Lauren Iungerich, the creator of Awkward

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A love letter to her inner teen and the wish to give young girls a voice of self empowerment and self reflection. That is how Lauren Iungerich started her show known as “Awkward”, in which the main character Jenna, a teenager from Palos Verdes, California, struggles with her identity, especially when people thought that she wanted to commit suicide.

Lauren has created and has been producing the show for three seasons, when she made the decision to leave “Awkward” for self-preservation.

But she continues writing TV shows. Nowadays, she is writing two pilots, one for the ABC and one for the NBC.

In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Lauren spoke about creating “Awkward”, what it meant for her career and life and the projects after the show.

How did you come up with the idea of “Awkward”?

I came up with the idea for the show as a love letter to my 15 year old self.  What kind of show would I want to see about that time of life and it hit me.

What was the inspiration behind creating all the characters? Are they based on real people?

The characters are all figments of my imagination but I definitely would be considered a cross between Jenna and Tamara and there were some real life gals that resembled Sadie when I was in high school.

What was the main message you wanted to give people with this show?

In writing the show I was trying to portray a real world for young girls and give them a voice of self empowerment and self reflection — that even during the worst times we can be our own hero.

How was it like working with the cast?

The cast is very talented.  Most of the time it was a lot of fun.

How was it like writing that final voiceover in the third season finale? Did you feel like you were saying goodbye?

I decided to leave while I was writing the finale – two weeks before we wrapped production so I knew I was leaving before I wrote the last scene of the finale.  That last scene was not only a wrap up to the season but it was my final kiss to all those characters that I created and loved for 4 years creating and writing the show. It was my final love letter and to me it was my series finale.

When did you decide that this was going to be the end of your work in the show? Why did you make this decision?

As stated earlier, I decided to leave two weeks before we wrapped the 3rd season.  A lot was going on in my life and it became clear that it was time to move on.  Time to take care of myself.  I left for self-preservation.

Did you change something you’ve planned for the season finale when you decided to leave the show? If yes, what did you change?

I didn’t change anything really but the words had greater depth.  However, I did bring the letter back in that scene between Lacey and Jenna. I wanted to have mother and daughter reflect on that journey that started the whole show and to see how far they had come in their relationship. It was a beautiful moment that came about as I was writing it.  It was not planned that way.

What did “Awkward” mean in your life and career?

Awkward was my life for 4 years.  No one loved or cared about that show more than me. And no one probably ever will care about that show more than me.  During that time, I experienced a death in my family- my boyfriend became my fiancé, became my husband and I got pregnant with my first child.  The show surrounded a lot of my life’s major events and so it will forever be something I treasure.  Leaving was maybe the hardest decision I ever had to make but I don’t regret it.  This business is rough and running a show is very hard and it was time for me to leave to attend to myself.

Which other projects do you have for next year?

I currently am finishing two pilots. One for ABC and one for NBC.  I have no idea what will happen to them or what lies next for me in my career but I am gonna continue writing things that inspire me and writing from a place of being a fan first, critic second.  I’m so blessed to do what I do and get paid for it and so I’m savoring my time on Awkward and preparing to pave new paths for myself but smelling more flowers along the way.

Samantha Schuster

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