“China Beach” image via WikipediaBy Bob Andelman
Carol Flint’s is the kind of success story that should inspire future New College applicants, as she can draw a straight line from her Emmy Award as a writer and producer on the NBC-TV series “ER” right back to the school and community where she first spread her theatrical and scriptwriting wings.
“I have been very fortunate,” says the class of 1978 grad, who now makes her home in Santa Monica, California. “New College being New College, there was a humanities department, but I was able to specialize in theater even though they didn’t have a theater department. I taught acting workshops. New College made that possible.”
After New College, she worked at the Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota, eventually becoming playwright in residence there.
Flint and her husband, Steve Jones – a Sarasota County planner she met at a New College Palm Court party – relocated out west and both attended classes at the University of California/Davis. When she graduated with an MFA (and as a Regents and Chandler Fellow), Flint went to Los Angeles for a 10-week, unpaid internship that changed her life.
The job was doing research for John Sacret Young, who was writing a TV pilot for ABC called “China Beach” about American military and civilian women serving at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War.
“I was in the right place at the right time because I had done a lot of research finding and writing about women who had been in Vietnam,” Flint says. “After the pilot was made and ABC made an initial order for six episodes, I was uniquely positioned.”
She became a staff writer on the series, rising to producer by the third and final season of “China Beach.”
“It’s not a good model to give to someone to follow!” Flint says, laughing.
She moved on to “L.A. Law,” “ER,” (where she won her Emmy and was nominated three times overall) “The West Wing” and “The Unit,” typically as a writer and producer. Flint shared nominations for the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama not once but twice. She has been a nominee and recipient of the Humanitas Award and has received both a GLAAD Award and a Media Access Award.
“It’s ironic because all through my 20s,” she says, “I only wanted to write for theatre. I didn’t own a television! We had to buy one to watch ‘China Beach.’”
Flint’s memories of New College are all good.
“New College was a place that was so much about experimentation, but also about being self-directed,” she says. “It was a place where there was freedom to create high-quality work and take that on your own shoulders. That seems to directly correlate with the work I’ve done.”
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Copyright 2009 Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman