Kendra Chanae Chapman is an accomplished Television writer who's worked on Designated Survivor, Emergence, and the upcoming Power: Book V (Tommy Spinoff of Power). She tells us how she went from receptionist to one of Hollywood's up and coming Television writers. She also gives us a behind the scenes look of what it's like to be in the writing room of a TV show.
You can find Kendra on Instagram @kendrachanaechapman
And she even has a food blog https://nopecanteatthateither.com/
Welcome to Episode Two of once upon a film industry where we do a deep dive into the life stories of film industry professionals. I'm Stephen Lloyd Bennett. Hey, I'm Lopez today we have for you Kendra Chanae Chapman Kendra's written for Designated Survivor and the upcoming Tommy spinoff of power. So without further ado, Kendra Chanae. Chapman Kendra Chanae Chapman, how you doing? I'm good, how are you? I'm good. Welcome to our show. Where are you from? Kendra, I'm from Chicago, the only city that matter Chi town. In the house. We got Chi-Town and New York City in the house talking about the only city that matters. eating pizza with a fork. Get outta here! Kendra, so what age did you start writing? Whoo. I don't know. I don't remember not writing. Um, my so backstory. My mother is a writer. She's a copy editor, proofreader, freelance writer. So since I can remember, she's had me writing something. So I started off doing like short stories and like young author competitions in elementary school and things like that. Um, I was like, the school editor of our newspaper in high school. In college, I wrote for the paper as well, I did film reviews, I got into playwriting, and screenwriting at that point. Um, so there's always been like, some kind of writing in my arsenal, like I have a food allergy blog, because I'm allergic to, like 20 different foods and things like that. So I do that on the side, in addition to my television, writing, so I'm always writing something, the food allergy, like, how did you get into that? And now you just explained that that's, that's Yeah. Cool. How many do you know how many blogs you have up already? So I don't know how many posts I've done. But I've, I think I've been doing it since 2016. So about four years now. And I try it like in the beginning. You know, when I wasn't writing for television, I had a little bit more time to dedicate to the blog. So I was writing like every week. Now it's more like every month, every other month, just depending on how life is. But I try to keep it up to date. Because when I started it, it was because I had recently gotten fully diagnosed with all those allergies, like I knew about a few of them from the kid like my shellfish, fish and tree nuts and peanuts. But everything else I found out when I was like 25, because I had my first anaphylaxis reaction. So I started Googling and trying to find resources and like, Okay, how am I gonna? How do you manage having all these things and still trying to be a person and I couldn't find any blogs about food allergies from any person of color, man or woman or any kind of color, not even just black. Like I was just looking for anybody brown because our experience is different. You know, we just we come from a different world. So I wanted to find someone who looked kind of like me to to give me advice, and I couldn't find that. So it just felt like, there was a wide lane open for me to share my new experience with other people. So that was really my my motivation for doing it. So as a writer, you write this blog, you write on television, um, what were some of your were or at least, what was your greatest influence growing up? Oh, man, other than my mother. Um, I was always the kid who like, I wanted to watch everything. That's the first thing and I'm still that way. I just like to consume things, TV and film. But also, I'm the I was the kid who would rewatch things over and over and over until I knew every single word of it, and I could recite it back to you. Um, so kids movies like Raka Doodle, like you probably might not have even heard of the Raka doodle yet. Most people don't know. It's like, things like that. And then growing up, I still do that now. Like, I'll find something that I love like the movie Juno, when that came out. I watched that more than most people have seen that movie, but it's like, my writing is so fantastic. That's um, what's a Diablo Cody. Mm hmm. It is fantastic. She has a quote that I love. She says, um, she doesn't have drafts. She just constantly paws over her script like a kitten with OCD. Hmm. And I was like, that's exactly how I write. But you can see she's very dialogue driven. And, like her characters are so rich and so unique and so special because of that. She's actually one of my random inspirations like, no, she's fantastic. Take and somebody else that I just love is Robert Townsend. And even more so it's about the writing, but it's also about his hustle to write. It's like being an independent producer and getting it done. And putting a film on a credit card and only being able to do one take of every scene and coming out with what he came out with is unheard of like, of course, it's flawed. Of course, you'll look