April Fitzsimmons has made her way through the ranks of Hollywood as a production assistant for films such as Bad Boys, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and About Schmidt.
April now resides as a staff writer for ABC Family’s Stitchers. Check out our interview with her below!
Tell us a bit about how you get involved with Stitchers? Walk us through you getting the job!
“I was very fortunate to have been a part of the 2014 Disney/ABC TV writing program. It’s an amazing program (in its 25th year!) for writers that helps them meet folks at the studio and ideally staff on either an ABC or ABC Family show. I was super lucky last year and I staffed on ABC’s Secrets & Lies and when that show was wrapping up, I got a meeting with the Executive Producer of STITCHERS, Jeff Schechter. We met and he told me more about the show. I’d already read the script and seen the pilot so I came with a ton of questions. I left the meeting with fingers crossed and then a couple hours later got the call that I’d been invited to join his writers’ room. I was so stoked! My cat and I celebrated big time that night!
Here’s a link to the ABC writing program in case any of your readers want to check it out: http://www.abctalentdevelopment.com/writing_program.html”
Have you known you’ve always wanted to be a writer?
“Yes, I’ve always loved writing. My mom started us really early. We had a family newspaper that she created for my grandparents and she always let me write the movie and TV reviews. When I got out of the Air Force I moved to LA and started writing spec screenplays. I worked as a Set PA in films and then as an assistant to producers and directors like Gale Anne Hurd and Martha Coolidge. I went back to school at Antioch University for my BA and my MFA in Creative Writing. I’d always watched a ton of TV but it wasn’t until I got into a program at the WGA/WGF for military veterans in 2011 that I really started writing TV scripts. I had some great mentors in that program and I received incredible feedback on my work. I’d written some plays and started turning those into TV pilots and just kept writing samples. And then I entered the TV writing contests and was lucky enough to get into the ABC TV writing program in 2014.
Here’s a link to the program for veterans at the WGA/WGF if any veterans are reading this and want to apply: https://www.wgfoundation.org/programs/military-veterans-writing-workshop/”
Walk us through the process of writing your first script! What scene did you write first?
“It was an amazing experience. We knew we wanted to do something about the Bling Ring but not quite the Bling Ring. When we outlined this episode (breaking each plot twist and turn) it was so weird — we ALL got sick. The entire writers’ room was home for two days with some sort of epic flu. So we sort of broke the episode on a white board, figuring out the beats for two days. Then we all went home with fever and other unmentionables for two days. Then we came back and figured out the final details of the episode for another couple days. It was pretty funny when we were all in denial about being sick and yet we were still trying to figure out the episode. At one point, Lynne Litt pitched the idea of the doggie poop bag as a clue. She has two dogs and she always has poop bags (clean ones) hanging out of her back pocket. She did an improvised poop bag dance and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.
I think the first scene I wrote was the scene when Cameron shows up at Kirsten’s house saying he’s been calling her and why hasn’t she answered her phone, and then Liam (gorgeous and shirtless) pops out of the kitchen. We get to see Cameron steaming with jealousy as he realizes Liam is kind of the whole package.”
Do you have a favorite line you wrote?
“Gosh, I don’t know if I could pick one. But I remember when I figured out that Kirsten might be so wrapped up in her feelings about Liam that she might screw up the exit pin code and type “I heart Liam” instead of “I heart Linus”. I wondered – jeepers how is that going to make Cameron feel?
Who was the most helpful/What other writer did you go to the most with questions?
“Writing is such a team sport but on this episode Eric Tuchman and Lynne Litt really guided me through the experience of my first script and the other writers helped when they could. TV writing is such a collaborative process. And of course, I could always go to Jeff Schechter with questions. He’s such an awesome team leader, even when he’s swamped, he’ll pause for a question or concern. He’s got his finger on the pulse of the show so when in doubt, I always checked with Jeff to make sure the tone of the show was tracking throughout.”
You introduced Liam as Kirsten’s longtime boyfriend. Is Liam’s return going to affect Kirsten now that she’s opening emotionally? Will Liam be endeared toward Kirsten even more?
“Um. The agency might disappear me if I reveal anything about the above question.”
I spoke with Lynne Litt about having the opportunity to continue the Stitchers story. Now that season two has been confirmed, are you guys bubbling with excitement?
“We are all so happy and grateful for the show being picked up for Season 2! Jeff Schechter, Rob Wolken and Jonathan Baruch have been developing and working on the show for so long so I’m thrilled that all their hard work has paid off.”
How soon do you have to go back to work for season two?
“I think meetings are taking place at the studio but all those decisions are way above my pay grade.”
You introduced an unknown man in a picture with Liam. Is this the main villain (I’m hoping it’s Kirsten’s father)?
“I really don’t want to be disappeared by the agency. Wait, are you actually, Talk Nerdy with Me or is this a test devised by Maggie to check my loyalty to the Stitchers Program?”
Are we going to see this payoff by the end of the season, or in season two?
“No, seriously. Who are you?”
We got to see Cameron be jealous. How much is he going to struggle before he reveals his feelings (If he reveals his feelings)?
“Ok. I don’t know who you are, but I know you know I can’t talk about this. Is this even a secure connection? I thought the agency vetted all your questions in advance. Nothing will be offered or revealed until the mission requires that you have that information. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?”
Detective Fisher hasn’t been seen in a while, but he’s been mentioned. Is he going to play a huge role in the finale?
“All I know is any time I see Detective Fisher I feel like doing something illegal so he can arrest me.”
The show has gotten so much love and attention through social media. How are you feeling going forward?
“Holy buckets. OUR #STITCHERS FANS ARE AMAZING! I am in awe of all the shipping and the OTP’ing, and the fanfic, and the fan art, and the cute gifs they create. I absolutely love tweeting with them and hearing about what matters to them about the show. I love reading their questions and seeing who they side with. It’s so fascinating to be doing TV in tandem with twitter; to see them get all a titter on twitter about some moment from the show is a blast. I get so stoked every Tuesday night to live tweet with our fans. Their excitement is contagious and we couldn’t do it without them so I’m super duper grateful for our awesome fans!”