Liz Tuccillo is an American writer and film director best known for her work on the HBO comedy series Sex and the City and for co-authoring the self-help book He's Just Not That Into You, for which they won a Quill Award. Her first novel, How to Be Single, was published in June 2008. Tuccillo wrote the 2005 television series Related, which aired on the WB network. She directed and wrote the 2008 film Gone to the Dogs and the film Take Care which premiered at South by Southwest in March 2014. As an actress, she was seen in the film Welcome to New York, in which she had one line.
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Hey, I'm Liz.
I'm excited to talk to you today.
A little bit about me: I wrote on SEX AND THE CITY, and co-authored the book "He's Just Not That Into You." Excited to talk to you about my new film I just wrote & directed, called TAKE CARE. It's on limited release & on VOD near you on December 5th (aka tomorrow).
I'm here at reddit NYC with Victoria to take your questions for the next hour. AMA!
Update: Thank you so much for your smart and fun questions. I'm so glad that SATC still resonates so much with you, and also HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. And I hope you'll enjoy my film TAKE CARE as well. It stars Leslie Bibb and Thomas Sadowski, two great new contributions to the romantic comedy world. Thanks again!
Hi Liz! He's Just Not That Into You was a fantastic book, and I loved the movie as well.
Were you involved in the making of the movie, and did you think it was a good reflection of the book?
I didn't have much to do with the making of the movie. I thought it was a great representation of the book. Except for the last 2 minutes when he tells her she's the exception to the rule.
I liked how it was a very real romantic comedy. They didn't use a lot of crazy shenanigans. It was just a lot of people in very realistic situations. So it was a down-to-earth romantic comedy, which I liked.
How much involvement was there between writers and producers/directors? Did you have any sort of creative control one the script was finished, or was it all in the hands of directors and producers?
In television, the producers are often the head writers. So you have actually a lot of control in television with your work, if you happen to be one of the head writers/ producers. And at HBO, they gave us a lot of creative control, because they trusted Michael (as they should).
It was a very real movie, and it felt real. The scene with Drew Barrymore talking about fax and email and myspace - it was definitely true of the time.
But, back to the AMA about you!
What is your favorite story from your time writing Sex and the City? It can be fun, silly, or even serious. :)
I liked how during that time, people would incredibly inappropriately want to tell me about their sex life in great detail. Television executives, people at weddings, everywhere. I was cornered. Literally cornered. I would blush and laugh and always be amused at how they must've thought we were these sex-obsessed women...
Working on SATC, a lot of what we talked about was breakups, and these women racking up a lot of exes. And it sort of inspired me to start thinking of my new film, TAKE CARE, in that - the question Carrie would be asking - what do exes mean to you after they're no longer in your life? Do you still owe them anything? Do they owe you anything?
If you could continue the story, what would happen next in Carrie Bradshaw's life?
I'm developing a new show for FX with Annabelle Gurwitch on a show based on her book, I SEE YOU MADE AN EFFORT, which is about women at the verge of 50. So I feel in a sense, it's a natural extension of the issues that Carrie would have had if we stayed around long enough to see her age.
Will I ever find love ?
Well, knowing nothing about you, DickDude, I would still say that I've met so many people who never thought they would find love. And if don't give up, most of them find it. So keep gettin' out there, brush your teeth, and be nice!
Hey Liz, I'm a big fan and trying to write a book myself. He's Just Not That Into You is one of my favorite books and I'm kinda like a hype man for it to all my friends with relationship problems. It changed my dating life and way of thinking so much. One of my favorite parts of the book was your take on what Greg was trying to convey and talking to the women out there. My favorite-favorite part was when you said it was hard for women to just stay away from crappy men when they are near since most women don't get asked out every night of the week. So true.
Anyways, back to the AMA,
How do you apply all the things that you've written to your life?
You're a knowitall but does it really work for you in your relationships?
It really does because once you've cracked the code of knowing when a guy's stringing you along, you can never really kid yourself. Once the bell has been rung, it cannot be unsung. And it has saved me, still, lots and lots of times.
If you could write a sequel to "He's Just Not That Into You," what would it be called?
"Hey Teenagers: He's Just Not That Into You."
It seems like there are a lot of teenage girls that go bananas at the beginning of their dating life. It's not super-funny, but it feels like there's a need, as I talk to my friends whose teenage sons are getting bombarded with phone calls and texts from very aggressive girls. And they don't want to or know how to deal with that.
What shows are you watching right now? Do you find yourself developing a different opinion based on what works/doesn't as a writer more than being an audience member?
Yes. There's so much great television right now that I feel like I'm going to class when I sit down and watch TV right now.
HOMELAND has been a great example of how you think once a major character leaves the show, there's no way to sustain itself, and then it went on to get even BETTER. So that's a great lesson in the power of great writing. Great writing supersedes even the best actor.
Where did you get your start as a TV writer?
The first television job I ever got was working on SEX AND THE CITY. Which is crazy for that to be your first job. But I had been struggling to break into showbiz for pretty much 20 years before that. My friend knew Michael Patrick King, the executive producer, and I asked her if I could have a meeting with him, and of course she didn't want to bother him, but I kept bugging her, and we eventually met and it was kind of professional "love at first sight." And then he offered me a job, and when my agent told me, I asked "What were my job responsibilities?" like... getting coffee? And he told me I'd be a writer, and I lost my mind.
