Open Letter: Closing 2021 with My Own Career Moment
Walking has always been a meditation for me, and I’ve logged many miles getting my steps in over the years. With a good pair of walking shoes, and an audiobook playing in my ears, it’s the one time during the day when I get to not think, focus on the story at hand, quiet my always busy brain, and just be.
Two years prior to my business going public, my family and I moved into the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, a quirky little pocket resembling an east coast suburb, complete with two parks, a school, a little country club and a library. Unlike much of the rest of Los Angeles, there is no center of commerce that everything else is built around, no main street with coffee shops and supermarkets and a neighborhood restaurant. In other words, not your typical L.A. neighborhood. This community was erected in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, with our main drag running from the front door of the Fox lot, to what used to be the front gate of Sony. Studio execs found its quiet rolling hills an easy, more accessible location in which to build their homes, a humble alternative to the palatial mansions of Bel Air and Beverly Hills, which even then would have required a bit more of a commute.
Walking around our neighborhood park and golf course had long ago become my favorite route, whether I was walking it with my dogs, or on my own. I’ve walked it in the middle of the afternoon, after a long workday, and early in the morning, before my meetings began. During quarantine it was my constant, the one activity that seemed to keep my sanity in tact.
And so, as the holiday break began, I put on my sneakers, turned on my Audible app, and set out. It’s been a few weeks since I walked it – longer than usual – because I ended the year with a mean cold that would not let up. As I made my way east on Pico Blvd., the gargantuan walls of Fox Studio’s stages came into focus, the billboards promoting Fox’s upcoming TV shows revealing themselves one by one as I walked the length of the bustling boulevard, alongside the Rancho Park gulf course. As I found myself staring at the four billboard across the road, I realized what a unique moment this was. Sure, I’ve had writers on plenty of Fox shows before. LETHAL WEAPON. PRODIGAL SON. STAR. Just to name a few. And I’ve had the pleasure of seeing billboards for my writers’ movies and TV shows all over town in the many years that I’ve done this, each billboard a seed of immense pride of the work that the writer had done. But that day, standing across from the Fox lot, I realized I had worked with writers on every single scripted show for which they had a billboard up. Every single one. It was a moment worth noting in my own coaching journey.
As this year comes to a close, I am at the outset of my 10-year of my business being offered publicly, for anyone who wants to sign up. It’s been a long and rewarding 10 years, and my 2021 in business was no different. My working clients have had wonderful successes: Selling TV shows and feature pitches to studio, network, and streaming buyers, landing high-profile writing assignments on both the feature and TV fronts. Working hard at those careers they’ve spent years building, and always fighting for that forward motion. It’s also been another great year for my clients going from emerging to working: This year, five of my writers were able to staff in writers’ rooms for the very first time, while a slew of others were able to get signed, get out for generals, land high-value partners for their projects, and even deliver in-depth industry pitches (successfully!) for the first time. There have been many happy dances, for sure, as my heart has always been invested in those firsts, in those journeys to becoming a working writer.
My clients, now both writers and directors, have shared their dreams with me, their goals, their journeys, their business plans. I am lucky to count some of them as my closest friends. They have generously made me feel like their partner, and allowed my job to become the most rewarding thing I can imagine doing. The past 10 years have been remarkable in the fulfillment they have offered me, the people they have brought into my life, the journeys they have kept me on as an advisor, task-master, friend and cheerleader. And standing across from the Fox lot, my writers and friends involved in some capacity in each and every show they were promoting, was a moment both rewarding and incredibly humbling.
So I end this year grateful as I’ve ever been for the job I’ve been allowed to do and always loved so much, for the writers who’ve let me in on their challenges and experiences, and excited for all that’s still to come. I am eager and excited and curious to see what 2022 and beyond brings for all of us.
This is such a milestone. Congratulations! What a meaningful moment to have your work and contribution reflected back to you this way. Happy holidays!
Awesome story. And glad you feel better!
I’m a long time follower and I thank you for continuing to share your wisdom.
Your proud moment is so well deserved.
Happy Holidays !
Lee, I’ve long enjoyed your posts but especially your more personal reflections — about your walking passion, Christmas Eve reflection, and celebrating your 10th anniversary. Thank you for all the great information and insights you share with writers. Creativity is a tough road but such a rewarding one. May all of our projects come to fruition in 2022. Have a healthy and happy New Year!
Janet J. Lawler
Thanks so much for that Janet! You don’t know how much such comments mean to me.