Less than 17 months after graduating from college, Lauren Bachelis signed a script deal to write and produce her own sitcom for CBS, 20-Nothings. There’s no guarantee yet that it will eventually reach the screen, but it’s still great news for the young woman whose early experiences in the business inspired her to create an anonymous Tumblr blog called Hollywood Assistants. “It sounds so glamorous,” she says. “Everyone thinks that you’re living the life that your boss is living. And we are so not living the glamour life. We’re so close yet so far from our dreams.”
Bachelis has been working in the entertainment industry since her freshman year of college, when she interned as a production assistant on Judge Judy. Internships with Heroes and others followed, as did an internship at the giant Hollywood agency CAA. She knew her ultimate goal was to be a writer, so when an assistant job opened on a CAA’s lit desk last August, she took it, and the material for her popular blog began.
While Bachelis stressed that her own boss was nothing but supportive (in fact, he’s now her agent!) some of her assistant friends weren’t so lucky. Bachelis, on one of her favorite posts on the site, described the life of an assistant as “putting out fires all day long.” She discovered that her blog — which skewers everything from office politics to work/life balance, all with GIFs — quickly found a big audience. “I figured I have a voice, so I’m going to use it,” she says. “And yes, it could get me shunned from this town, or it could have the opposite effect. Luckily, that’s what happened.”
But before the script deal rolled in, there was some paranoia. She initially only told three good friends at CAA about her role in the insider-y blog. Every time she told someone, no one could quite believe that she was the girl behind the Tumblr that was being passed around the office. By the end (before going totally public) there were about 10-15 people at CAA that knew the scoop, but they all were respectful of her secret.
While her Tumblr was making her Internet famous, albeit anonymously, Bachelis was also hard at work on her own writing career. A friend’s boss represented Fred Savage, and the friend passed along some of Bachelis’ spec scripts. Savage was impressed, and the two met up and talked about working together, where the idea for 20-Nothings came about. “While the show is based on the blog, it’s very loosely based,” she says. “[On the show] there are five distinct characters [two guys and three women]. I’d say it’s more like Friends than it is individual blog posts. It’s about a group of friends trying to make it and pretty much failing, and helping each other get through it.”
She’s aware the show sounds a lot like another buzzy hit, HBO’s Girls, which also tackles the awkward period that many go through in their twenties where they have no idea what they’re doing. “Someone said it’s the West Coast version of Girls. Which is kind of true. [But] I think this might appeal to a much broader audience in a sense. I want it to be about lifestyle in Los Angeles, but I really want to make sure that a lot of people can relate to this idea of what it feels like to be someone’s subordinate, having people telling you what to do and also your parents telling you what to do. And to just be in this weird life phase. [That life phase] is not something that only people in Hollywood or New York can understand.”