The last two years have been nothing short of life changing, both professionally and personally. Many lessons have been learned and others are still on the horizon. And now, here I am making a big step forward in my writing career. I am going from an apprentice to a journeyman, the contract term is a “Writer Employed in Additional Capacities”. On the credits it will say: Story Editor.
It’s a bitter-sweet victory. To take this plunge I leave a place that has always felt like home, ABC Studios. The place that gave me my first entrance into this career, and I don’t mean just the first writing job, I mean way back when I was an associate getting coffee and answering phones. The Disney Lot in Burbank has grown to a be a place of great comfort to me. Having never graduated from a University, I can only imagine this is perhaps what it might feel like to leave a hallow ground that has educated you. Knowing that I make this move with the full support of the people who have helped me to this point is a great reward unto itself. Writing on American Crime is a once in a lifetime experience, I’m one hundred percent aware that I may never find a room like that again in this town. It’s unique in its make up, its leadership, execution, and trust. John Ridley looked out to all of us on day one of the first season (a room mostly made of women and people of color, yes you heard me, more than just one woman in a writers room…) and said his sincere hope was to see all of us rise to be Showrunners one day.
It is because of John Ridley and EP Michael McDonald’s empowerment that I am even in the position that I am in today. Because of ABC Studios and American Crime I am able to take a leap forward and work up the chain. I began as an Associate at ABC, after a long road was selected as a Writer Fellow, and was asked back to be a Staff Writer. Because of that and the trust that John and Michael had in me to write episodes for the show, I’m in the machine now, I’m a working writer, hireable, I am able to diversify my credits. I’m not one of those “diversity hires” that gets bounced around like a bargain basement fire sale to round out a room, I am just a writer doing his thing. And knowing that American Crime is going to continue excites me to see what brilliant stories will come out of that genius factory for next season. I move forward knowing that I leave a place open for another young voice to come show their skills and prove that we are here, the inclusive talented storytellers are here, just invite us in. Taking a job as a Story Editor for a show with a full season order is another step towards that ultimate goal, that challenge John himself put upon on all of us: be a Showrunner some day.
The next step begins Monday, and I am excited to the umpteenth degree. I am going from writing about our real world monstrosities to a show about brothers who fight monsters in the real world. Horror and Sci-Fi are the two things that brought me to the written word in the first place. It’s in my blood, I’m literally born on Halloween. To tap into this other side of my creative self and plunge head first into a different kind of show feels like the first day of school all over again. Considering I was kicked out of four High Schools, that might not be the best analogy…but I think you can see my drift. Right now from the way I see things it is all gravy. To have the privilege to do what you love as a career, it is a huge blessing and I am forever grateful to anyone involved with me being able to do that.
It’s all a dream come true. To make things even more fantastic, I could not have asked for a better second job in television.