A mere two months after winning our first ever Launch Pad Competition, Kate Trefry has found herself with hot-on-the-rise manager Lee Stobby (Caliber Media Co.), taking meetings around town, and being coined the next Diablo Cody. We had a chance to sit down with Kate and Lee over a few drinks to discuss Kate’s winning script “Pure O,” find out what she’s working on next, and talk about how the contest along with their new writer/manager relationship has changed both of their lives.
AN INTERVIEW WITH KATE TREFY & LEE STOBBY – PART 5
TB: I feel like you’re going to dominate in TV soon. Any plans to head that direction?
KATE: Thank you. I’ve actually been getting that a lot.
TB: If you don’t have any solid ideas, what type of TV interests you? Or does it matter?
KATE: Well. Like everyone, I love that TV has really embraced the idea of an antihero in a way that mainstream media has never really done before. And luckily, I think that’s opened the door for a lot of different, complicated character studies, which is what I love to work on, regardless of genre. Because now, there’s obviously the big dramas like “Breaking Bad,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and “Mad Men,” but you’re also seeing these weird, uncomfortable characters turn up in procedurals like “House,” and comedies like “Don’t Trust The B in Apartment 23,” or, one of my all time favorites, “Eastbound and Down.” So I guess what I’m saying is I would be happy working on any show with a good assh*le in it. So. Read into that however you will.
LEE: Cable TV is really exciting right now. If you’re going to write a “difficult” feature, I’m going to push you to shoot for the moon and make sure you do something that’s going to get you an Oscar. It may take forever to get going but it will be worth the journey because we made something awesome. If you’re going to do a feature, it’s going to be, ‘Let’s find the biggest company who will have the best chance of getting this done and let’s send it to them and hope that they do it.’ If you’re going to do something in TV, it almost doesn’t matter as much who does it since it has to have a home on some channel before most places even think of engaging: NBC, HBO, Showtime, etc.; there are a lot more rules and a finite number of places and ways to get a show produced. Because of this, I’m not very interested in network television compared to cable, at least how it has existed in the recent past, because those rules are so much more intense on network TV, and I read most of the network pilots they’ve picked up and I’m like, ‘Most of these are sh*t,’ If someone sent this to me blind, I’d be like, ‘Pass?’
TB: Be more awesome!
LEE: Always be awesome.
TB: Reminds me of the “Glengary, Glen Ross” line. ‘Always be closing.’
LEE: (Laughs) Both work, but “always be awesome” is better.
TB: At the very least it’s better than yelling YOLO all the time. Speaking of the “now”, and trying to hide forced transitions, what’s next for you Kate?
KATE: I’m not sure yet. Right now, I’m working on so many different things that it’s just day to day. Lee will call me and be like, ‘I just talked to so and so, they’re interested in this, you should work on that.’
TB: Outside of writing assignments what’s the next passion project?
KATE: I do have one thing I’m working on. It started when I randomly discovered the idea while lost in the Wikipedia wormhole. I’m telling you, follow the Wikipedia trail long enough and you always end up somewhere interesting.
TB: Let me guess, your project is about Mr. Wikipedia and his desire to create the ultimate knowledge reservoir?
KATE: Not quite. It is a biopic, though, weirdly enough. I can’t say much else yet, but it’s about science and space and humanity and love and betrayal. And music. And aliens. Did I miss anything there? Is there any part of the human experience I left out? Anyway, that’s kind of it, in a nutshell.
TB: Sounds like it could be interesting.
LEE: Its awesome. It’s a really complicated thing that has a lot of moving parts but that’s kind of why I like it. If all these moving parts don’t all come together, it’s just not going to be worth writing because it’s based on properties that exist. It’s based on real people. So if you can’t get the right combination of people moving and excited about moving all these things together it’s going to be hard.
KATE: When Lee was checking on the rights, I was literally holding my breath. I was like, ‘Oh God, please be available.’
LEE: It took me a week to figure out the rights; it always takes so much time since you always get sent to a million different people.
KATE: But when I told Lee this crazy idea, instead of being like, ‘What? That sounds exhausting and expensive and impossible,’ he was like, “That’s fucking cool, let me check on the rights,’ because Lee is dope like that. So that’s one of my babies. I don’t know if it will ever find a home, but I love it and even if I’m not working on it right now, it’s always in the back of my mind.
TB: Well I hesitate to push any further, but anything else?
KATE: I’m also working on a thrillery-haunted house movie loosely based on my own experiences moving in with my boyfriend. I’ve always wanted to write a horror movie because I love horror. I grew up on horror and have always wanted to write one. It’s different, from PURE O, and totally different than the biopic. Anyway, I’m hoping I get a chance to write all of them but whichever comes first I’m going to be super excited.
LEE: I’m also trying to figure out how to take this out to and it’s a delicate balancing act. The smallest thing can make the whole thing blow up. You [Kate] were going to write this anyway but if we can get someone to pay you to write it, then that’s something worth working toward. It sounds wild and complicated but I know there are execs out there who’ll love it.
KATE: I hope so. Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of awesome, brave, loyal, scrappy, people in LA, people who will fight for you if you’re good to them. I try to be that and I’m always looking for people like that. They’re out there.
TB: Did you find one?
KATE: Oh, I got one.
Congrats once again to Kate for winning our first ever Launch Pad Feature Competition! And to Lee for discovering her talents with us, and launching her career into top gear right out of the gate. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing both of their names together a lot in the very near future.