S H E I L A    C A L L A G H A N

playwright, etc.

periscope.

SHEILA ON PERISCOPE
Currently on hiatus.
Check here for season 2 updates,
or view archived episodes here.

Episode 20 - Everything Is Blue (Season Finale)Everything Is BlueEverything Is Blue (aired 2/21/17, 64 mins)
...in which Sheila answers writing & biz questions from her mentee, Sarah E., who's not even watching. Topics include: reflections from the WGA Awards; how a show's tone and cast size can determine its format; beating out storylines for characters and blending them together; Sheila's overuse of a certain action line; determining where to start a pilot story; questions to ask before diving in; differences between agents, managers, & lawyers; the complicated relationship between playwrights and theater reviewers; and how Sheila deals with rejection. Also, Sheila is horrified to realize her sweater matches her chair.


Episode 19 - WGA Awards, BitchesWGA Awards, BitchesWGA Awards, Bitches (aired 2/19/17, 17 min.)
...in which Sheila and her fox purse take us on the road to the WGA Awards and inside the show, where she is the first one to lose. Featured moments include: a slow-moving Segway tour; Sheila's emergency shoe-bag; a guest check-in table; a man in a cat-print suit; a glimpse at the red carpet; Patton Oswalt making drunk Tr*** jokes; James Woods stealing a shoe; and Sheila losing to someone at the table next to her. HOWEVER! Sheila receives a special shout-out from the stage by a man she deeply admires.


Episode 18 - Slapping The Meat In Public; Or, Ass Sex In A Public RestaurantSlapping The Meat In Public; Or, Ass Sex In A Public RestaurantSlapping The Meat In Public; Or, Ass Sex In A Public Restaurant (aired 2/7/17, 65 min.)
(**WARNING: POOR AUDIO QUALITY!!**)
...in which Sheila and returning guest David Iserson (US of Tara, Mad Men, Mr. Robot) eat steak and talk turkey in a Hollywood restaurant. Topics include: why David chose a career in writing instead of art; the inherent dangers of basing characters on loved ones; how to avoid playing the victim-card when writing from personal experiences; ways in which evolving TV formats change how audiences consume the medium; whether a blank page is terrifying or liberating; why David is known as "The Ice-Man"; and a lightning question round (let it be known: Ice-Man loves a good question). Also, intermittent audio glitches from 21:41 to 37:27. ☺


Episode 17 - A Very Karaoke BirthdayA Very Karaoke BirthdayA Very Karaoke Birthday (aired 1/24/17, 75 min.)
...in which Sheila performs a set of viewer-requested songs in sparkly pants using excessive reverb. This is ostensibly to demonstrate how she blows off steam while on deadline. But also, it's her effing birthday. Songs include: I'm On Fire; Wanted Dead or Alive; The Jefferson's Theme Song; Bad Romance; Wannabe; One Way or Another; Space Oddity; Tribute; Rehab; Wonderwall; Summer of '69; and other classics. At her side is master air guitarist/pro-dabber/irish dancer Cal, who awards us a quickie piano recital at the end. And, a SURPRISE MYSTERY GUEST performs two(!) duets with the birthday girl from off-screen.


Episode 16 - Just Do A Little PinchieJust Do A Little PinchieJust Do A Little Pinchie (aired 1/10/17, 63 min.)
...in which Sheila and actress Kate Morgan Chadwick (theater: BED, tv: SHAMELESS) pinch their cheeks and talk endlessly about Kate's hair. Topics include: How Kate lied about her guitar skills to land the lead in Sheila's play BED; how it felt for Kate to portray a character based partially on the author; BED's evolution from script to production, along with discussion of the rehearsal process; coping with last-minute script additions in new plays; how Sheila acts during tech; Kate's experience filming a nude TV scene; whether Sheila felt better or worse after writing BED; and the differences between table reads in theatre and TV. Also, Kate humps a periscope prop.


Episode 15 - Low Ceiling, Tiny DicksLow Ceiling, Tiny DicksLow Ceiling, Tiny Dicks (aired 12/28/16, 66 min.)
...in which a jetlagged Sheila 'scopes from Dublin to discuss ways of staying sane/insane. Topics include: Panic attacks and medication; reasons she fired her therapist; how to keep your inner demons from hindering your creative process; why dudes troll; practicing self-care while immersed in one's work; the benefits of pausing in a good place; finding a writing "opposite" to achieve balance; writing exercises to help stay loopy (in the good way); and the delicate equilibrium between sanity and insanity. Also, Sheila sings an impromptu song called "Never A Girl" and fails to unearth someone who understands the significance of catching a Mr. Mime.


