“Trying to break into this business took me almost ten years. That means I heard ‘no’ a LOT. There were also a lot of false starts, and moments when I thought my breakthrough was coming but it didn't happen. I almost quit.”
What was the last show you watched and what did you like best about it? Was it the acting? Or maybe it was the fact that it was so realistic that you found yourself binge watching it until 5am. When you really think about it, what is it that TRULY makes for a good show? Or better yet, what's the one thing that a good show can’t exist without? The answer is simple. A good show can’t exist without a good script.
Eboni Freeman is a Los Angeles based Staff Writer for ten time Emmy nominated NBC TV series, This Is Us. Although she’s newer to the team of diverse female writers, she is setting the bar high by sharing her gift beautifully and relentlessly. Fans of the show recently got to witness her very personal and authentic take on storytelling as her first ever written and produced episode aired on television a few weeks ago. The episode focuses on "Beth" (Susan Kelichi Watson), giving us her backstory and introducing us to her mother (Phylicia Rashad).
I met Eboni at the premiere of this particular episode without ever having previously seen any other episodes before then; and now I see why. The universe couldn’t have picked a better episode to create the love and appreciation that I now have for such a well represented show. I laughed, I cried, and all of the above...and honestly, that right there is how you truly know that you’ve found yourself an amazing show.
Eboni's road to success may seem as though it was pretty smooth sailing, but truth be told, her journey wasn’t all ‘butterflies and rainbows’. Below she shares more about her background, what it took to become a creator for the masses, and a few of the trials she’s experienced along the way:
“Being on the writing staff of a TV show is a Monday-Friday job which involves brainstorming the stories for our characters. After we have figured out the storylines for an episode, one writer is assigned to write the episode and be on set while the episode is being produced. It's important for me to bring my experiences as a black woman to my craft. And I believe being my authentic self has helped me tremendously in my career.”
“In 2016, I was selected as a Sundance Episodic Lab Fellow. The fellowship opened up many doors for me in the industry and was critical in helping me gain representation. In 2018, my TV pilot made the WeforShe WriteHer List, which recognizes exceptional TV scripts written by women and about women. Most recently, my first written and produced episode of television aired, and it was very thrilling because of the subject matter and the fact that I got to work with Phylicia Rashad who is a legend in my industry.”
“I wanted to be a ballerina before I ever wanted to be a writer. After I quit ballet and decided to go to college, I was lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do. But the summer before my senior year of college, I had an internship in the publicity department of FX. While there, I read many scripts and became interested in screenwriting. So I ordered a book about it online and set about writing my first script. I loved it! It satisfied my creative bone and my love of storytelling. I haven't stopped since.”
“Trying to break into this business took me almost ten years. That means I heard ‘no’ a LOT. There were also a lot of false starts, and moments when I thought my breakthrough was coming but it didn't happen. I almost quit. With the advice of a friend, I listened to a podcast called Entre Leadership, which is geared toward entrepreneurs. After that, I decided to give one more stab at this writing thing. But this time, I would write more than I'd ever done before. I would be relentless. And that resulted in me being selected for the 2016 Sundance Episodic Fellowship, which was the catalyst to the start of my career.”
“If you want to be a writer, then write. Write as much as you can. You don't have to have a degree, but you have to have a willingness to learn. And don't be afraid to use your experiences in your art. It's what makes you unique. Your authenticity will attract others to you and your work. And most importantly, don't give up!”