Anne Cofell Saunders–a television writer, executive producer, and mom of two daughters–tells her story of growing up in a small town in South Dakota to becoming an award-winning and respected television writer and producer in Hollywood. Mother’s Day episode one of four.
- 2:15 : What’s a typical day in your life like now?
- 2:55: What’s your “new normal” as a working mom?
- 4:00 : What are some of the rewards of this time?
- 4:43 : How is this time going to change things for TV in the future?
- 5:30 : What was your previous routine as a writer and executive producer?
- 12:41 : Are you considered a freelancer?
- 13:58 : As a leader, do a lot of decisions land on you?
- 14:54 : How is your lifestyle different from how you grew up?
- 20:28 : Did you know in graduate school that you would pursue television writing?
- 24:20 : Can you detect a writer’s personality when you meet other artists?
- 31:58 : Are you part of the training process for writers to understand room etiquette?
- 33:02: What is it like being a woman in a leadership position in Hollywood?
- 53:25 : Do you think you’ve “made it?”
- 58:00: What advice do you have for students who may be considering a career in the arts during these crazy times?
- 1:04:16 How are you managing working at home with your spouse?
- 1:04:38 How can listeners follow and connect with you?
- “TV production is very fast-paced and, inevitably, your day is never what you expect it to be.”
- “I really enjoy change and spontaneity and diversity in my work. I wilt under repetition.”
- “You can be on a show with really easy hours, but I’ve been on a lot of high-intensity high-budget shows, which require long hours.”
- “I can be gone for a three-week chunk and shooting for 12-hour days.”
- “[When shooting] I don’t control my time. People tell me where to go…they make sure I get to where I need to go.”
- “The longer you’re in the business the more control you usually have.”
- “There’s a hard downside of being away for three weeks; you miss a lot of important things.”
- “I try to draw my kids into it as much as possible.”
- “I have control of the jobs that I take, but when you step into a show you don’t know what that’s going to require.”
- “The first-season shows are like a start-up company; everyone is working hard and has their own job. There’s not a lot of inherent structure–you step in and do a lot of making it your own.”
- “There’s always places to go–there’s always lots to learn every time.”
- “There’s tons of work in television.”
- “I didn’t even know I wanted to be in TV…I didn’t know my job existed.”
- “I grew up with a sort of hope and plan that I would get out of my small town.”
- “I wanted to be a writer…I published my own little poetry book when I was in 7th grade.”
- “I taught English in Japan and backpacked across the country.”
- “I take risks everyday.”
- “In the writer’s room, there’s a lot of improv.”
- “The writer’s room is a very ‘yes-and’ place. There are no bad or stupid ideas.”
- “A movie ends, but TV–theoretically–never ends.”
- “I love being creative all day.”
- “I spend a lot of my time trying to channel incredibly intense emotionality and aiming for really hard story targets.”
- “LA is very expensive… I’ve couch-surfed before, I had no safety net.”
- “An essential quality to have to be successful in Hollywood is to be able to live with risk.”
- “I think parents need to be wary of giving advice on things they don’t have direct experience with.”
- “If your child has a drive to be an artist, throw everything in your power to support them.”
- “Being a generalist gets you nothing.”
- “Who you are is unique and special, and as an artist you’re unique and special.”
- “If you feel a calling in your soul to be an artist–or whatever it is–you throw yourself in whole-heartedly, you get your 10,000 hours in, you practice, and that makes you special and unique.”
- “TV-writing pays an obscene amount of money.”
- “Temperament, talent, and force-of-will/persistence are key elements.”
- “Take risks as much as possible, be courageous, and don’t be afraid to fail.”
- “Make sure what you’re doing as a living is something you can stand to do every day of your life.”
- “I don’t mind failing at writing, because it’s learning.”
- “I have one thing to say to anyone who wants to follow an artistic career of any kind–it is the truest thing I have found so far in my career–never let anyone tell you who you are.”
- “Don’t let anybody make you feel small or ‘less-than.’”
- “Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m grateful for feedback and I’m better at hearing feedback than I used to be.”
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DYBP theme song, “Ditch” © 2020 by Dean Keith