ClexaCon 2019 – How I Got That Gig: Queer Television Writers

ClexaCon 2019 - How I Got That Gig: Queer Television Writers

all right I think we're gonna get started welcome oh my god eating into it again okay sorry if you guys saw me furiously typing I lost my notes like two minutes before we started anyway helps hi I'm Stacey joke Albert I am normally the film fest coordinator programmer person but today I get to play moderator with this lovely group of people here and welcome thank you guys for getting up so early how many people are up to 3:00 4:00 in the morning you're amazing you're amazing you're going to bed what the hell I just got here so first up I know I'm so excited to have all of you on the panel I'll just tell you free to think I was playing they I mean crystal this morning or last night this panel started out as first-year staff writers and then like Richmond wants to be on the panel well let's spin the pan I'm like okay we're going to change this up cool so very excited have you all here first thing what I want to do is please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bell put your background what your show you're working on now what you worked on exactly first my name is Noelle Carbone a I am a writer and producer from Toronto I works I worked on a bunch of shows Ricky blue saving hope and most recently went on earth [Applause] Regina Hicks insecure now one of the music producers on network hi I'm Naomi and I am also based in Los Angeles I had my first staff writer job on Damon Wayans Jr sitcom on CBS last year and right now I just started a new room I'm Melina weights new show called twenties on his face on her bike hi I am crystal bands on I'm from Fontana California and I know night I was the first time staff writer on Amy Poehler's new comedy on NBC I feel bad all right so I know we have a variety of experience of here obviously but I wanted to know what tell us about your journey a staff writer like where did you start did you intend to become a writer I know I let him like I have went to school for reading TV or whatever they call it way back one and half the people that I went to school with are like yoga teachers now so so is this your attention was this the path that you thought you were gonna go on when you first started out no I just love television so when I talked about from Savannah Georgia so me talking about moving to Los Angeles from when I was 9 seemed like crazy but I never let it go I started went to summer camp to be a counselor right here right after my senior high so that I could meet people said that when I came back I would new people I can stay with so I did that for like two summers and then after college I went out came out to work at a summer camp in Hollywood called Hollywood land I love the name still a good first part it's great and I stay with a friend that I've met so during the summer one of the campers her mom worked on a TV show so of course I did not believe her at first and then her mother you know figure out I didn't I approached her and just said I was here looking for you know trying to find work I'm in say went in and the lady took her daughter and went home and the camp director said that's ridiculous so you called we went into her health records got there were no HIPPA laws back there a it was it did me a week to call because I went through a very various emotions the first week out of camp like one week I was just hungover she's that party the second day I went back to what do you say later walk around to remember college third day I had a temp interview in Beverly Hills I couldn't find so I cried all the way back to Sylmar and I couldn't find it I was like I don't understand City Thursday I just sat around watching soap operas and television because I was depressed no my friend's mom was like a she was over what's she doing and then a Friday I found that number and broke my little speech and so I said it just because I knew if I just read it I wouldn't get it all out and it ended with I just wanted to know if you knew of any avenues I might follow and there was a big pause and then she said hey you asked me for a job and from bapa found an agent and from that that's why I was like so for me I grew up in LA and you would think that growing up in LA that writing for TV or films seems possible but I grew up with my parents I just didn't feel like it was something that was a possibility for me because all of my parents like my parents all of my family are you know working-class I always felt like film and TV was maybe something that was out of my reach but I went to UCLA for undergrad study Poli Sci and then after that I ended up working as a PA for a few years and production coordinator more the logistical business side and then I decided I wanted to take the leap and go to USC for grad school where I studied writing and directing and while I was there my final year I saw this show transparent and I was so moved by how honest and real and painful and funny that was and so I decided I wanted to go towards TV so I started to write pilots um I had never written one before and I just tried to become a better writer like Draft after draft and I did the Ryan Murphy half Foundation program I did the CBS writers program I did a bunch of like every diversity program that you can think of and eventually I was able to get a manager an agent and go through Network staffing season and I got my first staff writer job last year we met we both I was just moving back out to LA we sat next to each other at this really small theater in Hollywood yeah Hollywood watching the season to a transparent not just watching one episode we watched all of the episodes it was a binge watching thing with the cat five hours yeah we get to know each other pretty well hi so I started as a theater director that was kind of my way and because I wanted to do something creative but I also had no idea that the TV writing