Every so often, we’ll be spotlighting alumni and what they are up to these days. These Q&A sessions will give you a bit of insight into where the world has taken them since graduation.
This week, the spotlight is on Kelly Galuska (BA/Screenwriting ’06).
DODGE: Share your career path with us – how did you get where you are now?
KELLY: I first moved to New York after college, just for life experience and because I always wanted to live there! I worked for MTV, and part time at Late Night with David Letterman as a page. Then I moved to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant to a TV talent agent. This gave me a great glimpse into the world of television, and the process from pilot conception to casting to shooting. After that I worked as a PA, writers assistant, and show runner’s assistant on various TV shows, and eventually got my material into the hands of an agent. He signed me, and I went out for staffing season with one of my pilot samples, and got hired on my first show as a staff writer!
DODGE: What was the biggest adjustment you faced after graduation and how did you overcome it?
KELLY: Naturally, there was a big adjustment when it came to living off the money I was making as an assistant. I lived paycheck to paycheck for many, many years before I made the jump to writer. It was also difficult to suddenly be amongst so many people who wanted the exact same thing I did, and to try to find ways to set myself apart from the masses.
DODGE: What is the best advice you have received and/or what advice would you give current students?
KELLY: One major piece of advice I always give is to always be doing what you want to be doing. In other words: If you want to be a writer, always be writing. You can always get better, and you’ll always have competition. Not only that, but if you’re in a position where someone gives you a lifeline, and asks to read something you’ve written, you want to have that piece of material ready immediately to put in their hand. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, and you want to be prepared for the minute it does.
DODGE: What is your favorite memory from your time at Chapman?
KELLY: I loved going to the Austin Film Festival with Jim Macak over interterm, and going to Sundance the year after that. I also loved my internships at Fox and Focus Features. Gaining that real-life experience while I was still in school was vital to my development in my career. Beyond that, the memories I cherish the most are being able to see my friends and classmates every single day. There is no other environment that special and connected once you’re out of college.
DODGE: What have you taken from the classroom and applied to your career?
KELLY: I learned a lot about storytelling from my film and writing classes at Chapman. Especially how to plot out and outline a television script. I feel like learning that in school gave me a huge leg up when it came to pursuing my career – I already had a head start when it came to script writing. I also think I learned a LOT about criticism, how to take it well, and how to give it in a constructive way to make projects better. Criticism is a difficult part of any job in the arts, and practicing receiving it has been a vital element of my career path, and only serves to improve my work. Especially in a writer’s room for TV – you’re working together with a group of other writers, who all have egos and different ideas about how something should go. Being able to have a lively and helpful dialogue about story is key.
DODGE: Tell us any rewards or recognition you have received!
KELLY: Last year I sold a pilot pitch to CBS and had a pilot script optioned by Sony. And I actually got nominated for a Writers Guild award for Best Animation Script, for the episode of BOJACK HORSEMAN I wrote last season, entitled “Hank After Dark”… Very excited!
Kelly will also be a guest for the New Era of Television class on November 30th at 7PM in the Folino! We’d love for you to join us!