Spotlight: Ryan O’Connell

Ryan O’Connell has written for Thought Catalog, Vice, Medium, and The New York Times. He wrote a book called I’m Special that’s being developed into a TV show. He’s also written for MTV’s Awkward.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m Ryan O’Connell. I write things for the television and the Internet. Sometimes those things are gay. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re sad. Hopefully they are never boring.

How has living in LA affected your work? I moved to Los Angeles because I knew I wanted to settle down here and also that’s where my industry is. In terms of how it’s affected my work, it’s interesting. I mean, on one hand, I feel very inspired by California. It’s so dreamy and weird here. But sometimes it can feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. Everybody is doing the same thing as you and conversations about agents and pilots and staffing can make me feel dizzy and nauseated. You have to seek out culture. It doesn’t land in your lap like it does in New York. So, in order for my creative juices to flow (ew), I have to go to museums and talks and read a lot of books. I make a conscious effort to water the brain plants, or at least I try to. Some weeks I swear I’ll do nothing other than eat a really good chopped salad.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Honesty. Making people feel uncomfortable. Taking something dark and fucked up and showering it in lols. Cerebral palsy. Gay shit. Moses Sumney’s music. People who make enough money to own a house. Not giving a fuckkkkkkk. Sex. Intimacy.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m developing my book into a TV show. Jim Parsons is executive-producing. John Riggi, producer of The Comeback and 30 Rock, is supervising. Like everything, it could all fall apart but it’s been a very special process so far. Going into it, I was like, “I just want to be around gifted gay men with kind hearts” and I got it.

Favorite pizza topping? No.

How did your interest in your work begin? I always wrote. Writers…always write. It begins the moment we can put pen to paper.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? I want them to feel less alone and ashamed. I want them to feel confident in themselves. I want them to be like, “I GUESS I’M NOT CRAZY OR A FREAK! THIS IS JUST….BEING A HUMAN BEING, I GUESS!”

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? The swingsets at Coldwater Canyon Park.

What are you really excited about right now? Falling deeper in love with my boyfriend (lol gross). Writing the fuck out of my pilot. This sandwich I’m about to eat.

What do you collect? Emotions.

What was the last lie you told? Can’t wait to catch up!!!