I debated on writing this post as I signed an NDA and am legally not allowed to talk about the following experience (in detail). But who cares about laws and authority these days given the state of America….
What are you watching right now….
Is the question I use to judge most people I know or meet. If they are the average millennial they will most likely answer with any of these shows; House of Cards, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones,
Empire, Power, or Bloodline. Which are all great shows. But why the f*ck is almost no one watching Mr. Robot!? I haven’t been this excited and intrigued by a show since Breaking Bad. Let me back up, I’m a TV connoisseur, so I pride myself on knowing good TV and great writing. When I watch shows I break down the story and figure out the show’s formula. All shows have a formula, it isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that some of those formula’s are predictable. And I get bored and stop watching.
But Mr. Robot’s formula, is f*cked up mind blowing shit that makes you question everything from society to existence. The twists and turns make me kind of grateful that no one in my timeline is watching and there are no spoiler social media posts for me to stumble upon. Okay, I can’t rant and rave about a show and not give you concrete examples about why I love it. So here you go;
1) Hacker Culture – I’m not a hacker, I don’t know any hackers, but this show does a great job of making me understand hacker culture. You realize they aren’t all just out there to steal your identity or to leak photos. Some of them have a serious agenda.
2) Rami Malek – I go back and forth with myself if he’s a great actor or he’s just great at playing himself onscreen. Which really doesn’t matter because he’s so good that you believe in his psychosis. A girlfriend of mine who also watches the show had this to say about him “his face is so ethereal”, Look up ‘ethereal’ (I had to) and then look at this picture again.
3) Christen Slater – Like when was the last time you saw Christen Slater? I love this show just for casting him.
4) It gets in your head – When Elliot has gaps in his memory the audience is left with gaps in the story. You are left trying to put together the missing pieces of his sanity. You basically know what it feels like to be insane. Make sense? It shouldn’t.
5) Strong female leads. Darlene – bad ass hacker. Shayla – just a boss bi*ch in general. Joanna Wellick – I legit have nightmares about her, she’s like all of the witches from every disney fairytale put together.
6) The way it looks – The way Mr. Robot is shot gives it even more life. The dark colors, the signature blurry then focused close ups, and the way the camera tells you who a character is.
Okay I’m done being a fan girl. I don’t know, just watch the show. I don’t highly recommend anything in life, maybe brushing at twice a day, I recommend that. But if you watch Mr. Robot and don’t like it, I’ll give you $500! Just kidding. But just watch it so I have someone to talk about it with.
Anywho, I’d like to share my first experience working in a writer’s room for a soon to be aired animated series. So how did the hell did I even get this opportunity?! I knew the creator. But before you exit this this post and chalk it up to me just being extremely lucky, please know that creators of shows most times don’t have complete control of the shows they create. There is a demi god called a Showrunner, who, yes, you guessed it, run the show. So when I ran into my animated show creator friend at Ralph’s and he told me they were looking for female writers, I knew I still had some hurdles to jump through. I text requested his email before I even left the Ralph’s parking lot and sent him my best animated spec script. Then I waited….
About a week later he emailed back and said they aren’t able to hire a staff writer (full time writer) but they are hiring Punch Up Writers, writers who are brought in during re writes to make the script funnier. Which isn’t the full time staff writing gig I was hoping for but it’s still one step closer to my dream. Then after a few emails of him updating me on the status, I got the green light that I would be brought in to work in the writer’s room for a day! By work, I mean, contracted and paid! And just like that, years of working temp jobs, 7 days a week, and feeling like I should just settle for a life of shattered dreams, comes this one simple email with a glimmer of hope. That was dramatic but you get the point.
I came in for the table read and tried to act like it wasn’t my first rodeo but in reality I felt like a kid on their first trip to Disneyland. I sat in the table read room peeping the scene; writers, Showrunner, voice actors, executives, random comedians, and PA’s. I tired to contain myself when I was told to sit on the seat with the place card that said “Writer” on it. After the table read we all headed to the writers room where we ordered lunch and got to work on the script. Here’s how a punch up session works;
1) The script is displayed on a big screen connected to the Writer’s Assistant’s laptop where they make the edits in real time.
2) The Showrunner goes through each page of the script and asks if there are any pitches (jokes, ideas, etc) for each page. If so, anyone in the room is welcome to call them out.
3) If the Showrunner likes it, it goes in the script. A few of my pitches actually made it in the script 🙂
4) We do this for the duration of the day/script and joke around in between.
Pretty sweet gig, right?
You may be wondering how an undercover introvert like myself was able to handle all of this. Well it helped that I was given a boost of confidence by the creator beforehand. He told me he read my stuff, knew I was funny, and the Showrunner did too. Also that I should just pitch as much as possible even if they don’t use it. Basically, don’t be shy. I was in that room because I deserved to be in that room. Knowing that, I knew I had to prove myself. At the end of the day I even pitched a story idea for a future script. I was also bought back for another session and hoped my two random days off didn’t raise a red flag at my job.
So now what? I’ve been so busy with work and trying to come down from the high of getting a taste of my dream job that I haven’t been able to process it all. I guess I’ll just do the only logical thing there is to do, work on my future acceptance speech.