Caitlin Hofmeister

Caitlin Hofmeister

TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian

Earlier this year, Caitlin Hofmeister started a podcast in her spare time called "You're Doing Just Fine."

She starts up candid conversations with her guests — so far they're creative types, such as musicians — about their struggles and failures.

The concept is humanizing, enlightening and contemporary, using an emerging medium to discuss an age-old issue in a casual, approachable way.

That outlook seems to span all of Hofmeister's work projects these days. She serves as senior producer for "SciShow," a series of YouTube channels created by online video guru Hank Green. He, Hofmeister and other hosts give accessible but informative crash courses in scientific concepts, attracting both science nerds and a newer audience.

At Green's headquarters here in Missoula, Hofmeister oversees two producers and production teams for the main channel and its spinoffs: "SciShow Space," "SciShow Psych" and "SciShow Kids." With nine people they produce 15 episodes a week. Her job focuses on organization and scheduling with the content and video teams, and making sure the workers ("They're awesome," she said) have everything they need, whether it's equipment or permission to use specific images.

Earlier this year, the team won the People's Choice category at the Webby Awards, a prize selected by voters. (It helps that the main channel has more than 4,240,000 subscribers.)

Hofmeister hadn't intended to stay in Missoula before she was hired as an editor in summer 2012. She'd recently graduated with her MFA in media arts from the University of Montana, and had imagined she'd return to Portland.

The native of Sandpoint, Idaho, was living there, working as a personal assistant on independent films. She began looking at graduate schools in filmmaking that didn't require specialization. The UM program was an affordable fit.

She'd studied English and philosophy for her bachelor of arts degree, and planned to go into narrative feature filmmaking after earning her master's. However, she'd always been a science nerd, and the opportunities to communicate about science in a fun way has proven creatively rewarding.

It hasn't always been easy. After she'd transitioned into her producer job, she was the first female host for "SciShow" on a "Space" episode. The comments were sexist and cruel in just about every way you can imagine.

"To be a normal-looking woman, not like a super-model, on anybody's screen is apparently audacious," she said.

It was difficult, she said, and eventually she talked to her bosses and decided to confront her critics on camera.

"The end of this one episode, I'm going to be like, 'I'm the producer, I read all the comments, and I'm not going to wear more makeup. Because your comments? It's me who's reading them. I'm a person and they're not having the effect that you want,' " she said.

"SciShow" has since added more female hosts and she uses that early experience with trolls to help prepare them.

There are more hosts, by the way, because there are more shows coming from their shop. She helped launch an adult show, "How F---ing Science," recently. She's a producer on a new channel, "How to Adult."

If that wasn't enough, she's been getting up early so she has time to write fiction, one of her original passions, before she clocks in for work.

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