We had the good fortune of connecting with Malena Lloyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Malena, what inspires you?
When it comes to writing and producing, my inspiration comes from what I don’t understand. I’m always curious about the “why” of people and their actions, so combining that with writing what I do know can really bring out an interesting story. I’d say everything I write is very character-driven. I’m 28 and knowing how many times I’ve changed and grown over the years, there’s an endless possibility for storytelling. The funny thing is that everyone has struggles – everyone! The difficult part is learning how someone evolves from those struggles and figuring out what story to tell and how to tell it. Long story short – I’m inspired by people!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ever since I was a kid, TV was always life-changing. I felt like certain television shows/their characters were there for me. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was a teenager, was a closeted member of the LGBTQ+ community, and grew up in a small town that didn’t have a lot of people “like me.” I had my family and my best friends – all wonderful and supportive. But there was a lot of understanding and no judgement when it came to TV – specifically comedies. Tv made a difference in my life and I want to create programming that makes a difference – I want to pass that torch. I want to be a part of something that’s bigger than me but in a creative way, and television allows me to do that! When I look back at making the big move from upstate NY to LA, it seems crazy that I had the balls to do it (excuse my French). I just jumped. I didn’t really think about so I wouldn’t say it was hard. It was the next logical step. I had just finished grad school, spent the summer at home with my family and best friends, and I didn’t really have a natural next step…except moving to LA and giving film a shot. Two years previous when I was considering grad school in LA, I just wasn’t ready. But during that time in my life, I had to be. I think that’s one of the biggest lessons I learned when it comes to pursuing something you desire or love – just jump (within reason). When I moved to LA I said “yes” to a lot of things: “yes” to my first job offer that was sort of in film, “yes” to meeting up with former classmates, “yes” to going to events even if they weren’t industry-oriented, “yes” to buying people in the industry coffee in exchange for their advice. Another lesson I learned: Try to be ready for the whiplash of the film industry. One day things will be going great and then they’ll take a turn, and vice versa! I’ve learned to keep both feet on the ground and roll with the punches, knowing that one “no” in the industry isn’t a forever “no.” You go back to the drawing board and try, try again. Learn about YOU – professionally, spiritually, emotionally, whatever else. You’ll have a harder time getting lost or falling out of love with your dream if you’re confident in who you are and where you’d like to see yourself. My story is still going and evolving, but I believe love is at the center of everything I do and everything I create. I feel love for my career, the stories I write, the characters I create, those who inspire me, those who support and encourage me.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Oh gosh. I still have plenty of places to explore myself, but one of my favorite things to do is grab lunch on Urth Cafe (I believe it’s the one on Melrose) and take it to the rooftop of Restoration Hardware across the street. You get a good view of the city and it’s nice and breezy up there on hot days. I also love a day-trip to Point Dume in Malibu (although the parking can be a nightmare). If you’re looking for some influencer-style photos, head to the Museum of Dream Space. Some of my favorite places for food and drink are in the Valley. My friends and I go to Simply Coffee in Burbank after the gym every Saturday (outside of quarantine) – they’re coffee is amazing and the service is friendly. I love Tequilas on Magnolia for tacos and margaritas, and Din Tai Fung in Glendale has the most amazing dim sum! Pinball Pizza on Magnolia also has some really great pizza.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Professionally, I have ALL of my college professors to thank, but I’ll focus on two of my professors from SUNY Oswego who got me excited to begin my career. Jamie Adams was the first screenwriting professor I ever had and she taught me how a career in this field can be fun. She taught me how to bring joy to writing and gave me the space to explore. I became her Teaching Assistant my senior year and learned a little behind the scenes of what it was like being a teacher. My other screenwriting professor, Juliet Giglio, taught me the ins and outs of the “biz” – a necessity when living in LA and developing a career in film. She taught me how to sell myself and my work; valuable information from someone who’s gone through it. My professors in grad school at Point Park University helped me hone in on my craft and taught me how to write for television – something I had tried to learn on my own until then. They were dedicated and provided us with speakers that consisted of current professional actors, producers, writers, and directors in the industry. Since graduating from grad school in 2016, a few friends from school and other creatives I’ve met in LA have been supportive and mentoring when it comes to my work. Many have offered to read and send notes, invited me to industry events, and shared contacts, stories and advice. There are so many people I’m grateful for in LA but I have to shout out Blake Ward and Sam Lock. They’ve brought me on board some amazing projects and working with them is inspiring and unlimited. Not to mention, their enthusiasm for film is contagious!

Website: https://www.malenalloyd.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thatssoleelee/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malena-lloyd-qka/
Other: Co-Owner of Social Light LLC: https://www.sociallightllc.com/

Image Credits
Photographer of myself in purple & white stripe shirt: Dakota Lee Stroud

Nominate someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.