How can cable do better job at supporting the industry’s women?
Cable scripted programming is at the very top of its game now — arguably the top of any art form out there. And just as showrunner/creators such as Vince Gilligan & Terry Winter enrich complicated worlds with unforgettable characters, so do geniuses like Kerry Ehrin (“Bates Motel”) and Jenji Kohan (“Weeds, ”Orange Is the New Black”), whose heroines & anti-heroines peel away layers of human nature — and female nature — as never before. So when that female writer or showrunner comes a-knockin’, remember they may have a creative edge tapping into the 51% of the population that are women!
How do you define a successful career?
Success is like six sides of a “die:” One is creative — bringing something poignant & truthful & fresh to the screen. Two is in ratings & demographics — gotta deliver those eyeballs! Three is financial — because it’s show business, not show art; for better or worse, the bottom line is the bottom line. Four is managerial — creating a positive environment where all involved can do their best. Five is relationships — building short-hand, trust, friendships, and the joy of helping & working with quality people. And six is balance — keeping perspective, remembering we’re not building (literal!) bombs, and having a life OUTSIDE the business that enriches the soul and refuels the engines. Roll that die, try hard, and you’ll have success every time!
Best trick for maintaining the personal-professional life balance?
Here’s a little trick I use: within the creative process, I try to make sure my references aren’t just movies or other TV shows. I try to make sure I’m using my own heart & family & life & life experiences as touchstones, as a way to keep it real, and stay grounded. No, truth be told, we realistically can’t ”have it all” … but with the above litmus test in mind, I’ll try to read no more than 6 scripts a weekend, and rarely eight or ten. Family, friends, travel, charity — they all make me a better creative executive.