We had the good fortune of connecting with Anca Vlasan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anca, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Television writing is an industry where you’re constantly taking risks. Not just with your career or with your content, but also within a comedy writer’s room where you’re constantly pitching new ideas. In my first writer’s room, I was self-conscious to speak up. But I was committed to doing what’s best for this project, so I had to put my own fears aside. And the more I pitched, and the more risks I took, the more comfortable I become with that uncertainty. Risk-taking became the norm! And guess what? Not every pitch will be a winner. Not every risk will merit a reward. But NOT pitching could be even more detrimental to your career and to the project. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I promise you it’s not that bad.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In both live-action and animation, my work features female-driven comedy with a dark, surreal twist. I love setting up a seemingly positive premise– and then surprising readers with an unexpectedly dark angle. My therapist would tell you it stems from my life experience. As a woman, people perceive me to be a happy-go-lucky dumb blonde. But when they actually talk to me, they realize this dumb blonde won’t shut up about cults, conspiracies, or cryptids. I’ve written on several adult animated shows. Earlier this year, I co-wrote the two-part season finale of YOLO: Crystal Fantasy on Adult Swim. I wrote late nights and early mornings because the creator, Michael Cusack, is in Australia which has a totally opposite time-zone. YOLO is a brilliantly silly show, but we challenged ourselves to surprise viewers with this unusually grounded finale. It was fun to figure out the balance of writing something really dark and existential, but then undercutting it with complete ridiculousness. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but my favorite character is named Daddy Termite Mountain, who derails the life of his termite mountain family with his stand-up career. I’ve also made my own comedy short films. My animated short, Lizard Queen, explores beauty standards and Reptilian conspiracies. It was nominated for the Oscar-qualifying Grand Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival. My live-action short, C U Later Tuesday, is a rom-com set within a cult. It will be available on Amazon in October. I’m currently working on a reality-show parody sketch that will be on Funny or Die and Vimeo. Also, I just started on a new animated short film with animator Qieer Wang. When I’m not doing all that, I’m writing original pilots. So keep an eye out for more!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, this is tough considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But, while wearing a mask everywhere at all times, I’d start out with the breakfast panini from Sun in My Belly. Walk around Oakland Cemetary, maybe with some wine from 3 Parks. If it’s Sunday, I’d hit up the Grant Park farmers market for a CBD kombucha from Golda. (Pro-tip: they have growlers you can take home to relax during the week.) At night, I’d get takeout from Gaja and go to a drive-in at the Plaza or Dad’s Garage. Also, I’ve been going hiking a ton. I’d tell you all my favorite spots, but then I’d have to kill you.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have written on two animated series and I produce animated content. A few years ago, I became a member of an organization called Women in Animation. Today, women only hold 20% of creative roles within the animation industry. The WIA mission is to make it 50/50 by 2025. Their mentorship programs have connected me with so many established writers in the animation industry. They have taught me about creative but, almost more importantly, they’ve also taught me about the business. The goal isn’t just to be an artist, it’s to be a professional artist. Women in Animation has been a great resource for me.