We had the good fortune of connecting with Rose McAleese and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rose, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
If I’m being real, I choose this question to answer because it scares me so much. And if I’m being honest, I recently thought a lot about giving up. What attributes to this thinking is my depression, as well as the current state of the world, and being crippled by not having financial security. A few weeks ago I broke down in front of my mom and dad, I wanted to call it quits. I was overcome with this wave of guilt and anxiety. I told them I was unhappy and terrified that I made a huge mistake. I was so raw and exhausted I finally admitted something I’ve always tried to ignore; I think choosing to be an artist was a very selfish thing to do.
That I regret not chosen a career path that was more sustainable and secure. I feel as though I should have become a more productive member of society. I know I’m lucky because my parents told me I was wrong. That the choice I made to purpose being a writer was far more powerful and impressive. They comforted me by saying these thoughts of another life are all in my head and probably cause by capitalistic thinking that unfortunately, so many people have fallen scam too. My mom and dad told me my only purpose in their eyes was to do what made me happy.
The only way to answer this question is to frame it a little differently; how bright is your fire right now? Put the bills aside for a second, silence all the critics, and ask yourself, how passionate are you? How much do you yearn to create? Does it make you happy? When you wake up in the morning and you think about your art, your love, your passion, does it bring you such joy it physically propels you out from under the covers of your bed? That feeling, those tingles on the back of your neck is your answer; never give up.
Don’t stress about the moments you might have to pretend to be an “adult.” That action is only temporary and it doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you are hustling. Everyone has a rent-paying job, there is no shame in that. I’ve always said this too; giving up is never an option, going broke might be.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In my last interview, I talked a lot about my path and struggles I faced. I’m still very early into my screenwriting career but I’ve been writing for most my life. And no matter what I’ll always be one. It doesn’t matter if I’m a waitress,, a staff member at a very questionable awful social club or a nanny; I’m a writer first. I believe everyone should think like that. You can be working retail and still be a painter. One is just a job and the other is who you are. I think that is a really hard challenge for most people, to stake claim. Own the title of “artist” or whatever it is. But if you need a sign, think of this as your sign. You are what you say you are.
It’s true when they say no business is like show business because man. This shit is nuts! I had a really hard time wrapping my ahead around the idea of pitching myself because I always felt like my talent spoke for me. I knew having a catchy little quick tag line is somewhat important in this industry so I came up with the idea that “I’m Nora Ephron if Nora Ephron listened to Kendrick Lamar.” It’s funny and light hearted.
I also joke that I’m a writer & hella useful. Having so many random rent playing gigs has come so handy. Being a bartender has made it easy for me to talk to anyone at any emotional state they are in. Sad, angry, happy, drunk… I can make them feel at ease. Being a waitress has given me patience, empathy, and a memorial like a pack of elephants. I will say being a nanny has been becoming very useful skill, and I’ll let people guess why. But all and all I think I’m really good in a room and my work speaks for me as well.
My big thing is the “why.” Why do humans do anything that they do? I think my curiosity has set me apart as well as my talent for great dialogue. I love to listen to people, study them, make them feel like they matter. I also love to eavesdrop and party. Two things that are again hella useful skills.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What breaks my heart is a lot of these places are closed because of COVID (please stay home folks!) but let’s pretend everything is not. So with that being said;
The first stop would be going to Little Dom’s for the best bougie breakfast (maybe we’ll see Jon Hamm)
Checking out LACMA
The top of The Grove mall’s parking lot because it’s one of my favorite views of Los Angeles.
Book Soup, Last Book Store, AND Skylight Books
Lunch will be Leo’s Taco Truck on La Brea
Then we’ll take my lovely puppy Batz out for a nice walk around Marina Del Rey, maybe even squeeze in some kayaking.
The West Hollywood Library, again, another incredible view!
And let’s treat ourselves and go to dinner at Osteria La Buca or Petit Trois
Then round out the evening dancing our butts off at Virgil Night ClubShoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been super fortunate for being part of so many supportive communities that helped me, encouraged me, and prepared me for life. For my Seattle homies, I would like to shout out Girls RAP and the whole crew at Powerful Voices. I also had the incredible opportunity to attend Reel Grrls film school. A program that made me realize, “oh snap. I can make movies for a living?”
I was also a proud member of the Youth Speaks Seattle, where I have represented Seattle three times at Brave New Voices and where I got my smart as a teaching artist. I also have so much love for the Hugo House and Hedgebrook.
For my Los Angeles people, I want to shout out the Universal Pictures Emerging Writers’ Fellowship. I didn’t go to college, but that program was all the education I needed. I am a huge believer and support of programs like this one and places like the Sundance lab. I truly believe alternative forms of education are extremely powerful and important.
Also all my friends. I am rich with friends. I have such a kind, supportive, loving, and hilarious community of friends. They cheer me on when I need it most. They believe in me even if I don’t believe in myself and most importantly keep me humble.
I also have dope agents at VERVE. I know that’s a massive privilege and I’m very grateful for them.
Headshot: Janae Jones HRDWRKER photos at the Premiere of my play “A Phrasal, Likewise Me” photo with Lauren Boone my director