Teresa & Writing: Ain't No Shame in My Game

I'm not so precious about being a TV writer that I'll only take jobs heading in that direction. Being a "starving artist" isn't cute or noble.

Teresa & Writing: Ain't No Shame in My Game
Mama's first pair of roller skates arrived from Moxi Skates this month! Once I'm cleared to do exercise beyond walking, I'm looking forward to getting back to skating!

FEBRUARY UPDATES

IRL...

As I told you in my newsletter last week, I've recently had gastric bypass surgery, so most of my month has revolved around recovery from that. However, before surgery I made it a point to catch up with friends I haven't seen for a while, which I want to prioritize this year. I've taken big steps in my self-care, too, as well as steps toward other employment. I'm still working as a 2nd grade teacher at my synagogue's Hebrew school, and now I'll be going back to work at The Mary Sue, where I was an associate editor for three years, as a freelancer! Meanwhile, I've outlined a new pilot that I'm starting to write this week.

WAITING ON...

I had a general meeting with the President of a production company who's interested in possibly developing my original pilot, Project Blanca! We had a great chat after he read my script, and he only had a couple of notes that made a lot of sense (and that I'd be happy to incorporate into revisions if we move forward together), and after I told him my thoughts about how the show would progress after the pilot into a first and even second season, he got more jazzed and asked to read my show bible. I sent it to him, and I'm waiting to hear his thoughts!

RECENT BUMMER...

I had an unfavorable (and frustrating) response from the company where I sent that YA sample I mentioned last month. Long story short, after telling me to write a sample based on a prompt they gave me that was only supposed to demonstrate voice, I got what ended up being a rejection to "my pitch" even though I wasn't pitching them the story of this sample. It felt as though I were asked to complete one assignment, then graded on a different assignment (my manager agreed). They told my manager that they'd see if there's anything they're working on that my voice is right for... shrug emoji

UPCOMING...

  • I'm getting my stuff together for a couple of fellowships, competitions, and labs. I may do a piece soon on my thoughts behind all those things, but for now, I'm entering a select few. We'll see how I do. Wish me luck!
  • I'll be recording an episode of the Fanbase Weekly podcast with the wonderful geeks over at Fanbase Press on Sunday, March 12. The ep drops MONDAY, MARCH 13th! So, if you want to hear me along with other guests, and hosts Barbra Dillon and Claire Thorne talk about the important geek news of the week, check it out wherever you listen to podcasts!
Stock image of a woman typing on a laptop. The shot is from overhead, so we only see her arms. She's seated at a wooden table, and there's an open notebook sitting to her left with a pen and her glasses on it, and a cup of coffee just above that.

Teresa & Writing: Ain't No Shame in My Game

One of the many difficult lessons to learn as an aspiring TV writer is that having representation doesn't mean your worries are over and that you'll be able to make your living exclusively as a writer moving forward.

I started working with my manager, Jen, at the end of 2021, and I've been on a bunch of great meetings and been up for some pretty cool opportunities...none of which have panned out (so far). Right now, I'm working on a new pilot, because I need to give my manager something new to send to people. She's just about tapped out on Blanca submissions.

In the meantime, I've come to the end of my unemployment claim, and my only income right now is from my two-day-a-week teaching job, which isn't much. So, even though I've been submitting myself for entertainment industry jobs before this (and not getting them), the situation has become more urgent, which means that my job search has gotten more broad.

And there's a part of me that really hates that. It's a small part, but it's there.

That small part says: Oh great, you're giving up. After so much progress, you're going back to jobs you swore you'd never do again. It's just as well. It's not like you really have a chance at writing for TV anyway. Enjoy being stuck in jobs outside of your dream career forever!

Thankfully, the rest of me is grown enough and together enough to tell that small part what's what. There ain't no shame in my game:

  • I still have my rep, and I'm working on new material. My pursuit of television hasn't ended.
  • I've managed to develop marketable skills throughout my working life that will benefit me as a writer, and eventually, a showrunner. None of this is, or has been "for nothing."
  • There is no shame in paying rent however you need to pay it. Taking employment that allows you to sustain your life doesn't mean that you've "given up on your dreams," even if it's outside your preferred industry. This is how you live to fight (and write) another day.