Ep 14 - I'm A F*cking ZombieI'm A F*cking ZombieI'm A F*cking Zombie (aired 12/13/16, 44 min.)
...in which Sheila fields questions about her theater career to remind herself she has one. Topics include: Why she identifies with fan frustrations; a story about being one of Marie Claire's "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World"; her favorite plays to write and why; her love of linguistics; how writers interact with actors in TV vs theatre; how she copes with opening nights; the differences between casting sessions for TV and theater; and how this particular periscope broadcast is a shitshow. Also, Sheila has a dramatic encounter with the phrase "blue tick," while her graphic shirt causes unwelcome controversy.


Ep 13, PART TWO - Drunk PeriscopeDrunk PeriscopeDrunk Periscope (aired 12/6/16, 25 min.)
(**SPECIAL PERISCOPE FOR SHAMELESS FANS**)
...in which Sheila finally and accidentally grants a few Shameless fans their request to discuss the show while tipsy. Topics include: Not giving spoilers about 7x11; a potentially good sign regarding a season 8 pickup; what her family might eat for dinner; a failed attempt at novel writing; how Mickey got his real name; how Mickey could have broken out of jail; why "sides" aren't allowed on set; actor/writer relationships; and how to end a long-running TV show. Also, Sheila makes a friend named Patrick and dutifully ignores every alarm she sets.


Ep 13, PART ONE - Sexism, Jammies, & Woke BaesAfternoon Jammies, Woke BaesAfternoon Jammies, Woke Baes (aired 12/6/16, 57 min--currently unavailable until Sheila gets over the shame of rambling earnestly and incoherently on a subject she cares about)
...in which Sheila mixes (and drinks) the left-over whisky from her fundraiser while tackling questions about sexism. Topics include: Disrespectful behavior and poor character vs. sexism and bias; the complicated influence of power dynamics; downplaying predatory behavior as a way of attaining status; unconscious vs. overt sexism; the uncomfortable ways women deal with sexist behavior; sexism as punishment/reward; how to gently illuminate a co-worker's unconscious biases; the "woman slot" in Hollywood; and why confidence makes you an attractive hire. Also, Sheila accidentally gets drunk.


Ep 12 - Twitter Wants You Fired.Twitter Wants You Fired.Twitter Wants You Fired. (aired 11/29/16, 49 min.)
...in which Sheila plays Pitbull while anxiously waiting for her assistant Bianca to show up. Topics include: important qualities for a writer's assistant; how Bianca got her job; being a fangirl and a writer at the same time; working unconventional hours; the "high-stakes" of TV writing; the origins of the title "I Am A Storm;" building a boss-assistant rapport; how a fan's perspective benefits a writer's assistant; legitimizing fan-fiction; unconventional script structures; why playwrights make good tv; and Bianca's worst assistant tasks. Also, Sheila takes a phone call from her boss while Bianca trashes the joint.


Ep 11 - Cab Ride, Mik-HAY-loCab Ride, Mik-HAY-loCab Ride, Mik-HAY-lo (aired 11/27/16, 21 min.)
(**SPECIAL PERISCOPE FOR SHAMELESS FANS**)
...in which Sheila discusses her just-aired episode "Ouroboros" on the ride home from the airport. Topics include: how to pronounce a specific character's name; fan reactions to the ending; the most difficult scene to write; the struggle between creating good drama and keeping fans happy; the ways in which side characters function to serve the main characters' stories; and how the best line of the ep was ad-libbed. Also, she apologizes for droppin' f-bombs in front of impressionable young ears. 


Ep 10 - Copper Gloves, Sheila's DignityCopper Gloves, Sheila's DignityCopper Gloves, Sheila's Dignity (aired 11/22/16, 44 min.)
...in which Sheila breaks down the process of writing her latest pilots from pitch to page. Topics include: how writers work with producing companies; developing a pitch; writer's block vs. grappling with story; how research can save you; the responsibilities of a showrunner; tips for making your pitch personal; the importance of a killer opening; the seven essential things to include in a pitch; and understanding the arc of a season. Also, Sheila gives us a tour of all the fundraiser crap on her floor.


