Are You the Best Supporting Actress to Everyone in Your Life?
And the Award for Best Supporting Actress goes to….. YOU!
You, because as a single woman, you are the best of the best at being supportive to the cast of characters you have in your life.
Whether it’s the drama queen or crazy be-atch you hang out with, the weird uncle you get stuck with, the fun aunt you travel with…. the nosy neighbor, long-suffering parent, work husband, childhood pal, incompetent boss or irritating coworker…
You listen. You ask questions. You give solicited advice or simple encouragement. You applaud, you bail out, you bite your tongue.
You help. You show up.
You don’t expect an award, though a gold statue might look good on your mantel.
No, you just do what you believe a good friend, a good person, should do for the people they care about.
If your life actually was the sit-com (or hidden camera show) you often swear it could be, every character would have a back-story that clearly explained her role in the show—in your life. Writers know the heroine needs a BFF, but who it is and why the friendship lasts are keys to the plot.
If a character does not move the show forward, or at least add comic relief, he or she gets cut. Ruthless relationship pruning focuses the story on those that the audience can get to know and love– or love to hate.
The number of roles is limited because of the 30- or 60-minute format but also because a heroine can really only be the Best Supporting Actress to four or five people, on TV or in real life. Four or five who deserve her attention, who reciprocate her generosity, who challenge her and stand by her.
In the end, the writers want the audience to understand why the heroine is involved with each of the characters, and why she had to let others go. Not only does choosing friends and enemies make for better TV, it makes for a better life.
Choose wisely, my friend. And prune away.
Let’s Make a TV Show….. So Far
Log-line: When news of the 25 year perfect record of data and network protection provided by Rachel’s company leaks, she becomes a target for hackers, hostile takeovers and Homeland Security.
Synopsis: While still in college Rachel and her roommate Joann wrote an algorithm for software for validating membership and ID prior to entry to chat-rooms. The roommates were equally brilliant. Joann translated Rachel’s ideas into ones and zeros. Rachel was the only person who could get Joann to focus her wild-child energy into amazing and beautiful digital sequences.
The relationship between Rachel and Joann disintegrated when Rachel got engaged to Jeff and Joann decided traveling through Europe was a better use of her time than starting a business and securing their future. Or so it seemed to Rachel, whose mother was killed in a car crash the same day Joann went AWOL.
Rachel doesn’t marry Jeff; after the death of her mother, his words of solace were, “you didn’t get along with her anyway.” She lost him and instead founded the company the former roommates planned in great detail over late night Ramen and Rolling Rock. As she coded her way through the grief over her mother’s death, Rachel developed and patented a groundbreaking certification and authorization process that extended what she and Joann created.
Regardless of her desertion and apparent disappearance at the very worst time in Rachel’s life, Rachel set aside a piece of the company for Joann. She is able to do so because she keeps the company privately-held. Another, larger motivation for forgoing the IPO which is the goal of most tech start-ups is to avoid media attention and the reporting that goes starts with public companies and never ends. Rachel’s childhood with her mother was chaos and addiction, shame and secrecy, all of which resulted in a lifelong craving for quiet and privacy.
Despite Oprah/Harpo-esque confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements every employee must sign as a condition of hiring, word somehow got out that neither the company nor any of its clients has ever had a solution fail, a database hacked or a network breached. Now, Rachel cannot escape the scrutiny and attacks are coming from all quarters. As she investigates the leak and works triple time to protect her business and clients, Rachel discovers an infinitesimally small, truly unnoticeable lag in a service management system. She won’t have the manpower to dedicate to a root cause analysis until the crisis passes.
What better time for Joann to reappear, then, homeless, broke and looking for a job. Or so it seemed to Rachel.
Let’s Make a TV Show Cast of Characters:
Rachel: 47, red hair, green eyes. CEO of a tech company she founded. Single, No children. Lives with her dog in a townhouse in Center City. TV addict, reluctant exerciser, sister to Jennifer, aunt to two nieces and two nephews. Ended a long-term romance last year. Best friend to several people though insecure about her place in the world. In addition to a genius level IQ, has a quick-wit, a dirty mind and a potty-mouth. Fun, kind, generous, thoughtful. Road rage, complete lack of patience and a tendency toward laziness.
Joann: 47, brown hair, brown eyes. World traveler. Code and programming freelancer. Former college roommate of Rachel; they met as the only two female computer science majors. Single. No children. Lives where she hangs her hat. Secret-keeper extraordinaire, clearly hiding something other than where she was and who she worked for. Night owl. Hasn’t had a long-term relationship in 12 years but doesn’t lack for male attention and companionship. Regrets leaving Rachel and feels a need to make amends, whether Rachel knows the real reason why or not.
Karen: 51, blond hair, brown eyes. General Counsel and COO of Rachel’s tech company. Divorced. Two adult children. Lives just outside of the City with two dogs and a turtle. Met Rachel during negotiations for a pre-nup with Jeff while at a firm whose managing partner forced Karen into family law because she is a woman. Left the firm to join Rachel in 1992. Fiercely loyal and protective. Because she was there for Rachel when Joann left town, Karen does not welcome Joann back
Jennifer: 49, brown hair, green eyes. Sister of Rachel, married, mother of two 20-something daughters and two late-teen-aged boys. Returned to work as the administrative assistant at the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan offices when her sons entered high school because her family needed money. She is Rachel’s refuge and closest confidante even though she does not understand Rachel’s job or company. Jennifer’s messy life always puts Rachel’s problems into perspective.
United by a hellish childhood, Rachel and Jennifer are a united front against any and all comers.
Michael: 32, salt and pepper hair, blue eyes. Professional gamer and Rachel’s dog-walker and personal assistant for five years. Single, no children. Youngest brother of Dan, a college acquaintance of Rachel and Joann. Michael often stays in Rachel’s home, for days, caring for the dog and managing the household. Michael knows more about Rachel than she gives him credit for, and tends to needs she is not aware she has. If there is food in the house, Michael went shopping. If Rachel gets a mammogram, Michael made the appointment. Michael also knows Joann, from stories and unrevealed personal experience.
Holley: 47, blond highlighted hair, blue eyes. General Manager of a catering and event venue. Single, no children. Generally has a romantic interest but never talks about him/it. Met Rachel while working at a food and wine tasting in 1994. Cheerful and interminably upbeat, Holley is perfectly suited to a hospitality career. Rachel is sure to have fun when they are together. Holley also has business insights for Rachel and encyclopedic knowledge of male behavior. She does not judge but she does not hold back either.
Now that we have our cast of characters, we need a name for the show and a plot for the pilot as well as the first several episodes. Joann’s reappearance will be the opening shot, literally and metaphorically.
Next up for “Let’s Make a TV Show”-— What the name of that show again? You know the one, with the computer lady and her dog and that weird girl from college?
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What does it mean when a long lost friend suddenly comes back and wants to be close again? Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Did you prune the relationship permanently or is there room for re-growth and perhaps even flowering?