Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why I'm Jealous of these Two Best Friends!

Super cool writing team on the blog today!!! Best friends and co-writers. How cool is that!  And check out this bio. I am a little geeked out!

Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting are each half of a writing team. The two met the first day of freshman year at the University of Southern California and instantly bonded over their obsessions with Brenda Walsh, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Babysitters Club books they read growing up. After spending a full year mourning the end of college, they began writing television and feature scripts together. They have set up pilots at ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, and sold films to The Weinstein Company, Happy Madison, Paramount, New Regency, MGM and Alloy Entertainment. They love writing female-centric stories, especially for teen and tween audiences, mainly because they still think they are the 18-year-old girls they were when they first met at USC.

Let’s find out about how these two became best friends and what they entailed.
So, how did you two meet? 

The two of us (Alyssa and Jessica) actually met and became best friends freshman year in college…and we then followed that up by living together after graduation and becoming writing partners. Not only are we in touch, but we’ve worked together almost every day for the last ten years! People say not to mix business and pleasure, but in our case, it’s been fantastic…we can go from discussing a character arc in our novel straight to discussing whether one of us should cut bangs and back.  

That just sounds AWESOME. So, did you ever have a big fight?  

Despite the fact that we’ve worked closely together for so many years, we really don’t fight. In fact, our biggest tiff occurred before we were friends, when we first met…we actually hated each other at first sight! It was the first day of classes freshman year at USC and Alyssa was sitting in the classroom, feeling homesick. That’s when Jessica showed up to class fifteen minutes late, her platform shoes clicking loudly on the tiles and interrupting the teacher. Alyssa eyed her disapprovingly and wondered, Who is this incredibly rude girl (who wears four inch heels to class!)that is NOT someone I’d ever be friends with. Meanwhile, Jessica took one look at Alyssa glowering at her from the corner and thought, Who is that miserable depressed-looking girl who refuses to crack a smile? Note to self: Steer clear of her!  A few weeks later, though, we both had to stay after class to speak with the teacher, and we started talking to each other on our way back to the dorms. We haven’t stopped since.

Love!!! So did you have a favorite song, or a favorite place where you hung out?

Our favorite song is Say My Name by Destiny’s Child because we made complete fools of ourselves singing it for a Karaoke night at a super trendy bar in Hollywood. We were so terrible that we got booed off the stage by the crowd…which was mortifying at the time, but now utterly hilarious to us.

One of our favorite places to hang out has to be the Japanese sushi restaurant and bar behind our old apartment. When we lived there, we’d go there all the time for dinner with each other…or when we were feeling super lazy, we’d yell down from our balcony to the waiters (our friends) who were hanging in the alley outside of the kitchen to bring food out for us, then one of us would run downstairs and bring it up for the other. We don’t live near there anymore, but we can’t drive by it without remembering all the fun nights that started there.

Best memories ever! So what did you guys most love to do?

Nothing better than a good old fashioned gossip session followed by watching some reality television together with lots of breaks to discuss the drama (our favorites are The Bachelor and Bad Girls Club. Yes, Bad Girls Club. We love it!)

Um…yes please!! What did you love most about your college best friend?

It’s almost narcissistic for us to answer this question because we’re so similar it’s frightening. We grew up on opposite coasts, but after fifteen years of friendship, some people (our husbands) are convinced we share a brain. We usually finish each other’s sentences and we’ve also mastered the art of having conversations with our eyes which definitely comes in handy during work meetings.

What did you learn from your best college friend?

We both remember the very first thing we learned from the other person. Alyssa grew up in a fairly small city in Virginia that is not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion and style. So at the all important age of eighteen, as the two of us were listening to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection and getting ready for a fraternity party, Jessica taught Alyssa that before you blow dry your hair, you have to put product in it. Alyssa and her hair have never looked back.

When we moved in together not long after that and lived in our apartment for about a week, Jessica’s room was overtaken by an Eiffel Tower-size pile of clothing on the floor, plates of old, crusty food, mugs of half-filled coffee and popcorn kernels that crunched beneath your feet as soon as you walked in. This is when Alyssa taught Jessica how to use a mop. Though Jessica doesn’t always make a habit of using this wonderful skill, it was an important life lesson she hasn’t forgotten.

So great! Are your relationships different at this stage in your life? How?

We’re still close with all our friends from college, though we obviously don’t see everyone nearly as much. In college, you can spend three days straight with each other and not even realize it! But what’s amazing about the bonds we formed then is that even if we haven’t seen someone for months, we always pick up right where we left off—definitely the sign of a strong friendship.

As for the two of us, we lived together until we were twenty-five and got hit with the next stage of our life—Jessica got engaged. We still laugh about the day when we realized the wedding was only two months away and it was probably time for Jessica to move in with her fianc√©. We thought everything would change after that, but the only person whose life shifted was Jessica’s husband who didn’t quite realize he was gaining a second wife (something he made sure to warn Alyssa’s husband of a few years later). Then this September, we entered another phase—Alyssa moved from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. and again, we thought things might be different being across the country from each other. But we Skype for work every day and make sure to start early because inevitably the first hour will be devoted to hearing about what happened to each other in the last fifteen hours, TV recapping and analyzing ad nauseam any problems one of us might be having. The most impressive thing about friendship by far is that we actually get any work done at all.

You two sound so fun and what a great story of friendship! Thanks so much for sharing it today!!!


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