Author Bio: Vonetta Logan is a financial news reporter for both tastytrade and dough (tastytrade's sister company). Vonetta wanted to find a way to inform consumers and investors about the consequences/repercussions that current events and trends have on the financial space. 'Nailed It!' is a satirical segment created to do just that.
See the show promo below and also read her 5 reasons to watch Nailed It!
5. The costumes.
Starting around episode 8, I started adding costumes to the "cold open" of the show. The very first one in "wage against the machine" was just an apron and an afro wig.
But fun fact- that apron and name tag are from a job I actually held when I first started working at tastytrade. I worked nights for a local grocery store chain as the "sample lady". Switching my career to comedy was a huge leap for me, so to make ends meet, I had to work nights and weekends slangin’ rice pudding samples.
Another fun fact: my costume budget for each episode is exactly $100. I rent costumes from wardrobe houses here in the city when I can. My favorite rental was probably the turn of the century getup in “Over Fed”. That dress was hot as hell and super heavy. I don’t know how ladies back then managed to get around town, or managed “sexy times”. But it was the Victorian era, so “sexy times” was showing some ankle and maybe a little over the corset action.
I don’t write the costume intros until last. It’s only after I have finished the final script that I write out what’s gonna happen in the intro. I then talk to our graphics department and Alaric, the show’s editor and executive producer to see if what I want is feasible.
By far, the most labor-intensive sequence graphics-wise was the one for “Speed Demonized”, where I play a bootleg version of “The Flash”. Our studio is super small, so Bobby our graphics guy had to map out a path for me to run back and forth in exaggerated slow motion. Bobby keeps the file on a hard drive somewhere in case he needs it as “leverage.”
4. Amazing video clips.
I get a ton of great show ideas from friends, family, random people of the internet. But the one thing it takes to make 15 min of a great episode is video clips. Lots and lots of videos gotta be out there. I need videos of people talking, debating, explaining, and complaining about whatever subject I’m covering. I’ve received some great ideas, but some have been so underground, so off the radar that no one is talking about it except some dude in his basement with homemade PowerPoint slides.
Before Chris, my dogged research assistant came along, I would literally troll the internet for D A Y S looking for glorious clips of video. It’s hard to pick a fave but the sausage song from the “school house rocked: common core" episode continuously has me rollin in my chair. Note to self: get tubes tied.
But one thing you guys might not know about the show is the hours of editing time it takes to make it to the final product. My favorite thing to do is make “montages” where I will mash 5-6 clips into one super cut and then put music underneath. Each 1-2 min montage probably took about 4-5 hours of work from our production team. I’m proud that everything that goes into my show is picked out by me.
3. The research.
Each episode of Nailed It! requires that I read about 500- 600 pages of research on a given topic. (Also: Fun fact - I recycle the shit ton of paper that I print out.) It’s like writing a college thesis every month.
Despite what some youtube comments say, I do try very very hard to make sure that I’m making a balanced argument for whatever stance I’m taking. I search all sites, all types of reporters, think tanks, and news outlets. That weird fringe blog your old friend from high school keeps posting stuff from? I’ve probably read it. I read it all.
But good research is check facts, then double check them. If a study gets published, I want to know who funded the study. If a law gets passed, I want to know who lobbied for it. If a company wants to sell you a service, I want to find out what they have to gain. I search out everything, not just those who agree with me. You might even be surprised to find that most of the time I don’t go into the story with a strong opinion.
I actually graduated with a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and I never thought in a million years that I would get to combine my love of writing with my love of comedy.
But I live for research. You want to go on vacation with me? Let me print out every possible itinerary that could possibly be done. I bought a new washer/dryer. All of the research. Pretty sure I could work for Consumer Reports. But the greatest compliment I get is from viewers who, though they may not agree with my opinion, respect the amount of research that goes into a show. I take pride that I can distill hundreds of articles and studies into concise bits of information that make it easy for everyone to understand.
2. I got jokes.
I like to think that my ability to satirize some pretty heavy issues is what sets my show apart from 60 minutes. That, and the dick jokes. Jon Stewart, and obviously John Oliver heavily influence me. But there ain’t no ladies in the game. (*Samantha Bee is supposed to have a news-based show coming this fall.)
Next time John Oliver’s show is on, pause it at the end and look at how many freakin’ writers he has! I get asked constantly, “Who writes your show?” I’m like, 'I do ,bitch! It’s why I put it in the promo, which I also wrote. As well as the line “she doesn’t even have a penis”.
