There's a hilarious comedy play "Meet and Greet" showing in Los Angeles that I was invited to see by my good friend Brendan Robinson (Lucas from "Pretty Little Liars") who plays the casting assistant along with four amazing actresses who play actresses competing for the same TV Show role. As a fellow actress, I appreciate the way a script is written and how the lines are delivered as it is this combination that determines its' success with an audience. I quickly looked up who wrote the script and found out it was a guy named Stan Zimmerman with a laundry list of credits that included one successful sitcom after another. I was lucky enough to first meet this genius screenwriter, director, and producer of such hit sitcoms such as "Golden Girls" and "Gilmore Girls" after the show and then later found myself greeting him at my parents' entertainment law offices to sit down for a personal interview about his success story. Some people do not find their calling that early in life, but Stan was obviously an early bloomer as he was already creating complete television programming in his room by age ten and trying to compete with the major networks. These obvious signs of an entrepreneurial spirit from a youngster shows he was well on his way to succeeding in show business. His passion was not just a hobby like building a train set in his room for fun. Just the opposite, he was creating a soundstage within the confines of his boyhood bedroom for his future screenwriting debut in the real world as a young adult fresh from NYU eager to enter the entertainment world now as an educated professional. And, the millions of viewers who this visionary has breathed life into characters they identify with, chuckle, even double over from side splitting laughter at the humor he hums into their lines. including myself, can claim Stan is the man with the gift of gab and guffaw that anyone with a sense of humor can find relatable and relaxing after a hard day. "Even when tough things happen, try to find the humor in the situation" - Stan Zimmerman
Brendan Robinson (Lucas from Pretty Little Liars) (L) standing outside Theatre-Asylum-Elephant Space located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90038 with Tatiana Mclane (R) where Brendan is starring in "Meet and Greet" (a new comedy play) written by Stan Zimmerman and Christian McLaughlin and directed by Stan Zimmerman. Go see Brendan along with his 4 leading ladies Daniele Gaither (MADTV), Teresa Ganzel (Tonight Show),Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital) and Viki Lewis (News Radio)! It will leave you in a fit of giggles!
Photo Credit: Venice Wong
Photo Credit: Venice Wong
1. Describe your personal clothing style. Does it differ from when you are working in your creative mode vs. your daily life?
I don’t know why, but I really like wearing other people’s clothing. Especially vintage. I like mixing and matching vintage with current trends. I will always be wearing some kind of vintage piece. When I was working on "Rita Rocks", for the live audience shows, I would dress up. I was known for my vintage ties and cardigans. I have a walk in closet and people are always like, you have so many shoes. I can’t bring myself to get rid of my clothes because I hope that I can someday bring them back if it becomes in trend again. Right now, I’m more into the classic style. I also really like vintage patterns but not so much the comical ones even though I’m a comedy writer.
2. It seems like your success story as an entertainment entrepreneur began at a very early age when you began creating your own TV Network in your bedroom at age ten. How do you think that experience prepared you for working in the entertainment industry today?
I was nuts. I was unpopular and wouldn’t play sports, so I would stay in my bedroom making this TV network. Even though it was all in my head. I would draw my own ads. I would see what the other networks were running so I would make a block of shows, such as sitcoms, to compete with them. I wasn’t that good in English class, but I knew I wanted to be a writer for TV and I knew I wanted a writing partner.
3. Are there any other talents that you have that have turned out to be an asset to seeing your creative vision come to life?
I’m a big drawer. I do set design since it’s in my head already. I always pick out the nicest fabric, such as for my house. Yet, it somehow always turns out to be the most expensive. I added a two room addition to my house. They said it would take seven months, but it took seven years. I envisioned it being done and beautiful and it happened. Just like the play, I envisioned great actors in the parts and it happened.
4. If you were only allowed to watch one Television channel for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
I know this is so cliché but, "Bravo". I actually did a reality show for them. It was to make a sitcom from script to screen. I liked being on camera. It was fun. I was also producing "Gilmore Girls" during this time. I had a crazy schedule that somehow everyone tolerated. Somehow, I did feel energized because I was just getting to do what I love.
5. I noticed that a lot of your projects that you have worked on have been geared towards a demographic of older women. Was this intentional on your part or were you hired to specifically write for these types of shows?
I was just hired to write for them. There are so few shows that are geared towards more mature women. It's not as difficult to come up with dialogue for them since they’re more in touch with their feelings, as men just shrug their shoulders as an expression of emotion.
6. Do you think you have a clear sense of humor to the point that someone can tell you wrote a specific joke or line?
People have come to the show and say, “Oh, I can so hear you in your work!” I think I like to write witty, smart lines that come out of a character. I don't think of myself as a joke writer.
