You read that right–Shonda Rhimes, Shondaland, and everything to do with that Magical Mistress of Television Hits are set on reducing me to a puddle of aspiring actor/writer tears.
You may think me overly dramatic (in this case, probably a “pro” since Shonda and I seem to teem with drama in our writing) but take a minute and hear me out–and if someone can save me, please answer my call.
As an actor in Hollywood, especially one of the ethnic variety, I recognized pretty early on that the breakdowns on the casting sites weren’t calling my name. Viola Davis makes note of this in her most recent acceptance speech for her Emmy win. It held true when I first got here in 2012 and still holds water today.
SO, armed with an English and (undeclared) Theatre degree from a prestigious university, I set about writing several pilots in which a character would expressly fit my age, nationality, acting range, etc. If the parts for women of color didn’t already exist, I would MAKE THEM EXIST.
Inspired by nearly 1/3 of my personal circle of collegiate friends skipping off to law school, I sat down to write a dramedy surrounding a group of students and several teachers. I interviewed an astonishing amount of my friends over email and over the phone. Hours went into my research. Days were spent outlining, writing, drafting, and writing some more. I had just polished what felt like the 6th draft of my show entitled “1L” when “How to Get Away with Murder” was announced.
GRR. AND. ARGH.
My first foray into writing a pilot was now worthless. Not to mention that I hadn’t been able to convince the Gate Keepers of Tinstletown to allow me even a toe in the door, let alone a whole foot.
I retuned to celebrity nannying full-time, licking my wounds and working on my next project. I had my first foray into celeb travel nannying by journeying to NYC, I learned to translate preschool-speak into English, I learned what it means to balance a day-job that’s both emotionally and physically draining and still convince yourself to stop making excuses and CREATE. I battled ferociously with poop, Poop, and more POOP. I created an alter-ego-nanny that highlighted the absurdities of child rearing and childcare, in general, through the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram account of Judgy Nanny.
And then a lightbulb went off.
OMG SHORT AND FEISTY WRITE A PILOT ABOUT NANNYING. Make it about the intricate and delicate balance between working with someone else’s children without posing a threat to their parental instincts. Write it about toeing the line with OCD employers, about teaching little hellions how to be civilized tiny people, about avoiding the nanny cams when you need to change your clothes in a room other than the bathroom! ABOUT BATTLES WITH POOP.
I had just gotten through Act I last Friday. I was feeling good. I was so certain that my knowledge of children/childrearing and my talents of acting/writing would meld into one big ball of “Television GOLD”.
And then a friend messages me with this link from Deadline Hollywood:
Another posts this link to my Facebook from A.V. Club:
And then a third friend messages me with this article from Variety:
If y’all could see the chunks of hair I ripped out of my head in frustration, you would kindly advise me that I needed both a haircut and new headshots. I had both a metaphorical heart attack and stroke. I died, re-read the articles, and died some more. My life had turned into a twisted episode of The Truman Show!
So I sat down and wrote this blog. Here’s an open letter to my own personal Television Muse and Goddess:
STOP SPYING ON ME. I love that you and I are on the same plane of what is hot and what is NOT in Hollywood or what would make for excellent television programming. It boosts my ego and makes me feel a little more confident in my abilities as a writer and an actor in Los Angeles to know that we’re seeing eye to eye. But for the love of Pete, could you please stop producing my ideas before I can even get beyond the parking lot of La La Land? Better yet, how ’bout you and I talk it out over a cup of coffee and with the promise of a free night of babysitting, no matter what. Because this show is basically going to be ABOUT MY LIFE and I really want “in” on it. I would say have YOUR people get in touch with MY people, but I don’t have any people in LA, so here’s my email firstname.lastname@example.org. See that play on words of “Au Pair”–another form of childcarer? YEAH. AGAIN with this show being about my life!
Short and Feisty.