Women with Cool Jobs

Story Editor on Animated TV Show at Disney Television Animation, with Karen Graci

May 31, 2023
Women with Cool Jobs
Story Editor on Animated TV Show at Disney Television Animation, with Karen Graci
Show Notes Transcript

Karen Graci is a story editor working on an animated TV show at Disney Television Animation. As the story editor, she's the head of the writing department where she oversees the writers’ room, plus she works with the showrunners. In addition to editing, Karen also is actively writing.

People often think of "grammar, punctuation, and spelling" when it comes to being an editor, but Karen gets to use her editing skills in such a creative, fun environment.

Karen is currently working on an animated comedy-adventure series called "Hailey's On It!" that is out in June 2023 and that she got hired to begin in early 2021. This show is about Hailey, a risk-averse but resourceful teenager, who must finish her long list of challenging (and sometimes impractical) tasks to save the world.

She works with incredibly talented and skilled people, such as the showrunners, other writers, animators, and voice actors. One awesome part of her job is that she gets to sit in on the live reads and recordings, meaning that she's there when Auli'i Cravalho (who was Moana!!) voices the main character, Hailey, and Manny Jacinto (who was incredible in The Good Place) voices Scott, the main male character and Hailey's best friend.

Karen took an untraditional path to her cool job, including majoring in international relations and  touring with Chicago's famed Second City National Touring Company as a professional improviser. 


Contact Info:
Karen Graci  - Guest
@thatgirlKarenGraci (Instagram)
Hailey's On It - Official Trailer (YouTube)

Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman (LinkedIn) 




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Unknown:

So you have to not only see that something isn't working but propose a solution, which in a comedy room is a challenge because things move fast. Jokes move fast, things move fast. And so you it's a skill you build up of like how to how to fix, how to pitch positively how to fix problems, not just point them out. In my job, I think it helps that you're a good listener, that you can listen to other people's ideas, and instead of saying that's dumb, saying, okay, thinking to yourself, Okay, maybe not all of that is going to work. But there's a seed of something there like what can we build on to make it better? This is when being an improviser has really helped me because good improvisers are great listeners. And they can listen to an idea and build on it and find the good in it to make it go further instead of crashing.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative crews. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who build robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody. This is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So today I am so so excited to introduce the next guest on this podcast. Her name is Karen graci. She is a story editor at Disney Television Animation, who works on an animated television show bringing it to life as the head of the writing department. So she works with so many incredible people and completely different roles. She works with writers. She works with the show runners who are the people who take the concept of what this show is going to be from its very beginning it's little seedling state all the way through to becoming a big giant, beautiful tree. And she works with the voice actor. She works with the animators. She works with so many different people, all with the purpose of creating something awesome that we can watch and enjoy. And so she is working on right now. A really cool show animated comedy adventure series Haley's on it, which is coming out in early June. So June 8, on Disney June 9 On Disney plus. And it's all about this young woman who is out to save the world by going through a long list of challenging tasks. And it has got so many incredible people behind the scenes, and who are the voice actors. So people who you have heard of, if you've seen mo Juana and are huge fan of the music and the singer in particular, the woman who is the voice of Mallanna, her name is Wil Lee Carvalho is the voice of Haley from Haley's on it. And then opposite her the voice of Scott, who's the male character on this animated series is voiced by Manny Jacinto. And he is from The Good Place, which is the cutest show, I was so bummed actually, when it ended, one of my favorite all time shows, and he's one of the voice actors for it, plus so many other incredible people who are part of the cast, the people who are part of putting it together and have so many roles. But for Karen, her job is incredibly cool because she gets to do a lot of the nitty gritty details that an editor does like things that you typically think of that you've experienced in perhaps your English classes in school. So the grammar, the punctuation, the spelling, and then those bigger things that are broader that you think about as well, which in her case is a story arc. It's the voice of the character, staying authentic to who they are the things that they would truly say the things that they would truly do things that really are part of who they are and who they're creating, for this person and this show, and then you know, making sure that not only each episode is fantastic, but then all the episodes themselves, that there's this beautiful art To the story, and that there's consistency in everything that they do. And so it's so cool to not only learn about what she does, but from a place that I was a previous editor myself, I used to work in higher education. And I used to edit in the curriculum development department. So I used to be an instructional design. And what we would do in that case is, I also did the nitty gritty details of editing. I also did the bigger picture details, and you know, was thinking about like, who is this for? Who's the audience? What are we creating? What purpose? Is it serving? What objectives are we meeting? And you know, what kinds of details do we need to include in here? What kind of consistency do we need to create between all the different materials. And, you know, it's so cool, having talked to her, and considering that this is a job that I would have loved to do, and I still think I would absolutely love to do it. But I never knew it existed. When I thought of editing jobs in the past, I, of course knew of mine, the one that I had in higher ed setting, I also knew about jobs that would be in the publishing world or in media, such as working for a newspaper, or maybe a scientific journal, maybe a magazine, or in the publishing world, like helping to, you know, create the nonfiction or fiction outcomes that the authors have written. And then I help edit, or people who've written children's books. So I knew of all those more traditional settings to be an editor. This is something I didn't know about. And it's really cool. And I want to point this out, because a lot of times we see career paths, that there are some pieces of them that feel so right. But we can't quite figure out like, this doesn't quite feel like a complete fit. But there are some elements that you love. There are so many other similar or kind of various roles in other niches in other industries that you can explore when you are interested in like a different path. So sometimes looking at, okay, well, I'm interested in being a teacher, but not necessarily for K 12. So what other options are there, I'm interested in being an editor, but not necessarily at a newspaper, what other options are there and this would be one of those options. So this was really, really fun to have the opportunity to speak with her learn about her job. She also had a really interesting, unusual and untraditional career path into becoming a story editor at Disney. She had an undergrad that was very unique probably for this field. She was an international relations major. She was a Russian minor. She also did plays and improv at her university. And later she did professional improv in Chicago, at the Second City improv, which is like a comedy troupe that super well known other people who have been there have been very, very respected comedians that have gone on to SNL and other incredible careers and places. She was part of their national touring company. She also was in Vegas for a year. And then she went on to become a writer and an editor in Hollywood, and has done a lot of work in this area. And part of what I want to point out for her job is while she does have the title of Story Editor, she not only does editing, but she does a lot of writing in her job. So this is one of those careers that personally I would love to have and love to do. It was so incredible to learn about all the different facets of her job, how she got there, and to see and admire that she worked really, really hard to get to where she is today. And she had the tenacity and the persistence and the creativity to figure out a really unusual path to a super cool job. Because she felt so much that she was really, really going to love it. Like she just love the creative process. She loved the writing and everything about bringing stories to life. And you can again view that on Disney and Disney plus on June 8 And June 9. So you get a sneak preview of it right here on women with cool jobs. And if you have not yet left a review, please do me a favor. Go on to Apple podcast scroll all the way down on the WomenwithCoolJobs podcast where you'll see there's a place where you can do five stars if you're loving it and you can also write a review, like take two or three minutes to do that, because that's what helps spread the word with other people that you are listening to, and loving the show, and the inspirational women who are on it. So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for being here. And enjoy this conversation between me and Karen. Okay, well, Hello, we are here today on women with pool jobs with Karen grouchy and I am so excited to have you on because you have an incredibly cool job. And you are a story editor at Disney Television Animation, you're working on a really cool animated television show, which means you are the head of the writing department. So you oversee the writers room, you get to work with the showrunners. And you just do I think like you, you, we talked a little bit before this, and you talk about how you edit, but you edit in the coolest environment. I feel like people think of editing and they think of grammar and punctuation and English class. And like I don't know about this editing, but like this is the coolest environment to be an editor. Yeah, so first of all, welcome to Women with cool jobs. And I can't wait to learn about you and how you got to this cool job.