existed because I'm first-generation as well and those aren't the jobs that that we get to make actual money so I became a theatre artist telling stories was the way to change the world and I'm gonna be a theater director I went to Smith College I knew that college I studied government in women studies and theater I went to the Philippines on a Fulbright to study theater for a year the doctor that I moved to New York so my parents said I was gonna be a theatre director and my dad stopped talking to me he's it's fine now but that's all right he was not happy with my decision I was in the multicultural theater scene in New York I worked with my inner company inte R and then through there I went to grad school I was at Tisch and my you Tisch and and then I realized that I I fell in love my wife want to have a baby and I was like oh I can't pay for that in slices of pizza I'm getting from working in theater so I want to transition into more traditional entertainment I worked at NBC as a corporate person for in corporate diversity and that killed my soul because I wanted to do something creative I moved to LA worked in the diversity program department at NBC that was ten right I ran the all right help the writers on average program but any DC so I can answer any questions about programs of yeah questions about that but then through that I realized that everything that I did at theater I could translate to television and and I started writing for TV that even though I start writing for theater before and I got into the CBS writing program you know I've heard that my that's it yeah thank you I'm real quick before you I just want to say there's more seats you guys there are more seats come come forward don't stand up it's me a long panel so make sure you all MC and if you want stand back that's cool – I get it drinking the coffee from last night I got it okay so yeah idea what knows like weed so I grew up in Windsor Ontario which is across the river from Detroit and a blue-collar family both of my parents are Italian immigrants so first generation and that definitely you know my dad works still works at Ford so very blue-collar it's not so writing is not a thing he's not a thing fair so I basically had to trick my family by telling them I wanted to be a journalist so I went to the University of Western Ontario so I need journalism but took a bunch of film oh I went there so I could come out really – I needed to get just far enough away for my time family so I could come out play soccer which was super fun I went to a few classes and then realized quickly like if I wanted to be a writer it had to move to Toronto so I did which is terrifying for some it's not when there's not a small town but and my family was like terrified because you know Toronto's gigantic there's lots of like burbs on the outskirts anytime there was a fire within three hours of where I live I would get a call from Isiah being like are you okay I heard there was a fire so everyone was terrified nobody knew what I was doing my parents still don't really understand but I went to to college after my undergrad I went to college in Toronto and it was another three years writing directing producing they taught you everything there I was lucky that I knew I wanted to write and so because I was the only person who was like I want to be a writer they knew how to help me and who to put me with so they hooked me up with an internship with a producer in Toronto as her assistant for a bit and then as her she liked me kept me honest her development person and then two of the shows that we developed while I was the head of development were Ricky blue and saving hope so when they got ordered this is like I want to look at the lottery I basically forced come to my way so I ended up in the Ricky blue writing room for six years and then kind of went back and forth between what people would say with hope because I developed the show so I already had a really good rapport with the show runners and with the Vicky creatives and stuff so that's some of the things that I am really interested in because I've heard this a lot from a lot of people is that writers rooms tend to be like a therapy group in some ways and I just want to know how I help each of you possibly navigated that coming from the queer community have you been out as a writer in the writing rooms or other times where you felt unsafe or you know like I don't wanna talk about mean now you're on the l word I mean that's just in there I might now yeah I mean come on there's there's no reason there's everything but I mean it that I mean other shows I mean was that was that ever an issue did you ever you know feel that that was an issue I was really really lucky I I had a really great first-time experience I worked for a diverse showrunner she filled her room half with people of color half women and I was nothing with a queer parent in the room I was one of three clear parents of the room who are also colored so it was a very unique experience she had a great people and I feel really lucky I was able to be myself and out the entire time yeah for me I think my first staff writer job was on a multicam CBS broad comedy and to be completely transparent we're so the writers were straight white men so that was a very specific experience I was out and everyone except accepted me and it was a great experience but now I'm in a much smaller room it's a show for BT and it's Lena Wade's show and so it's it's six people in the room and I am the only non black writer and I am one of three coolie writers and so she's really made an effort to try to hire people who have these authentic experiences and to really put your heart out there and to really mine your story and even if you cry in the room she thinks that's a beautiful thing because that's how you access emotion and that's how you infuse those like authentic stories into the script because that project is so special to her she's been developing it for six years so I feel very lucky I feel like I've had two very different experiences both experiences everyone has been very nice to me in the room but there are different types of rooms it's funny I know who ran your room is wonderful I know Lena because she was when she came out here she was my assistant she knows safe room yeah yeah a bunch of different rooms I'm betting I've been lucky because I did girlfriends which was a very cool room he was run by I will move color and there were actually met my well now my ex-fiance but I met her on that show so there were and there was other one other we were personal but it's very that was a very safe room but I wasn't out out I mean I met her we did this thing where we got a dog together and we didn't say anything then I shared a housekeeper with someone and so apparently the word got out that we had this dog so then our thing was can't friends get a dump in the same place but it was that I had it was like I can't have this dog with myself so we're just sharing a dog so then the next thing that happens we bought a house together and then word got out about the house both its moms so it wisdom didn't say anything it was so much speculation about what was happening because my then that seeks the therapy later on yeah she'd been married when we met but no to to to a man and but it's like they got divorced and then once she was single then we got together so that was so then we were kind of but we said still wasn't saying it and even rooms after that because I worked on like Sheree Show in New York Sherri Shepherd show in New York and a few other shows like those state of Georgia Bravin so these are all shows that were not as diverse a lot of straight white men on these shows and but I still and they were always maybe another queer person in the room but and I felt envious of that person because those people were talking about like life at home and you know their partners and I still felt like I don't know everything when the first hears exact when the first l word came out I was tortured because I was like I don't think that's me even though I'm sitting on the couch next to Sonny it very very I'm it was crazy so but we would watch it and I think is that what it's supposed to look like but they're so out and open and I'm not we're just kind of living like these two lesbians tucked in this house of this dog but we're not talking about it and so I still didn't talk about it I was like if you don't know you just don't know he was my family I'm like well it's kind of obvious guys talking about a minute so we just recently I'm insecure it was I think it's when I felt the most comfortable there were three queer people in the room and then it's just so everyday it was so comfortable in such a family and I kind of made this transition during while I was on that show because there for three years I made it some mind transition or an emotional transition that I became this person who didn't talk about it to a person who only wanted to talk about now since being on the l word it's soaked and now I have a room full of there's not a straight white man in sight the room looks like the characters you will see there we call it like there's I think we're trans pan spies and lesbians that's all that's in there all colors all right everything were everything and we're staffing and crewing the show the same way with directors there's no straight white men directing Marja lewis ryan is amazing and she wants the show to reflect not everything because we can't do everything but what we do have just to be as authentic as we can and that room has been the most inclusive and I talked about therapy that's all I did okay this is what happened yesterday I have so many years to like talk about it and get it out and be open about it and so I hope that all the things we talk about in that room and all the experiences we had everything that we say will be reflected on the screen and so that's that's our hope that people watch it and we can repair some of the mistakes of the past and move forward with the show that everybody's proud of I was out when I moved to Toronto so I've always been out in the members I've been in I've never I had one season of murky blue where there was a gay male writer on the show as well and other than that in ten years it took to 2018 for me to ever be in another room with a queer writer and that was a young woman that I mentored in film sent through the Canadian film Center who when I had my brief foray my eight months of show running before I left because I was like this is bullshit I brought her into that room because I obviously think it's really important to bring people up with you my the rooms I've been in have always been predominantly female not predominantly diverse we have a we do we're making strides in Canada but we do still have a big problem with diversity and but the roots I I wasn't they were very they were very like I said female centric every showrunner I worked for was like a mom so that was awesome because there was no like you know what do you mean you have to go get your kid or what do you mean your kids barfing and you can't come in till 3:00 or what do you mean Christmas concert like and so I really even though I the time I didn't have kids I really appreciated that and so tasse Cameron who ran working blue for six years was always like said our rooms it's like a one giant dinner party basically it's like we've been on one giant dinner party for six years which was amazing as the only queer woman in the room with the queer character on our key blue Gail I did feel a lot of the you have to be the voice of Gail and you have to advocate for her story to be told authentically which I mean I don't represent obviously all we're women and so that was a bit tricky especially because in the room it was very everyone was really supportive and like every day was a giant therapy session we all you know there were there were marriages and divorces and kids and you know people who were trying to have kids and so you do have to talk about it all because otherwise like why are you doing the job if you're not trying to drill down even on a ship up by idiots running around with guns if you're not trying to drill down and like talk about you know Universal issues and themes and stuff and and find the big beating heart of the show why are you doing it so so yeah that's and now I'm on Wynonna which is insane we have a lot of fun I think it shows when you watch the show that it's a lot of fun in the room and again it's predominantly you know parents I am the only queer writer on the show right now but we have $4 to make our television show and so our budgets are really our rooms are really small so I went you know Ricky blues on ABC so we had a giant room we had 18 episodes sometimes one season 22 which almost kills everybody and now we are ten episodes and a room of you know five or six sometimes so that makes a difference in terms of in terms of who you didn't bring in but it's all I mean I've never outside of the room I've had you know ep's and stuff I've had to go to EPS and say like this story is really important and they've been like well why do we have to keep saying she's a lesbian and I'm like well because you're not letting us tell we can't afford to bring her girlfriend into the show for a whole season so it every once in a while it would be nice if she mentioned her so that fight was always outside of the room which which sucked but I mean better outside than inside the room I guess so yeah they're both been always been really safe spaces fantastic so I'll just break that so I live in LA like lovelies I work Ellie I don't how many people live in LA okay so you know going five miles it's like going to ours right okay so working NoHo if I can demo work at work in Culver City live in Nomo right takes forever so listen to a lot of podcasts and one of the ones that I listen to is I'm called happier in Hollywood it's by these two show runners Sarafine list craft they're amazing they just launched their new show the fix which well there's a lot of anyways they're amazing but one of the best episodes that I listened to you was really about they break you down like how do you take these steps in your career like what happens what happens when you're a writer's assistant where do you go from there because I think that's one of the things that people don't really know what the career path if this is someone who wants to go to TV I mean some people literally like go from whatever to showrunner like they're they haven't been in television they're like oh I'm a showrunner you know but that doesn't happen a lot of times and so what what are the steps I guess in your career like where you guys do that can it is a little different I think it's a pretty direct like unless yourself kid you started as a writer's assistant and then you generally become the coordinator and then you'll become a junior story editor and then you know so that's basically what I did on working who I coordinated the first years and by the end of the six years I was the co Ikki that's kind of it's getting harder now with smaller rooms and less scripts to offer to incentivize to bring up the kind of next generation of awesome writers so but that's kinds of very it's a very linear unless you like go to the film center which is like the gold standard in Canada the Canadian film Center and you come up with like a brilliant idea like Taran did with thank you Mary Kells people you know great show and and everyone and everyone is universally acknowledges your genius and then you move faster but yeah so it's a very linear process in Canada yeah I couldn't think of I was just sitting here trying to think of the different rooms and how staff writers made it in and it just just because of where we are now like Issa Rae for example it was a web series and that happens a lot just people do their own web series it gets noticed suddenly studios are looking at it and networks looking at it that's one way of also the same show insecure all the writers assistants all the coordinators have just moved right like the next year they've moved into the staff writer position that and that's also just if you have the kind of showrunner that does that like giving writers assistants and coordinators opportunities to write scenes or cold opens and kind of seeing what how they do it and then moving those writers moving those moving them into the staff writer position the next season based on obviously the quality of the work but it's been working for that I know because I knew a lot of people were in shaundalyn and I know that's what Shawna does you can't even be an assistant as shondaland unless she's read your script because her whole intention is to move people up is to mentor people coming into shaundalyn I mean she has so many shows that she does have an opportunity to put people on those shows so I know people submit scripts just to BPA over shondaland and then of course it was also when our staff writer now and the l-word was Marty's assistant for years and so she helped her with our scripts and they you know she was her assistant for a couple of years and now she's sitting in that staff writer position and I the last thing is obviously meeting people I mean people go to panels that go to conventions that go all these places and they try to you know meet and have connections and there's so many show runners and writers who want to mentor people especially and I think it's in our community we should do more so I've been trying to do that because there's a lot of voices that need to be heard so you're doing the right thing you're going you're listening you're trying to meet people and the only other thing I can say is just right because I've had so many people even after panels after meeting just meeting people and you say well send me I got your writing do you have something and they're like well not yet but I know I want to be a writer well you know if you don't have any because it is opportunities to have something with somebody because you never know when someone's gonna say well let me read something and you can't go home okay I also have people and it's obvious go home one of the weekend and so the script they sent you on Monday is obviously something they started on Friday it's like so yeah just keep writing and then just be prepared when somebody says well let me read your stuff but those are its protective ways I can thank you thank you yeah for me I did not go the writers assistant route I was a piano production coordinator on commercials and features before I went to grad school but in terms of the rooms I've been in for example the current room our writers assistant is going to be writing an episode and she used to be Lena's assistant and on Lena's last show boomerang the writers assistant was also Lena's former assistant and she co-wrote an episode of boomerang and so I think it really depends on the showrunner you know who is mentoring or who has that who's operating from that place of wanting to lift other people up my last show that I was on the writers assistants I'll be up to they both co-wrote an episode but you know one of them has been a writer's assistant for maybe seven years so it really depends for me I didn't go up that route I have a lot of writers assistant friends who have been promoted to staff writer for me it was mostly about writing pilots and getting better at writing and I think the moment I wrote something that was very personal to me that seemed very nice it was based on my story of being a japanese-american queer woman and the idea of coming out to my dad and then my dad coming out to me as gay and stealing my thunder which which actually is like you know someone would maybe like hear that I mean I got so nice no one's gonna read that but it actually has been you know the thing that has gotten me into so many rooms and gotten into all the fellowships and so I think you know writing is a big part of it because we don't really see the work that people put into you know doing Draft after Draft after draft you know on weekends early in the mornings and so I think that's actually the most important thing I mean right for sure but I just also want to plug the diversity writing program the network's there it's a double-edged sword sometimes but overall the programs I think I've done a left I helped get rumors maybe the program should evolve a little bit but it's been a great tool and all the networks have them and I think when you apply it but you don't get in first sight you should apply again and again again because I work the back end of that system and you get points every time you apply like they want to see that you're getting better and so they're gonna attract people to apply more than what so so that's a big thing it's a plain words once but I think that work programs have been have been really awful yeah on that note this is more technical but I this question comes up a lot spectrum pilot spectrum pilot what do you what do you guys think of both yeah yeah for sure most individual people know what do people know it people know what that is that's right okay yeah most of the Fellowship's except for the ABC program right now require and a pilot so yeah great and so we will open question isn't that I just want to ask a couple more questions um what's the best writing advice that someone has ever given you in your career sorry I stumped the panel the first bit of writing advice I got was stop writing under stories because and people are only gonna think that that's what you get pigeonholed into that specific so clearly that's not the best advice because so much opportunities I've been given you know and I think be part of although I've been trying to work with Emily for a while now but it's it's only helped me to be and I know writers feel weird about the diversity programs a lot of times because they don't want to be the person who takes the box and and then go in as that and go into a room and be seen as oh you're just here because of that but take the box go be in the room and when you're in the room show them how much you just have to be in the fucking room so I think I just figure out why you're there what is it that you have to say and and you know to echo what Naomi said like beep put yourself on the page it's just terrifying but that's what's gonna it's it's going to be what gets you seen and what makes someone connect to your story and also is going to make the long hours the crazy time away from your family all of that worthwhile so just yeah one of my favorite novelist engaged on two cuts right one for Davos but the trees gave themselves in sacrifice for the pennies in the paper that you that you're writing on and so for me I always think about that because you know your rapid self-doubt like 80% of the time and you're like is this good I don't know I'm going to trash it I shouldn't and there's a lot of security I think if you're a writer and there's fear because you're putting yourself on the page but then when I think that like our stories need to be heard and the trees didn't get this tree this piece of paper here the stream and I don't know I can't I can't be silent like it's not it's not an option because our communities need to have our stories hurt right let you know don't be afraid trust yourself and don't pack the box in your office just yet just give them it I would say someone told me never to write to trends because a lot of times you know they would be like okay autobiographies are really in or limited series about this or period pieces are really in so you should write to that and someone told me you know that people don't really know what they want until you give it to them