Braceface told the story of 12-year old Sharon Spitz as she plowed through puberty with a new addition, magical braces. The production company was in Toronto, a far cry from Hollywood, and soon I found myself there 3-4 times a year, meeting with an excellent writing staff to come up with episodes and season arcs. The show kept getting renewed, winning awards, bringing in ratings. It was a dream come true. By the fifth season, however, I was starting to tire of writing stories about adolescence. I wanted to move to grown-up territory. I wanted to be writing in Hollywood. My agent starting sending me on meetings for sit-coms and dramas, for freelance and staffing positions. I met with people at ABC, NBC, CBS, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Culver Studios...you name it I was there trying to secure a writing position. I met with wonderful people, drank lots of bottled water and yet never nabbed a job.
And then the ole' dangling carrot appeared again. A producer approached me after a panel at the UCLA book fair. A screenwriter came to one of my readings and expressed interest in writing a script. I pitched my book as a television show for Lifetime, HBO and I came oh so close to optioning it to a major production company. But alas, everytime I leaned over to take a bite out of that carrot, it got yanked away.
Am I bitter? A little. Jaded? Sure. I read the trades and feel a little sting of jealousy whenever I read about a deal that closed, a Hollywood Cinderella story. But most of all I am grateful for what has come, and for what is yet to come. My life changed for the better when I decided to take things into my own hands and write a novel, and while a part of me, a very small part, still chases that dangling carrot, I know there are other delicious vegetables to consume as well. Kale, for example. Yum.
What dangling carrot has been just out of your reach?
Melissa Clark is currently in Utah observing the Elizabeth Smart trial (which just got put on hold) as research for her new novel.