[Early on] I freelanced for Grey’s. I wasn’t an official staff writer. When we have longer seasons, we will freelance one of our support staff positions. For instance, we’ll give an episode to the writer’s assistant, the researcher, somebody on the support staff level, and we’ll hire them to write an episode. It’s kind of like their shot to see if they’re ready to either move on to a staff level position at our show or somewhere else.

And now that you’re in the top position, what is the best quality in a boss?

Patience, respect, and engagement. Everything trickles down from the top, so if the boss isn’t respectful and kind and treats others the way they should be treated, then that’s going to be looked at as the example. When you’re impatient, or your mood gets poor, then you’re not fun to work for. And I think especially when you’re working in a place where there’s deadlines that are hard and fast, not everybody works at the same speed and you just have to have to be patient. You have to know that it’s better for people to do good work rather than fast work. And if the boss isn’t excited to be there, then no one’s going to be excited to be there. I try to make things fun.

What is the most misunderstood thing about what you do?

When you hit the showrunner level, all of a sudden you’re like a CEO of the show. You’re looking at a budget, you’re managing, you are helping people communicate with one another. It’s just a whole other set of skills that you don’t think about when you’re 11 and want to be a TV writer. They’re definitely skills that I’ve learned and I’m still learning, but this year I’ve had to learn a whole new language with the budget,

I actually took a John Wells budget seminar. [Ed. note: John Wells was an executive producer at ER]. I was like, I’ve learned so many things in my life. I can learn how to handle a pattern budget, but it was quite a different language for me in the beginning.

Now that I know what a huge ER fan you are, have you met John Wells?

No, but I did meet Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman on the picket line last year. She was a hero of mine. I cried to her and that was embarrassing. Got my picture taken. Yeah. It’s pretty cool to meet your heroes. But no, I’ve not met John Wells. I would love to though. I just hope I can form words when I meet him one day.

What is the best piece of career advice that has really stuck with you?

Ask questions, learn about what everybody does on the crew. I’ve also learned from Shonda that if you write a line and feel like you’ve heard it before, erase it. Writing is rewriting. Don’t ever think something’s perfect. I think you’re constantly able to improve something until it airs. I think a lot of people need to let go of the ownership of [thinking what they did] was perfect, and to listen and take everybody’s thoughts into consideration. We all want the same thing, which is to make the best show possible.

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