early decision


"All food advice aside, what happens now that the pilot is submitted?  How long of a process is it from your hands to the next?  I find this all very interesting and am excited for you and for all of us who will be watching.  Do you have any input in the casting?" — EZ-Friendzy comment

It’s an exquisite torture, really. Not exactly almost-orgasm exquisite. More like dating a guy you really like. Except you’ve had sex with the guy, and now you’re sitting around waiting for his call wondering if you should have worn the white mesh thong in lieu of the black lace boy shorts. Maybe you sent the wrong message. You stress over the little details, a line here, a phrase, a description, when in reality, I’m betting it has little to do with that and more to do with the overall take-away and what… fits.

If a network has already ordered three shows about a newly single man, whether he has a 21-year-old daughter (and he wants to date one of her friends) or he’s a therapist who can’t follow his own love advice, there might not be room for another one, once the script makes it to the decision maker’s hands, no matter how clever or relevant. It could just be, "We have enough of that already. What else we got?" It could be that they’re looking for a multi-cam show because they’re cheaper to produce, so they’re not making room for more single-cams. There are lots of "could be’s"… so many, in fact, that they keep me up at night, the bastards. And there’s not a thing I can do about it.

You do all this work, and create something that pleases a lot of cooks. There’s my showrunner, the production company executives, the studio, and also the network. Then, after they’ve all weighed in, if you’re lucky, your script makes it into the hands of the decision maker. From there, you just hope. And pray. And wear your lucky jewelry. The ring your husband got you that’s engraved "LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGINED. GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS." The necklace your parents got you for high school graduation, the one your sister and mother also have. Your grandmother’s pearls. Your mother’s day diamond earrings. You wear it in the shower. You wear it when you’re baking and kneading dough. You try not to hit the refresh button on your email all day. You remember that this isn’t all you’ll ever do. That it really doesn’t just come down to this. Then you do a shot.

It’s like you’ve seen in movies and commercials, where you begin with a certain story, particular characters, set circumstances, and throughout the process you concede. You do what’s best for TV. You make choices. They tell you they’re looking for something less dark, more uplifting and light. Then you hand it in, and you get the feedback, "We’re really looking for something darker." This didn’t happen to me, but it happens. All the time. And you know what? You roll with it. It’s just part of it. I’m not the type to ever mention the integrity of the work because I believe in being flexible, in giving people what they ask for as best I can. Then making it work. Even if it were up to me, alone, I’d do things differently. You’re part of a team, even if you’re the "creator" of a show.

So right now, it’s like waiting for the fat envelope to arrive from your first choice school. If you don’t get in, it’s not the end of the world. But it still stings, even if you hear that they just couldn’t take one more white kid. That it wasn’t your grades, test scores, or essay. They simply can’t make room for you. It’s hard to know that there’s more in store for you down the line. It’s hard to be positive and not let it stop you. Because at the end of the day, it takes believing in yourself, no matter what anyone else tells you. If you work hard enough at it, if you keep trying in the face of rejection, you’ll get somewhere… it just may not be the place you’d imagined. It can be much more.

2 YEARS AGO: The Race of Your Lives
4 YEARS AGO: Jack the Knife, She Said, He Said: A Date with Stephanie Klein
5 YEARS AGO: Not Another Knicks Game



  1. I was watching TV last week, Lost, as it were, when I saw a promo for a new show coming out, though I couldn't tell you what that show was now. Anyway, I thought of you and I thought of the book, which I finally finished a few weeks ago and I thought of how cool it will be when I'm watching TV as usual and catch a promo for your show. As a fairly recent fan of yours I am all tingly with anticipation so I can only imagine what you are feeling right now. I love your attitude about it and hope it does work out. I, for one, would love to see it.

  2. You definitely have the right attitude about it. My neighbor has worked in television for about 25 years. Every show you can remember growing up with as a kid he's had a hand in (he's worked on 24, ER, Buffy, etc., etc.).

    Sometimes, he'll launch some of the most brilliant television you've ever seen and then… it gets canned. Actually, that's not sometimes. Everything always, eventually, gets canned. I remember someone in the industry here commenting about how, when you work in television, you're constantly waiting for the day you know you'll get fired, and are always looking for the next job.

    So when this happens, my neighbor shrugs his shoulders and waits for the next round of offers to come in. He knows he'll work again, just not when.

    Enjoy the break and the time you have right now to spend with your family. If you do get picked up and are part of the writing staff, 18 hour days in the writer's room will be the norm. (Incidentally, will you relocate to LA?) If you don't, it might be a temporary 'no' for the show, with a possible green light sometime down the road. If it never happens, then hey, you're Stephanie Klein. Which means you probably have a million other tricks already up your sleeve.

    Best of luck!


  3. I love your analogy with the boy. It's so true. Sometimes it just fits. You are going to do great.
    I have just recently started reading your blog, and I love it. You have immense talent, and I appreciate your honesty.

  4. I love your analogy with the boy. It's so true. Sometimes it just fits. You are going to do great.
    I have just recently started reading your blog, and I love it. You have immense talent, and I appreciate your honesty.

  5. A friend pointed me toward your blog during a break up and it really helped. I think I owe you a jesus doll thank you.

  6. If the network decides to go with a another reality show rather than your book i'm gonna cancel cable.

  7. I wrote a pilot in College and although I fancy myself a competent writer it definitely presented struggles in showing not telling. Love to see your script on line.

  8. I love show's that are funny but have heart. I expect nothing less from my favorite author. Good luck.

  9. Just keep reminding yourself that Tv is unpredictable and just as the outcome of this pilot is out of your hands now, so is tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. You just never know what will be waiting around the corner, or where your writing will take you next. Stay true to who you are *sounds like a bumper sticker* and as I said, the novelty in your writing will carry you through.

    Having said that, I really, really hope this pilot comes through and I'm going to piss my pants watching it on tv!

  10. >>If the network decides to go with a another reality show rather than your book i'm gonna cancel cable.

    Uh… that would be a waste, considering she sold her pilot to ABC.

  11. Good luck Stephanie! Found this a post I could really relate to as I shopped around a book last year, got to several ed boards and ultimately rejected. But while I was waiting, I wondered what other people did while they waited… Glad to know I'm not the only one with an RSI in their mouse finger from clicking the refresh button.

  12. "The ring your husband got you that's engraved "LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGINED. GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS"

    wow. that made my eyes wet!

    that is so f'n nice!!!

  13. Is there someone I could call or send an email to on this?! I'll even buy the crappy products that advertise on your show if they put it on.

  14. Thanks for the response Stephanie. If your story ends up resembling anything closely related to your book, we the audience will be in for a treat. It is exciting, gut wrenching and quite frankly something I know my stomach couldn't handle, but in a good way. If positive thoughts from out here make all this come together, then you will have a hit on your hands. I am excited and truly wish you the best.

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