and so I guess you know just find that story that really resonates with you whether it's personal or whether it's something that you can't stop thinking about that's sticky that keeps you awake at night I think that has been the most resident advice I've gotten in the last like six years I think I know I was just gonna say so many especially when you're trying to staff a room or even just looking for who you're going to mentor you get a lot of the same kinds of stories and and I am a hundred percent more inclined to mentor someone or hire someone if the script gives me something I've never read before even if it's not necessarily for me or about my experience I I know I can write my experience so I would like to see yours and I think I think that's the thing that's gonna make you stand out is being your authentic self and telling an authentic story so the more you and if you feel like you can't do it be brave like we need we need to hear your story but supposed to be when it comes to specs and pilot the pilot should be your something that you feel you can write and it's personal to you the suspect should not the spec should feel seamless like if you read a spec of any show we should feel like that's something you could watch that could be on the air I mean the spec is not your chance to reinvent the wheel because that's not what anybody's reading it for so that's that's just keep I take your point I've heard stories of people writing a very special episode of that specific show as the thing that gets them in the door like well how does that rank it depends depending on who reads it like if you if you're reading it and you're kind of familiar with you just want to read something that try to understand if you're a really big fan the show then there's a chance that if you write the very special episode somebody gets it but that's also offers it so one of the things I want to bring up and obviously this is a convention founded by fandom the l word back in 2004 internet was still in the baby years and there was none there was no social media I think there's by space maybe Friendster I'm totally dating myself but what I really love and what I really appreciate is how you've been reaching out on Twitter and saying okay what do you guys want see what do you want to talk about is that something that came from you is that something the room that you guys are like we need to reach out because because there was such I mean there were the reports ever sought after Ellen there was the chart that came came about but it's different now yeah we're really trying to reach and see because like I said we're correcting a lot of things we're just wanting to know what people think what people want to see and I do take it because I sit there and I read them in the room and you know of course it was a lot of who killed Jenny is she coming back what happened to Dina so we're just as we move forward in stories and we take them in and we talk about in the room and then we discussed things with show time and I know the one thing that I really wanted to do is is because we talk about it all the time it's like when we talk about episodes and then we keep talking we're like there should be a show after the show people are freaking out when you post about yeah we've been really pushing for it so we're feeling really good about it and how we want to do it and what we want to talk about and what platform it will be on and but what people do bring on whether it's cast or people who are fans of the show and kind of doing almost like any Co anything but because it's l-word uncleanness you know we we're trying to do like bring back something that everybody wants to flock to everybody can see themselves in it so we were really excited but hoping I hope it happens because I think I mean we were just talking about back in the day people are around back then there were all word screenings like it did one at the Falcon and in LA and I swear to god you guys I know how many people went to the l-word screening party to her room back then okay did anyone go the LA ones okay 300 women 300 women every Sunday I was like I would be at the door I'm like holy crap there's 300 women here on a Sunday at 9 o'clock in LA and they would be yelling at the screen like it was a freaking football game was amazing and at some point at some point Eileen would come cast would come and it's in the little thingy I mean never come out you know hang out with people but I was just like I wonder how that you know it was like I wonder how they felt especially Eileen you know because people be booing at Jenny and I'm like how does she feel about that you know I mean it was just a really I mean it was a very obviously in person and we're gonna do that tonight but Kelly need with I'm so excited about um but like I think that's really interesting in that it's gonna be really easy to see what happens now now they have these platforms to really engage with the fans we're already expecting because sometimes we'd get to a point in a story we're like well that's gonna if you need to crowdfund the after-party I'm sure we could do it in five minutes and speaking of that like I know obviously Wynonna you guys I'm sorry you guys I you know it's the most intense fandom intense it's amazing you guys are amazing like absolutely amazing it's really heartening to see that as someone outside of that world it's really heartening to see how much the fans love the show and how much they're fighting for the show and one day at a time so you like how much the fans are you guys are fighting to keep these shows on the air which are so important and you know we need that representation how much does the fandom make thing the writers are or can you say we pay attention to what the fans have to say of course of course I mean we're we're doing it for them with the show women of this little dinky show shot in the freezing cold of Calgary's would not have been