Unknown:

Thank you, Julie. I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me. I think you have a cool job, and meeting all people who you think have cool jobs. So it's a win win. It's a win win. So thank you for having me.

Julie Berman - Host:

Guess well, it isn't women. And I'm so glad we could have this conversation together. So you like have such a cool background. And I want to learn like all about your job, how you got to this job, like what your background is it's very diverse and interesting, I think the path. And now like you're also working on this super cool project. So we're gonna talk about like all the things, but I want to have you first start out with how do you define your job? Like if you were to talk about being a story editor, and simple terms, like how would you describe that to people?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. Being a story editor for an animated show means basically, you touched on it a little bit at the beginning. But it basically means that I am kind of the head of the writing department, you could say in that I am in the writers room, I kind of supervise the staff writers that write a lot of the episodes, I also write episodes, so I get to write, there is some managerial in there as well. I'm also kind of the link between the showrunners we have to on our show, and the writers room. So if they can't be there for any reason, I am sort of like the VP in that I can assume the duties if they can't be there to break sorry, one day. So it's very creative job. It is managerial. There is editing as well, but it's also exceptionally creative. So it's sort of like a writer with added benefits.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that. Okay, well, thank you. That's such a good overview. And like you have just the neatest shot because we luckily got to chat a little bit before this. So I could get to know a little bit more details. And you're working on this really cute show that's supposed to come out early June 2023, called Haley's on it. And it's about this like, young young teenager who's on a mission to complete all these different challenges on a list. And like some of them are a little bit crazy, like a sand building competition, or wrestling honey badger, and it's all with the idea of like saving the world. So it's got this like really cute creative plot. Of course, it's like got this female empowerment idea behind it, which I'm, of course a fan of. And like even some of the cast, who are the voice talent, like they're just really neat people that you've seen in all these different places. So the creativity and the imagination, I'm imagining the collaboration and all these things that go into your job. I'm curious, like, how, I mean, like, how does that come as part of what you're doing? And then I'd love to hear about specifically like, what you did in your past to get to this point, because all of these components, I feel like there's a little bit of comedy, there's the creativity in your role is also quite technical, right? And the idea that you're editing, right, and you're you're coming to the table with like meeting have certain requirements, right, like coming out and producing these certain environments. So like to get to sort of a specific question would be What was your background like, like, how did you get here? Did you have a degree that allowed you to get to this session or like, what? Tell us a little bit about you, you know, before times before you got to this role.

Unknown:

Yes, who I was and how did I get here? But like, thank you so much first of all for saying such kind words about the show because yeah, coming out so soon. It's coming out the eighth June 8 Haley's on at Disney plus, and then Disney plus will be June 9. Channel first. But I gotta tell you like, I'm spoiled to death, because the show was created by Nick Stanton and Devin Bungie. And it's awesome. And it has ally Carollo in it, who is fantastic, she was marijuana. So like when you described it, like, it is so fun, because they've created this super fun world. And so I feel very lucky to have found myself with the show, and I can't wait to see it, like, be a real thing. After talking about it in the writers room for over a year, you know about what it could be or what it will be. or theoretically, this is what it looked like. And now we're actually going to be able to see it. So. So thank you for that. It is a fun show. Yeah, I don't have a clear path. I know, to get to this job. I know a lot of people, you know, when you read their bio, or you hear about their careers, it seems like wow, they just made one step after another that just led to success, they left school and got this job, which would lead to that job. And it all seems so clean and pristine. And that is not my path. I did not get a degree that is perfect for this job. But I will say that life experience is very helpful for this job in terms of meeting a lot of people having diverse experiences, because when you're creating characters and having them talk, the idea is to bring truth and reality to any situation. So the more you've lived, the better. But that being said, Yes. Not a linear path. I'm originally from Buffalo, New York. I went to high school there. And you know, it's funny. I went to a great school. And I was challenged to like, think and be an independent and a strong lady from a very young age. But it never occurred to me to write for television. I mean, it's just not something. I had any relatives who did. I mean, I'm in Buffalo. I'm not in LA. You know what I mean? It's like, it's not like the it was the family business. Yeah, I found myself that I loved TV. And I love movies, who doesn't, but I like I, I fell in love. And I thought it was at first with acting because I loved snappy dialogue. I loved the comedy of moments. And now realizing when I look back on that time, I'm like, Oh, I love the writing. And I love the delivery. Yes, but the writing it I when I was shocked or amazed watching a movie or I gasp, typically what's at the foundation of that is writing because unless the actors are improvising, there is a script that told them to do what they're doing. And great actors will bring that to life in such a beautiful, unique way. So now in retrospect, I've always loved writing, but at the time, I don't know if that occurred to me to even do it. I I went to college at American University in Washington, DC. But my major was international relations. And my minor was Russian. Because I loved. I remember watching The Hunt for Red October. And being like, this is fascinating. This culture we know so little about I loved people, I love languages. I had been involved. I loved political science. And so I had been involved. I was student council president. So I loved I love the idea of international politics. So when I went to American, it's a great school for that. I loved it. And what was fun was that I could do theater as well. You did not have to be a theater major at American to audition for plays. So I auditioned for plays and did plays and a friend of mine, Dave Buckland started the first improv group at American. And he was like, You should do improv. You're funny. You would like improv. And I was like, What's improv? Like, I had no idea. So we started doing short form improv and that's when I really was like, oh my god, I love this. So but you know, you're in college, you don't have to choose. You can do all the things right. You know, like major courses study, I studied abroad in Russia and St. Petersburg for a semester. But I still love theater. I still love performing like I had done in high school with musicals. I went to a school called Sacred Heart and it was fantastic because it was just there's just so many things to participate in. So just like in high school, college, did not have to choose until I graduated. And then I was like, oh, okay, now what? And I took like a job at like a consulting firm, doing like the job job of it all. But a few months before I had auditioned for a national tour of Much Ado About Nothing, and I was cast, so I ended up doing that. I left my stable paying job to doing that very well paying money. exciting job, another cool job to be an actor playing hero and Much Ado About Nothing. And we were on the road for all, you know, just over a year, I think and I was put my student loans in deferment, but it was because of that, and then doing improv and college that ultimately when I came back, I always kind of had one eye on comedy and writing and creativity. My friend who had started that improv group in college decided to move to Chicago, and he was like, You got to come up here, you got to see the improv scene in Chicago. And of course, I looked and fell in love. So then I ended up moving to Chicago, and to study at, sorry, this is going to law.

Julie Berman - Host:

No, this is great. Keep going, keep going.

