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My inspiration : Antonia Ellis
By Lisa Muse
A Match Made in Hollywood…Literally
Antonia Ellis has changed the course of my life. Sounds dramatic, I know, and if she were to read this herself, she would look up in exasperation, and give ME all of the credit for all the good things that have happened since I’ve met her. That’s because Antonia Ellis is a rare breed: she is prof...essional, ambitous, hardworking, successful, genuine, and beautiful inside and out. Now, I know what you’re thinking…I know many people with those qualities. But Antonia also possesses a kind of humility that is almost non-existent among successful Hollywood television producers. I hope that you are starting to get an understanding of the kind of person that Antonia Ellis is. Now let me tell you HOW she has impacted my life in such a profound way in the five short months that I have known her.
I was supposed to meet Antonia in June, when the rest of the Step Up Professional Mentorship Program participants met the accomplished women with whom they were matched. We both were out of town. So a later meeting was arranged at Antonia’s office at the hit television show, “Men In Trees”. On the way to the meeting, I was intimidated. What was I going to say to this woman who has produced some of the best programs on television. (Does the name Carrie Bradshaw mean anything to you?) What was I going to say to make an impression? What if she didn’t like me? What if I cracked under pressure and said something stupid in our first meeting? These and about 50 other questions ran through my mind as I made my way to her office. But a funny thing happened when I entered her space. You see, none of my anxiety made it through the door with me. In fact, so warm and inviting was her office that I actually felt calm, and so bright and genuine her smile that it was clear that this was a woman with whom I could be myself.
We talked for close to two hours at that first meeting. I told her all about myself: my aspirations of being a television writer, my wonderful experiences volunteering with, and being a member of, Step Up. She told me all about herself: career accomplishments, how she is actually a classically trained pianist, and that she has produced shows for some of the best writers around, including David Simon (a personal writing heroe of mine). By the end of that meeting, I was grateful to have made a real connection to my new mentor. But I was pretty shocked at what happened next. She enthusiastically offered me a position as a writer’s assistant on her show. It seems that she had begun interviewing for the position only a few days before. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I had heard the word serendipty, but it’s so unlikely to actually experience it! Because we met that day, and because we “hit if off” so splendidly, I have been able to see my mentor almost everyday since the day I met her.
Thanks to Antonia, I have met a slew of award winning writers, actors and network executives. I have been learning more and more about the craft of writing from some of the best in the business. I have made new career contacts, gotten my sample material read, and made many new friends. And no, the salary doesn’t hurt at all – before I met Antonia, I was also unemployed. I’ve also gotten to see Antonia in action everyday. She mentors by example: it’s inspiring to just see her work and manage the many tasks that make up the television producer’s hectic day to day. Antonia Ellis not only settles for nothing less than excellence, but she does it with elegance and grace.
With all this, I must say, that the best part has been getting to know Antonia. As a mentor, she is always there with a word of advice and a willingness to help me accomplish my goals. As a friend, she is also available to share a laugh or lend support. Even at her busiest, she is never too busy for me, or anyone else that works for and with her.
So Antonia Ellis, I hope that you read this, just in case my words over the past several months haven’t fully express just how blessed I feel to have you as my mentor. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for everything. And please, just this once, take ALL of the credit for making such a huge difference in my life and career.
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