My finalist interview for the CAAM Fellowship was scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday, Jan 14. I left my office early at 5:30, thinking I’d get home by 6:15 at the latest. I already prepared for the interview, but wanted to do one more quick review of everything beforehand.
The interview was either going to be by Skype or phone. Phone interviews are hard because you get no visual feedback, so I was hoping for Skype. That way I could see the people interviewing me and gauge their reactions, instead of just talking into a void.
Unfortunately for me, there was ridiculous LA traffic. There had been a fire off the Pacific Coast Highway earlier in the day and that road was shut down, so all that traffic overflowed onto the route I take. After an hour of sitting in traffic, I had moved about 2 miles. There was no way I’d make it home in time. I emailed the people at CAAM and let them know the situation, and told them I could do a phone interview later that night at 7 as scheduled, or reschedule for a Skype interview the next day. They replied and said a phone interview later that night was fine.
I ended up pulling over in front of a Starbucks. All of my prep work was sitting on my laptop at home, so I wasn’t able to review anything beforehand. I turned on the light in my car, found a pen and the back of some receipts to take notes on, and had my interview. Not ideal circumstances, but I’ve done these phone interviews several times now: twice for Nickelodeon, and once for NBC. I know how to talk about myself and my work. I thought I did okay, but you never know.
Waiting is hard. You try not to think about it, but of course that’s all you do. You think about what this opportunity might mean for you if you get in. Then you tell yourself not to get excited, and think about what your plan will be if you don’t get in.
A week after the interview, I was at the Starbucks by LACMA when I happened to run into Dan O’Shannon, Executive Producer of Modern Family. I had met him through Writers on the Verge when he came in to chat with us, and again at a panel at the library downtown. I went over and said hello, and he remembered me. He came in alone, carrying his dinner for the evening, a Banquet frozen dinner. I eat frozen dinners! Maybe I can be a successful writer one day! I took my run in with him as a good writing omen for the year.
RULE OF THREE
Two weeks after the interview, I got an email from Karin saying I was accepted into the program! Then I noticed a pattern. First, there was Karen Kirkland at Nickelodeon, then Karen Horne at NBC, and now Karin Chien from CAAM.
Hello?! That’s 3 Karen/Karins! If any other Karens, say, agents, execs, or showrunners, want to help me out, let me know! You’ll be in good company.
So CAAM! I got in! I know these programs are really competitive, so I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. I’m excited to meet more people, to work on my craft, and create better material. Also, it was a much needed signal for me not to give up quite yet, that I’m on the right path.
The aspect of this particular fellowship that I’m most excited about is that they pair you up with a mentor in your field. I would love to get a mentor who was a writer or executive. We’re going to be picking our mentors soon, and I have my wishlist ready to go. So 2014, off to a good start.