Unknown:

I really just I love DC and I had a great time. But I to be honest, Julie, I've like looked at my life and was like, am I gonna regret not trying this, like that was the real linchpin. Like I have a great degree, I have loans to pay. I shouldn't be stable, but I really thought like, I don't want to turn around when I'm 30. And regret not trying this while I still don't have a mortgage, and I don't have kids and I'm not married like I got, I really wanted to try it. And fortunately I very supportive parents. Were like, you know, as long as you can afford to live there, you know, you should do just do your best, whatever makes you they're wonderful people. And so when I moved to Chicago, I enrolled at three schools that will at the same time, which some people stagger it over years, but I really wanted to learn the improv theories and really get into practice of it. I felt so alive and improv because you are truly in the moment, if anyone is interested in like, not worrying about the past so much and getting out of their head about the future. I would highly recommend improv because it forces you to just listen to the very last thing said to you, and I and it is just such a wonderful flow state to be in. But like so I studied at Second City and the second city in Chicago, the annoyance theater in Chicago, as well as ImprovOlympic. And all three have different philosophies bought improv different kinds of goals that they use improv to get to but it was there in Chicago that I really learned improv and sketch that was like my, my thrust of what I was trying to do. And also working like in a box office during the day at the Royal doors theater, or like taking temp jobs like trying to stay afloat. Yeah. But loving it watching improv for five nights a week, putting in those 10,000 hours as they say, you know, and it was awesome. What a great town to be in what a great place to be for improv. When I was there, it was really thriving. And it was there that I was fortunate enough to be hired for the second city national touring company. And that basically meant I was writing original sketch, performing improv as well. touring across the country. We did the first ever USO tour to the Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait. I read like it was an incredible, and Saudi Arabia, like a crazy, crazy, incredible trip, and got to go out Vienna got to go to why he got to go all over the place is doing shows, as well as performing at those other theaters when I was back in town. And then I was promoted to the second city used to have a stage in Las Vegas at the Flamingo hotel, on the strip, where we were doing like, eight shows a week. And it was really exciting and challenging, as well a new challenge to bring sketch and improv comedy to a 200 seat theater in Vegas. And to be able to do it consistently, you know, Night night, especially with an audience that are not there usually to see comedy as the primary reason. You know, when in Second City in Chicago, they walked through the doors and see pictures of all the alarms so they know what the theater is about. They know TFA they know Chris Farley, they know they know what, but in Vegas, who knows, maybe they got free tickets, maybe? Maybe they thought it was gonna be stand up. So a lot of times you're earning the audience's approval trust during the first few minutes of a show and trying to win them over. But it made me very a much better writer, much better performer through all these experiences.

Julie Berman - Host:

And can I ask Yeah, like what so were you throughout all that time when you were doing the improv you were writing that whole time? Like you were helping to write the material that you guys were then using to do the improv? Yeah,

Unknown:

a lot of the material in Vegas was like Best of material because we knew work for an audience that is so transitory, of course, but especially on tour when we were touring back in Chicago, we would write a lot of sketches, right a lot of things like typical when I say sketch, I typically mean like things you'd see on SNL things like that that's like a scene. And you know, a lot of people from Second City have gone on to SNL. And it's that kind of training, I, what is great about doing it on tour is you can do a scene in Chicago, and people love it. But then you might take it on the road, and people don't get it, or they don't like it. And it forces you as a writer to realize like, oh, this doesn't work, like it worked, because I had friends in the audience. But now Now we might have to adjust, we might have to trim, you know, we might have to make changes, and you you learn to make a lot of cuts make a lot of changes. And so it makes you not so precious with your writing and trying to get the very best thing because even if you thought it was so funny, and everybody on the group thought it was so funny, but you take it on the road, it doesn't work, it doesn't work, it's coming out of the show. So you know, it just it makes you attach your ego a little less to everything you're putting out there. Because if it doesn't work doesn't work.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I could see that completely. I mean, in like, what an amazing skill set to be able to develop. But I think that ability to sort of put something out in the world, which many people find super scary anyways, but then to be willing to take that feedback, and keep revising, and keep revising and keep revising. And doing that over and over and over again. And I think like, it's interesting, from a different perspective, like one thing I learned from being a teacher is is just also like, sometimes you can have technically the same level of people in a class after you've tested them. But when you've taught something, you know, there's still different people in that class. And like, I can still go definitely different ways, even though they're technically right in the same skill set, or the same types of same technical type of audience. So I love that idea of just the work and the ability to constantly be thinking about things and changing them and that willingness to do so. Also, I think is like, very brave. I like that such an amazing learned skill. Thank you. Yeah, so I just wanted to mention that if so, like, how, how did you then get from that place where you are doing stuff so much in the improv world? Going to Vegas? How did you get then to like writing in animation, like, what was that transition? Like?

Unknown:

