We had the good fortune of connecting with Maggie Gottlieb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maggie, how to know whether to keep going or to give up?
This is a difficult question – particularly during an unprecedented time in entertainment. With movie theaters struggling to survive, extra constraints on production, and limited face time with decision-makers, our already extremely competitive industry has become even more competitive. Writers are encouraged to constantly hustle and network our way into our next gig, but right now, we don’t have access to anywhere near the usual number of opportunities. It’s a really challenging time to be an emerging writer.
For those of us still self-isolating and working from home, it can feel nearly impossible to stay focused, inspired, and productive amid the constant churning of the 24-hour news cycle. We’ve also had far less access to many of our favorite healthy coping mechanisms, so the burnout is real. The world may be creeping back open, but due to the pandemic, many lower-level writers and industry assistants lost work, had their wages reduced, or were otherwise forced to relocate away from LA and/or make difficult decisions to keep themselves and their families afloat.
How can you creatively thrive when your main focus is to survive?
So, I applaud all writers and creatives who were able to keep their momentum going and gain traction in their careers since March of 2020. I’m truly amazed by the ingenuity, courage, and resolve that so many of my peers have demonstrated. I’ve seen musical comedy concerts on Instagram Live, stage plays over Zoom, idyllic pilot readings in the park, and even a few people landing representation from TikTok. Artists of all stripes are resilient as hell and doing their best to make it work.
Under the circumstances, I also sincerely admire anyone who made tougher choices in the last year – whether to put their dreams on hold, make their life more sustainable, or take an extended break for mental health. It is 100% okay to acknowledge the emotional and financial toll of the moment and make big changes to help yourself stay safer, happier, and healthier – whatever that looks like for you. In the long run, those choices will only benefit you and your projects, and it does NOT mean that you’ve given up.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I came to TV writing by way of academia and improv/sketch comedy, so the path was definitely not a direct one. I’m proud to have made it this far without access to the resources or connections I may have had in film school. I’m largely self-taught, and I’m still learning every single day. The best advice I can give is to read as many scripts as you can get your hands on, start by taking yourself seriously as a writer, and connect with people who have similar goals.
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?
I’d definitely take them for a walk or hike around Tree People in Coldwater Canyon Park, a stroll around the Huntington Gardens, an outdoor wine tasting at the Rosenthal wine room in Malibu, a tour on the Paramount studio lot, a little crystal shopping at the House of Intuition, sushi in the courtyard at Kahuna Tiki followed by drinks at Idle Hour (both in North Hollywood).
Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
My success thus far is thanks, in large part, to my writing group, the Austin Film Fest alumni community, a vast network of supportive writing cheerleaders on the internet, and my friends and family who manage to tolerate me when I’m on a deadline.
Keith Pratt Photography