Meet Mary McGloin, a creator originally from California, now living the New York dream!
I am from Petaluma, a small town in Northern California (Sonoma County). It was a little cow town when I was growing up that I couldn’t wait to get out of and get to the big, dirty city of New York. Of course now I think it’s pretty adorable. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY, where I’ve been since I finished grad school.
What project are you currently working on? What is your role in the project?
I never have just one project, and I am currently focused on Tech Bettys. It is a workplace comedy about women in tech based on my life as a Senior QA Engineer in the tech startup world. The show was originally created by myself and my friend Amanda Van Nostrand as a web series. I shot a few of the webisodes and they did very well on the web series festival circuit. I think of them now as a proof-of-concept as I’ve since restructured the scripts into a half-hour television comedy series. The current logline is:
After starting their new jobs at the exclusive, bustling Manhattan tech start-up "VD-ME.com", savvy and feminist QA Engineer Cass and broke and searching Office Manager Bailey quickly become aware of the socially awkward and often openly sexist male coworkers they’ll now have to contend with.
I have further developed the show with my writing mentor, veteran showrunner Jerry Perzigian, and I function as creator, lead actor, and showrunner (by default). I have now written the first five episodes and plan to finish writing the first season. As it stands now, I’m looking for representation to hopefully find funding/producing partners/a streaming service to produce Tech Bettys as a series, ideally with myself and the rest of the cast from the web series version still intact. After all, I create because of and for my acting career.
The pilot script was a Maven Fellowship Semi-Finalist with Stowe Story Labs that I participated in June 2021, an official selection at Catalyst Story Institute, and most recently a Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival. My latest rewrite was influenced by some of the feedback I got at these events. At this point, I believe it’s in pretty great shape.
I also have a half-hour cartoon entitled Bright Blue, another live action pilot, Try, Try Again, as well as a feature script that’s been driving me crazy for a few years entitled Burning Woman.
Do you have a favorite hat under the “creator” umbrella?
I find it pretty incredible to create something out of nothing as a writer. I have always been an actor first, and I love bringing characters to life in that way, but bringing characters and worlds to life in a script I write myself is something else. They haunt me. I don’t know if anyone else remembers this but there was an episode of The Facts of Life back in the olden days where Natalie, the writer, was in a cafe and she had one of those “Six Characters in Search of an Author” dream/nightmare moments. As she sat in the cafe her characters came to talk to her. I sometimes feel like my characters, both as an actor and a writer, come talk to me. Or rather haunt me until I give them life. Huh. Am I going to regret sharing that?
What were your earliest inspirations? How did you get started as a creator?
I grew up on Disney. My family went to Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth'', every summer when I was a kid. We saw all the Disney movies and listened to all the Disney records. For a while, I believed I was Alice in Wonderland. So much so, that when I got lost in Disneyland as a three-year-old, I told everyone I was her. I also enjoyed Nancy Drew books, mystery books by Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), and Choose Your Own Adventure books, where I typically ended up taking the wrong adventure and dying.
I used to write songs for myself and stories for our young writer’s contest at school. In the 6th grade, I wrote a story called, “Murder on King Street”, which was a story about three college friends reuniting on New Year’s Eve in Times Square when a mass murderer with a personal vendetta came to reak havoc on the night. It won me my class contest, but when it was to go to county, they decided it was “too scary” and my parents were called into the office as there was concern over my wellbeing, because all my stories involved murder. I think perhaps my mind was influenced by all the Charlie’s Angels, Remington Steele and Moonlighting I watched or all the reruns of the Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt I chased with reruns of The Monkees (Thanks, Nick at Night).
As a performer, I was also deeply influenced by Lucille Ball in reruns of I Love Lucy and Carol Burnett. In high school, I played two roles Carol Burnett played, Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress and Miss Hannigan in Annie. There are videotapes lurking somewhere. I collaborated with a friend in drama class on writing some dark comedy skits we wanted to act in, one about two women buried alive for different reasons, another inspired by a Far Side cartoon about two pilots messing with the controls to scare the passengers until they unfortunately run out of gas. We were also obsessed with The Young Ones on MTV and performed a complete episode for drama class.
In college, while working on my acting chops, I became obsessed with writing a musical about Peter Pan meeting Alice in Wonderland and took a series of playwriting courses along with my acting classes. Despite my college professor telling me all year to throw out A Wonder in Neverland, my half-hour musical, he changed his tune once he saw a staged reading of it. I still need a composer, if anyone is interested.
After college and going out into the acting world, I got tired of not getting as much work as I wanted, so I began writing a dramedy web series entitled Lines & Asides, about a classically trained actress struggling in New York City who’s dead Uncle comes back as a ghost to help her with her career, inspired by my career and my favorite television show, Slings & Arrows. I eventually shot a pilot for Lines & Asides which got into a few film festivals, including the Big Apple Film Festival and New Hope Film Festival and later put it on the back burner when I started co-creating the web series version of Tech Bettys with Amanda Van Nostrand.
Amanda and I wrote the first season and outlined the second, and shot a proof of concept trailer, which also got in the Big Apple Film Festival and Silicon Valley International Film Festival, but by this time, Amanda decided to move on to other things. With her blessing, I have kept the project going and shot what we made into the first three webisodes as a proof-of-concept by teaming up with director Kathleen Davison of Painted Saint Entertainment. Those webisodes have gone around the world to many festivals and won many awards, including Best of Fest at Miami Web Fest.
It was after our first few festivals, that I started working with Jerry Perzigian in his TV Comedy Writing class at Jacob Krueger Studios and he encouraged me to turn both Lines & Asides and Tech Bettys into the half-hour format. I have been working with him as a mentor ever since. So far, I have written the first five episodes of season one of Tech Bettys and the pilot of Lines & Asides, which is now called Try, Try Again, and I have developed a half-hour cartoon about a little girl named Blue and her scrappy best friend, Sami, entitled Bright Blue, for which I have written the first four episodes.
Whose work do you admire? Who are your dream collaborators?
This is such a hard question to answer, I think because there are so many people I admire and so many more with whom I’d love to collaborate. I admire Jerry Perzigian’s work (Golden Girls, etc) and I am working with him as a mentor. I also loved Moonlighting, and was thrilled that Glenn Gordon Caron is also involved in Bull, which I wasn’t sure why I loved so much and now it all makes sense. I have a few powerhouse female creators (some who’ve done exactly what I want to do, which is take a web series I create and act in and turn it into a TV show on a streaming service), and those are Issa Rae (Insecure), Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), Rachel Bloom (My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Tina Fey (30 Rock). But, to be honest, I think my dream collaborators would be people with money, power, and influence, who see my work, are excited by it, believe in it, and who want to work with me to bring it to life.
If you had to give one piece of career advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Figure out who you are, what you do best, and what you want in this business. Then get in alignment with that. Meaning, figure out how to BE the person you want to be, and then act as if you are that until you get there.
What’s your must-read/must-watch book/show or movie?
This tends to change with my mood, but here are some of my all time favorite movies and shows: TV: Slings & Arrows, Ted Lasso, Silicon Valley, Schitt’s Creek, Black Monday
Movies: Shakespeare in Love, The Wedding Singer, The Notebook, Big Fish
Stay up to date with Mary and her work on social media!
Facebook: @marymcgloin, @techbettys, @GoodlyRottenAppleProductions
Twitter: @marymcgloin, @techbettys, @GoodlyRotten
Instagram: @marymcgloin, @techbettys
Tech Bettys: www.techbettys.com