Also, super tangent, but Mike on our support team does the most spot on Herbert voice ever, and it took like 5 takes to record it because everyone kept laughing.
So I’ve always been a “writer” but I did take classes to become a comedy writer. Chicago is the best place in the world if you want to learn comedy. Shout out to Nate, my writing teacher from Chicago’s IO theater.
He was a writer on SNL in the 80’s, and almost all of his stories start with, “So we’re in the writer’s room, and there’s this huge pile of coke on the table…” Anyway it sounds like a shitty book that you buy on Amazon, but the key to good writing is to write all the time.
I use the notes app on my iPhone to write jokes and bits whenever I think of them, and I come up with a surprising amount of material in the shower. Don’t be creepy, pervs. Also, living in Chicago, I get stuck in traffic a lot, and I think of jokes then. I’ll call my parents and run bits by them and they’ll be honest if they think it’s funny or not.
I write the jokes last. 90% of them are written into the final script. Sometimes the topics and issues are so heavy, I like to get an outline done of all the newsy stuff first, then I’ll go in and try to lighten it up with jokes. Sometimes though as we’re filming, I’ll get an idea and then improv a bit.
When I write, and the jokes aren’t coming I just type “jtc” which Nate, my writing teacher, says he used to do back in the day. It just means “joke to come”. He says don’t get hung up on making a killer joke. Keep the flow going and keep writing. Just the act of typing those three letters will keep you from getting blocked. But I love when YouTube comments are just funny lines that I wrote, and people are like “can’t believe chick just said that lolololololol” All of the feels.
And the number 1 reason to keep watching Nailed It!..
1. Because tastytrade Nails It!
I will say that I will put Nailed It! Up against any show out there, and tastytrade will slay it. But I don’t do it alone. I just wanna thank everyone for all the love and support, and constructive feedback they have provided. It is amazing that with the size and budget that we have that we’re able to produce such a quality show every month. It takes a village to produce this show, and it wouldn’t be where it is without the help and support of a ton of people.
All the thanks to Tom and Tony. I am beyond #blessed that Tom and Tony are the coolest bosses ever. The creative freedom I have is beyond magical. Imagine lil ole me writing a joke that makes a room full of traders blush. (They bleeped out “hand job” in the Fed piece. Also, I had to explain what that was. To Tom. Awkward.) But from day one, Tom has fully supported the show and his gruff, “You’re funnier than most crap on TV nowadays,” is the highest praise I could ever ask for.
Shout out to Alaric, my wonderful producer whose begrudging chuckles 4 hours into an edit session to let me know that even though he’s watched a clip 53 times, it’s still funny. Shouts out to Bobby and Thomas, wonderful dudes in graphics and production who help the show look like it does.
I wish there was a Beyonce filter, but they do a wonderful job making sure my hair doesn’t look purple or my skin doesn’t look red. We literally shoot in an empty room with a green screen, and they lay in a beautiful background behind me with wonderful images.
Thanks also to Matt, who creates custom images for anything I can possibly imagine. I just walked over to him and said,
Thanks also to Tim and Doyle and Garrett my video guys who run the camera, set the lights, and make sure the teleprompter is good to go for each shoot. Tim let us use his drone to shoot this promo, and all those sweeping shots of the city and me on the roof are his awesome skills. Doyle did get ultimate payback for dousing me in chocolate syrup for the Oil episode.
Thanks also to Chris, who jumped into the Nailed It! pool without really knowing what he was taking on, but he helps me immensely by pulling articles and videos, and even helping me write the Nailed It! blog. Please help me convince him to not serve a higher calling by becoming a teacher, but instead, coming to work here at tastytrade.
Also thanks to the lovely ladies Jenna and Kelly who help me market the show and “push the viral button” (I have to put a dollar in the douche jar).
And thanks to the support of viewers like you. Crap, I think I stole that from PBS. Thanks for all the kind emails, tweets, and feedback. And thanks for taking the time, not only to watch the episodes, but to share them with family and friends. I’m even thankful for those who hate watch the show. Clicks are clicks, man.
And finally, thank to my awesome parents, two people who mean the world to me. Who when their child was 8 and her talent for the school talent show was stand up comedy, they did not try to make me learn to twirl a baton. Without their unwavering love and support, I wouldn’t be the bad bitch that I am today. Oh, I’m getting the wrap it up sign. Which is weird because this is a Word document. So, in the mean time and in between time, check out the past episodes and stick with me to see where we go in the future!