A pro talks about the staffing experience. And definitely gets it right:
by Dara Resnki Creasy
The first time I almost got staffed on a TV show was in the spring of 2006. My fiancée-at-the-time and writing partner and I were still playing assistant-by-day/writer-by-night superheroes. It was a strange moment of purgatory in our lives that buzzed with anticipation and hope. We had sold our first feature script in 2004, were repped at a big agency, and had gotten paid for a few more things here and there, but true success as writers eluded us. We were waiting for a break.
Desperation made us into our own factory. You can’t sell what doesn’t exist. We churned out scripts. Feature specs, spec pilots, specs of existing TV dramas and comedies, even plays. It was a spec of The Office that got us our first serious staffing meeting – on George Lopez with, you guessed it, George Lopez. On the way up to Warner Bros., the theme song to that show, “Low Rider,” came on the radio. We took it as a sign from the Universe.
The meeting went great. As well as any meeting I’ve had before or since. The kind of meeting that so often precedes the “you got the gig!” call. I felt like besties with George. Except we didn’t get the gig. The official reason they didn’t hire us was that the show’s order was cut (and therefore its budget), though in retrospect it seems unlikely the shared salary of a staff writer was going to break the bank. Whatever the reason, it didn’t happen. Damn you, Universe.
I went back to temping at Disney (one of my many making-ends-meet jobs) and Chad assisting the screenwriter John August. We got married that summer. And kept writing. Then something miraculous happened. A writer for whom my now-husband had interned years before called us one morning in January of 2007. “What are you doing today?” He was running the writers’ room at Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. They had just lost a chunk of their staff to budget cuts (this time it worked in our favor!) and needed staff writers who could start right away. He asked for samples. We handed over the best and most appropriate material we had – a Nip/Tuck spec, a short play, and the feature we had sold, which was now crawling towards a green light at Morgan Creek.