Oh, absolutely. Well, the transition for me came when I left Vegas, I the thought at the time was, Well, should I move back to Chicago where I could be like a, you know, a medium fish and a medium to small pond? Or should I try to go to LA where I'd be the tiniest of fish in the biggest of ponds, but I really felt like I wanted the challenge of Los Angeles at the time I thought, you know, if I don't like it, I can leave. It's not like Chicago evaporates. You know, like I can always go back to Chicago. But I really wanted to see I wanted to see what it could bring. And I I was fascinated by the television aspect. I've been doing live performance for so long. By that point. I had lived in Chicago for six years, but in Vegas for a year and a half. So I was ready for a challenge, you know, a new challenge. I was excited by it. And it to be honest, I thought I would do more performing. I definitely auditioned for commercials. But I didn't have a lot of traction on the theatrical side, meaning like movies, and television, where I did find more traction was writing. I actually just like when I moved to Chicago, I just had to work. And so I got a job working as an assistant to an already established respected director named Rodrigo Garcia, just part time running errands, whatever he needed. But he actually became my mentor, he was the person who would read my writing, and be so helpful in not only like, what I was writing about, but how I was writing, you know, he would look at a line that I would have in a script and be like, now you said that in 15 words, can you say it in eight? Can you say the same thing in five, you know, efficiency in writing, and being clear about what the characters want and which was very true to sketch you know, there's a very clear thing that's happening usually in a successful sketch a clear what they call a comedic game that is repeated and kind of heightened. And same thing goes for television writing, you know, and I would see in his own writing, like what is what is at the core of this character, what are they getting act, and how do they do it over and over in more heightened fashion throughout a scene throughout a season throughout a series. And so it was I learned so much just watching him he's a showrunner. And at the time, he was on a show called in treatment, which was on HBO, an adaptation of an Israeli series. This was the first iteration of it. And it was just fascinating. First of all, I had also not gone to film school. So that was like I was like a sponge learning like what is prepare Production mean, what is happening before the cameras roll? What is happening while the cameras are rolling? Who are the all these people? And what are their jobs they're doing, and what is post production, the editing, all the all the things that happen once they're done filming to make it what you see. So to me, I felt like I learned so much and but to be honest with you, the the thing I enjoyed the most was the writing I learned producing I've had producing jobs as I was associate producer, on a film he did called Mother and child, I was a producer as well. And another project he had, but to be honest, like, my heart was in writing, it was like, I just enjoyed it the most, I felt the most control over it as an actor, sometimes you're the last on the food chain. You're getting what's handed to you that's gone through producers and writers. And I really wanted to be in part of the creation mode. I think that's what I enjoyed so much about improv is that I'm the author. I'm creating every scene every moment I'm in, you know, so that must mean I have control issues, I don't know. But that's led me to like, I just kept trying to get staffed as a writer and like, and so you know, you say, how did you find yourself as an animation writer? Well, it took me eight years to get staffed. And, and some people come right to LA and it's like, boom, they they know someone or they've have a relationship, or they've sold something from somewhere else, or they've written a book that's been adapted. But for me coming in as a performer, I first was learning how to write for television, and then trying to get in that huge door. That is television, because a lot of times you hear people say, Oh, they only hire their friends. It's like, well, what they're really doing is hiring talented, hardworking people that they can trust. Because it's take it takes it's so competitive, to get in a place where you can be a writer, that once you're in a position to hire other people you want to bring in people who you know, can deliver. And that's why traditionally, they've been very, the showrunner looks like everybody else in the room, which has been a failing of television writing in the past. So the fact that people are willing to like, take chances on and believe in people that don't look and sound exactly like them is a triumph. And so I had to earn my way and I just kept writing. I kept writing anyone I would meet through improv, I would try to like, find out what what they're about. And if they were the oh, they work for a company that sometimes looks for freelance writers. Okay, can I submit my stuff? I mean, it was really scrapping along for many years trying to figure out if I can afford to live here, because to be honest with you, being a television writer is also a war of attrition, how long can I afford to stay and live in one of the most expensive cities in America while trying to break into this? Yeah. And for me, it was just like, I took on some debt. And I just worked a lot of jobs like that assisting job, I was like, like I told you, I was an assistant for more than six years full time, I was just trying to pick up any work I can, trying to meet with executives trying to get representation. And ultimately, that led to me being able to pitch to an executive, a wonderful executive named Katie Krantz who worked for Cartoon Network at the time. And she was looking to take pitches, 10 minute pitches about or an idea you might have for a show for boys six to 11. And she was looking for ideas. And I found her because she actually came to ImprovOlympic West in Chicago. And it put flyers up or something about how she wanted to meet people who weren't necessarily in animation. And to her credit, she was just wanted to expand the pool of creative she knew and that's someone who now I have a wonderful relationship and have known for many years. And she's so accomplished because she does those things. But I saw that like flyer being like, do you ever show and I thought to myself, I do not. But I will in two weeks when this meeting is. So I signed up for it. And then just thought of an idea. Like I just was like, I'm going to try to get in the store. It's not exactly what I thought I'd be doing. I thought I was going to be doing live action comedy. Meaning like, I don't know, pick any live action comedy you like, you know, avid Elementary, but I hadn't thought about animation, but here was this opportunity. And I came and pitched her an idea. And I think I was the only once you went with and that idea she really liked, which turned into an assignment to write like an outline. And I did and I got paid for that. And then she was like, well, let's keep going. And it was a year and a half development deal essentially, where each stage I was kind of fleshing out this idea of what the show could be. And it was basically called nerd burglars it was about three tween birds, friends, they were all boys who you know how birds collect like things was to build their nest, essentially, they would build objects. They would take these things to build objects to like, take over the world, or at least become popular at school. And so it was about that. And so they keep guessing me and I kept building and developing. And I got paired with this wonderful animator named Steven Neary who helped, like give vision to the show. And I got all the way to pitching to executives, after a year of development, writing the pilot, and then I pitched to the executives, and they thought it was great, but they were only buying one show that year. And so they bought the show, which was we Bare Bears, and they did not buy my show. And we bear bears is a great show. But it just so happens that what do you do? So then you're back, you're back at the drawing board. And meanwhile, during this time, I was like, applying for other things. Rodrigo, my boss had hired me to write on a show he was doing that was dramatic shorts on YouTube called wigs. And Julia Stiles was the lead of one of these series. And that's how I got my WGA card. So I'm just scrapping along. And then fortunately, one of my friends who knows me and knows how hard I work, and get dressed in me. She was showrunner in a show called girl boss, her name's Kay cannon. And she believed in me and fought for me to be staffed on that show. And so then I was back in the world of live action again. So my path to animation has been live action animation, live action. Yeah, bounced all over depending where the opportunity was. So I didn't really do live action in a staff, I mean, animation in a staff room. And so I was on to converti, which was an animated show for adults on Netflix, and Lisa waltz, the wonderful Lisa Hanawalt, was the showrunner on that show. So I've kind of ping pong, along between live action, adult animation, and kids animation. I was also on a bread near his great show, the Harper house. That was live action. I mean, sorry, that was animation for adults. And now I'm on a show my first staff show for kids, which is a totally new and fun challenge. And it's been awesome. Awesome.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And I mean, that's like, Thank you for sharing all that. Because that is such a journey. I mean, I love like, it's literally one of my favorite things, when I interview guests, and their path is so unusual and how they got to where they are, because it really goes to show that there isn't just one right way to get anywhere. And just the tenacity and sort of the persistence that you had, knowing that you really wanted to be a writer, you know, in the fact that you were so flexible, like trying to just sort of see where life took you. I think that is such an incredible thing to be able to do just knowing that you had this vision for yourself. And this ultimate passion of like, I want to be a writer. And I am really curious to talk about, like, you know, now your role. What is that like? Like, what are your either day to day big responsibilities? Or if it's easier to talk about week to week? Like, what are the things that you are really in charge of that you oversee, that you have to manage? And like, Who do you work with within that? I'd love to hear that. Or

Unknown:

while I'm very fortunate, I'm fortunate that the show Haley's on it hasn't come out yet. So it's, it's always harder to talk about a show. Sometimes I feel like that hasn't come out because people they tend to visualize once they've seen a show to be like, Oh, I get it, I see it. But what's cool about the show is that it's about this girl who overthinks and has made a list for herself of all the things she wants to do in life. And but never really does them. Until this futuristic Professor comes from from the future. To tell her he's got to do it to save the world, right. And so it's very relatable in that. How many of us have made a list of things we want to do, and we never do. And so she's got to face kind of all our fears and doing it and like I face all my fears in my job. So I find this I find that the question you asked me is very true to the show itself because I wear a lot of hats in this job. What's great about the job is that I work primarily with the writers and the showrunners. So our wonderful showrunners are Devin, Bungie and Nick Stanton. They're the ones who created this idea of Haley's on it, they pitched it, they sold it, they developed it. That was all done before the writers and myself were hired. But it the it's just an idea of what the show can be right and where they see it going. So my job on a daily basis, and I think this is what you have is true. I'm gonna take that original vision in the macro sense and make it come to life episodically and over a season. And what it means is that my day is, it's what I this is what I've learned about myself, Julie is that I like structure, but I don't like routine. And this is the perfect job for that. I have certain things I need to do, but they're not all going to happen every day. And every day is different. For example, today, the writers are meeting to talk about to take these original ideas we had for what episodes could be in a potential season two. And we've written them out kind of in a one page summary, called the premise that is like this was what would happen this episode, the beginning, the middle and the end. And today, it is our job as a writers room. And I'm in charge today of taking that beginning, middle and end and breaking it up into real moments and scenes in an outline that becomes like a four page outline, where we say, Sure, we say she runs into some friends and they have and they decide to go to the mall. Okay, well, where does she run into them? How? How do we how do we meet them? What is a funny way where we can show this visually. So we're taking in breaking down and typing together and projecting on a screen, what episodes will look like in an action sense, in a comedic sense, my job is to also today to chart out how this character, our main character, Haley, how she's feeling throughout the episode, she comes in frustrated, she becomes even more frustrated and determined she has a revelation. And she turns and makes a decision. Like, we can see what her arc is she starts frustrated, she ends, understanding a new part of herself something like that. It's it's our job to my job. To make sure that each episode, not only is the plot tracking and making sense, but her journey is making sense and true for all the characters. So that specifically is today. And now I forgotten your question. So then I might not

Julie Berman - Host:

know that. No, I think, you know, my question was more about sort of your responsibilities on a day to day or like week to week. And yeah, that was the perfect answer. And I think it's interesting to hear the actual specific examples of how that plays out, like, you know, the fact that you build this premise, and then you have to then break that down into more details. And who in the writers room, can you explain, like, Who do you work with in the writers room? And what does that mean to be in the writers room? What do you do?

