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

Hi Taylor, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success is authenticity. There was a time when I would play it safe and just write what I thought people would want to read. It wasn’t until I started writing about the things that scared me that I was truly happy with my work.

I’ve learned to lean into the things that you think are going to make you different and weird — that those are the things that actually end up resonating with people the most. If you see a hole for a certain type of story or character in the industry, chances are that you’re not the only one seeing it and wishing someone would fill it.

If you’re not passionate about something — if your heart isn’t truly in it — not only are you not going to be satisfied, but other people probably aren’t going to connect to it either. Embracing your own unique voice and interests is key. Making yourself vulnerable can be terrifying but ultimately help people feel less alone. And for me, that’s always my ultimate hope when I write — that my words will help people feel seen and understood.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m passionate about telling stories from a female, LGBTQ+ lens. This often takes the form of coming-of-age dramedies, as I love delving into the experience of growing up and exploring both the heartbreaking and hilarious parts of life.

One of the projects I’m proudest of is a script I co-wrote with Sav Rodgers: a comedy feature about a trans high school boy called I Love You, Margot Robbie. I feel this script is groundbreaking, as it tells a different, more hopeful narrative than what the media usually portrays for this community. The script is currently in the top 1% of projects on Coverfly and is a finalist in the ScreenCraft Comedy Competition — one of 25 out of 3,100 submissions.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It started when I was a kindergartener with short poems and turned into a fanfiction obsession throughout my teenage years. Eventually, I realized that I could make a career out of combining my two loves — writing and TV/movies — and began producing original work. I feel that my first “big break” came when I was accepted into Outfest’s young filmmaker fellowship and was given the chance to write and direct my comedy short, “Academic Super Squad.”

One of the most important things I’ve learned in the past few years is just how important community and surrounding yourself with creative people is. Writing can often feel so solitary, and having a group of friends to support you and collaborate with can be so motivating and make a huge difference.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I love theater, so we would definitely catch a show somewhere! Geffen Playhouse always stages some great plays. Hotel Cafe has great live music, and the Hollywood Bowl is an experience like no other. The museums are to die for, and The Broad is a personal favorite. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is a classic LA move to make you feel very Hollywood, and even though I’ve been on it a few times, I still nerd out seeing all the sets. The Cinespia outdoor movie series has the best vibes in the world. The Last Bookstore is my dream come true as a bookworm, and Amoeba fills my vinyl-loving heart right up. El Matador beach is my favorite outdoor oasis, and the Playa Vista farmers’ market is a hidden gem of sorts.

Food and drinks

Bar Jackalope is a low-key whiskey-tasting bar that makes me feel ridiculously classy, Good Time at Davey Wayne’s has 70s decor that feels like a portal to another time period, and Scum and Villainy Cantina is a futuristic Star Wars bar. I’m always down for a Hopdoddy burger in Playa Vista or pad thai at Emporium Thai in Westwood. Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills or Smoke House in Burbank are my go-tos if I’m looking for a splurge. For dessert, both Mashti Malone’s and Salt and Straw have some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Blind Barber in Culver City doubles as a place for a haircut and a top-tier grilled cheese. And finally, if you’re into reality trash like me, a Lisa Vanderpump restaurant is a must. (Sur is my personal favorite!)

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 someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people! My parents and sister for constantly encouraging me and supporting my dreams. My professors at the University of Evansville for helping me find and hone my voice. Everyone at Outfest for giving me a chance to do what I love on a stage bigger than I ever thought possible. And finally, all of my fellow creative friends who have acted as collaborators, co-writers, and consultants throughout the years.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/taylor_gates_

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/taylorgates14/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Elphaba_Anne

Facebook: www.facebook.com/taylor.gates.5

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