Rising Star Audrey Wilson: “I am an advocate for any kind of underdog; In my opinion, how we treat our most vulnerable creatures says a lot about who we are as people and as a society”

I am an advocate for any kind of underdog, and I have a soft spot for animals. I would love to start a campaign educating people on the dangers of breeding and the importance of animal welfare. In my opinion, how we treat our most vulnerable creatures says a lot about who we are as […]

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I am an advocate for any kind of underdog, and I have a soft spot for animals. I would love to start a campaign educating people on the dangers of breeding and the importance of animal welfare. In my opinion, how we treat our most vulnerable creatures says a lot about who we are as people and as a society.

As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Audrey Wilson. Having earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in Television Writing and Producing from Columbia College Chicago, Audrey is currently a regional Emmy-nominated writer and producer for a national PBS television show. Audrey’s writing background includes features screenplays, award-winning short films and TV pilots, a novel which she is currently working towards publishing, and several short stories that have been published in literary magazines.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I think I was the only third grader whose favorite TV shows were “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. I’d always loved classic television and was inspired by the comedic geniuses behind these timeless shows. I have no doubt that watching Lucille Ball get a “loving cup” stuck on her head contributed greatly to my career choice.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I’m very fortunate to have a job in the television industry that not only allows me to write and produce for a national TV show, but also allows me to travel. I had been looking for a position in television when I came across an ad for an internship at a PBS show. I reached out to the company, asking if they had any paid positions available. At the time, they said no. A week later, they emailed me saying there had been an opening. The host and executive producer of the show had just gone through a bad split with her partner, so the timing of my query was perfect. I got the job and have been with the show for four years. She and I seemed to come into each other’s lives at the exact right moment, making me further believe that there are certain things that fall into place for a reason.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My first job out of college as a P.A. for a court TV show. One day, I had to deliver a stack of papers to the judge while he was out. I placed the papers on the desk, knocking over his assistant’s purse in the process. Just as I started to pick it up, the judge walked in accused me of looking through her purse. He was a big personality and I’m 99% sure he was just giving me a hard time, but it was still an embarrassing experience. The lesson I learned was to not take anything too seriously, especially yourself!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have too many to count! My partner and I are working on a horror anthology series called “Human Condition” (“Black Mirror” meets “The Twilight Zone” with a psychological twist), as well as a sitcom called “The Branch” (“Superstore” meets “The Office”, set at a branch library). We’re also working on another feature screenplay, a historical, heroine-driven horror film set during WWII. I’m also a third of the way into my second novel, an LGBTQ scifi-romance called “Only Human”.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

In getting to travel for my job, I’ve met people from all over the world and country. I always find it so fascinating to talk to people from different backgrounds and cultures, not just to observe the differences but to see the similarities. When I was in Ireland, every other person I met raved about my home town of Chicago, which has a big Irish population. It was still fascinating to me that even living thousands of miles apart, I still found so many ways to connect with the locals.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take time for yourself! My mother always reminds me of how important this is. Take time to workout, read a book, watch a movie, or enjoy one of your non-work-related hobbies. As a writer, my “hobby” is often times also writing, so I have to frequently remind myself that it’s okay not to write or always be doing something productive. Sometimes, it’s okay to just be.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am an advocate for any kind of underdog, and I have a soft spot for animals. I would love to start a campaign educating people on the dangers of breeding and the importance of animal welfare. In my opinion, how we treat our most vulnerable creatures says a lot about who we are as people and as a society.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Go with the Flow — In any job, you’re going to run into schedule changes and road blocks. I am a person who loves to plan and used to get stressed when things don’t go as planned (and sometimes I still do) but after several years of experience I’ve learned that plans change and the best thing you can do is have a backup, think fast, make a decision, and hope for the best.
  2. Do What You Love Every Day — Day jobs can be long and grueling if you’re not fortunate enough to have a job in your career of choice. That’s why it’s so important to make a little time for your passion every day, whether it’s five minutes or two hours. If you’re a writer, write a page a day. Don’t censor yourself, just write. You’ll be amazed at the progress you’ll make!
  3. Don’t Burn Bridges — It sounds obvious, but all too many times people have gotten caught up in ranting about an agent or complaining about their boss, only to have it backfire. Treat every person that you work with as if they could make or break your career. Not just because they could, but because they deserve to be treated with the same respect as you do. We’re all in this together, even if we’re at different crossroads in our careers.
  4. It Only Takes One — One person to agree to publish your novel. One person to want to invest in your script. One person to give you the job. One. You can pitch a thousand different companies and get nine hundred, ninety-nine rejections, but you’ll forget about all of those when that one person says, “Yes.”
  5. Never Ever Give Up — Anyone in a creative field will tell you they’ve felt like giving up on more than one occasion. I know I have! But as writers and filmmakers, we can’t be in this industry to make money. We’re in it because we have that drive inside of us; that itch we have to scratch. My uncle once gave me the wise advice that, no matter what, you have to keep trying. If you want something badly enough, you’ll achieve it. It will be difficult, but eventually, the competition will weed themselves out.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” This line is spoken by Steve Martin’s character in the 1991 film “Grand Canyon”. I grew up watching movies and looking for my own answers to life in them and, somehow, I always found them. I’d love nothing more than to create films, television, and books that people can find their own answers in.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’d always been used to working very independently on my writing. I wasn’t opposed to collaboration, but I hadn’t found anyone who I connected with enough to open my writing world to. After a few years of dating my partner, we decided to write a screenplay together. He wasn’t originally a writer, but we thought it might be fun. Since then, we finished that feature screenplay, and have written two additional television pilots together, with many more projects in the works. It’s been such a great journey for me as a writer to find someone who I can collaborate with, but who I also feel always gives me the space I need to work on my own projects independently.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Greta Gerwig, are you free on Thursday? There is a severe shortage of female writers and filmmakers in this industry, and Greta Gerwig is one that I greatly admire. She tells stories about real women, not stories about women as people want to see them. Her characters are honest and genuine, even if they’re not always likable. Their stories may not be epics, but they are every bit as significant as one. She is an inspiration to me and I would love to meet her one day.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter: @DreamerByDay91

Instagram: @AudreyWilson212

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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