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I recently went to California for the first time. My husband, his best friend, and I went on a four-day road trip that took us from LA to San Diego and back, then up to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle, a place I’ve wanted to visit for over 25 years (thankfully, it lived up to the hype).
My upcoming trip is probably why I got excited to listen to a new podcast, Happier in Hollywood. I heard an ad for it a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to hear about Hollywood right before going to Hollywood.
I’ve listened to the first three episodes of the show (they come out weekly) and feel like that’s enough episodes to write a review.
What It’s About
The Happier in Hollywood podcast is about two television writers who are also best friends. Liz Craft and Sarah Fain are from the Midwest (USA), have been friends since high school, and writing partners for 17 years. They have written for shows like Angel, The Shield, and Women’s Murder Club.
The ladies share their thoughts on the craziness of Hollywood, their jobs, and how to stay sane when they’re both overwhelmed and sleep-deprived.
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What This Podcast Does Well
There are a lot of things that make this podcast fun to listen to. First, the women are relatable. Not just to one another, but to me as a listener. Although our work and social circles are drastically different, they don’t seem all that different from me.
In the first two episodes, they admit to being burnt out, debate the merits of bullet journaling, and share their celebrity sighting of the week. These are conversations I would have with a friend, my husband, or a coworker.
In Episode 3, Liz and Sarah describe what it’s like to go to meetings in Hollywood. Although a “meeting” in their world is different from the meetings that the rest of us go to, the lessons and tips they share translate to most of us. This made me want to keep listening.
As a further example of how Liz and Sarah are relatable, they are really good about stopping to explain jargon. When someone mentioned that time they were “breaking things”, they immediately paused to explain what that phrase means in writer terms (spoiler: it doesn’t mean that they throw things across the room).
It’s almost like the segments are scenes in a TV show.
Speaking of breaking things, this podcast is broken up into segments. Even in Episode 1, they had segments named and defined (e.g., “Call Our Agent” “Weekly Hollywood Hack”, and “The Outer Office”). They’re writers, and it shows. It’s almost like the segments are scenes in a TV show.
I really like the segment called “L versus S” (as in, Liz versus Sarah). In this segment, the hosts discuss and/or debate a topic that has recently come up in their lives. It reminded me of the banter between the hosts of By The Book (a new podcast that I wrote about here). If you put all four of these women into a room, it would be a hilarious podcast!
Although Liz and Sarah are entertaining on their own, they very smartly bring on guests who can paint an even better picture of what life in Hollywood is like. In the first three episodes, they have included chats with their agent of 15 years; their assistant, who is an aspiring writer; and well-known attorney Marcia Clark (from the OJ Simpson trial).
Where There’s Room for Improvement
I have to admit that I don’t have a lot of criticisms for this podcast. Sure, there were a couple of segments that I found not-so-interesting. One of the “L versus S” segments, which was debating the phrase “heart full of love”, made me tune out. But that’s pretty subjective; another listener might really like that segment.
Honestly, what I liked least about the first three episodes of Happier in Hollywood were the ads. Liz and Sarah read the ads themselves, which is pretty typical for podcasts, especially those produced by Panoply (which this one is). But oh my goodness…their ads made me cringe. They just didn’t seem genuine.
You could argue that these ladies are writers, not actors, but I think their work requires some understanding of how to act, and that they’d be good actors. I don’t know how to fix this problem, but thankfully, it’s not a big one for listeners.
Making the Call
You don’t have to live in – or have even visited – Hollywood to appreciate this podcast. I think it would appeal to most women – young or old, moms or not, career-women or aspiring actresses. If you’re a guy who is interested in acting or writing for television and movies, this is also a great show to try. (Yes, there’s a lot of “lady chat”, but also tons of insight into what it takes to make it in Hollywood). Even thought I’m back from my California trip, I’ve found myself excited for new episodes of this podcast to come out. I’m subscribed to it and, if it keeps being entertaining and relatable, I’ll keep listening.
Have you listened to Happier in Hollywood yet? What do you think of the podcast? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.