Animated Ambitions: Orange Native is Producer on Netflix Sitcom ‘Big Mouth’

Photo credit: Emily J. Davis

 

After taking a television-writing course at Chapman University, Kelly Galuska decided to make her dreams of storytelling a reality. She has written for “Mom” on CBS, “Archer” on FXX, and picked up writing and producing credits for Netflix’s hit animated shows “BoJack Horseman” and “Big Mouth.”

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer when I was very young, but I wanted to be a novelist. Then I saw “Good Will Hunting” and thought, “Oh, my God, you can write scripts for a living.” That was a big thing. I was a screenwriting major at Chapman, but I took a TV-writing course. “Scrubs” was the show that made me want to do it; in 20 minutes, you can laugh and cry. I love how much we care about the characters. I gravitated toward TV rather than film because I’m too social to sit around at home and sit by myself and write; I’d much rather write and create with other people. And storytelling-wise, you can follow characters over such a longer period of time.

How was your experience at Chapman?
I grew up in Orange, so I was literally 3 miles away from Chapman. It wasn’t my intention to go there, but Chapman honestly was so great. I picked it because I liked their film program best out of all the schools I was looking at. Even though I lived really close by, I lived on campus anyway to get that college experience, and it really was different because I got a new version of the town. I never spent time by the Circle until I went to (college).

What’s something people might find surprising about your job?
I think it would be how deep our conversations are in the writers’ room. We get deep about emotional stuff, which is surprising because both (“BoJack Horseman” and “Big Mouth”) can be very silly, but we sit around and talk about politics, morality, the most embarrassing things that have ever happened to us, and things that hurt us the most. It can be emotionally raw. We really delve in deep. It’s not just sitting around writing dick jokes all day, even though that is a part of it.

How is writing for animation different than live action?
Every writers’ room is run differently; you always have something new to learn. There are so many ways to tell one story. “Mom” was a really interesting first experience because of the use of the multicam, which isn’t used much these days. Every episode was (filmed) live, so we would rewrite jokes on the floor as the show was going.

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had working on these shows?
People who I haven’t spoken to in a long time or even ever, like strangers, will tell me what some of these things meant to them, which is the most wonderful thing on the planet. For example, the Shame Wizard on “Big Mouth,” I had someone say that that was something they were struggling with, and it really was just incredible to me. I feel like the job I do is very silly—we’re not curing cancer over here—but hearing that it meant something to someone is very rewarding.

What are your plans and goals?
Right now, I’m working on a live-action pilot for FX about female friendships. I’d love to write for an animated feature. My ultimate goal is to be running my own show and writing about something that is very personal and important to me. As long as TV is around and needs writers, I’ll do it. As a producer, it’s fun to stretch your leadership skills, but the creative part is my favorite part and always will be. We’re able to tell our own stories and our own experiences in a safe environment.

Catch Season 3 of “Big Mouth” on Netflix.

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