Conundrums of a Bi-coastal Career
Snoop Dogg lied to me. I found no drama in the LBC. While working as head writer for Bounce TV’s new sitcom “Mann & Wife,” the only thing I found in Long Beach was sunshine and donuts. Lots of donuts.
It was my first foray into TV writing on the West Coast. In reality, I should’ve left the confines of my comfy Southern roots years ago, but media mogul Tyler Perry had other plans. Shortly after Perry opened his Southwest Atlanta studio—well it’s more like Walt Disney Studios in the hood—I was plucked from my woeful rabbit hole of writing novels and thrust into the world of sitcom writing. Seemed like a good move. I’m the funniest guy at my family reunions, I love TV and more TV shows were being produced in Atlanta. Eventually, as all shows do, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne was cancelled. The TV writing work in Atlanta became sparse and there were opportunities and gold to be mined out West.
I was born and raised in the South, so working in L.A. was a bit of an adjustment, like the first time I asked for sweet tea and the first time I tried to take a walk in the woods. There is more sweet tea in L.A. than there are trees—which is to say almost none. In Georgia, droughts are unfortunate events that we know will eventually pass. In L.A., they put rain on the back of milk cartons. In Georgia, I putter around town in my old pick-up truck. In L.A., the roller skate that I drive can fit in the back of my truck. In L.A., I stood in line next to Al Pacino as he bought tickets to a movie. I sat next to Deon Cole as he wrote jokes before taking the stage at the world famous Comedy Store. I exchanged a quick dialogue with Donald Glover and had lunch with Vivica Fox. And in L.A., I’m an absolute nobody and people could care less if I’m writing a TV show or greeting cards. But when I cross the Mason-Dixon line, there’s a beat up truck sitting in my drive-way, a dog that will hunch my leg and lick my face. There’s a seven-year-old snaggle tooth boy who jumps in my arms and won’t let me go. There’s a beautiful wife who’s been at my side way before I started this psychotic journey of writing for a living. When I have those things and those people next to me, it makes the trek out West worth every mile.
Brian Egeston has more than 18 years writing experience and has worked on more than 150 episodes of TV in less than five years. He’s worked as head writer at Tyler Perry Studios and a development executive at Bobbcat Films in Atlanta and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.