I Got My First Job in a Writers Room!
This weekend, I was asked by veteran comic and 4-time Emmy award winner Greg Fitzsimmons, with whom I had breakfast a few weeks ago, if I wanted to help him out on a show for which he was working as the showrunner. The answer was, “Of course!” “Yes!” and “Absolutely!”
SN: I met Greg through a dear friend, and I charmed him over breakfast (by sprinkling pixie dust in his oatmeal). The real story is probably that he called a number of people about the job, and I’m the first one who called him back. In the movie made about my life, however, the story will be that Greg stumbled across me one day on a sidewalk in Venice destitute and shivering (even though it was August in Los Angeles) and bought me a cup of soup. Over this cup of soup, I shared with him my life story, and it really tugged on his heartstrings (he even shed a tear) so he decided to give an underdog a chance.
I will continue to work on alternate versions. I think I have time.
So on Monday, I showed up for my first day of work for a new TV show. I’m not sure what my job duties were supposed to entail. I didn’t even know if I had the job — whatever it was — when I arrived. I showed up fully prepared to have to interview and then be told that my responsibilities were to serve coffee and haul boxes.
I found out that I had the job when Greg was taking me on a tour and introducing me to people. In the middle of the tour, he pointed to a desk by itself in a room and said, “So you’ll be sitting there.” 5 minutes later he said, “Oh, you have the job.” And he shook my hand.
I haven’t asked him yet, but I really think he was trying to make sure that he hadn’t made a huge mistake, which he would be able to tell if, say, I showed up wearing jean shorts and a shower cap. That’s fair. You never know what you can expect when you find someone on a sidewalk in Venice.
Everything from there happened so quickly. I don’t think this was the original plan, but within the hour, I had a desk in the Writers Room along with Greg and Frances and Angela of “Frangela,” (e.g., Best Week Ever, He’s Just Not That Into You, and many many more shows and movies that you have seen). How exciting!
I was given a copy of the outlines of the first 2 episodes, a/k/a, “the creatives” to review before the 2 p.m. meeting where the writers and producers were going to walk through the creative, pitch new ideas to be added, and decide which ideas to remove.
Greg took me to lunch and told me to feel free to pitch ideas in the meeting. I said, “Really??” (I swear I thought I was going to have to spend the afternoon learning how to operate a Keurig.) He said, “Yeah. I mean, don’t be a lunatic. But sure. Pitch.”
I offered to buy Greg lunch to say thank you for this wonderful opportunity. He said, “absolutely not.” I thought to myself, he probably just wants me to not embarrass him or let him down. I would prefer to buy him a turkey meatball wrap instead.
I participated in the creative meeting. I got some things pulled out. I got some things added. Yay!!! I tried to do just the right amount of talking. If you talk too little, people wonder why you’re there. If you talk too much, you might get your desk put out in the hallway.
Hollywood should have never let me get my foot in the door!
(By the way, I found out later that my title was Associate Producer. Woot!)
Greg is a great guy. Buy his 1-hour special, Life on Stage, which just debuted on Amazon yesterday at #3! Think of it like this — The $10 you spend on his CD is the $10 you no longer have to contribute to me because, thanks to Greg, I won’t have to crowdfund September’s rent.
I was specifically instructed that I am not to sell my signed copy of his special on eBay.