Over the last almost three decades I've had the privilege of working on some truly great TV shows including Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Modern Family, Better Things, Divorce, I’m Dying Up Here, and most recently Fleishman Is in Trouble. I created two shows that made it to air (Love Bites and Madigan Men), but I've also filmed many pilots that did not make it to air but were still great experiences with great casts including How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings (created with Sarah Cooper) and Him & Us (produced by and with music by Sir Elton John).
I've written many screenplays that never became movies that still led to some of my most "pinch-me" moments... like working on a script with Stanley Tucci (MOMMY & ME), and having Mike Nichols consider directing my adaption of Nick Hornby's book, HOW TO BE GOOD. Mike Nichols organized a table read with a few friends/actors including, um, Julia Roberts, John Hamm, Alison Janney, Judy Greer, and Bradley Whitford (which was exciting, but also daunting because if it didn't go well there would be nobody to blame but me with all that A-list talent performing my lines). As if that wasn't heady enough, Buck Henry sat next to me to "listen in," and said to me afterwards that the problems were in the second act (and he was right). Sometimes it feels like I made that all up in my head it was so surreal. I feel the same about my ABC pilot Him & Us (about an aging gay rockstar and his entourage) that had me traveling and backstage with Elton John and reading through unused Bernie Taupin lyrics to pick some songs for our pilot?!
This is all to say that some of my greatest moments were, I guess, what Hollywood considers "failures" in that the projects never made it to the screen or to series (or made it to series but didn't last more than a season), but I will always feel grateful and amazed that I have been -- and continue to be -- working in the company of so many people I've admired my whole life. Even when actors like Meryl Streep read a script I wrote and pass, I still feel honored MERYL STREEP READ MY SCRIPT. (Not many writers think this way about passes and "failures," but I do. That might be the Oklahoma girl in me who didn't know anybody in this business or even know this was a job until after college.)
ANYHOW, although I'd written and directed one short film many years ago (WHOSE DOG IS IT ANYWAY? with Sarah Paulson), I finally made the leap to directing again in 2018 with an episode of I'm Dying Up Here, and then a film I co-wrote and directed, OTHERHOOD (available on Netflix).
My Netflix film starring Patricia Arquette,
Angela Bassett, and Felicity Huffman
My 10-minute short film
starring Sarah Paulson
With Taffy Brodesser-Akner at the WGA Awards 2023 for Fleishman Is in Trouble
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