Tracey Wigfield, 30, had the post-college trajectory most students only dream of.
After Wigfield graduated from Boston College in 2005 where she majored in theatre, Tina Fey hired her as a writers’ assistant on “30 Rock.”
“I was like 23 or 24 years old and not super confident about my abilities at all,” Wigfield told Refinery29 about being in the writers’ room. “I was so in my head, I would think of a joke, and I would wait like 20 minutes and in my head [be] thinking, ‘Should I say it? Just say it! No, don’t say it!’ Then, I would finally come out with it, and either people would laugh or they wouldn’t.”
Two years into the job, Wigfield heard the show was looking to hire a new staff writer and submitted a spec script she wrote for “The Office” to Tina Fey. “After I gave Tina that, she hired me right off the bat,” Wigfield told R29 in their recent “New Power Players” feature.
She was even bumped up to producer for 13 episodes of “30 Rock” between 2012 and the show’s final season in 2013.
This September, Wigfield won an Emmy alongside Fey for the final episode of “30 Rock,” which the two co-wrote.
Despite the show being over, Wigfield learned valuable lessons from her mentor, Tina Fey.
“One thing that I learned from working with Tina was that everyone she hires for a show not only has to obviously be talented and creative and work really hard, but, most importantly, everyone she hires also has to be nice and respectful and kind,” says Wigfield. “Tina really focuses on hiring good people that she trusts and who would respect each other.”
After “30 Rock,” Wigfield moved from New York to Los Angeles to take a job as a writer on “The Mindy Project,” where she still works today.
“I got to start on the first season, and see it grow from its inception, and get to contribute to how the show looks and the kind of stories we tell,” Wigfield says of the FOX comedy. “That’s been really cool and new for me.”
But the biggest adjustment has been the dress code in the writers’ room.
“You have to dress so much better with Mindy!” reveals Wigfield. “Tina is obviously so glamorous and beautiful, but when she was just coming in to work on a normal day, she would dress like myself or [how] any other writers I know dress — like a gym teacher … But, Mindy is super into fashion. She’s super glam. And, I feel like she sort of expects her writers to step it up a little bit with how we dress.”
As for whether Wigfield will follow in the footsteps of her famous female mentors, “Yeah! If the opportunity came up, I would love to do what Mindy or Tina does and be a part of both worlds — behind the camera and in front of the camera. Acting and stand-up were so liberating for me when I first started writing, because such a big part of stand-up is just trying things out and failing.”
Read the rest of Refinery29’s “Rising Stars” feature here >
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