Before Sarah Heyward became a producer and writer on Girls she was a Harvard graduate attending grad school at the University of Iowa, focused on becoming a novelist. After grad school she became an assistant on Girls. The show’s creator, Lena Dunham, eventually read a short story Heyward wrote while attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—two weeks later Heyward was hired to write on Girls.
“The type of short stories I was writing are very similar in tone to Girls. In general, I do think – in terms of Hollywood – having a background in anything interesting – it doesn’t even have to be writing-related – is a novelty if you’re also trying to be a screenwriter. Anything, at this point, as TV is changing so much, I feel like the people writing these TV shows want writers from all different backgrounds who are going to bring a new perspective to it. It’s less focused on finding a hard comedy writer who knows exactly how to write an episode of Frasier. Just with the influx of all the cable models, you know, all these other channels that never had original programming before, like FX or AMC. They’re doing all this new stuff. And on top of that, you have Netflix and Amazon developing their own series…obviously web series and everything on the Internet. I don’t think TV as we know it is going to exist in this way for much longer. Certainly the model of sitting down at 8 pm to watch a show is already gone. Because of that, I think there are all these different ways to create TV, and it’s opening doors for people who wouldn’t necessarily fit in the old slot of how to write a TV show.”
Producer/ writer Sarah Heyward
Interview with Joanna Demkiewicz