on for more than a season if not for the fandom like it's it's insane and I was a fan of the show before I came on board so I they were like get ready because when your episode airs Twitter's just gonna go nuts and you're gonna get inundated with like you know these these messages and and that's exactly what happened and it's it's really daunting to step into but also like I'm so I like I'm I feel truly truly blessed to be a part of it we you gotta give the fans what they want and that doesn't necessarily mean the way they think they want so you can like the tail can't wag the dog in a way but I think at the end of the day like everybody trusts Emily like myself included I mean I that was the first genre show I'd ever worked on and I went into the room and I was like are you sure we're gonna tell this story yeah okay I guess I guess it's he's a gnome when he came to life and his wife got smashed and he was super bombed and so that he wanted to marry either Nicole or Wynonna and they had to choose who's going to be is like I don't know I am very so a week we all just want to make and I think it's part of what the show what's so great about this I've never been on the show before where everybody making that show wanted so much to make Emily proud the writers the crew the cast it's like you know you've got Melanie Griffin on hanging off of a cliff in minus 20 you know Celsius like and so I think the fan and the fans are here for that you know we're all kind of just like want to do right by Emily and I think that I hope the fans it seems that way really trust her to to tell those stories and so yeah of course like I mean there's days when we spend half the day we didn't what the fans have to say on Twitter for better for worse and we just have to but then we you gut check those comments and you go is this is this true to to the show is it true to the characters and and at the end of the day we're having as much fun making it as everyone's having watching it so if we want to keep that up so yeah we do we do care we just have to make sure that we're not we're not just writing like fanfic I guess I am I'm really bummed and I'm sad to say that we it was a scheduling thing we screened this amazing documentary called United we found on the first day and of course it went against Alexa panels so very sorry about that but if you guys get a chance to see it I highly recommend it what was so interesting though is that I can't remember what show it was those two male show runners and they were talking about like oh you don't care about fans like it was just like it was like we don't know we don't deal with them like we don't we just like you don't listen I mean if you're a gigantic CBS procedural you don't have to care what the base so that's a luxury that we don't have yeah but there was it was just really interesting to hear that you know the different perspectives I'm like alright you know well why would you want to make a show where the fancy where you don't care about the fans or the fans don't matter I don't understand why anybody would want to work on that show that show it's exactly he's too private it's all of the millions of dollars right um so with that I know we all I'm so sorry they you guys are amazing um we have like 50 minutes and I want to see if I've opened it up to questions are there questions I'll come around with the lovely microphone so forgive me if you guys went over this I'm not sure crystal what's it like being in a comedy writers room like what is that atmosphere like drama dramedy writer so it was really surprising that I was in a part comedy and like sitcom room and I mean the show I feel that it's about Asians working mom glass to balance her three young children with her life and I'm an agent working mom that has to balance my three seven children with my working life so it was just the right thumb addict so for me and it was I'm not used to it I worked with with stand-ups and they are fast and everything is a punch line and it was I was like really and thickness I work with kind people because I could imagine working in maker it would have been you would have been roasted if you're not that if you're not that quick in a comedy room but I was able to give my perspective as a as a model of young kids and I was able to come with family story so I felt useful as a separator but it was terrifying being with people who order so punchy by the time we go to lunch and and they were still making like punch line about lunch because everything was a bit but and it was hilarious but it was scary for me and I know that it how many resources memories it seems like we work together most of the day we write everything together with the script up on the screen and people pitching jokes that's much more collaborative and then or we'll get split up and then write scenes and come together and edit it together so I know that that's very unique to comedy verse I know there's a question of it you touched on this a little bit just now but can you speak to what I like a day in the life a day at work would be like when you come in what you guys do and how it all works from your 9 to 5 well my two rooms have been very different so I also worked on a multicam comedy a CBS show and it was a very big room 20 writers and a lot of time there were a lot of stand-ups in the room as well and you know you can't really get a lot done with 20 writers in the room so a lot of times we will be split into three groups and so in the beginning of the room we would kind of the showrunners would say hey this is what we're doing we're going to be outlining episode 1 writing together a draft of episode 2 and then the third room will be kind of blue-sky brainstorming other episodes and so for most of the day we'll be doing that and then come back to the bigger room and kind of discuss and pitch to you know the the two main show runners like what we came up with during the day I would