One of the fringe benefits of being the creator of Amazon series “Transparent” and “I Love Dick” is that Jill Soloway gets face time with the company’s visionary founder, Jeff Bezos.
And in that time, Soloway recounted Wednesday at the Code Conference, Soloway has gotten her share of wise counsel, including the subject of the power of storytelling.
“The way you make change with story is so much faster than the way politics can make change,” she said she has learned.
It’s a far cry from an earlier era in network television, where as a writer on shows from HBO’s “Six Feet Under” to Showtime’s “United States of Tara” Soloway saw the limits of pursuing her career on the traditional paths. The broadcast pilot process left Soloway particularly burned out.
“After developing 10 years with networks, I would do rewriting just to make people happy,” Soloway recounted. “Slowly but surely everything turned into something I really didn’t believe in. your vision gets dissipated.”
What she also found in her time in the TV industry prior to her Amazon breakthrough was an inability for networks to greenlight programming with a female protagonist who is “sexual or odd.” She credited series including “Girls,” “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” and “Lady Dynamite” for paving the way for “I Love Dick,” which features the very sexual, very odd character of Chris Kraus. “
“It allows the main characters to be off,” said Soloway, who named her production shingle Topple to connote her intent to topple patriarchy through her work. “You don’t really get to have nutty women. That’s new.”
“I feel like in some ways I’ve left behind the networks’ thinking,” she continued. “I do think of myself now more as a media brand, Topple as a media brand. I also love thinking in a bigger way about sharing the stuff we’re doing.”