Unknown:

Yeah, I know, I, it seems very nebulous, it's never, I mean, there are some shows that have shown it. But a writers room is really determined by the show runners, what that technically means what you're doing all day, the showrunners are the people who are in charge of the show, they probably sold the idea. They're one of the executive producers, if not double, we have to, but they are the lead creative people, right. And so our show runners, what the, what our writers room means is that we used to meet on Zoom, when it was the pandemic, but now we actually meet in a physical room, all of us. And by all of us, I mean, the two showrunners myself. And right now we have four staff writers. Sometimes we also have an assistant, like who's taking notes or is coordinating could also be a writers, PA, some shows have a script coordinator, we don't have that. That's kind of under my purview. So each one is kind of different. But ours is basically 123 plus four, there's seven of us right now sitting around a large conference table with a lot of whiteboards around the room. And like cork boards, and we are using them to break down story and episode ideas. And we will stay in that room for hours at a time, you know, taking breaks, of course, but we barely I have an office. I'm sitting in it now. But I use it I think I'd said to you like two 5% of my day, the majority of my day is overwhelmingly sitting with another group of people talking about whatever we're talking about that day, if we're talking about a specific episode, and we're trying to figure out what it's really about. We're talking back and forth trying to do that. And once we have ideas, we write them on cards, and tack them up to the wall just to keep things straight. So it flows we can see in on the first card it might say Haley's determined to complete her list item, number, whatever, whatever it is, and the next card says something they encounter that might be a challenge or the next moment in the story. Okay, so that way, we're kind of just breaking it down, putting it in order. And it really in the writers room. We're doing everything from talking about big issues and big Thoughts like, what do we want this year to be about? What are the themes? What is the journey, the overall journey of these characters from episode one till the end? Even if we don't know how many episodes we're gonna get? Sorry, but talking big things, and then it's nuts and bolts, like in this moment, what happens, right? Because for us, the writers room, we're basically doing those big thoughts, then we're taking those ideas and putting them on cards, then those cards will be written in what I told you before a one page premise when we really think okay, this is what the episode is about. beginning middle, and here it is in paragraph form. And then after we get notes from executives on that, because you're always getting feedback, we make that into an outline, like I said, where we're like we did today, we're stepping it out, we're getting really specific, how are all these things actually happening? What locations are we using? Who is there? Sometimes there's a little dialogue in there for there's a funny line we think of while we're talking about it, but really getting the story points, how is the plot moving, then we get notes for an executive on that, then we that we do, then a writer is assigned. And we do and that's when you might be working on your own to write the episode version. So usually any episode of television that will be in Haley's on it has been thought of brainstorm broken out by a whole roomful of people, it will have one person's name on it, they are the people who wrote the episode, and they might have specific jokes and choices they made. But it was conceived by everybody. And that's true for just about every show, you see, I think,

Julie Berman - Host:

okay, and like how long does it take to get basically from the writers room like the conception of, of sort of that episode idea to actually being on a screen when we see it?

Unknown:

Oh, boy, I think that depends on a bunch of factors. One is, if it's animation, it's gonna take a lot longer. Sometimes it really depends on studio budget expectations. In our case, it's animation, we have an incredible animation studio behind us. You know, obviously, Disney is well known and has a great budget and has the resources to put forward to do it. But we do we also are under a certain amount of time limits, you know, the writers are only hired for a certain amount of time. And we know within that time, okay, this is the time we have. So it's all based on those factors. In our case, we started writing the first season of Haley's on it. I came on I was the last person hired, that was March of 2021. Okay, so it's now coming out June of June 8, and ninth check Disney and it is coming out. And it's so it's like two years later. Yeah. And but you know, you got to remember, not only do you have all the writing in all the production and all the post production, but then you also have all the promotion. And there's other shows that are coming out that are spaced out, you know, depending on when we're coming out, but it is a much longer process. Yeah, that's very labor intensive.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And And I'm curious, like for you and your specific role. And then also of your, your colleagues, who are fellow writers, what do you think are the most important characteristics or things that you have to keep in mind for being part of this process, like for helping create, essentially something that doesn't exist? Right? Like, it's just, it's an idea, and you're making it into into, like, something that we can all consume, right? And see and enjoy? How, like, how does that feel like for the things that you think are really essential to being in your shoes, or other writers in the room?

Unknown:

