My lady Jen and I watch a decent amount of TV shows together. From the pilot on, we were fans of USA’s “White Collar”. During the first season, I was at the Office Depot near our house and waited in line behind Agent Burke himself, Tim DeKay. I told him how much we loved his show and he was so thankful. He asked if I was in the business and I told him about my script “Five Killers” that was nearing production. He congratulated me and we parted ways. It was really the nicest “celeb” encounter I’ve ever had.
After the retitled “Killers” came out, I pitched a couple of TV ideas around town. People really liked me and my ideas, but something was missing in my pitches and I wasn’t selling. To better understand the form, I wrote a spec pilot in 2011. My agents were excited about the script and sent it out. I got plenty of “we love this but can’t buy it” responses, which resulted in several general meetings. One of those meetings was with an exec at Fox Television Studios, the studio behind “White Collar”. We shared our affection for the show and he offered to show my pilot to show-creator Jeff Eastin.
I know how things work. The chances of my script moving up the ladder onto Jeff’s desk was not something to bet the farm on. But wouldn’t you know it, several months later, Jeff was about to enter production on both season 4 of “White Collar” and the pilot for his new show “Graceland”. They decided to add one person to the writers room and I was asked to interview for the position. And that’s how I came to work on “White Collar”.
Last year was a whirlwind. I went form working in my home office and setting my own schedule to showing up at the writers room five days a week and working my ass off with an outstanding team of writers. I was lucky enough to go to New York to help cover the episode I co-wrote. Hanging out near craft services, drinking coffee on a rainy day, I told Tim DeKay about our meeting all those years ago, a meeting he faintly remembered. Life’s funny sometimes. I complimented a star on his excellent new show, having no idea I’d be working on that very show years later.
My stay at “White Collar” was a short one, only the one season. Now I’m back in my home office, writing a feature script and developing some new TV ideas. Tonight is the season 4 finale, the last episode I’ll be credited on. Working on “White Collar” was a beautiful accident and I’m deeply grateful for my time there. From the crash-course in making great television to the friendships I made, it was truly a blessing.
And now I get to be a fan again. I know how season 4 ends, but season 5 is a mystery. I can’t wait to see what happens.