Ep 9 - Art as Political ActionArt as Political ActionArt as Political Action (aired 11/15/16, 29 min.)
...in which Sheila discusses using writing to instigate awareness and activate change. Topics include: the therapeutic benefits of creating art in times of turmoil; why it's necessary to establish critical distance when writing politically; how invoking empathy can help create change; avoiding polemic and propaganda; using metaphor to address social ills; the power of amplification; and how/why community is important. Also, Sheila shares inspirational quotes from artists and activists.  But she forgets to credit Picasso.


Ep 8 - Bathtub, GangbangBathtub, GangbangBathtub, Gangbang (aired 11/1/16, 42 min.)
...in which Sheila and her friend/special guest David Iserson (US of Tara, Mad Men, Mr. Robot) attempt to stay on track with the help of a concierge bell. Topics include: Writing main vs supporting characters; careers as love-affairs; tips for rewriting; advice for tackling controversial subjects; writing multiple projects at once; how co-writing works; the "tension of opposites" in dramedies; dealing with criticism/rejection; and what writers and tight-rope walkers have in common. Also, David plugs his wife's taxidermy business. BONUS: another *extra-special* guest


Ep 7 - Self-flagellation, Vintage RingSelf-flagellation, Vintage RingSelf-flagellation, Vintage Ring (aired 10/25/16, 51 min.)
...in which Sheila rambles from exhaustion & scrambles to retrieve hearts. Topics include: trolls; knowing when a story is finished; creating dimensional characters; how pivotal scenes work/why they're fun to write; the usefulness of character dossiers; the importance of expressing gratitude; and the hierarchy of a writers' room (coherence proves challenging here). Also, she tells the story of being caught in a wormhole with the word "affordable," and a legendary salad she was unable to eat. BONUS: a poet gets outed!


Ep 6 - Shakespeare Socks, Theme SongShakespeare Socks, Theme SongShakespeare Socks, Theme Song (aired 10/18/16, 38 min.)
...in which Sheila wears a shirt declaring her feelings about salad. Topics include: contract negotiations; ways TV writers break into the biz; trusting your community; pros/cons of internships; the importance of solid script samples; advice for honing/delivering a pitch; motherhood; self-care and therapeutic writing; dealing with loquaciousness; identifying your audience; and (not) letting go of characters you love. Also, Sheila performs an impromptu song about her knees.


Ep 5 - Backyard, ThumbholesBackyard, ThumbholesBackyard, Thumbholes (aired 10/11/16, 38 min.)
...in which Sheila experiences technical difficulties in the great outdoors. Topics include: writing what scares you; establishing community; writing for a TV show vs. showrunning; the benefits of living in LA; fanfiction and intellectual property; tips for writing productively; duties of an executive producer; identifing topics that inspire; and how new writers are discovered. Also, Sheila struggles to find a comfortable reclining position.


Ep 4 - Purple Wall, iPad DropPurple Wall, iPad DropPurple Wall, iPad Drop (aired 10/4/16, 22 min.)
...in which Sheila explains her public speaking neurosis. Topics include: coping with writer's block; getting feedback from people you trust; relationships between writers and actors; the importance of surprising yourself; balancing writing and family time; when/why a writers' room gets heated; advice for aspiring writers; and what goes down during table reads. Also, she butchers the name of a dude from One Direction and dramatically drops her iPad.


Ep 3 - Dark Restaurant, Not DrunkDark Restaurant, Not DrunkDark Restaurant, Not Drunk (aired 9/28/16, 3 min.)
...in which Sheila muses briefly on heartbreak and the reasons we fall for TV characters.


Ep 2 - Blue Shirt, Living Room ArtBlue Shirt, Living Room ArtBlue Shirt, Living Room Art (aired 9/27/16, 24 min.)
...in which Sheila discusses her love of social media and throws paper hearts at the screen. Topics include: writing pilots and spec scripts; what showrunners look for in writing samples; playwrights being recruited for TV; breaking a season; differences between producing theatre and TV; and who takes the heat from critics across writing platforms. Also discussed: some awkward NYC-inspired hipster art.


Ep 1 - Striped Shirt, Hand TapeStriped Shirt, Hand TapeStriped Shirt, Hand Tape (aired 9/20/16, 45 min.)
...in which Sheila figures out what the hell a periscope is, sorta. Topics include: writing subtext in action lines; how a TV writers room works; the importance of finding one's writing voice; differences between TV and theatre writing; thoughts on spoilers; benefits of grad school; difficulties with table-reads; and the meanest criticism she's ever received. Also, tips for procrastination and the benefits of blue athletic tape.

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