at it and you'll say, Oh, that's a blooper. Like, you can see Damon Wayans laughing kind of in the corner of one of the scenes of Hollywood shuffle. But that's what makes it so special as well. Like he really took a risk and believed in himself enough to put it all on red. And it worked. So yeah, yeah. So I would say certainly him as well. And like, I love watching old episodes. I mean, they're all obviously but of I Love Lucy, like, I'm a huge fan of Lucille Ball. And I'm not even a comedy writer. But she she, I mean, the level of hilarity is, is crazy. And it's still as funny now, you know, it was made in a very, very different time. And there is no one who looks like us on on that show. But I still laugh, and I still enjoy it. And it's still relatable. And I think that's a very difficult thing to do. So where do you think your writing kind of directs to? Is it so you said it's not comedy? Yeah. Definitely not comedy. I'm definitely a drama writer through and through a dark drama. I like family oriented things. Most of the original things that I write are set in Chicago, because I just feel like one that's my home. And that's the place that I know best. But also, the representations of Chicago that I usually see in film and television is either like, Oh, this is New York being subbed for Chicago, or it's a person who wrote who's not from Chicago and doesn't actually understand what Chicago is like. And it is so frustrating. So frustrating. I'm currently writing a feature film that's set in Chicago. So yeah. Right. And it's like to say that a writer only can write about where they're from is ridiculous. That's just not that's not how it works, right? Like, right, in order to work, you need to be able to, like I could get hired on a show. And it said in Oklahoma, I've never even been to Oklahoma, but I know I need to figure it out. So like, dictation is not that the person has like, live there anything like that. But I do think that it's important that you immerse yourself in whatever it is you're writing about. Like if I'm going to write a movie about a mob organization, well, I probably need to do a lot of research. I've never been in the mob. I don't know anybody in the mob. So it's like I you know, I have to completely dive into that and, and allow myself to understand the world as best as possible so that I can tell a truthful story. Absolutely. I'm so dark, gritty. I like cable, I'm less of a broadcast writer, more of a cable writer, I would say my ideal is like streaming or maybe like an FX type of situation. Or even like a Showtime. I'm working on a star show right now. So I like that sort of a lane where it feels like you can have more honest characters and really talk about the nitty gritty. Whereas like, if you're working on a show on like ABC or CBS, there are going to be a broadcast rules that you have to follow. There are certain things you can't say certain topics like that Disney doesn't want you to touch on on ABC, things like that. Is that something that they tell you ahead of time? Like what you can touch on? Oh, is that something that's like, you know, within the dotted lines that you supposed to know already, you kind of know it are ready. And even if you just look at you look at what ABC has on television versus what HBO has on television, right? There's no way that ABC could have created Game of Thrones, right? just not gonna happen. It's just, it just is so out of their realm. And that's not to say that ABC shows are great. I sit there and I watch them all. I'm still watching Grey's Anatomy 16 years later. So they got me there's nothing wrong with their programming, but it's something that my agent and I talk about a lot is, okay, this project that you're working on, Who should we target? Where do we see this fitting? Or am I writing this as a broadcast show? so that it can fit into that mode? Or am I writing this as more of a cable streaming series so we can just be targeted because everything is not going to be pitched to everybody? TV or film? What's your focus? That's hard. I want to do both. I've only professionally worked in television though. But my goal is to write films produced films. I also have no desire to only be a staff writer for the rest of my life. I would like to show run. I would like to direct. I wanted direct films, I want to write films. I want to produce other people's work. I want to have a production company that's advocating for young new artists of color new voices. Okay, well, listen, I'm trying to make I Love it. Love it is that is the hustle game. I love it. You Ava. She's making moves. I know. I know. I know. I appreciate that. I really appreciate that. Looking back, what moment or series of moments they if they had not happened, you wouldn't be where you are today. Oh, okay. That's good. Um, okay. There are three that I can think of the first decision was to go to school for theater and not film. Nice. What school do you go to? I went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. So I think that decision has helped me just as a writer, right? I think the theater training really helps you understand story, and it helps you understand character, because the actors