say in the room that I'm in right now which I which is also a half hour but it's a half hour dramedy in a very smaller room that's six people we primarily together as one and it's really like a therapy session to be honest you know we talk about what it means because our main character is a queer woman of color and so we talked about what it needs to be queer what haven't we seen on TV like we haven't really seen two studs in a relationship to women of color who identifies studs and you know we're more like always asking what haven't we seen on TV what are we looking for what do we want to see on screen that we haven't seen our whole lives so it's a very different process you know we're not pitching jokes at this point at all so it's more about minding our own lives at this point I'm so quick question what's your viewpoint on managers and agents especially the WGA situation that's happening right now is this a big question in another two hours for this we don't have agents right to do the heart no sign the letter right to do the hard call yesterday because I love my agents but stand with our union yes and so lotta agents were fired yesterday until they signed the code of conduct so how does that work because Stefan season is going on right now right this is how it works hi Regina I do want to touch on that though because there other because if following stuff on Twitter obviously probably there's been an amazing amazing outpouring a couple people have basically put out hi I'm a showrunner and I'll read your script if you're WT a member and just seemed that the Fred amazing and how many people like at high levels are like I want to read your script and they're like I'll read one a week and that's a bit like not right two or three you know it means just it's just been so lovely to see how inclusive that community has been over the past you know a few weeks with all this madness I mean we were lucky enough because I wrote started two months ago so you know we're all you know in there for a minute but I you know obviously was strategic with the staffing season is happening and there are a lot of people especially lower level writers from scripts in hand like how do I get now what do I do because I don't technically I don't have an agent anymore how do I get my script seen so yeah there's a lot of there's a script submission think I made I was going and just trying to find somebody a lot of if you have a manager it helps because managers are now taking the rain from the a Gentoo it's a Miss grips but we're all waiting to see kind of how it shakes out two just happened yesterday I mean we can week that's like a three-hour panel we could go on and on about that um question I hear you mentioned earlier this the importance of having other works available so in folks say hey we can't use this what else have you got or sure I'd love to read your stuff even though you look crazy what have you got so separate from the things that you are actively working on with your gigs right now how many other files are sitting on your hard drives but you know that you're never going to use but you're like okay I'm gonna try this thing I'm gonna try this thing I'm gonna work on this type of thing like just give me a ballpark figure for each of you this is extremely relevant to me right now give me a ballpark figure of how many things you've got sitting in the hopper and you're like okay I worked on this thing maybe that might work I don't I I don't I'm not sure the answers it because I guess I do have things I'm working on I have a gay rom-com I want to do and so and I have another like late in life like lesbian dramedy I want to do but I'm also at the same time in the hopper right I'm a crazy person right now because I am writing Sister Act three [Applause] with the eggs good stories yeah boots or so and then I have wanted sex I doing a multicam for Netflix anyone else one hands I have about five or six things that I'm like to that I've written one that's in an outline and they're all different like once a half-hour comedy one is a one-hour drama that no one will ever make certainly in Canada one's a feature and then a couple things that I'm developing like as a one-hour drama but I've been working a lot and a young family so those things are getting written very very very slowly if at all but yeah I I don't know anything I official but what I'm working on for myself as I have a pilot that I need started to a feature I have a pilot that probably I want to that isn't quite working so I need to do a rewrite on it's finished it's Jerry right on and that I have something that did a pitch document that I like want to start to try to write to so I have multiple things that I'm working on as well as the material that I can 4:7 for me I'm writing a feature that's inspired by my family and I'm also a filmmaker so I just finished up shooting a documentary in Tokyo about a man who is in love with a sex doll and they've been in a relationship for eight years so I mean it's it's a variety of different projects I think it's important for me to you know when you are a lower level writer like Ian Krystal when you're on a show you're there to service the showrunner in the show and their vision you're using your skills and whatever talent you have in order to support their vision and so on hiatus or times when you I might have free time it is really important for me to have something however small it is whether it's you know a feature or a short film in terms of like continuing to work on something that you know truly comes from my own heart and my own ambition in terms of you know continuing as an artist so yeah we got a lot of stuff in are a lot of times that's good and no end to those stories well I wanted to thank you all for being here I think this was such an enlightening panel and thank you for being so open and honest with all of us

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