I have always been really good at keeping track of actors. Who was in what with who, and way too much information on their relationships from magazines. My family and I used to play the link game, where you name two actors, then link them through the movies they have been in and the people they have worked with. My brain just remembers these things. Often more than the actual schoolwork I was trying to remember. The point is, it wasn’t until recently that I started to pay attention to the people behind the camera as well (which is terrible, I know, but by recently, I mean like 10 years ago). Soon, I was realizing that certain writers and directors were consistently involved in projects that I love, that I would kill to be in (not literally, but almost). So, while I have a multitude of actors I really want to work with someday, I also have a list of people who aren’t on camera whose work I admire and would love to bring to life.
- Joss Whedon: Joss has actually been on my list long before I had a list. Because, Buffy. Even if for nothing else, I would want to work with this guy because he brought me the strong and honest and flawed and absolutely perfect Buffyverse. I will also watch anything that he makes. Hearing Eliza Dushku and Tahmoh Penikett talk about their experiences producing and auditioning for Dollhouse, or really any story from anyone who has ever worked with him…he seems to really care about his actors. Develops bonds with them. And he keeps working with the same ones. To the point that he convinced a bunch of them to come to his house at a moment’s notice to film some Shakespeare. Which was incredible. When he joined the Marvel Universe it became clear that I had to work with him. Any part. Any project. His strong female characters that kick @ss, how he brings back the same awesome actors throughout his projects, how amazing his projects are…Plus, any guy who’s response to “Why do you write these strong female characters?” is “Because you’re still asking me that question.” has my heart.
- J.J. Abrams: Armageddon. Alias. Star Trek. Star Wars. Lost. Revolution. Believe. Westworld. Off the top of my head, these are the movies or shows he has done that I loved and am super emotionally involved in. He also has some really strong female characters (Rey, Sydney Bristow ❤ ) in incredible stories, and Bad Robot is awesome. And not that he needs another reason, but generally, to get onto one of his projects, you have to audition for April Webster. When I was in L.A. a few years ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out with her for a couple of days at the Bad Robot offices. Technically I was volunteering/interning for her, but I got way more out of it than I possibly could have given. Everyone there was so nice and welcoming, and April could read as 3 different characters in an audition and still give so much to the actor. So I guess this one is a two-parter; I want to audition for April Webster so that I can work with J.J. Abrams.
- Shonda Rhimes: When I was in the 2nd grade, I had a shirt that said TGIF, but in variation to the normal ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ it stood for ‘Thank God I’m Female’. A new spin on it is the TGIT where Shonda owns Thursday nights on ABC. When I graduated from high school, I thought I was going to be a doctor, so I like to live vicariously through the doctors I see on TV. More than that, Shonda is a Girlboss. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder…Crossroads. She has built an empire and her characters, although deeply flawed, are also human and strong and compelling. As an audience member, we may hate the lack of a traditional ‘and they lived happily ever after’ but it’s refreshing to see a different kind of love story, where the girl’s dream is a career rather than a man. Either way, when Shonda stands at a podium and tells you that “You are not alone” not only is it awesome, but you believe her. And, once she likes you, you are in. Which cuts off a lot of crossover opportunities, but is really fun if you like the actors. Or if you are the actor, which I hope to someday be 🙂
- Greg Berlanti: He is newer to my list. Probably because it took a while for me to recognize that he was behind not only Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, but also Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Blindspot, Legends of Tomorrow, Life As We Know It…the sheer volume of his shows that I have been obsessed with…All I have to do is be the first person in the room when he starts auditioning for his next production.
- The Walking Dead: This is not a person, although I really like pretty much everyone involved on this show. The last 2 spots on this list have actually fluctuated up to this point. It’s one of the reasons why it took so long to write this post. Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, Aaron Sorkin, Mindy Kaling…many people have been on it. Other than just creating amazing shows and movies that I aspire to be a part of, these are amazing people. And to be honest, names usually show up on here after I see them using the same actors over and over again, because I love and want that. Set families, coming back to people you really like to do incredible work together…Once upon a time Frank Darabont was on this list, and I still really enjoy his work, but I love the show. It would be a dream job; working with the cast and crew, death dinners, Talking Dead, Comic Con, Chris Hardwick, Women Who Kick Ass Panels (because who doesn’t want to be like Michonne, Maggie and Sasha?). I am even working on my British accent, because although they never use them on the show, it does seem to give actors a leg up for casting if they have one 😉
So, there are my top 5 people that I want to work with/show that I want to be on. There are obviously more people on the list, and it will grow, but I hope to not change the top 5. This isn’t a list that once a name gets crossed off it can be replaced. I want to be someone that people really enjoy working with. So that first time is the start of a beautiful relationship.