Dear Greek Goddesses and Greek Gods,

At the Great American PitchFest, I carefully selected classes to attend. Hollywood’s Greek Goddess: A 1-on-1 Interview with Nia Vardalos was a no brainier.

Nia entered the room in jeans, tennis, and her infectious smile . . . ready for questions. But I noticed her warmth, honesty, and charisma. Nia shared how Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks helped her break in Hollywood. They never made her feel like she asked dumb questions. They were kind to her. There are kind people in Hollywood, and the kind people are the most accomplished! And she continued with her wisdom and genuineness.

Some of Nia’s Golden Nuggets…

Structurally, don’t worry about the pages and rules. Of course, there is a beginning, middle, and ending.

Table read with actors to feel the tone.

Do you feel satisfied with your character’s arc?

Follow your muse!

When you get stuck, something better and stronger comes out of it.

Write every day.

Actors love amazing scripts. Get your script in their hands.

Pro-woman without anti-male.

Some on-the-nose dialogue can be so real compared to casual dialogue.

Everyone wants to be heard. Try the notes. If you feel satisfied with the changes, implement them.

Women are hard on other women.

Make your hook compelling when you pitch. You’ll grab their attention in the first 3 or 4 sentences.

Find your voice and stick to your guns.

The way that you are raised influences your writing.

Write the story you want to tell. Don’t write for focus groups.

Leave some things dangle.

Subtext is at the mercy of the director to show it.

Go to movies and watch them solve conflict.

You collaborate more with the director in independent films.

You want the audience members to see themselves on the screen.

And what I saw is a powerhouse in Hollywood full of knowledge, insights, understanding, and gumption! She made it and paying it forward by sharing her golden nuggets to all the fellow writers. Don’t take no for an answer. Keep moving forward. Follow your gut. Listen to your intuition. And stick with the kind people.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Thank you Nia Vardalos for making me feel that I can do this!

Fellow writer and goddess,

Photo thanks from the Great American Pitchfest!