New York Film Academy (NYFA) welcomed Rachel Bloom, the Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated writer, producer, and co-creator of the CW’s hit series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, on Wednesday, August 21. Bloom spoke with students in an event at NYFA’s Burbank-based campus, moderated by Tova Laiter, Director of the NYFA Q&A Series.
Rachel Bloom is most widely known as the star of the CW musical dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which she co-created and executive produced with Aline Brosh McKenna. For her lead role in the series, Bloom won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy, as well as winning at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and TCA Awards. She is also a four-time Emmy nominee for both Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the Adult Swim sketch series Robot Chicken, which she wrote for.
Bloom also wrote and performed in Yes: It’s Really Us Singing: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Concert Special!, which aired after the series finale on the CW, and recently voiced the role of Batgirl in Batman VS. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bloom will be featured next in The Angry Birds Movie 2 opposite Jason Sudeikis as well as Trolls 2: Trolls World Tour with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.
Tova Laiter began the Q&A by asking Bloom how the idea for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came about. “I had been doing comedic music videos on my YouTube channel for quite some time,” replied Bloom. “Apparently, Aline saw them and I got an email from her saying she wants to meet with me to discuss a potential musical television show with CBS. It came out of the blue.” Suddenly, the musical comedy ideas that Rachel had pitched and been turned down had become alive and viable.
As for developing the skills necessary to be discovered, Bloom told the enthusiastic crowd, “I have to believe that hard work and honing your craft work out and pan out, but you can’t necessarily do it for that end goal because that’s just luck and there’s a lot of factors.” She added, “You have to love the craft and you have to love the work.”
Bloom continued on by advising students to “hone the process first and make connections in organic ways, but get good at your work first and then see what happens.”
The Q&A then opened up to NYFA students. Bloom was asked how she and her team defined the line between homage and satire of musical theatre on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Bloom answered, “It’s a very inexact science and a lot of it was gut and emotion. A lot of it came from my own un-ironic love of musical theatre and learning comedy and realizing that a lot of musical theatre is goofy and embarrassing, but still loving it. It’s just mostly instinctive.”
The Q&A ended with Bloom being asked how she approaches writing and portraying characters with mental health issues without turning them into caricatures. Bloom articulated the importance of “coming at it from a first-person perspective and coming at it with empathy.”
New York Film Academy would like to thank writer, performer, and Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom for sharing her expertise with our students!