This month, NeueHouse Hollywood hosted the premiere of Tell Me Lies, Hulu’s new coming-of age-thriller adapted from Carola Lovering’s novel of the same name. Before the screening, we sat down with Meaghan Oppenheimer, the series’ creator, writer, showrunner, executive producer, and all around bad-ass, for a round of rapid-fire Q&A.
Name: Meaghan Oppenheimer
Profession: Writer and producer
Path not taken: Writing and directing theatre. But hopefully that path isn’t closed forever.
Describe your ideal workspace (both the physical and mental essentials): First and foremost, I need a quiet space. I’m extremely sound sensitive and go crazy when there’s too much noise. Other than that, I need somewhere with a lot of light that feels comfortable and cozy. And proximity to good snacks is a necessity. In terms of mental essentials – I need to be around people who are happy to be doing what they’re doing. You can always tell when someone hates their job, and it brings the whole mood down. I like working with people who feel lucky to be working in this industry – because we really are lucky. Last but not least, I don’t like hierarchies in the workplace; I need everyone to be treated equally regardless of their status or position.
What’s a metaphor to describe your creative process? For me, writing often feels like I’m playing with my imaginary friends. I get so attached to my characters.
I tend to get my best ideas and breakthroughs by: Reading good writing is always the biggest source of inspiration for me. Whenever I’m having writer’s block I’ll read something from an author I love, even if it’s something I’ve read before, and it just gets the wheels turning.
Current read or listen? Currently reading “Sorrow and Bliss” by Meg Mason and really loving it. I’m also listening to the podcast “Girls Next Level” about life inside the Playboy Mansion – and although it’s sort of a guilty pleasure it’s also genuinely terrifying.
What’s something “new” in your life and/or working-life? Working remotely for the writers room and post production for Tell Me Lies. I found it to be so much more efficient. I get twice as much work done.
Something you’ve discovered in the last year that now you can’t live without? Writers Room Pro! It’s the program we used in our virtual writers room and now I can’t believe I’ve ever been on a show without it.
If you could travel back and re-experience one period in your life, what would it be and why? If the purpose was to fix things, I’d redo college. I wasted energy on people and things that were really unhealthy, and I would love to get that time back. But if the purpose was just to enjoy a happy memory then I would go on my honeymoon again – I wouldn’t change a thing, it was the most fun I’ve ever had.
Current obsession: My two cats, Cain and Abel, are always my obsession.
The best part of the work I do is: Writing is extremely cathartic for me. So a lot of my work feels like therapy – in a good way.
The hardest part of my work is: Managing so many personalities!
What are you working on now? I just wrapped season one of my show, and am now working on a couple of different feature films. I’m also working on a dark comedy project which I’m not allowed to say more about yet!
What do you hope to work on next (or in the near future)? Honestly – I’m ready for a little bit of downtime!!