and the character and the plot is was really driving everything that's on that stage. Right? It's, of course, it's a production in their lights and all that. So this is not to take away from any of that at all. It's its own thing. But I do think that the words mean so much in theater in a way that they don't always mean in film and television. Absolutely. Because the audience is doing a little bit of work. They're using a little bit of imagination, absolutely real, because these people are in front of them are pretending Meanwhile, film, everything's given right to you, everything is handed to you, all you got to do is just sit back and enjoy the ride. So I think that decision to pursue theater, even though I knew, okay, I'm not going to be a play, right, I'm probably not about to produce a bunch of plays, that was never really my plan. It was more for the training and the understanding so that I can utilize it in this way. So I was very intentional about that. Then I think the other decision was to as soon as I graduated, I went home for like, maybe two or three weeks, packed up my life and move to LA did not have a job. I didn't wait. I just came out here and I was like, I'm gonna figure it out. And fortunately, I had parents who were supportive of that, you know, they were like, okay, we'll give you a few months, we'll help you out, we can, you know, we'll reassess and a handful of months and see what's going on if we need to change this plan a little bit, but they gave me time to try to figure it out, where I didn't have to worry about not being able to pay my rent next month. And you know, most a lot of parents aren't able to do that, right? Like, I was fortunate enough to have that I'm an only child, there's, you know, they're supportive of me. And they've always wanted me to pursue the things that I've wanted to pursue. So I think being intentional about that and just going for it, right, and I was out here and I had a job within a couple months, and I became the receptionist says CBS and Nina tassa gave me my first job. And I've been working ever since it's kind of Next question. I was gonna ask you how you got into how you got into writing? on TV? Yes. Oh, so Well, actually, my my third, like leap of faith moment will answer that for you. Yeah. I was an assistant. So my first job was receptionist. So CBS. I was at CBS for about four years doing different assistant jobs, I was able to move up and move around over there. And then I left because I hadn't been able to work in programming yet. I went over to ABC Family before it was free for and I was there for that transition. Then I left and went to Universal television, and universal television. I was a drama development coordinator. And I did that for a little over a year. And then this day came where I was like, okay, it's either time for promotion, because I started kind of talking to my boss about that, like, what's the next step? I had been an assistant for a while. So like, something had to happen. It had been seven years of assistant life, and I was over it. So we started having that conversation. And then I just had to have the honest talk with myself of like, do you really want to be an executive? like is that actually what you want to do? Or is this just a stability thing? Because it is a very stable job, right? You know where you're going every day. You got this guaranteed money benefits, all that I wasn't constantly having to look for work. And then I just had to tell myself that's not why you moved here. You didn't move here to sit behind a desk all day and Put other people's careers along, that was never the plan that was the means to get to where I want it to be. So I set my boss down and I said, Okay, I'll give you as much time as you need. But we need to find a replacement for me, I'm going to go pursue my writing, I just, I just made a decision. And I was like, we will find you someone. So we started the interview process. And over the next like two months, I was able to get my agent and a friend of mine, who was an executive there with me, introduced me to my agent who's still with me now. Um, she sent me literally on one meeting with Neil bear for Designated Survivor. And I honestly went into that meeting, say, okay, I've never been on a show runner meeting, I don't know what that means. I don't, you know, I just need to go and figure it out and use this kind of as my template and my road map so that I understand how these meetings are going to be going forward. So I went to the meeting, had a great meeting got on a flight because a web series that I produced was in a film festival in New York, I got a call Three days later for my agents, and I got the job. And I never went back to Universal again. And it worked out that we had found her an assistant who I kind of started trying to like the stars just aligned in this weird, cosmic way. But I don't think that if I if I hadn't made that decision to just tell my boss, look, I'm done with it. Like, I'll help you. But I'm done with this. I don't think that I would have hustled hard enough to make it work, if that makes sense. No, that makes a lot of sense. Perfect. Perfect. So you worked your way from