Inside the Upside Down: A recent Baylor alum describes working on ‘Stranger Things’
Stranger Things was trending No. 1 on Twitter this morning as this story went live, thanks to the final episodes of the new season being released to stream on Netflix.
If you’re a fan of the show, you probably already knew all about that — but what you might not know is that a recent Baylor alum, Madison Martin (BA ’17), had a hand in the post production side of the show’s Season 4. We caught up with Madison to talk all things Baylor, Stranger Things, and advice she would give to those who might not know what’s next in their life.
First off, Martin didn’t always think she would come to Baylor. But rather than fit into a mold at another school (like Eleven being trained to be a specific thing), Baylor gave her the opportunity to explore what she wanted to do and who she wanted to become.
“My communication and film classes with Dr. Kayla Rhidenour, Brian Elliot, and Dr. Corey Carbonara challenged me to think outside the box and push myself — helping me develop my work ethic within post production,” she says. Martin also credits her leadership role and time in Alpha Chi Omega and Greek life with helping her learn how to balance many different responsibilities and deal with varying personalities.
Martin’s role on Stranger Things Season 4 was “post production coordinator” — which meant a lot of scheduling, overseeing, getting studios and actors paid, helping run the office, scheduling COVID tests and protocols, and literally anything else producers, associate producers, editors or staff needed, up to and including the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers. She also helped the VFX editor with calling out shots to do the drop ins, which was not technically part of the job — but being a good coordinator means seeing needs in the office and meeting them to help the team as a whole.
The Stranger Things team was unlike anything Martin has experienced thus far. “Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun on a project,” she says. “The team for this was amazing and unparalleled. I got to work with bosses who empowered me to take on more and more, and who wanted to see me succeed. Everyone on the team was not only good at their job, but quite enjoyable to be around.”
Just five years after graduating from Baylor, Martin’s resume already includes an impressive list of projects on which she has worked, including not just Stranger Things but also House of Cards, Ozark, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and more.
That experience has given her some advice to deliver to other Bears, should the work of job seeking and planning for the future seem like the Upside Down: Never, ever give up.
After applying for 30 internships her junior year and not getting a single interview, God had other plans for her. Through a connection with her parents’ neighbor, she was able to visit the set of House of Cards for Netflix, and a year later she was working at on Season 6 of the show as a post production assistant.
“I went into my freshman year at Baylor thinking I was going to be a business major, and then go to school to be a pastry chef,” she recalls. “Now I work on one of Netflix’s No. 1 shows, working with incredible people, and I am exactly where I am meant to be in post production.”
So get your Eggo waffles ready, and have a Walkman handy (queued up to your favorite song, of course) — Stranger Things Season 4 Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
Sic ’em, Madison!