didn’t know what to expect. With each story, it took us down a different path because every person opened up with so much authenticity and trust. We went back to the drawing board to begin to weave everything together.”

Richie used 2018 data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

According to a report, a lot of the addiction stems from the overprescribing of opioids after surgeries.

Alabama remained the top state in the nation for opioid prescriptions per capita. New Mexico is ranked 29th.

In 2016, 41 pills per capita were prescribed in New Mexico, but in 2017 the number decreased by 15%, to 35 pills prescribed per capita.

Richie wants to get the film in front of as many eyes as possible, which is why it is available to screen online at

Weiss-Burke said the conversation has to start and the stigma has to be addressed.

“A lot of parents feel like it’s their fault,” she said. “We have to talk more about this issue. Keeping it together during filming was difficult to do. My goal was to make it a day of filming without losing it. There’s stories of hope and recovery. We have to work together to address all of these issues. It’s a big problem, and it does start with the overprescribing of opioids.”

Saturday, November 30th, 2019 at 12:02am