Weirdest Letter I've Got in a WhileComplications Ensue
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

So I got this letter, which is sincere:
I wrote for the Nick series, [very well-regarded animation series] 2004-7. 
Flash-forward to a horrendous divorce which began in Northern California, and a judge who knows nothing about Hollywood, the entertainment business, TV hiring/staffing, etc. 
Recently I was court-ordered to pursue TV writing again even though: 
  • I never had an agent
  • My only job was in children's animation where I worked part-time
  • I have not written a single script since leaving the job (2007)
  • I am a woman over age 40 (and not a minority)
My ex-husband, my former boss at [series], managed to convince the court that I should return to work as a TV writer. The only reason I was hired to write for [series] is that my husband staffed it. 
My question is how can I effectively show the court that I really have no chance here?   
Do I cold-call agencies and ask if they might decline me in writing (to document) why I'm not a candidate for representation? I do not want to waste anyone's time, and yet I'm forced into the position of providing the court irrefutable "proof" of rejections to my work efforts. 
If I cannot provide proof of effort to be hired as a TV writer, I will lose the support I currently receive from my ex-husband. We have a child with autism, and we can't afford to go without my ex's assistance.
If you are, by some chance, thinking that this is someone's bass-ackwards way asking me to reassure her that yes, she can make it at 40 -- nope, it's not.

Any judge in Santa Monica (where the shards of the former couple live) would know that you can't just order someone to go back into TV writing. That's like ordering someone to go get a job playing in the NBA. A career in TV writing is a prize that many people try for, and some succeed at. To even give it the old college try would entail a year, or years, of writing scripts for free and going on endless meetings in the hopes that you catch a break.

People do that when they're young and can afford to be poor, or when they're half of a couple, and the other half has a steady job and boundless faith. They don't do that when they're the custodial single parent of a kid who needs attention, whom you can't leave alone till 10 pm every night...

Unfortunately, the judge is not in Santa Monica, where it would not be hard to bring in a small posse of hard-workin' older women tv writers to 'splain to the judge how hard things are. He is in Northern California, where it would be pretty hard to find any TV writers to come in as expert witnesses.

Obviously, I have only one side of the story here, and I can't vouch for any of the facts. Nor am I an expert in divorces, having only had a miserable one, not a horrible one.

But how the heck do you prove that you can't get a job in TV?


Since her hiring was a product of nepotism, it seems like the judge could also order her producer ex to buy her scripts.

By Blogger David, at 5:41 PM  

I admit, I'm dying to know how this turned out

By Blogger Tim Curran, at 6:24 PM  

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