Exclusive clip: Hit + Run’s Rob Shaftel on Vice’s “In My Own World”

Vice’s eight-part series, In My Own World, premiering on January 25, follows individuals on the fringes of society trying to find their way in the so-called “normal” world. The series, from ...
January 24, 2022

Vice’s eight-part series, In My Own World, premiering on January 25, follows individuals on the fringes of society trying to find their way in the so-called “normal” world.

The series, from American prodco Hit + Run, features several people unpacking their “peculiar passions” to a licensed therapist. Viewers will meet a self-described vampire pursuing his GED and a time traveler reconnecting with her estranged son.

In My Own World stands out as a great example of us being genre-agnostic,” Hit + Run co-founder and executive producer Rob Shaftel tells Realscreen. “No matter the genre, our commitment remains the same: high-quality, story-driven programming with access to incredible locations and characters.”

Those incredible characters are definitely on display in In My Own World, which follows, among other subjects, a demon hunter seeking career counseling and a man earnestly preparing for a zombie apocalypse.

Executive producers for Hit + Run are Rob Shaftel, Matt Koed and Krysta Beth Heidman Weatherby, with Noah Korn co-executive producing. For Delta-V Productions, executive producers are Caroline Clark, Daniel Clark and Nick Andert. Executive producing for Lost Tribe Productions is Myles Reiff.

Ahead of the show’s January 25 debut, Realscreen caught up with Shaftel (pictured) to talk about treating documentary subjects with respect and how they found the cast.rob_color_cropped

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

What was the initial idea or inspiration for the series?

We saw an incredible documentary produced by Delta-V Productions about flat-earthers called Behind the Curve. We were so impressed that we partnered with Delta-V to ensure our development reflected the whimsical yet respectful tone of their film. Our development team led by Noah Korn produced an incredible sizzle. It’s a great example of how we were able to bring thought-provoking IP and talented content creators together to produce something truly special and unique.

How did you find the subjects for the show?

We have an incredible casting team who constantly blow me away with their ability to find talent in all shapes and sizes… Their abilities were put to the test though for In My Own World, as they had to dig super-deep into and research a wide array of subcultures. They put the word out that anyone with a unique belief should contact us. You can only imagine some of the responses. Our casting producer received a random text that read “This is Ronald, do you like seafood?” Turns out, Ronald identifies as an octopus. They also had to cast three licensed therapists who [provide] additional insight into these characters.

What steps did you take to ensure that the subjects of the show were treated with respect and the tone wasn’t condescending?

Our approach across all of our series is to be true to the characters we are following. This series did have the specific challenge of being respectful without punching down [to] the subjects. Fortunately, the tone that Delta-V created in Behind the Curve provided us with a great road map. What’s unique about the series is that we don’t just document the subjects: the subjects have several meetings with a therapist who acts as an impartial third party, giving viewers a deeper and more layered context.

What was the process like in getting the subjects to agree to be profiled? Did it take some convincing?

We tapped into our experience from one of our first series, Way Past Midnight for Red Bull TV, where we needed to gain access to underground creative subcultures across the world. The key is really assuring the subjects that we aren’t going to editorialize their story, and backing that up throughout the production process. Being on Vice TV also gave us a ton of credibility with the subjects, since Vice has a strong reputation for telling real stories about real people and giving a voice to those across the entire spectrum.

Watch an exclusive clip below:

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.