We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenda Moran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenda, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
I try to be a “Yes, and…” person. I leap at every opportunity, then try to exceed expectations, giving more than what is requested. As a producer, that often means coming early and staying late, and anticipating fires before they need to be extinguished. As a writer, it means listening to collaborators, going above and beyond with research and preparation, plus adding my own unique spin on the material. From my first day as a Production Assistant, I showed up with willingness and enthusiasm, and I have tried to maintain that same level of eagerness with every project. I pride myself in being able to hop on a train in the direction it’s already heading, help shovel coal, and even assist with a few engine repairs when appropriate. But it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles and took the required rite-of-passage improv class that I learned the term “Yes, and…” which perfectly sums up my approach to all creative work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was terrified of people as a child and riddled with self-doubt as an adolescent. And yet I grew up to be a woman unafraid of her own voice and comfortable being in charge. I worked as a showrunner in unscripted television for years, which required a fearlessness that didn’t come naturally, and was sometimes difficult to summon, but over time it became an integral part of me. It was this journey that inspired the kinds of stories I love to write, which are about women discovering their power. Sometimes it’s political power, sometimes supernatural power, and sometimes it’s a character who is corrupted by power and must find a moral center. No matter what I’m writing, I infuse the story with adventure, comedy, and fun. The first person I’m trying to entertain with my storytelling is myself. Over the years, the challenges I’ve faced usually crop up when I lose perspective and take myself too seriously. So now I try to listen to others, remember what’s important, and recognize that the only way to use power and influence for good is to be collaborative and inclusive. Plus, the work turns out better that way!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Downtown LA has so much to offer: Perusing the shelves at The Last Bookstore, lunch at Grand Central Market, a one-dollar ride on the Angel’s Flight Railway (plus watch the Perry Mason reboot, where it’s featured in the creepiest way imaginable). We would spend a day looking at art at MOCA and The Broad, then head over to marvel at the beauty of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Then we’d put on an impromptu show in the little public amphitheater tucked behind the Disney Concert Hall, and finish the day taking in a show at The Orpheum or the Theater at the Ace Hotel. We would ride the tram up to The Getty Center and spend the day looking at gorgeous views, gardens, and art. And another day exploring the stair hikes and architecture through Silverlake and Echo Park (guided by Charles Fleming’s amazing book, Secret Stairs). We’d eat tacos from Villas Tacos in Highland Park and Guisado’s in Echo Park, followed by a box of donuts from donut friend. You can’t come to Los Angeles without hitting the beach, so we would play in the waves in Santa Monica, then explore the attractions on the pier, before driving up the PCH to Malibu to watch the surfers and take in the gorgeous sunset views before dinner at the Reel Inn. And last but not least, we would hike some secret Griffith Park trails up to the observatory, then watch Rebel Without a Cause to refresh our memories about the significance of the James Dean statue. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I never would have had the guts to pursue TV writing without nudges of encouragement from legendary Star Trek writer Ricky Manning and legendary comedy writer Peter Murrieta. And my husband Shane Moran deserves a little credit, too, for putting up with all my chatter about story and character.