The last three months have been momentous for Michelle McGee, former Post Effects scheduler and future ABC/Disney TV comedy show writer.
McGee was married in September, and was tapped in December as one of 10 winners of the ABC/Disney Comedy Writing Fellowships, selected from among 7,000 applicants.
On Feb. 5 at 9 a.m., she reports to ABC on the Disney lot in Burbank to start what is basically a one year paid internship on an ongoing TV show. “If you find a show you click with, they keep you there,” McGee said.
“Working in television was always my dream. To find someplace to pay me what I love to do, that’s just awesome,” said McGee, still pinching herself over her good fortune.
McGee’s road to Burbank began by accident last spring when she and her friend Marcy , a production coordinator for Adam Bomb Productions, decided to meet weekly “to be sounding boards on our projects and to check the other’s punctuation,” she said.
While McGee was online Googling for script formatting information, she inadvertently clicked onto the Disney Fellowship site and decided to enter the competition.
McGee’s submission for the July 20 deadline was a spec script for “My Name is Earl,” the first time she had ever submitted an entry to a writing competition.
She heard nothing from ABC/Disney until November. “When I saw the L.A. number on my caller ID, “I thought it was a telemarketer so I was pretty casual when I picked up the phone,” she related. “And boy, was I surprised to hear I made the cut and was one of 50 finalists.”
wasn’t surprised, though. “When Michelle told me, I just knew she would win. Once you get to know her, and see how enthusiastic she is about the process of writing, you want to have that in your show.”
As a final test of the finalists’ determination, Disney instructed McGee to deliver a second script within two days. “I typed like crazy over the weekend,” she said, and submitted an “Entourage” script within the turnaround time.
In mid-December, McGee was informed she had been chosen as one of 50 finalists. ABC flew her to L.A. to meet the VIPs of network television, a thrill as many of them were associated with the shows she loves.
“It was a great opportunity, and also to meet the other finalists,” McGee said. “Many were already in the industry as assistant writers. I didn’t know why they would leave their jobs for the fellowship, but I quickly realized what a big deal it was. If I don’t make it, I thought, at least it will look good on a resume.”
Along with the meet-and-greet came the interview process. “I sat on one side of a conference table and across the table from me were six Disney executives ? this isn’t intimidating at all, noooo.”
She must have made the right impression since she got the call a few days later on Dec. 19 that she was a Fellowship winner.
McGee, 32, is a 2000 graduate of Columbia College where she majored in television. She was a scheduler at Total Living Network for four years until TLN sold its downtown cable channel and relocated to Aurora. When McGee opted to stay in the city, she was hired by Post Effects two-and-a-half years ago.
McGee’s last day at Post Effects will be Friday Jan. 26, “when we’ll send her off the right way with a party,” said PE scheduling manager Michelle Piccolo.
She can be reached on her cell phone, 708/623-4608.