Alix Sternberg – Script Coordinator: Supergirl
When did you realize, you wanted to work in television?
I have wanted to work in TV for as long as I can remember. I was obsessed with TGIF as a kid and my obsession only grew from there. I was always fascinated with it. I had the opportunity as a kid to see a few TV show tapings and I realized I could turn my obsession into a profession. Hey, that rhymes. Anyway — short answer — since I knew what TV was. My mom says I used to stand during the Full House theme song. I don’t quite remember that.
What advice do you have for college students who are looking to pursue the television industry?
I have a few pieces of advice. The first is one I got from my second Mom/BFF/family friend who has worked in the industry for over 35 years. She told me that you work in television because it’s the only thing you can ever picture yourself doing. As much as I love gymnastics and puppies, I can’t see myself doing anything else. If that’s you, you know you have chosen the right industry.
Second — this isn’t an easy industry. You will get kicked down and you will have to brush yourself off and cry in the bathroom like a lady and then get right back to work. But don’t let this get to you. Follow your dreams. Dreams are important and attainable — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Third — Don’t be scared to start at the bottom. We all start somewhere. I have made copies until my hands had paper cuts all over them and I have worked 4:30 AM shifts.
What is something you wish someone would have told you about the industry?
To never get too comfortable. This may seem really simple, but it has taken a lot for me to realize who my friends are and who is worth working with — and who actually does have my back. Also, step back and think about all you have accomplished every now and again.
What was your first job in the industry? What did you learn from it?
My first job in the industry was at NY1 News. It was right out of college and where I had interned the summer before. I worked cameras, master control, audio and a whole other slew of things. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing, but I learned that no job is too small. That job allowed me to eventually get my job at SNL and so on.
What is your writing process like?
I wish I had an easy answer to this. I usually get a small idea or inspiration and write down a whole bunch before taking a step back and outlining. I hate outlining. I realize it is so incredibly essential to the process, but it is the hardest part of writing a script for me. Once I take a step back, I try to make outlines as detailed as possible so when I get to writing the script, I’m not stuck on an empty screen (the worst!) I also always have to tell myself to just get through it — meaning, write the first draft. Get words on the page. You can always revise later.
How has your time been so far working on Supergirl? How is it different from previous projects you’ve worked on in the past (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Undateable, SNL)?
I absolutely love working on Supergirl. And I mean that wholeheartedly. I have an amazing mentor in Andrew (Kreisberg) and I’m surrounded by so many talented writers. After SNL, I started working on comedies (you have most of those listed above) which are a bit different in that the Script Coordinator and Writer’s Assistant are both expected to take notes/be on the monitor with revisions. They often split the rooms up and have one person in each. I still had my basic Script Coordinator duties (see my later answer) as well.
And while I had some fantastic experiences on each show, I realized that most of what I was watching and loving were dramas. I made the transition from multi-cam to single cam and then finally to drama with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I was a huge fangirl (I’m not ashamed to use that word!) of the show and that job was so incredibly surreal. I got to be in Stars Hollow every day! I had to coordinate 600 pages of script, while we shot scenes from each episode every single day. It was such a great experience and opportunity, which eventually landed me the Supergirl gig.
You’re a script coordinator for Supergirl, what does an average work day consist of for you?
It varies day to day, but my job involves distributing and proofreading scripts as well as revisions for the script. I make sure scripts are properly formatted and with the help of my Vancouver cohorts, properly distributed. It’s also my job to keep track of clearances — we get reports from CW and our WB legal team about things we can and can’t say or see on TV. I also am responsible for writer’s contracts and various other paperwork that I won’t bore you with. I also sit in the writer’s room while the writers break stories for the season — that’s the best part for me.
What shows made you fall in love with television? What shows are you currently loving?
Gilmore Girls and Friends made me fall in love with television and to this day, I will still watch an inordinate amount of reruns. I also think Friday Night Lights is a masterpiece. I am currently loving SO much TV — I loved American Crime Story: People vs. OJ Simpson, The Night Of and Stranger Things. I also really love This is Us (the storytelling is so amazing and innovative), Riverdale, The Good Place, and I am still a sucker for Scandal.