So, I put a post out to friends on Facebook letting them know my skills/experience and the kind of work I'm looking for (ie: everything that uses those skills, even if I've previously sworn off it). Several friends have already asked me for my resume, sent me leads, or recommended me for stuff, for which I'm grateful!

I also went back to an old well. I reached out to my former editors at The Mary Sue, which I left in 2018 after a three-year stint as an associate editor, and asked if they had any need for a new writer. While they're currently under a hiring freeze on full-time positions, they're happy to have me re-join the team as a freelancer--so I'm doing it! Back into the pop culture journalist trenches I go!

I'm also thinking about doing background work! I've done it a handful of times before, and it's not a bad way to make some cash. I can bring stuff to do with me, and basically sit around doing that most of the day until some AD tells me to stand or sit in a place, and then I'll stand or sit in a place! I'll be registering at Central Casting. We'll see what happens with that!

The point is, I'm not so precious about being a TV writer that I'll only take jobs heading in that direction. Being a "starving artist" isn't cute or noble. It just means you're hungry and probably aren't making much art because of it. As long as your mind is on your chosen career trajectory, it's less important that your job(s) are. You're capable of keeping your eyes on the ball no matter what job you're doing to keep the lights on!

Stock image of someone with their slippered feet up on a wooden coffee table watching TV.

FILLING MY CUP

Just finished --

EXTRAORDINARY. I finally got around to watching this awesome, British comedy series I'd heard about, and I'm so glad I did. Extraordinary is set in a world where everyone over the age of 18 develops a superpower, and is about the one young woman who doesn't. It's obviously extremely geeky, but it's also hilarious, progressive, and really, really smart. Also the cast is amazing. If you're looking for a quick, enjoyable binge, S1 is available on Hulu.

Caught up on --

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW: THE PROFESSIONALS. I tend to put on stuff like this when I'm working on writing-related stuff, like outlining, or doing other domestic tasks, and so I binged this as I wrote notes to the kids in my life (niblings, friends' kids), which I try to do once a month so that Aunt Teresa/Titi Terry doesn't fade from their memories. Apparently, the season that's available for viewing originally came out in the UK in 2016 (and is Season 6 of the show), but it was new to me, and I watched the fuck out of it! I love all incarnations of the Great British Baking Show, but this one was particularly interesting, because the contestants are professional pastry chefs. Hearing them get critiqued by more established professionals was super interesting. Also, pretty baked goods. It's available on Netflix with all the other Great British Baking Shows.

Currently enjoying --

TV: HUNTERS on Amazon Prime: I'm toward the end of Hunters' second (and final) season, and in a world where white supremacist groups are actually observing "Days of Hate" without fear, this show about Nazi hunters in the 1970s is the perfect balm. It's pretty amazing, and a truly unique show, both in content and in style. I wish it were getting more attention than it is; NARCOS on Netflix: Yes, I too am on a Pedro Pascal kick just like the rest of the damn country. When this show first premiered, I was reluctant to watch it, because it was "yet another Latine show centered around drug cartels." It felt a bit squicky to me to watch something like that at the time. I'm glad I got over it, though, as it's an intriguing (and well-acted) look not only at Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), but at Columbian law enforcement and its relationship with the U.S. And can I get an amen for aaaaaaaall the sex scenes Pascal's Javier Peña has in this show. (Seriously, though, there are a lot) Also for his tight jeans. They really deserve their own credit on IMDb.

BOOKS:

Dune, by Frank Herbert. Yes. STILL. I've gotten a little further along in it (currently on page 382 of 489), but I really haven't been making the time or effort to read. I'm looking to change that this month as my ADHD brain needs me to create some routines around eating, sleeping, and self-care that can and should involve reading time.

5 SONGS ON REPEAT:

  1. 'I Think He Knows' -- Taylor Swift
  2. 'Unholy' -- Sam Smith feat. Kim Petras
  3. 'Levitating' -- Dua Lipa
  4. 'He Be Like' -- KenTheMan
  5. 'America' -- Simon & Garfunkel

See you next month!