The amazingly funny comedic screenwriter of your favorite sitcoms, Stan Zimmerman (L) sharing some of his career's funniest moments with Queenie4ever celebrity blogger Tatiana Mclane (R) during his interview which took place at Tatiana's parents' music and entertainment law firm (Mclane and Wong) located in the NoHo Arts District North Hollywood, California.
Photo Credit: Venice Wong
7. It says on your website that you DJ. As a big fan of music, I find that really cool. What is your DJ name and what is your playlist like?
Z Man, DJ Z, I haven’t quite found the perfect name. I just started doing it for people’s birthday parties. I did do a club once called the Falcon. I love old school funk and R&B. Where there was a Hollywood party in the basement of the Max Factor Museum. It has the props from the Silence of the Lambs in it. I DJ’d the party from inside the freight elevator that the guests had to take to get to the party. It had a disco ball in it. I wore a costume of a tight muscle t-shirt and a hat. No one recognized me.
8. What was the casting for "Meet & Greet" like?
We had table reads as my version of auditions at my round coffee table at home.
9. How did the sets differ from the first show until now?
At the Fringe Festival, we had a very small set. Because we were only given 15 minutes between plays we could only quickly set up a couch, cheap table for the casting assistant and hang three movie posters. But the next time we did it, we had a real set that did not include an Ikea table.
10. What is the cast of "Meet & Greet" like?
Doing this play, we have become like a little family, with no infighting. It’s such a great tight ensemble. Everyone has their shining moment. They really enjoy being up there. Maybe a Tony award would change that. I hope not, but a nice ensemble award would be nice. We don’t see each other during the week but on the weekend. We’ll be like oh my God, how was your week? I love hearing their stories.
11.If you were going to add another female character to the cast of "Meet and Greet", who is auditioning for the part of Andrea, what type of actress would this character be typecast as?
A drag queen, transsexual, or YouTube star. Someone came to the show who was a telenovela star. They said they would like to do an all Latin cast in Miami. It might also be fun to have the whole cast be drag queens.
12. Was "Meet and Greet" written with plans to try to pitch it as a sitcom in the future?
No. I never wanted to write a play only sitcoms. When I direct, I like doing preexisting works so that the lines are the same. I was told by Larry Hirschhorn to write about my life, but I wrote about something in my life. I think it’s horrible what we put actresses through. They are waiting in a room with their competition and are expected to go in and land the part.
A last glimpse of Queenie4ever celebrity blogger Tatiana Mclane (L) with one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriter/producer/director Stan Zimmerman(R) hanging out on the vintage red velvet settee in her parents' music and entertainment law firm (Mclane and Wong) located in the NoHo Arts District North Hollywood, California.
Photo Credit: Venice Wong
13. What do you want the audience to take away from watching "Meet & Greet"?
I just want them to have a good time for an hour and twenty minutes. I think it’s an interesting subject to explore, people wanting fame and if you do get a taste of fame would you be willing to give it up? When people are laughing I think they take away more of a lesson. I pick the playlist before the show. It’s all songs about fame and fortune.
14. What is your advice to someone who aspires to be in the entertainment industry?
What I tell my acting students is that there is success on the back wall. If you want to get to success you need to push the obstacles away, so you can get to the wall. Sometimes we’re our own obstacle, and sometimes your obstacle is someone that you have allowed to get in your way. You need to say no I have somewhere to be and push them out of the way. If you really want it, visual a clear path. You have a unique perspective on the world. Everything you listen to and experience shapes who are. Even when tough things happen, try to find the humor in the situation.
15. What is next for Stan Zimmerman?
My weekday writing partner is, James Berg. We’re currently finishing up a pilot for Jessie McCartney for ABC Family. It’s called, "Piece of Work". It's a cross between the movies, "Devil Wears Prada" and "The Proposal". My Weekend writing partner is Christian McLaughlin, who co-wrote "Meet & Greet" with me. We got the rights to do a musical using 40 TV show themes such as, "I Love Lucy" and "True Blood" with my weekend partner. Christian wrote meet and greet with me. I am also working on my dream of directing a movie. It will be called "The Homecoming Queen is Going Down". The storyline is that they have a revote for homecoming queen 20 years later. The cheerleader won the 1st time, but she has gained weight. Yet, she doesn’t want to lose. It’s in the mode of "Bridesmaid".
I highly recommend that you round up a bunch of friends and go experience this super hilarious play with an all star cast guaranteed to have you laughing in your seats, then go have coffee and have a gab fest about all the lines that make you giggle with glee!!!
AS OF NOW, ONLY 11 MORE SHOWS OF "MEET AND GREET" !!!!
CLICK THE LINK FOR TICKETS: www.theatreasylum-la.com
To Learn More About Stan Zimmerman: www.zimmermanstan.com
Princess Kisses! xoxo
Tatiana Mclane Queenie4ever