“Becoming a Television Writer” – Linda Gase, Arts and Letters Alumna

After graduating Notre Dame I actually
went to law school for one year. I, at Notre Dame, thought I wanted to be a
lawyer and thankfully studied literature knowing that that was a good background
for law and came out here to Los Angeles and found that I love the law but I just
didn’t love what it meant to be an attorney. It was a big life lesson for me,
the idea of not what do you want to be but what do you like to do. Thankfully, I
fell back on the reading, writing skills that I just loved learning for four
years at Notre Dame and found myself here in LA and said well, the industry of
the city is entertainment and I loved film and television and I went out there
with my resume with really nothing more than my Arts and Letters degree at Notre
Dame and with a lot of persistence and my double-breasted black suit left over
from law school. I went door-to-door with my resume and after one week got myself
a job as a production assistant on a film. I can look back and I’ve gotten
every job since from that job and now have found my way into being a writer
producer for television. I spent the first couple years of my career
understanding what the business was about. So I worked in film production. I
worked for a development company. I worked for a major studio all as an
assistant just to educate myself. It was kind of my version of film school.
Along the way I discovered that writing is a viable career option and found
myself with an opportunity to be the researcher on a show called ER in the
second year of the show. I did this for two years on the show and again, being
surrounded by amazing writers. But at some point, I said to myself you know
they said I’m never going to never guaranteed to write for the show but I
want to know can I write it? So I did what you’re not really supposed to do in
Hollywood which is I wrote my own spec script, a sample ER. I gave it to one of
the writers on the show. She was my mentor at the time and she initially
gave me this look like “Oh, you stupid girl, now I have to be mean to you! Yeah,
now I have to redline your script! You did what you’re not supposed to do!”
She came back to me three days later with a smile on her face and she
goes you know what this would make a great Christmas episode! They made my
spec which really doesn’t happen! It was a really good lesson for me of there
are rules but then it’s not that life is about breaking the rules but you just
follow your passion. That’s what I did. I wanted to know that I could write the show. I was passionate about writing. I wrote a story that I was passionate about. It ended up getting made. The executive producer at the time
said well I want to see if that was a fluke or not so I’m going to give you a
second script to write. I wrote a second script. They brought me on staff and it
was my first writing job. I worked on the show for five years. From there I
went on to a show called The District. I worked on a show called Crossing Jordan. Now I’ve spent the last few years on Army Wives. I’ve done medical. I’ve done crime.
I’ve done, now I’m doing military. They just all continue to satisfy my
curiosity. That’s part of what I love about being a writer.

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