4.02.2008

The one where Adam has no life story

Last night I went to a peer group meeting through my Northwestern alumni group (the NUEA). It was fun, and interesting for the most part. It's being run by Janae Bakken (Scrubs), and she's been really great about inviting us into her home and taking time out of her day to answer our questions and give us advice.

In this last meeting, Zoanne Clack (Grey's Anatamy) was a guest speaker. She was incredibly entertaining, smart and kind -- but, shit. Zoanne is like a poster child for Jane Espenson's "raised on a farm" advice. I'm referring to several of her posts where she says that you need to sell yourself as much as your writing. You need to show what experience or pizazz you can bring to the table, or at least entertain the showrunner with during your interview. She has suggested speaking of your farming roots, your time in prison, or the time you spent working as a cop, lawyer or ghost-seeing starlet.

Which, as someone who had a non-traumatic childhood and hasn't made a dramatic change in career path to try and land a job writing for TV, is frustrating advice. But then you throw in Zoanne, and you might as well stick the pitchfork of hell in me. Zoanne studied medicine, became a doctor, traveled the world pedaling medical what-not all over the fricking globe, dabbled in countless programs in schools around the country, worked in ER's, and finally decided that, hey, she wanted to write for TV. And she did. I'm sure she'd argue with some of the ellipses I've utilized, but still -- the woman reads like a brochure with glossy photographs and motivational platitudes laid out in big, thick Arial Bold font. (The woman even continues to work in ER's now once a month -- in addition to working on Grey's.)

So, not only should I have skipped grad school and moved to LA when I was 21 to work my way up, but I also should have thought about majoring in something practical, building up a legitimate resume, and then making the leap of faith to LA so I could dazzle someone with the tales of my experiences in Botswana, or of working in forensics. Or as party planner. Whatever.

With all the griping, I don't mean to make it sound like I don't understand what Ms. Espenson's saying, or to belittle the amazing path that Zoanne Clack has taken. It's remarkable -- and I guess I should at least appreciate that it makes me feel infantile, unlike most things in this town that make me feel old well beyond my age.

It's just one more thing on the Fuck Me Pile of what-if's, hindsight is 20/20's, what did I do wrong's, "Why didn't my Dad go to school with so-and-so?"'s, and so on.

I'm really working on staying positive -- this blog's tone to the contrary -- but things like this make me feel like Robinson Crusoe, only I'm not getting rescued and it looks like I just might get eaten by the cannibals.

ps. Speaking of cannibals, I just read Diablo Cody's Jennifer's Body. Eee-yikes. It was really scary. The script. Not the cannibalism. Or the horror. Or the story. Or the genre. Eee-yikes. (Good thing I loved The United States of Tara.)

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