‘IntelleXual’ podcasters celebrate 100 episodes of stimulating conversation

North Coast resident and team also premiere short film at June 14 event

Cast and crew members of “Things Happen” answer questions following the film’s premiere June 14 at the Horton Grand Theatre in downtown San Diego. Left to right: Cinematographer Bryan Davis, actor and writer Sebastien Cipolla, director and writer David S. Dawson and actor Merrick McCartha. Kristin Naomi Garcia (far right) moderated the session. (Photo by Carla Van Wagoner of intelleXual entertainment)

Adam Burkhart

On a recent Sunday, a couple of hours before the hosts and crew of “The IntelleXual Podcast” were to celebrate their 100th episode with a live taping at the Horton Grand Theatre in downtown San Diego, they gathered at the Palace Bar just around the corner.

“Stimulating conversations is what it’s all about,” said David S. Dawson, the coastal North County native who co-hosts the podcast, which he created a few years ago along with its parent entity, intelleXual entertainment.

In searching for a moniker to describe the show’s eclectic mix of topics, Dawson nabbed the neologism “IntelleXual” from Urban Dictionary, which defines it as “the type of relationship shared between two acquaintances who enjoy sharing stimulating intellectual discussions to the point of simultaneous Intellectual Orgasm.”

Fortunately, it wasn’t trademarked. “I checked,” he said. “I need to do that myself pretty soon.”

Dawson cut his teeth podcasting as part of his 20-year high school reunion. To overcome his shyness, he had the idea of recording interviews with his classmates in the San Dieguito High School class of ’93.

“I used podcasting as a way to force myself to my reunion,” he said.

He was dismayed at first when the reunion organizers approved the idea — and approached the first few episodes with trepidation — but the podcasts became a hit with his classmates, who encouraged him to do more.

He did, eventually quitting his day job and roping in family and friends to devote all his time to producing podcasts and short films, the latest of which, “Things Happen,” premiered along with the 100th podcast on June 14.

Dawson co-wrote the film, based on a spec script by a french expat — a recent graduate of the Stella Adler Academy of Acting — who also plays the lead role.

“It was a good story, needed a little bit of work on the dialogue,” Dawson said. “He only learned English like five years ago.”

A few minutes later, Sebastien Cipolla, the lead, walked into the bar, svelte in a powder-blue linen jacket, acid-washed jeans and trim beard. Cipolla said he wanted the film — in which he plays a man who verges on suicide after the death of his wife and child, but chooses life in the end — to send a message about perseverance in the face of adversity, as well as to be a calling card for talent scouts.

“You don’t get calls sitting at home,” Cipolla said. “You’ve got to go out and do things.”

About 40 people were in the audience for the podcast and more than 50 for the film screening, mostly members of San Diego’s independent filmmaking community or their friends and family. It’s a tight-knit group, which can’t escape feeling like the underdog just a few miles south of the nation’s movie capital, and relies on mutual support.

Dawson said he devotes 50 percent of “The IntelleXual Podcast’s” content to featuring local talent. The program that night included film trailers and interviews by and with San Diego filmmakers, such as Del Mar resident Sue Vicory, who is in production on a Web series called “My Power of One.”

Adding a bit of Hollywood glitz to the night was Boman Modine, the son of actor Matthew Modine, who brought along his short film, “Merry Xmas,” which he directed and stars his father and Dick Van Dyke.

During the podcast, one of the show’s co-hosts, Mark Atkinson, asked Modine, “Everyone wants to know, and I’ll ask it, what was it like to work with Dick Van Dyke?”

“He dances literally everywhere,” Modine said. “He’s also 92, I think, and he starts the day off for breakfast with ice cream every single day, and you’re not supposed to be able to do that.”

Find current and archived episodes of “The IntelleXual Podcast” at www.theintellexual.com. More information about the film “Things Happen” can be found at www.theintellexual.com/thingshappen/.

Adam Burkhart is a San Diego freelance writer