There was an essay in the LA Times magazine this weekend by Sharon Bordas, an aspiring sitcom writer talking about "staffing season," that hectic period after the series pick-ups in May when shows hire all their writers. But the essay wasn’t really about that. It was about sucking up. Her first interview didn’t go well, so she lavished praise on the next showrunner she met with.
I prostrated myself before him, calling him the best writer
of his generation. Without a trace of irony. It worked. My agent called
to give me the good news: Boy Wonder Two (BW2) loved me.
She didn’t get hired as a writer, though. She got hired as a writer’s assistant. Not surprisingly, she lost the job on her first day when she pitched story ideas to the co-exec producer.
The next day I was fired. "It’s not going to happen," my agent told me,
explaining that showrunner-for-a-day had found me presumptuous and
She’s at a loss to understand why they got this impression of her and goes on and on blaming her career troubles on the inflated egos and duplicity of the showrunners she meets.
I didn’t even try to eat the day of my meeting with my third Boy
Wonder. I complimented everything from his writing to his shoes. Soon,
an offer was on its way, and my agent was thrilled…
The next day, one of the show’s producers announced that he had promised my job to the son of a friend. I was out. Again.
It never occurs to her that maybe the third Boy Wonder called around about her and didn’t like what he heard — so came up with a lame excuse for backing out before compounding his mistake. The whole point of the essay is that TV shows are run by assholes and talented, good-hearted people like her don’t get a break. (She clearly thinks she’s coming off as lovable, funny, and sympathetic in her essay. She’s not).
She looked down her nose at each showrunner before she even stepped in the door for her interviews. Each prospective employer was a "Boy Wonder," implying she thinks they got their show on the air not because of any talent or smarts, but because they kissed the right asses and sold out. They don’t deserve her respect, honesty, or good-will. They are frauds. She is the real deal. (Even the co-exec producer is shrugged off as "showrunner for the day" when he should have prostrated himself in front of her awesome talent).
What was her interview strategy? To be a manipulative, lying little weasel, lavishing false praise on showrunners to hide her contempt for them. And when she finally snares an assistant position, she has the gall on her first day to suggest story ideas to the co-exec producer when, in fact, her job is to answer the phones, type scripts, and get everybody lunch.
And she wonders why she was fired? Hollywood isn’t the problem, lady. It’s you.