This past summer, my partner and I were walking home from BAM after seeing Obvious Child starring Jenny Slate when we began talking about comedy, television, film, what we like to see, what we wish we saw, etc. We were so jazzed about Jenny Slate and her particular brand of comedy that this conversation sparked the minute we walked out of the theater, and by the time we got home, we had broken a slightly autobiographical story about an inept young woman who is trying to make it as an actress in NYC despite many (often self-imposed) obstacles. At first we had mostly discussed small bits such as her collapsing while trying to jog in Prospect Park, crying at Molly's Cupcakes because she got lost in the West Village on her way to an audition, lying about her weight on her resume so she's given clothes that are way too small at a shoot. That evening, these bits evolved into what we're writing now, a short web series called Solid 8. (The title comes from a night when I yelled far too loud in a restaurant that was far too nice for the likes of me, "I'm a solid 8 and I'm funny!" My partner, Taylor, felt that inappropriate outburst was the spirit of the show.) Lucky for me, Taylor is also attending The Actors Studio Drama School for playwriting, and he's been cutting his teeth in film and television this year. So with him around I had, at the very least, someone who could format a script. His patience, humor and damn good writing have been a driving force in this project since the very start.
Because of our demanding school schedules, Solid 8 wasn't getting much attention in the fall despite our excitement for the project. But then a brilliant piece of advice and inspiration fell into our laps in October at New York City Comic Con. A personal hero of mine, Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer of the revered comics Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet) was asked during a panel what advice she had for young writers who aren't able to figure out when and how to finish their work. She declared simply, "Give yourself a deadline. And if you can't give yourself one, have someone give it to you."
Well, that's what we needed. A deadline. We knew we wanted to shoot in the summer, we knew we needed a lot of time for fundraising and getting a cast and crew together, but we didn't know when the scripts needed to be done. We needed a deadline. Because this particular summer and early fall happened to be especially hectic and magical, we had an opportunity to come face to face with another personal hero the next day: Dan Harmon, creator of (formerly) NBC's Community and Rick and Morty on Adult Swim. Dan Harmon is exactly the kind of writer I want to be because his humor has spoken to me in a way that no other comedic writer has before or since. Before we left for a live recording of Dan Harmon's podcast, Harmontown, at the 92nd St. Y, I had Taylor print out the title page for our pilot, "No Shame in That." After the recording, a lot of fanfare and many drinks at a nearby bar, I was able to talk to Dan Harmon a bit. We mostly insulted each other and he mostly made poop jokes, but in the end, I told him that I was writing a web series for the first time, and because he was such an inspiration, I would really appreciate if he gave my writing partner and I a deadline. So he did. January 5, 2015. He had to write it in lipstick because I didn't think to bring a pen. But there it was. Our deadline.
As of today, December 27th, we've completed 3 of our episodes, have 2 in progress and have 4 more mapped out. In 9 days, we will have completed writing our first season. In 9 days, Solid 8 will be real. I'm very excited and proud because I've never created anything tangible before. I've never written anything with the intention of following it to some type of completion. I've certainly never written anything as silly, heartfelt and absurd as this. I'm really pumped, and I hope you are too. Because eventually I'll be begging you for money to make it happen. But first, we have to meet our deadline.
Thank you, Jenny Slate. Thank you, Kelly Sue DeConnick. Thank you, Dan Harmon.
Stay tuned, you guys. This is gonna be cool.