Felischa Marye embodies the narrative that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. After years of success, the Chicago native left her career as a vice president in public relations and marketing, moving to Los Angeles to attend UCLA’s prestigious MFA screenwriting program. While in film school, she started her career and sold her first comedy pilot to HBO. She was later staffed for two seasons on the hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which is set to release its third season on Friday, Aug. 23.
Marye is now working with BET Networks on its newest original comedy series, “Bigger.” Attendees at this year’s BronzeLens Film Festival will get a first look at the show during a screening on Friday, Aug. 23, in Atlanta.
How did you get into the business of writing for TV?
I had been working in public relations for years and fantasizing about living in Los Angeles and working in the industry. After I had gotten to a certain point in my career where I had moved up the ranks and all that, I thought “I have all this, and I feel still feel unfulfilled because I know what my true dream has been all the time.” I decided to try writing because I thought I could keep my day job, and because I was so afraid [of losing my] stability and security. Having a career didn’t allow me to get that kind of time. In 2011, I decided to go all-in and apply to UCLA, which is one of the top film schools for screenwriting, and I ended up getting in and that’s how it started.
Tell us about your new TV comedy “Bigger.”
The part of the show that reflects my life is what I call an early midlife crisis. It can often happen in your 30s, where you reach a level of success in an industry that you can get by in, but that you don’t love. You have all these dreams in your 20s, all these goals and grandiose plans for a perfect life, and then as you get older, you start to see how you’re reaching or not reaching those goals. I noticed all my friends had an itch around that time, too. Somewhere in their mid-30s, they started to evaluate the goals, and then make a shift. That is the journey that [the character] Layne is on. In the pilot, we find her almost a year after she left corporate America. Everybody else is questioning their own lives and wondering “is this it?” So we’re playing with that idea of if there’s something bigger and better than where you currently are.
How does it feel to have “Bigger” being streamed at the BronzeLens Film Festival?
It feels amazing. It’s nerve-wracking because it’s the first audience that will see it. It’s honestly a dream come true, and [I] love that we’ll give the first sneak peek in Atlanta, where the show is set. Hopefully, they’ll get it in a way that everybody else won’t, because Atlanta is the city for ambition. It’s like baby Hollywood right now.