Absolutely. You know, a lot of people, I think, have good ideas for stories. And they may very well be great writers, and they might write great scripts. But an added skill, you have to have if you're in a television writer, especially a comedy writer in a comedy room, is that you've got to be able to get along with other people. Because like, as you could tell you are in a room literally in a what it's like a conference room, sometimes windowless, with the same people all day long. And so you have to learn, give and take, you got to be able to throw out an idea. And if people don't take to it, you can't be crushed, right? Because, you know, if I attached my own self worth to every idea that wasn't taken, oh, my God, I wouldn't make it. But the idea is that it's collaborative, right? That we're building something together that will be better than any of us could have made. Had we all gone off into separate corners and written the same episode separately. You know what I mean? So you're trying to collaboratively come up with a world with characters with motivation. So you have to be collaborative. I think you also have to, it's easy to find holes. It's easy to look at, let's say that wall of cards that we've assigned Well, you know, on the warm side that's not working, or that's not funny. What's harder and more needed as a writer is to be able to pitch a solution. You could say, well, that that's not. That's interesting, because then this character is at a crossroads here. But we didn't really set that up. What if earlier, we plant a seed in the audience's mind that she's doubtful. So that way, when we come to this moment, we'll understand why she's doubtful, right? So you have to not only see that something isn't working, but propose a solution, which in a comedy room is a challenge, because things move fast. Jokes move fast, things move fast. And so you it's a skill you build up of like how to how to fix how to pitch positively how to fix problems, not just point them out. In my job, I think it helps that you're a good listener, that you can listen to other people's ideas, and instead of saying that's dumb, saying, okay, thinking to yourself, Okay, maybe not all of that is going to work. But there's a seed of something there, like, what can we build on to make it better? This is when being an improviser has really helped me because good improvisers are great listeners. And they can listen to an idea and build on it and find the good in it, to make it go further instead of crushing people's dreams. So I think those are the hugest skills, I think, also, you have to what's great, oh, what I love about the job is that I get to work with all these other departments, I get to meet with designers and board artists, I get to me see the actors, record all the voices, like, I get to see what everybody else does, and respect it, you know, so you really got to be able to also listen to see what skills other people are bringing to the table, respecting them. And like bringing out the best in people that is fundamentally, the very core of my job, I feel, although it's not in writing anywhere, is to make the writers room a fun, collaborative, thought provoking silly, joyous, safe place where people can talk about their ideas, and know that they're going to be supported. And even if the idea isn't used, they have the freedom to think of these awesome places that we're going to take Haley and and propose silly things that Scott's going to do. One of our characters is voiced by Manny acento, who is awesome on the good place, and he does some crazy things, and you have to be willing, then to throw a crazy idea out. And if you feel like you're gonna be judged all the time, then you won't do that. So I think our show is really fun because of the atmosphere at the start in the writers room, and I really take a lot of pride in that.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. And that makes so much sense to for a collaborative environment to sort of have that as the foundational aspect people to be comfortable brainstorming and like, throwing out all the ideas, like even knowing that some of them may be like, not completely make sense or like that. It's just silly. But, you know, it's like that ability to be unfiltered. And and to be amongst a group of creative people I think is such like a gift. And I love hearing that. Because honestly, like I was thinking about just that concept in between when we spoke, you know, now and then a few days ago just for our pre chat, and it's, it's something that really I feel like everyone would want in any job, right? It's that, that freedom, to come up with ideas to be creative, to brainstorm collaboratively, collaboratively? And, you know, it makes me think of that I literally only know one improv game, probably. And it's the yes and one. Oh, sure. You know, and it's just like that idea of like, someone says something, you can probably explain it way better of like you say yes. And and like, continue that idea. Yeah. And I think I ever since I heard that years ago, because my which actually, my brother did improv for a little bit. And I thought it was the most powerful concept because like, if we could all be in these types of environments where we're supporting people, and write allowing us to sort of daydream and think of all the what ifs, it just ends up resulting in like, these, these things that we can't even imagine are possible, right? I feel like that's how all the best things could be created. So I love coming back to you and the environment that you've created. What an incredible place to be able to work. And then also, like, I would love to work in a place like that, you know, whether it's in a writers room or elsewhere. Yeah, it's amazing.

Unknown:

If you you know, when you got to be in a room where I'm very fortunate with Nick and Devon, where they set a tone of welcome and acceptance and yeah, saying, You know what I mean, and some rooms aren't like that. They're they're not and that tone isn't set and it could be very judgy i and maybe it's because of that that I really make that a priority as well. Because I, I want to know, I want also people be able to point out when I bring something up and they feel like it's wrong, like, in a way that I might have a blind spot on like culturally or like, because of my background, I don't know, like, I want to learn from other writers in the room, and they should feel supported enough to be able to point out stuff, even to people who have a higher title than them. Because it's not going to work or because you know, so you've got to also be able to open it up. So for people to feel safe enough to bring up things that that we're missing, and that that might not be the most fun thing to bring up. But like they gotta feel also supported enough that this is a challenging thought, or I would do it a different way and know that people are there to be like, okay, yeah, let's hear why you feel that way. And like, why you think that would be better? I can't tell you how grateful I am for that. Because I really don't feel like people do their best work when they're, they're criticizing their own thoughts before they come out of their own mouth. Yeah, we have people do that every day for us online, where the you know, they're gonna criticize how you look and what you think and what you say and like, and it's so freeing to be in a place of what if, of being with people on a journey who are like, willing to listen and be like, what if we set this at and like, you're just taking swings, right? You're just you're just trying, but they're there with you? Like, they want to say what if? And that's like, how lucky am I? I'm so grateful that I'm in a job where I get to say what it felt.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, it's, it's amazing. I love it. Like, it sounds so fun. And, like, based on that, it makes me think bit and kind of going back to also what you said before, like being able to throw ideas and taking the good parts of them, you know, not necessarily taking the whole idea. And I'm curious about that. And like just given your background and improv and your experience doing what you're doing now, if you have any tips around, like for myself included, and people who are listening for, like, how do you learn sort of that discernment between sort of like, bashing your yourself, right? Or saying like, Okay, well, I put this idea, or I put this thing out into the world. And like, it definitely didn't work out how I planned, which happens to so many of us all the time, oh, but then being able to pinpoint right that that area, or that part of it, that actually did work, or that can be used and turned into, like the next iteration or that next thing, if you have sort of like a tip or like a framework for how do you do that? Because I feel like that is such an incredible skill to have.

Unknown:

Yeah, you know, it's, it's challenging. I don't even know if I'm successful with it all the time. But I think it's it's, if if we know what story we're trying to tell, you figure out what's serving it and what isn't, like, there are a lot of times where there's a really funny idea. And we laugh at a joke, and it's really funny. But do we really mean it? Like, is it really serving this moment is are we talking too long can we cut it, or if it feels like we're telling two stories at once that happens, like, I pitched an idea for a premise that really felt like two stories at once, like Haley was completing a list item, but was also on like, a personal mission. And, and it was too much story. And so it was looking at that Mieville say, like, I like these parts individually. But I think we're telling too much story here was my own pitch. So like, and being able to say, you know, like, okay, that's, that's too much. So it's great to have input from other people, you know, whether it's on a page level, where someone might pitch a joke where you feel like, oh, that doesn't work, but I love how you hesitated there. Like sometimes things are in the timing, right? It's not necessarily what they're saying, but how they're saying it. And so, and the the most minut level, something like that, but over or in the biggest level where we're looking at a season, and we're like, is that really her goal? So I think the key is to just keep in mind what what's the story you're trying to tell? At least for scripts? That's the my main guiding light and where is your character mentally, emotionally? Like and how do we, how do we track that throughout a scene? So on the page, that's, that's what I'm looking for it and because of my improv background, I'm also very true to point of view, what is your character's point of view? And how can we keep that consistent? So those are the things so if, if it's not serving story, or it's just for fun, but it's not really moving the story forward, or it's not really in that character's voice is out, but there might be things that components of that that could work overall to steer the ship in the right direction.

Julie Berman - Host:

Okay, yeah. Thank you for that. And it's interesting, like some of the, some of the things, you know, you mentioned, sort of like making sure that you keep the characters voice, sort of maintaining, like the story arc as a whole. And like, all these bits and pieces, there's like, right, there's like so many sort of big things that you're keeping track of. And then also, like, so many little tiny details, especially as an editor, and I know, you said that you actually do edit, right, like you're actually going through and editing. So those are all like, I feel like so many different skill sets combined. I used to be an editor myself. So it's like, I know, you know, for the detail oriented parts of it, right? Like, sometimes you can just get lost in like the nitty gritty. And then you have that flip side of like, the whole, like, the whole perspective and how everything aligns overall. How have you figured out? Or have you figured out a way where you can sort of balance those two different? Almost, I don't want to say like, opposite things, right? But but like the tiny details, and then those large details, like how do you do that as part of your job? And is that a super essential part of your job?