literally receptionist to TV writer. Yep. That's, that's very, very impressive. Very impressive. And it says it says a lot about you of how brave you are to make those decisions and have faith in your abilities to you know, to know that, hey, I'm gonna make it I'm right. This is it. I'm going down this route. This is what I came here for. And I'm just I wish I was a fly on the wall. Just you having this conversation with yourself in the mirror? Like, so? Is this really what we're about to do? it? No, it's scary. But I also, I'm a firm believer too. And like, the greater the risk, the greater the reward, right? Oh, if you're not willing to bet on yourself, no one else is going to be willing to bet on you. ours. So you sometimes you just sometimes you just got to do it. And and my thought was like, Okay, let's just go on this journey. worst possible case, I don't get a job as a writer and I have to go be someone else's assistant, I never doubted that I could just go get another assistant job and not gonna be destitute. So why not just try it and see what happens. It's very powerful, very powerful. Um, I'm interested in So what was your reaction when your agent called you? Oh, my God. So I, I literally had gotten off the train in Secaucus, New Jersey, because my godmother lives in Secaucus. So my friend and I, who she went with me to the New York Television Film Festival, and we were saying, with my godmother, we get off the train my phone rings, I didn't even think because I truly did not go into this meeting expecting to get this job, no part of not that I didn't want it. I wanted the job. But I just, it's like, who gets their first writing job off of their first meeting with Jason, he happened to write. This was never, I hadn't even really considered it truly. So I get the call. And she's like, so I love my and she's great. But she's like, so we need to talk about, like, how you conduct herself in meetings. And I'm like, What do you mean? Like, I'm a very professional and kind person, like, I couldn't have done anything wrong in this meeting. Like I just, that's not my energy. And she's like, cuz you just got staff on your first show. And I literally screamed at the sub caucus train station. Set there on the bench with my friend and we had a little cry. It was great call. parents. They were so happy. Like it was just, it was straight out of a movie. Like it couldn't have been It couldn't have been a better moment. And how long were you on this show? So designate it had been cancelled by ABC after two seasons, and then Netflix picked it up for season three. So I was on the season three at Netflix, we only got one season, then it was canceled again. But I was a staff writer on that show. So it was a 10 episode order. And I ended up writing one episode solo and then I wrote a second episode that I shared with another staff writer. Nice. So okay, so this is the I think a lot of People have this question. Actually, I have this question as well, because I'm not TV writer. I'm a film guy, but the writers room. How in the heck does that work? Like, how many people in the writers room, there were six of us, including the showrunner six of you. So every show is different. Each expense so I'm on my third show now, all of the rooms have been different all of the processes have been different. So with designated six writers, like I said, 10 episodes on day one when we got there now Neil is a very, like, super smart, super meticulous, he has a plan. He's a pediatrician. He's not practicing right now. But just to tell you about his brain, like he's super super smart. Um, and like started on er, and then he created lanard SBU with Dick wolf. So like, Neil, Neil, now just for the audience, Neil is the show runner is that no, bear is the show runner. One who, who I met with and then he was running the Rome for the for the writers got, oh, we get there day one he's already created like a board of here are the 10 episodes. And here's the episode that you are responsible for writing. So when new day one, which episode we were going to be writing. Ah, gotcha. Now, that has never happened again. And the other two rooms that I was in, it was not that structure, you kind of like on emergence, I found out I was writing episode nine while we were breaking like episode six. So we were like in the middle of it when I got assigned my episode for the show that I'm on right now, which is a spin off of power on stars. Um, Oh, nice. Yeah, I'm on the Tommy spin off for that one, nice power book five. So they're all like power book to power Book Three. So I'm on like installment five, basically, um, but we found out maybe about five or six weeks in which episodes we'd be writing. So every the way each showrunner works is like very different. It's all based on their comfort level. But the rooms all kind of function the same in terms of breaking story, like we always start off with, like, thinking about character, and like large themes that we want to talk about in the season. Like what's important? Where do we want our main character to be by Episode 10? Where do we need to get them to? And then we kind of work backwards to say, okay, maybe around Episode Five, this