It was right after 9/11, and so we were in the writer's room talking about what SATC would look like post-9/11. And we talked about this party that I would go to with my friends on the Intrepid, to dance with sailors, and that because part of the first episode of season 5. So season 5 onwards.
Sorry about that. Bad start. A lot of reddit isn't really the rom-com and sex in the city crowd, and we have a lot of assholes with no filter. Just wait for some more visibility, you'll get some good questions.
Aw, thank you!
What sex and the city character are you?
All the writers, when asked this, would probably say "Carrie" because Carrie's the writer and she's always the one who's asking too many questions and overthinking everything.
It's true, and actually, I'm changing my mind - I'm more of a Miranda.
Who is your favorite significant-other from SATC?
I guess it's Harry? Because he was played by the wonderful Evan Handler, and he showed that love will come to you if you don't get stuck in a fantasy of what you think it will look like.
That is such a Samantha thing to say, right?
Depends on what you're talking about! :)
Can you discuss the evolution of the concept of 'vanity publishing'?
Is it still stigmatized in the internet era? Have your opinions of it evolved?
Since 50 SHADES, how can anyone look down on vanity publishing?
David Foster was here the other day, and talked about how essential it is to have a demonstrated fanbase on social media to get any consideration from a record label. Do you think the same applies to creative people in publishing and TV?
Luckily for writers, if you still come up with a great script, people will pay attention (with or without a social media fan base).
For actors, however, it's becoming more and more important.
I think if you make something on your own, if it's a book or a film, you are going to be responsible to promote it. And even though there's a bigger machine behind it, I think you're still expected to help promote it.
What advice do you have for college kids who are hoping to write for television or film in the future?
Write as much as you can.
As cliche as it sounds, try to find your very specific voice. And try to finish pieces of work as much as you can.
So whether it's an essay or a short story or a one act or a screenplay, try to finish things.
And then, if you feel like you have something really great, start passing it around to anybody you can get your hands on, even have readings with actors, wherever you are or join a writer's group with people who might have connections. And start networking like crazy.
When I'm writing, I sometimes get into the habit of going to the refrigerator and eating a roasted chicken by basically ripping it off the bone with my hands and shoving it in my face. And if not that, eating popcorn - which you could be doing when you're watching my film TAKE CARE! ;)
What are your thoughts of the Steps Experiment?
>In 1975 Chuck Ross was selling cable TV door-to-door, and dreaming of becoming a writer. However, he felt the odds were stacked against him since the publishing industry seemed incapable of recognizing talent. To prove his theory, he typed up twenty-one pages of a highly acclaimed book and sent it unsolicited to four publishers (Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Doubleday, and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), claiming it was his own work. The work he chose for this experiment was Steps, by Jerzy Kosinski. It had won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1969 and by 1975 had sold over 400,000 copies. All four publishers rejected the work, including Random House, who was its original publisher.
I feel that that's an incredibly accurate assessment of trying to break into show business. And also, the reverse - that once you're "anointed," they'll let you put out any crap you want.
Awesome! When is the show expected to premiere?
Oh! It's just in development now, so there's no guarantees that it will be picked up. But fingers crossed. Start your social media campaign now! It's about a group of women who aren't necessarily close friends, who start unraveling over the course of a night, realizing (as they approach 50) that their lives have not turned out the way they want- but have no fear, hilarity ensues.
Seeing as I am a 20-something whose favorite movies include 'Somethings Gotta Give' and 'It's Complicated' this show sounds right up my alley! Fingers are crossed.
I worry for you. You're too old for your years. I'm afraid my show will give you premature hot flashes if you watch it (if it ever gets on the air). But i hope you watch my FILM! Coming out TOMORROW :)
Hahaha, well played. She loved Sex and the City and He's Just Not That Into You so it's safe to assume we are going to see Take Care. And a hotel sounds absolutely brilliant. Thanks!
AWESOME! Thank you thank you thank you!
No. I cough too much.
No I did not.
But I love Liza Minnelli, any way I can get her, so now frownyface for me!
Ironically enough, I read your book while I was an angsty teenager, and now I'm an angsty adult who still needs help in the dating department sometimes. Thanks for making a book that I literally read so many times the spine started falling apart.
That... I am so happy to hear that it helped you.
I'm sorry to hear that you are still angsty. I send you GOOD VIBES for your future romantic endeavors.
My spouse tends to treat sex like a chore. Any suggestions for spicing things up?
Yes. You can watch my film TAKE CARE coming out on December 5th. I am completely joking, I just felt like plugging it. But it does make a great date movie!
But seriously, the only thing I can say is try to get her out of the house. Because the house might represent worry and responsibility. So if you can spring for a hotel, go for it.
That wasn't advertising. The book came out of that episode. So the episode came first.
That's very true. Last question, because it is obviously important to the world (but don't be bias):
Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw?
I can't not associate her with Sarah Jessica Parker, whom I love.
How good were the cookies in the writer's room at SatC?
The whole snack area on television shows is insane.
You can't imagine how much delicious food there is to get you fat.
There's some understanding that writers like to snack, and you want to keep them in the writer's room, working as much as you can, like a factory job, so they throw food at us to keep us going. But the most DELICIOUS food you can imagine.
Every snack you can imagine!
How do you wake up every morning, realize you wrote "Sex and The City" and not kill yourself?
How do you wake up in the morning, knowing you're going to write stupid shit like that?