Unknown:

Yes, yes. And yes, I would say they happen at different times. For example, like if we've written a premise, which is a one page overview of what an episode is going to be about. And I've taken a pass of it, meaning I'm reading what let's say one of the our talented writers have written what how they see this episode, what we've discussed in the room, essentially, I can look macro and say, this makes sense. This is the journey of the episode, big picture. But then later after it's been an outline, and then it's been a script, and then we've done a table read. And we can, we're hearing people's response to the actual scripts, you can feel just like I'm sure when you were teaching, just like anybody in sales, just like if you're making a speech, you can tell when you've lost an audience. That's great training I've got from being a Live Performer. When you're a Live Performer, you know, right away, they're not feeling it, you get a good, good, good sense of reading a room. And so it's harder in television, because unless you have a live read, you might not know that until somebody rips you apart on Twitter, but like, but our like in the live read, I can tell like, oh, that line is we don't need that extra line. The joke is the line before let's go out on that joke. Let's cut that line afterwards, it's just over explaining it. So then it's like the minute so you're fine tuning towards the end. But if I've done my work in the beginning, if we have if we have kept true to the core of what the character is about, and the series and the season, in the macro, when we get to the episode, hopefully those are serving them, you know, that each stage, so then when we're at script, then we can find point we can be like, Can like my like my former boss used to say, Rodrigo, can I? Can I say this in a fewer fewer lines? You know, like, can I kind of get to the point quicker? Can we can we make a visual choice here that will make Haley and Scott and beta? Like, what would be the funniest way to show this and like just fine tuning, fine tuning. So luckily, we get I get many shots at it. But I think it's super important to do it at every, every stage of the process. Okay.

Julie Berman - Host:

And for you like because you in this particular animated series, you have some really cool people who are the voice actors on there. And I had to ask, because, like, I was just curious, if you, you know, when you're creating the characters, right, and you're actually writing out the scripts? Do you have sometimes the people in mind who are then going to be the voices and write sort of specific to who they are in their skill sets? Absolutely. Okay. So because I know like, you have some particularly funny people who are going to be characters. And so they're just so talented. So so how does that work? Like, do you get to meet the voice actors like before and chat with them? And kind of, or do you like watch things what they've done previously, how do you sort of get a sense of what would be not only realistic and true to the character that you're creating, but also the person who's then voicing that character?

Unknown:

Right. Well, our leads are, like I said, Lee Carvalho, who was Mallanna who is so talented, and so we know she's a singer, obviously. Yeah, she's super charming. And we know she's funny. You know that because of her previous work. Same with Manny Jacinto, because I'm the good place. He's got great timing, you know, so you You know, some of the skills are bringing to the table. Garry Anthony Williams who plays beta is so fun, he's been a voice you don't probably know his name, but my God, he's been in so many animated shows and live action. But you he's so talented as a voice actor, not only his range of voices, but like his emotions that he can express, we know we can, that character can get all fired up, even though it's a tiny little bear like, and we, it's so fun to play with those things. A lot of times we don't know who is going to be cast, or who casting is going to like suggest or offer as possibilities. So you're writing the character just as the character in the hopes of it. But then if you know someone is getting cast, or once they are cast, you see what they can do. Like our professor who comes from the future is played by Sarah choc and Sarah choc, not only is was fantastic, I'm scrubbed, she's done so much voiceover work, she can speak so rapidly, so well. And she can convey a lot of information in a short amount of time. And she's so good at it. She's so expressive. And so like, we know, when the professor comes, we can give her a ton of things to say, and she's gonna get to it. And she will bring so much comedic energy to it. So like, we just have so many actors that when they come on, like, for example, we made this character named chip tingle. And that's been released in the press. Like, I know, I couldn't say his name, but he is he's played by Weird owl. And weird out could not be funnier. So when you when you know, weird, Al is going to play something after you've written it, you can just, I mean, once you have him in the booth, you know, he's going to bring so much even more to it. So you try to play into that we know, we can write a song for CHIP tango, because he can sing it. So those are the things like a lot of times we're writing without knowing who's going to be cast, we might be inspired by somebody, we might say, Oh, it's this type, this type of person so that we all understand like, oh, okay, yeah. But a lot of times those are up for debate to like, do we want a certain character to be reserved? Do we want a certain character to be like the teachers like when you're choosing like, what is their point of view, that will determine also how they're cast. And so it is really fun to create all those things, and then to be in the booth with professional actors who have so much training and bring even more to it than you could have even imagined the timing, the the way that they're the choices they make about the lines are so fun. And like, it's like I said, super collaborative. And so I feel like the character is how we imagined it. But then once the actor does it, oh, it's it's all them then.

Julie Berman - Host:

That sounds so fun. Yeah, I learned that. It's mean, it really is incredible. Like, I'm super excited to see, like, what you created what you've worked on, because, you know, it's just like such a cool cast of people. But then I can only imagine, like, what it must be like to write something and work so hard to create it, but then to see it come to life and all these different phases and steps must be so exciting. And amazing.

Unknown:

Just add one thing, like of course, only the words like when you see it come out of a character but because it's animation, like Haley's on it's like the the artists are artists like so, the the richness of the world and the characters and how they move and the color like the our show is just visually so appealing, and so expressive. It is so inviting. And I'm amazed that people make this out of thin air, you know, a lot of the I was talking with a board artists the other day, and he was like, I don't know how you guys do what you do. I'm like, I don't know how you do what you do. And I'm like, I'm just glad we're working together. Because it's it really is a give and take and it's just fascinating then for me to see it on screen to be like, Oh my God, that's what that looks like. That's what that building looks like now in color like, oh my god, it's it's it is real. All of a sudden,

Julie Berman - Host:

yeah, that it sounds so amazing. Like the whole the whole process and so exciting. And I want to ask you to like for people who are listening to this, and they're like, oh my gosh, Karen, this sounds so amazing. I would love to do this job any day and every day of the week. Sure. How could they start to explore how could they research like, try to get into this field? Do you have any suggestions, resources tips? Oh, absolutely.

Unknown:

