Dear Lauren Graham
Between the number of hours I’ve spent watching Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, it’s safe to say you’ve had a strong presence in my life over the past decade or so. (And by that I mean I’ve probably spent more time with you than I have with some of my actual friends. Sorry, three-dimensional people.)
But even though Lorelai Gilmore and Sarah Braverman have taught me many good things, none of them compare to this:
In contrast, a few months after the book was published, I got word that Ellen DeGeneres’s production company, AVGP, wanted to option it for television. There were discussions about who should write the script. Some advised me to stay open to suggestions, that to give the book its best shot at being made into a TV show it should probably be adapted by someone who’d actually written a TV script before. This made complete sense to me. But when I sat down with Ellen and her producing partner, Jeff Kleeman, and asked whom they were thinking of to do the adaptation, they looked at me funny. “You,” they said, like it was the most obvious answer. That one word opened so many doors.
Now, that script was a delight to work on, but it didn’t get picked up at the CW, so both opinions about who should write it probably had merit. But that experience led to a chance to write a pilot the next year, and that led to a feature agent at my agency taking an interest in me, which led to the opportunity to adapt the book The Royal We with my producing partner and husband, Mae Whitman. When Mae and I went to pitch the book to Terry Press, the head of CBS films, Terry looked at me and said: “Who’s going to write it—you?” I nodded, and she said, “Okay,” giving me another first chance to do something I’d never done before.
I guess what I’m saying is, let’s keep lifting each other up. It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power. If I’m ever in that position and you ask me, “Who?” I’ll do my best to say, “You” too. But in order to get there, you may have to break down the walls of whatever it is that’s holding you back first. Ignore the doubt—it’s not your friend—and just keep going, keep going, keep going.
Thank you for writing Talking As Fast As I Can and thank you for including this story. Thanks for showing what it looks like to keep going, keep going, keep going. It’s exactly what I needed to hear and exactly the thing I’ll read a hundred times over until the day I ask, “Who?” and someone says, “You.”