happens, Episode Two, their mom dies or whatever. And we just try to figure out these really big plot points. And then from there, we start going episodically. And we'll literally start breaking each episode, which means you figure out each and every scene that happens in an episode, where is it located? Who's in the scene? What needs to happen in said, scene, what are they talking about, and said scene, and you move through the entire episode. And from that, the writer can then write the outline, and then write the script. Okay, so everyone together works on the overall template. And then the writer goes and fills it out. Basically, yes. So anything that's like, super important, we'll decide in the room. Now, you know, the writer is responsible for the color, right? So it's like, we're not gonna say, oh, Aaron walks into the room, and then Emily hugs him. And then they start this conversation. Then at this moment, there's a kiss, like, you let the writer kind of fill in when those things happen and how they happen. But we determined together, okay, it is important that they kiss in the same because he has a girlfriend. So that kiss has to happen here to set up the next episode, or whatever. So we determine all the moments that are pushing story forward together. And he when he or she delivers their first draft, who's giving Are you all giving notes? Or does show run a given notes? How's that work? So typically, what it's been, and it's been pretty similar on all three shows, um, like for the outline, the writer will turn it into the room, everybody will read it. And then like, the next day, we'll all sit around the table and go through each scene, and if anybody has notes, or suggestions or thoughts, so we'll say, Oh, this isn't really working the way we thought it was not a word, maybe we need to rethink the scene. And we might like really break things based on the read. And then after that, they'll do their edits. And then at that point, it's usually just between the writer and the showrunner for further notes on that document. And then when the first draft comes in, we'll sit down again as a group go through it, and then it becomes between the writer and the showrunner is there. Maybe this Just my own fear of being a film guy, but is there like competition in the room where it's like, I'm gonna give this extra note because I don't like the way he goes. Yeah, I feel like that he goes offline, right? Yeah, it's like my episode for Episode Five. But I will say like, it's important for show runners to to, because it's like a puzzle, right? It's like they're trying to find writers that all fit together that can tell the story. So you might have like, like on our show now on power book five, it's like, somebody might be really good at crime stuff, right? Somebody might be really good at family drama, somebody might be really good at comedy, because every show needs some levity. Somebody might be really good at understanding the police force, or whatever the different elements are. So like the showrunners, trying to find people who can all fit together to tell the story. But also they have to look at personalities, right? Because like, I won't say what room but there there was wrote one room where we had a few egos and a few issues because of it. And it's hard, right? Because sometimes you don't, you don't know, right? You You sit down with a writer, and all you have is that one meeting and you're trusting that that one meeting and the word of their agent or manager about their personality is truthful, right? But then you don't truly learn about a person until you're sitting in a room with them for 10 hours a day for weeks on end. And people start to show who they actually are. Um, so there are definitely egos. But I will say there are more better people in a room than not so great people in the room. So even if you have the ego, like you still have advocates there with you too nice. It's about keeping everyone's mind on the ultimate goal, which is making a dope show totally like everybody's there for the same reason. Everybody wants to go home at a decent hour. No one's trying to spend the night. So it's like if everybody has everybody has the same goal in mind, get the job done. So how do they I mean, I guess you kind of answered this already with the showrunner. And it's different with every show, but how do they dictate the hierarchy? in a room? Or is there a hierarchy where it's like, we know Kendra is the dopest. But you know, it's like, how does that yeah, it exists. But I think good show runners are good at making everybody just feel like a writer, and not necessarily based on their level. Now, I don't think that's always successful. Right. But like, I think that's the intention generally. But of course, like, there are other producers in your room, you know, you have co VPS, you have supervising producers, like whatever your level is all the way down to staff writers. And the way that show runners determine the makeup of the room is simply just based on budget and needs, right, it's like, sure, you could have a room full of CO VPS, who have written 20 episodes of television and don't need a ton of hand holding. But then