I was shocked in August of 2021 when my little savage weekly capsule, Hindsight 2021, was honored with a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award nomination for my writing. Not because my content doesn’t fucking cook, which it absolutely does, but because my work is essentially a solo effort. Most regional Emmy award nominations are presented to either a team, a terrestrial TV station, or to individuals that probably owe their honor more to others who did their heavy lifting for them or as a group. Not to eschew hard work or team accomplishments, but I didn’t have a team, or a general manager, or a creative services director, or anyone else who had a hand in creating my product, nor in delivering it. Hindsight 2021 can be found on the DB&A Television Network, but it serves as a platform only. Every graphic, word, file byte, and A/V effect was born and raised myself, with key help from my wife, who is my test-audience, sensor board, and voice of rationality. But in getting to this point, I owe my initial inspiration to two other women, both of whom have taken the phrase “Fuck this, I’ll do it myself” and used it to push their respective careers into game-changing categories. I don’t think they have crossed paths with each other, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t already know and support each other’s work.
Sonja O’Hara: Recently directed the feature film “Mid Century” and was nominated for a daytime Emmy Award for her series “Doomsday”. Her ladder is much longer than this, but back in 2011 she was still on the first rung. We both landed stand-in roles for a very poorly received film with an uneven cast of aging B-listers and fresh-faced soap opera actors. (I used to be 80 pounds heavier and was the stand-in for “Newman” from Seinfeld. There is another anecdote about this that I will reveal at a later time). I spent three days in “Holding-Hell” with her, while we watched beautiful early 20’s acting school grads clomp around asking what “Team 1” and “Team 2” meant while trading in-jokes about their days at Yale Drama School. Frustrated at not getting actual acting parts, Sonja said that she was going to write her own movie, and break in that way. Which she then promptly did. I believe her first effort was a partially autobiographical movie called “Ovum” about a woman earning money by selling her eggs. Ultimately, she was signed to William Morris-Endeavor and moved to Los Angeles and has not looked back.
Sarah Cooper: In 2012, Sarah and I were cast as comic partners in a string of TV commercials for a NYC bank. In these cute romps, I was the klutzy hero with a spoken tag line in each spot and Sarah was the inherently silent and earnest bank rep who helps me. Even though we got along fine, I felt an underlying frustration from her, since she never got to say any lines, and didn’t actually get to do anything funny. Sarah was a struggling stand-up comic and writer at the time, and had very modest brushes with success over the next 8 years, mostly from penning a series of literature aimed at women and focused on cutting men down to size. It wasn’t until she began to memorize speeches made by then-President Donald Trump and then lip-syncing them on Tik Tok that her career skyrocketed, literally overnight. William Morris-Endeavor signed her, and in short form, she had her own TV option deal, a special on Netflix, and enough click-revenue to probably eclipse every penny she ever earned up to that point elsewhere. Her mantra might not have been “Fuck this, I’ll do it myself” because she already was doing her own thing when Trump came along, but even she has admitted that she was close to throwing in the entertainment towel pre-Covid. The point is, nobody handed her a chance at success, she created the opportunity on her own.
So, in October of 2020, I thought about taking a shot at self-creation and Hindsight was born. At first, the three-minute news spoof was just a way to keep from getting rusty while acting and hosting jobs dried up during the pandemic. But then it became something more, and even if getting a Mid-Atlantic Emmy nomination is certainly not a ticket to fame or preceding a call from Mike Ovitz, it’s still an accomplishment that I would have never thought I could reach in my entire life, much less after turning 50. And wherever the next chapter takes me, I thank these women for showing me how vital it was to say “Fuck this”, and how empowering it can be to “Do it yourself”!