Your Parents Will Never Wish You This Life

[readermail]
Hi Pamie,

My name is Robyn and I’m a young aspiring TV writer in L.A. who found your blog after it was linked from Jezebel. Your post “The Magical Vulva of Opportunity” really struck a chord with me because between parents encouraging me to “go back to school and became a professional naval-gazer in a safe environment like a college campus” and the snippets I hear every day about struggling, unhappy TV writers, I’m starting to wonder if I’m setting myself for a life of disappointment. This sentence in particular made my stomach drop:

“There have been shows I was almost on, shows I was on, shows I almost created, shows I wrote but nobody read. There have been proposals and pitches and meetings and punch-ups and “I don’t understand; they said you had the job, but now they just don’t have the budget for your level.” I’ve been singled out, recommended, read and “adored.” I’ve been pitched to, passed over, rescheduled and abandoned. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve written even more. I’m a couple of credits away from being elevated higher than “mid-level female writer,” and I can’t wait to find out what new, terrible, miserable problems the next level brings.”

I know I’m 22 and still outside of that skyscraper looking up at its enormity, and I know it’s not your job to reassure some kid who graduated from college and moved to L.A. the next day with no tangible career prospects except a dream to write for television and maybe movies, but I want to know that you’re happy and that guy and his agent are just (albeit unconsciously) sexist jerks. I want to know that this is the only thing you’d ever want to do and could do. I want to convince myself that if you feel a richness in your life from this career, then my anxiety is for naught. I know it’s a lot to ask, haha.

I currently work in an entry-level job at a tech/marketing company, work on endless revisions to my sitcom spec and half-hour pilot and sometimes send out that Very Dramatic play I wrote last year to theater company’s reading committees. I presume you’ve been there and I’m curious what you would say to your past self knowing what you know now.

Thanks for being an inspiration to young women like me (neurotic as we are.)

All the best,

Robyn Bahr
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The Magical Vulva of Opportunity

I read Tina Fey’s Bossypants over the weekend, because as a lady who writes comedy it is some kind of law. They sent something to my house; it was very official. And because I’m a lady who writes comedy who also likes extra credit, I went to see Tina speak with Steve Martin last week, where I truly couldn’t walk five steps without running into or recognizing another woman I’d either worked with or had a meeting with or interviewed with or knew through comedy since moving to Los Angeles. (I also held the World’s Smallest Impromptu Book Signing, wherein I defaced Tina Fey’s Bossypants.)

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. It’s staffing season, which means right now writers are waiting to find out which shows are going to staff which writers, depending on which shows get picked up for the fall season, and it’s all very hurry-up-and-wait while your scripts get sent to network executives, showrunners, assistants and trashcans. Read more

don’t worry…

I thought I’d be a good girl this morning, and do some yoga before heading to work, as we got a later call time today. I pulled out my mat and hit mute on the television, willing to do my workout to the sound of Howard Stern. Stee’s morning ritual dictates the only sound other than coffee brewing is the radio. Read more

Apoplex, Please!

Hey, here’s a bad idea: watching this week’s episode of Six Feet Underif you’ve ever had anyone in your life die. Jesus Christ, that was painful.

Work went late tonight. Had to cancel dinner plans. We’re officially in production now.

One of the things I do miss about my pre-television life is my lunch schedule. Every day the writing stopped at one (stee likes to keep things to a pretty tight schedule), and we sat for lunch with The Daily Show. Right now I have an episode on pause. I haven’t watched this show in what feels like months. The set is different. It’s different watching it late at night. I’m by myself. It’s just not the same. And for some reason, this pretty new redesign is much more intriguing than watching a week-old daily show episode with Joe Biden by myself on the couch. Read more

everybody’s working on the weekend.

Having a job that pulls many hours a week at an office has given me something I haven’t had in a long time: weekends.

Mmm. Weekends. Two blissful days without a commute. I had forgotten the luxury of spending the morning in bed with a cup of coffee, lazy cats, a good book (Does Lemony Snicket count? I really needed something gooey after that whole Haunted-at-bedtime fiasco.), plans for brunch with friends, and the love of your life by your side. Because home has been the office for so long, every day was a workday, and mornings in bed made me feel guilty. Now I remember to take a bit of time to sleep an extra thirty minutes, to spend some time with my head out of the computer, making plans to do something stupid just because it sounds like fun. Read more

Do it!

I think it’s important to tell you that I am at the center of some freaky kind of job karma. People are landing dream jobs right and left of me, from book deals to television shows to newspaper gigs. They’re going after jobs they didn’t think they could get, and getting them. I’ve been telling everybody: go for your dream job. Right now. Do it. There’s something in the air, and it’s truly awesome to see.

ugh.

I lost this entry already once. Now I will rewrite in shorthand.

I had a bad show last night. Here are the excuses:
* I just moved.
* I was moving during the rehearsals
* Mom called just before the show to tell me she was going into surgery tomorrow because the dog bit her a week and a half ago, snapping a ligament in her finger. Mom’s getting a pin in her finger. Mom always prided herself on never having a broken bone, and now she does. From the dog, who was freaked out because she’s moved and twelve and got scared.

But the real reasons: Read more