it's like, you're gonna blow so much money on just your writers room, when you could have like, to upper levels to mid levels and to lower levels, right, so that you can constantly be training people, that sort of thing. But also, the fact is, is that a staff writer gets paid quite less than a co EP. So it's just about managing the budget. And what's important to the showrunner. I see you thinking like a show runner already? Know, you see it? Oh, I see it. I see, I see all the experience you getting from working with different show runners seeing their different tactics, how to work the room, which is really important how to manage egos, which is very, very important, right? Everyone thinks they're an expert. And so sometimes you got to give in to get a lot, right. And ideally, you're experiencing that and seeing that, and, yeah, I could see you being a show runner. Very, very quickly. I hope that is true. Somebody give this woman a show, please, please. So I want to ask this, uh, how is it? And I guess you're on power now so that this is different, but how is it being a black writer on shows aren't necessarily black shows? Oh, man, getting into it? Um, it is. It is tough, but quite frankly, having been an assistant as so many other corporate places where it's not that many people who look like me, it's just another day, right? So you know, it is not any different from that experience. That doesn't make it any more comfortable by any means, right? Like no one wants to feel like the token or to beat the token. But we typically are the token in these scenarios. Like I worked at CBS, like I said for four years and it's probably out of the assistant pool. I would say during my time there. There were maybe five black people Out of I would say at least, like 40 assistants on that floor. And most of them I got laid off or fired during the time that I was there. So they weren't treated very well, I think I was treated better because I worked with like upper level management. So I just had a different interaction with people, but my experience was not the norm over there. Um, and even like when I worked at ABC Family, when it would transitioning to free form, I was on a team, like the whole programming team was probably 20 something people, I was the only black person, right, and I was the only person of color for most of my time there. And then an Indian woman came in and ran part of the department. So two of us. So like, it just unfortunately, has been the norm for my experience here in LA. I will say my room now is super diverse. And I love it, I've never felt more comfortable, right half of Romans black, we've got a lot of women, just lots of diverse thoughts and just experiences. I've also felt like in some of my other jobs that like everybody's from more of an upper class lifestyle, right, there is not many people who are raised lower middle class, lower class, things like that. So you know, their experience in life is different. You write differently, yes, like, it's just harder to relate in those ways. So it's, it's tough and you have to be is really sucks in a room to win, you have to be the voice of any other, right? It's like, if I'm the only black person in this room, I have to be responsible for making sure that we maintain the integrity of any character of color on this show, I have no idea what it is like to be a Chinese American, you're having to advocate and I don't have a problem advocating, I'm happy to advocate for anybody. But I can't speak to that experience. This is what you need. This is what you need people from all different walks of life, like I can't be responsible for everybody's truth. I don't know everything. But that is constantly it's like the expectation like they're like, Okay, if we have one person of color, that means that they can speak for every person of color, which is just false. I can't even speak for every black person. We've all had very different experiences, even though we all have the same skin tone, but it's not the same thing. And where do you do you see? women, women writers, do you see an increase in in women writers in the industry since when you started to where you're at right now. Um, I don't know that there's actually an increase in women or writers. But I do think that there is much more of a push to have a 5050 split room, right. Like, I believe it was JJ Abrams, who kind of was one of the first show runner film producers to say he's gonna always have 5050 rooms now for his shows. So he's made that a priority, I will say that, that seems to have stuck a little bit quicker than making it a priority to have people of color in the room. Like, it sounds, from what I've heard about other people's room experiences, it seems like now it's becoming a lot more normalized to have half women have mitten, which is fantastic. That is how it should be. But it should also within that be a more diverse representation in terms of cultural background, ethnicity, that sort of thing. So I hope that that increases because I have not seen a change. I think that this show that I'm on right now is unique in the sense that it is about people of color. And our show runner, Robert Munich is like a