Well, a lot of a lot of being a writer is also not being a writer, in that, you know, I'm so fortunate because I'm in this. I try to be really grateful to because I'm in this writers room right now and I'm with this fabulous group of writers and showrunners and artists, but it only lasts so long, right? And then you spend a good amount of your time trying to find your next job. Our hope is that your show is successful. I hope Haley's on it is super successful. think we've built something really beautiful and fun, but you just don't know. And and I, boy, if you would have asked me years ago, what is the way? And I'd be like, I hope you could tell me because I don't know, there is no like a set path. It's not like you get a degree, and then you have credentials, and you can intern and then you're in it. I think what it first is, is a love of writing, you have to like writing, you have to like, thinking of ideas, and then fleshing them out and actually putting them to paper and really thinking about that. A lot of people like TV, but they wouldn't want to write it. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, you have to really like it, I would say, then you really need to look at scripts, look at online, you can get them so many sites, just Google the shows you like and look at the scripts, look how they're formatted. They're probably using something called Final Draft. And this is for somebody who just like bare bones starting from nothing in like, look at how they're formatted. And try to take what your ideas and write it as an episode, look how long it is, look how it's formatted. And write an episode of yours because basically, you that that's, that's your calling card in anywhere really is your script, what what script you have, and not just one multiple, like what are your what are your ideas and how is your writing take it take a television writing class, whether it's for an hour long drama, which is a different animal, or half hour comedy, whether animation or live action, learn from other people watch a lot of panels, the WGA the Writers Guild of America Foundation has great panels, if you're in LA, you can go to them for free, you don't have to be part of the guild. If you are anywhere else, you can look at them. They have a great YouTube channel, it talks about the business and the art of making television and you can really, like learn from other showrunners, who talk about what their day to day life is like, and tips and tricks. But it really will be trying to write the best script possible, try to find other people are trying to do what you do get notes from them, form a writer's group for support because it is there a lot of people want to be writers and not a lot of jobs. So I would just encourage you to find your people who are trying to do the same thing, whether online or in person, and encourage each other, read each other's work, read it aloud, see what works. And and I will say this, I don't think you have to do this for a career to have satisfaction from it. Meaning if you wrote something, and it's awesome, and it's filling your cup, you don't have to bang on a door like I did for six years. You know what I mean? Like, I'm so fortunate in that I've done this as an actual job and your cool jobs title. But I think you can like just learn to write for television, because it's fun, just like you would learn to write crochet, like it's a difference, like learn how you would learn how to crochet which I don't have the patience for. But my brother and my mother do, but but like buddy, just learned it is a skill. See what goes into it, it might make you appreciate the shows you watch even more, because it doesn't have to be everything to you. It doesn't have to be a moneymaker. But it might surprise you what you're capable of.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, well, thank you. Those are some great ideas, you know, especially this just start out by choosing your favorite show and write a script. I mean, that's like a really fun idea. And really great way to start. I think like there's so much that that can happen with like, acting right, like an acting in the sense of like taking an action towards doing what you want to do. So that was such a good first suggestion. And before we wrap up, I always asked my favorite questions. So I want to ask you, Karen, and it is this. So to end our conversation today, will you please share a sentence that uses the verbiage or jargon from your field? Then translate it so it's understandable to us?

Unknown:

Oh, I love it. I love it. Okay, well, there's lots of jargon that writers use in the writers room that I think in my first staff job, I was like, what, like a lot of times people will say something and I'll just clock it in my head. Like, ask someone later what that meant. Because, you know, like, in any job, there's, you know, short forms or like shortcuts, but the sentence I'll give you is okay, guys, we're gonna cut and punch the cold open, we're gonna have to kill some babies there. And if anything doesn't make any sense, we're gonna hang a lantern on it. And so that means I'm like

Julie Berman - Host:

sitting here laughing in the background because I don't want to laugh over your talking but that's hysterical.

Unknown:

Yeah, this doesn't make it sound like we're truckers where it's like, hey, good, buddy. You know, we're we're saying all these things. But they come up. So I put a bunch of them in once and what cut and punch means when somebody's written like a script. We're going to cut and punch it. We're going to punch up the jokes. Maybe think of better jokes, jokes that are better than that. As we say, beat it, make it even funnier, or cut, we're going to cut things we don't need. So we're going to cut and punch the cold open the cold open, is you probably know this it's a part of the show or part of a script that's before the titles. So just when you launch right into a show and it before the opening title started, that's a cold open, and we're gonna kill some babies. That basically means like I said earlier napping precious about your writing, we're gonna kill some babies like these are probably gonna love jokes and moments that are so funny. But if they don't serve the scripts, or we don't need them, or we're running long, they're out. Or if they're not true to the character, they're out and hang a lantern on it. This one was the one when I started I was like, what? It's basically if there's something that like comes up in a story where you know, the audience is going to be like, wait a minute, like it will bump them that's another phrase bumped I'm like, Baba them, you will hang a lantern on it, you'll call it out. The character will call it out. Say like, oh, yeah, I know. I don't usually take my car but today I'm going to drive like that's hanging a lantern on so like, literally like shining a light. You know what you're doing? You're pointing out something that would probably otherwise, though,

Julie Berman - Host:

if it's like an anomaly or something unusual thing. You're just actually calling it out. You're calling it

Unknown:

out. Right? Right. Yeah, another thing is like if you're like, I don't know she'll but just be at the house at this point. That's just whatever like, you want to point something out without in let the audience know that you know, that this is not typical, or is explaining a way of reason. Like you're you're doing it in that moment. That's that's that.

Julie Berman - Host:

So good. Oh, and I get that now hang a lantern on it. Like you're shedding light on it. Yeah, like

Unknown:

you're shining. Like you're planning it out. Like, look right at this. Like I'm we're pointing this out to you. We know. She doesn't typically like milkshakes, but she's gonna say she's gonna drink the milkshake here because she needs the calories that we're gonna hang a Lancer and we're gonna point it out. So yeah, kill babies cut and punch cold open all those things.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love it. That was an amazing example. So good.

Unknown:

I'm glad that things come up all the time where I'm like, someone will say something or abbreviate something. I'm like, Wait, now what? What's the new phrase I've missed? But yeah, those are the ones

Julie Berman - Host:

Yes. Amazing. I can think of Yeah, that was an amazing example. Very much illuminated terminology that I do not know at all. So you know, it's so much fun to talk to you to get to know about, like your cool job, just that you're working so hard on this show that I can't wait to watch like Haley's on it that's coming out so soon. And talk about your not only like your incredible path to becoming a story editor. And just like all the fun things that you get to work on in that job and the people you get to work with and you know, the incredible talent that exists in your world. So thank you so much for being on this podcast. It was such a pleasure to to connect with you in this way.

Unknown:

Oh, thank you, Julie. Thank you for what you do. I think a lot of times when you're doing your own job you don't think it's so cool because you're you might be used to it or you know you you're just so we need the zone of your deadlines and things you've got to do. So thanks for making me feel like a rockstar. This was really fun.

Julie Berman - Host:

Oh good. I'm so glad to hear that you are a rock star. Oh, you too. Yes, it tell us like where can we find this show? And if you're up for sharing like your information if you're on LinkedIn or whatever, we would love to know if people wanted to connect if they're listening if that's an option and if not totally okay, I'm happy to connect them through me as well.

Unknown:

Yeah. Oh absolutely. Well, first the show. The show is called Halley's on it comes out so soon I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it. So on Disney Channel and the June 8 Holy cats and then on Disney plus on the ninth of June starring like I mentioned your very own Mallanna Ali Carvalho and Manny ascenso are the two main leads and I'm we're just so thrilled about it and I can tell you even though it's a kid show, it's super fun and enjoyable like I enjoy watching it and I'm not a child. So give it a shot. i Since I have children, my show myself I really appreciate animated shows where that the parents can also enjoy them and yes, it's one of them. So definitely check it out. The end in terms of me, thank you the best place to find me is on Instagram. That girl Karen graci. So that girl Karen last name gr ACI And you can find me there and I am around ASA. Um, that's the best way to

Julie Berman - Host:

Yes. Well, thank you for sharing that. And, you know, I'm super excited to see it myself. I also definitely appreciate I have three children, and I definitely appreciate any animated series or child like, theories. That includes parents. Yes in mind.

Unknown:

Yeah. I think you'll enjoy it. Yes, yes. It's lightly serialized, it's we played to the top of our intelligence so loving.

Julie Berman - Host:

It looks so cute. And of course, love women's empowerment, girls empowerment, all about that. And thank you so much, again, for being here was so fun to chat.

Unknown:

My pleasure. Thank you.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you loved the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day