Yes, it’s true. Real people from real places where nobody’s in showbiz or even thinks about being a writer can still become TV writers. (But you still have to move to L.A.)
Another story of the Possible Dream:
by Jamie Sotonoff and Dann Gire
In the career assessment portion of the PSAT in high school, Lauren Gussis struggled to check a box that matched her interests.
“I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know what kind. I didn’t want to be an English teacher or a journalist … but then I saw the box for TV/film writer, and it literally jumped out at me in 3-D,” said the Deerfield Illinois native. “I started on that path and never looked back.”
That path led Gussis to Hollywood, where she became a TV writer and spent nearly a decade writing and producing Showtime’s Emmy-nominated hit drama “Dexter.”
Since “Dexter” ended in 2013, Gussis, 37, is now pitching some of her own TV show ideas to different networks. In the meantime, she’s writing half-hour comedy pilots and transforming show ideas into scripts for CBS Television.
“Being in a room full of writers, and coming up with ideas all day, that’s my favorite part (of the business),” she said. “I love a room full of people to brainstorm with.”
There’s buzz online that a “Dexter” spinoff series might be in the works, but Gussis wouldn’t confirm or deny.
“It’s a possibility,” she said. “I have nothing to do with that.”
Working on “Dexter” was a career highlight for Gussis. Despite the show’s violent theme (it’s about a serial killer who works at the Miami Metro Police Department), Gussis said she found creative joy in the process.
“Mostly it was just really fun. Even the gore,” she said. “Like, the ‘A Horse in a Different Color’ episode. It had so much gory imagery in it, it was like performance art.”
There were some tough episodes to write, though, such as the ones about the rape and murder of women, which she said were troubling because they were “too real.” Most episodes allowed Gussis to write about things that looked and felt real, but could never be real, which is her favorite type of writing.
“The most fun thing about ‘Dexter’ was writing the voice-overs. It was like writing poetry,” she said. “That was exploring the depth of the human experience. Here’s what you’re seeing, and here’s what you’re really experiencing.”