crazy, fantastic advocate for people of color. He's a white man, but he really advocates for us, and He wants us to be sitting at the table next to him. Do you like writing in the collaborative form? Or would you rather create by yourself? I like writing in the collaborative for more than I thought I would I'm not gonna lie to you. Um, I wasn't sure how I would feel about it because I am an only child. So sometimes I have only child syndrome. You know, sometimes I'm like, I'd rather be alone. Thank you. But it's nice because I'd like that word. Not writing together, we are developing and brainstorming together. So you still, as the writer, have some control over your work and your words, right? So it's not like we're all literally sitting in front of one computer typing out every line together, that would drive me crazy. But yeah, I could do that. No, I can't do that. I don't think I can have a writing partner. Like, I'm not, I'm not collaborative enough for that. But I think it's super helpful to have six to 10 brains in a room and have everybody just pitching on different things, because people will come up with things you would have never even thought of, you know, because we all just have different different experiences, different interests. So I think it's super helpful. You brought up a good point here. So the showrunner seems to, like one of their main things is to actually manage the room, right? But also bring out the best out of you. What would you say as a showrunner are the top three qualities that are needed? I think that every person in that room, including the show runner has to be supportive. And by that, I mean, even if, even if someone's pitch doesn't quite land, or doesn't quite work, for whatever reason, budgetary story, whatever. You still, like my best experiences in the room have been the show runners? Who will take that idea, even if it's just a piece of it, even if it's just a nugget and say you know that that won't quite work. But what if we did it like this and taking part of your idea, right, and being able to spin it? Or it's like the process of Yes, ANDing someone instead of saying no, right, right. It's like something that you're taught. So I think that is super important to keep people open. Because I think people can shut down very, very, very quickly. The moment you say, no, that's not a good idea. And they're not speaking for the rest of the day. Because we get discouraged. Yeah, you get discouraged, and it shows down their creative impulse. But if you say, yes, and even if it's not really a yes, and but just act of you saying that makes the person feel like, Oh, I helped get them to this idea. Right. So I think it's that sort of supportiveness, I think is also like, an openness to other perspectives. So by that, I mean, like a showrunner will typically come in with like ideas for different episodes and things like that. As writers, our job is to like, always keep finding the better idea, like what I love in the rooms that I've been in is like best idea wins. So the ego has to come out of it in terms of story. So if I come in on my episode, and I pitch these 10, things I can't, I can't get attached to those things. Like we say all the time, you have to be willing to kill your babies is the most gruesome thing to say. But it's a real thing to say in terms of like, you can't be sacred about anything, you have to be able to acknowledge, like, Oh, this actually is better. This is going to help us with the story. This is going to be a cooler moment, this is a cooler action sequence, and be willing to adjust and move with those things. So I think just like an openness to other perspectives, and creativity, and then what's my third thing, I'm just it sounds so basic. But kindness, I think goes a long way to wanting to see your peers succeed and wanting to help each other. Like I, as a staff writer, you know, it's a learning experience. And I'm so thankful that Neil was my first showrunner because he held our hands through that, but also empowered us. And when I was on emergence, and even now, like, I always try to go to the staff writer on the show, and just offer a helping hand, like, if you want to pitch stuff to me before we go into the room, or if you want me to read something before you send it out, like, I'm happy to do that, because I understand how uncomfortable that can feel being the new person and, and submitting something or like having a big idea, but not sure if you should say it or when you should say it. Like, I try to just be that person in the room because I don't I never want anybody in my space to feel like they can't participate. I want it to feel safe. And if I can be a part of it feeling safe, then I will be so i think i think something like that, like a kindness, a safe promoting spirit, something like that. I think you're literally putting in your hours to be a showrunner at this. While you're training right now, the way your mind works, I could tell that you are training you have you think about the whole room instead of just like yourself, which means you're the mind of a showrunner you're gonna be you're gonna be great. So are you guys working now? Or during the pandemic? is this?