How did you become a writer? I always loved English class, but I started to write as a hobby after I took a play writing class at age 13. I continued to write short plays and comedy pieces throughout high school, but these pieces were mostly for myself and never saw the light of day. That all changed, though, when I got to NYU and was accepted onto the sketch comedy group there. As part of that group, I learned the techniques of sketch comedy writing and spent the next four years writing two new sketches a week in preparation for our monthly shows.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.). I was really inspired by my older peers and directors of my college sketch comedy group who taught me the foundations of good comedy writing. In addition, I took a television writing class my senior year at NYU (taught by a man named James Felder) that taught me the television writing structure/technique that I still use today. My biggest writing influences today are my peers in the comedy community. Any time I see a show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater I am inspired. I also learn a ton from watching great television comedies like Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Frasier, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Dana Carvey Show. As a composer and lyricist, I look up to Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Michael John LaChiusa and Trey Parker/Matt Stone.
When and where do you write? I get most of my writing done at various coffee shops/cafes near my house. As long as I'm denying myself access to the Internet I get a lot of writing done.
What are you working on now? I'm working on the second draft of a pilot and a full-length musical. I also have five new music videos that will be released online in the next two months!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I suffer the most writer's block when I'm trying to come up with an entirely new idea for a piece. When this happens, I take a bath to clear my head and that usually unclogs whatever was going on. Even if the new idea that comes from the bath is a piece of crap, at least it gets my mind working again.
What’s your advice to new writers? I'm sure everyone says this, but the only way to get good as a writer is to write constantly. It's easy to say "I'm a writer" and a lot harder (but more rewarding) to do the grunt work and actually WRITE. Any new writer also needs to know that, years from now, they will look back on most of the stuff they wrote in the beginning as pieces of crap--and that's OK! For comedy writing, it's important to put your work up in front of an audience so that you're not writing in a vacuum; have a table read of your pilot, put up a sketch show, or do stand up.
Bio: Rachel Bloom has written for the television shows Robot Chicken, Allen Gregory, The High Fructose Adventures of the Annoying Orange, The People's Choice Awards and the MTV Movie Awards. She performed at the 2012 Montreal Comedy Festival as part of the New Faces: Characters showcase. Her music videos have been featured on Funny or Die, Cracked, College Humor, Jezebel and in the LA times.