In her line of work, Los Angeles-based photographer Amy Dickerson meets plenty of interesting people. She shares her images and interviews with some of them in an ongoing series for Anthology called “One on One.” vera6

Vera Santamaria TV Writer and Producer

Vera Santamaria and I met because of actor, Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) which is a fun thing to say because it’s true, but he has no idea he brought us together. Vera is one to watch! A television writer/producer who is working on two shows at the moment, including the hilarious and clever animated series BoJack Horseman on Netflix with actors Aaron Paul, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, and Amy Sedaris as voices. Her other show is a light comedy called Playing House on USA starring Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Claire.

A favorite place for Vera to unwind (and even write) after incredibly long days in the writers’ room is Griffith Park and the Observatory. We met up one Sunday afternoon at The Trails Cafe, a woodsy outdoor eatery in Los Feliz not far from a Griffith Park entrance. She told me about her long days in the writing room, being on set for re-writes and how spending time at Griffith Park has become a regular place for her to reconnect and find balance. We found a trail and then made our way up the summit to the Observatory—1,134 feet above sea level, with a perfect view of the Hollywood sign—an hour before sunset, when the light gets California golden. The views of Los Angeles are expansive and on certain days you can see the ocean in the far distance. We watched the marine layer roll in as we made our way to the telescopes and talked about travels, screenwriting, and TV shows. In what has been dubbed the Golden Age of Television for a while now, I love the voice Vera is bringing to television. A funny, smart, diverse, and female perspective in the world of TV writing, where women are still the minority. Vera is helping to shape the new paradigm.

Season 3 of BoJack Horseman will premiere in 2016 and fingers are crossed for a Season 3 of Playing House.


How did your work become interesting to you?

As a kid who watched way too much TV, probably. I’d carefully flip through the fall preview of the TV Guide and earmark the “Ones to Watch” like the little weirdo I was. But, at the same time, I always sort of wondered why I didn’t see people who looked quite like me or my family on television.

In high school, I read an article that really stuck with me. It pointed out that the key to changing the face of television was in the writing. If I wanted to see television meaningfully reflect the way my world looked it had to start with people creating projects and writing scripts that did that. I realized that screenwriting can be a real way to shape culture, change minds. That’s when it became exciting to me.


What does your favorite day look like?

My favorite days look like me laughing so hard, my eyes water a little bit, my nostrils flare and I can’t quite get words out. Any day that happens, is a great day to me.

Favorite places to take out-of-town guests?

The Venice canals always feel like a discovery. And the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Seafood is one I’ve happily made often. Also Yamashiro, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Farmers Market, or a stop at Bestia. Any excuse to share that cacao-infused pasta.


What is your strongest sense?

My sense of hearing. As a person who works in a hugely collaborative environment, being a good listener has made all the difference for me. In the writers’ room, I really try to listen carefully to my colleagues—their stories, ideas, jokes, pitches, what is said but also what goes unsaid. I think it helps me narrow in on how I can be helpful at any given moment.

I probably just like listening in general. When I’m out for a walk, I like to leave the headphones out and just take in the noise of real life. It’s helpful when writing dialogue and it’s often how ideas form for me. Or in a movie theatre, I’ll listen to where the audience reacts or laughs hardest. That’s always inspiring.


What have you accomplished that you are most proud of so far?

I am most proud that I took a chance on making the move from Toronto to Los Angeles.

It had always been my biggest dream to work in television stateside. I was fascinated by the scale and reach of shows made here. But moving from Canada to the U.S. really felt next to impossible—an international move, with no job lined up, no visa, or agent here.

For me, it wasn’t even all about landing on my feet here, although I’m glad I did. Just taking a leap on a nagging dream is the accomplishment I’m most proud of.


What has been your favorite age so far?

Turning 30 was fun. I remember feeling so relieved to be out of the wild west of being in your 20s.

What’s on your to-do list?

So much! Take the great American road trip, live in Paris for a few months, write a movie, learn to paint, get a dog, eat my way through Italy, visit the Great Bazaar of Istanbul, visit India again, see a monolithic iceberg coming out of the water, see what’s up in Scandinavia.


Words to live by?

When I worked on Degrassi, my showrunner, Brendon Yorke, would often say, “You can’t fix nothing.” It was his way of helping a writer take the pressure off themselves when they were writing a draft and facing the blank page. It was a reminder that we had to start by just getting words down so we could build and improve from there. No words, no improving.

I still think about that phrase at least once a script and can’t help but think it applies in life as well. Because sometimes the only way to get to the good is by trudging through the bad.


What do you love doing that you aren’t doing?

If there was such a thing as an adult arts high school, I’d totally take a semester or two and try it all. Take classes on drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, design, graphic design. Let that inner art student out.

{ Images and Interview by Amy Dickerson for Anthology Magazine }


The Greenbrier

by Anh-Minh on July 6, 2015

greenbrier7While I’m not a golf fanatic, I do occasionally follow the sport, and this past weekend marked The Greenbrier Classic, an annual tournament held at the West Virginia resort. Some people are drawn to The Greenbrier for its golf and tennis amenities … and others, like me, to its decor, which can be traced back to Dorothy Draper. The noted interior designer “left the hotel with a bold new personality, using color and oversized patterns to paint a picture that reflected the luxury of space, elegance, and sense of history in every detail.” (You can read more about her firm’s relationship with the resort here.)

The aesthetic might not work with the architecture of my own home, but I would love to spend a long weekend in one of these rooms and admire the talents of Draper as well as her protégé, Carleton Varney.

greenbrier_top greenbrier_middle greenbrier_bottom    { Photos via The Greenbrier }


Cute Food

by Kate on June 29, 2015

anthologymag-blog-cutefood-4There are a lot of things kids do that adults should not do, such as putting gum in our friend’s hair, flushing various household objects down the toilet to see what happens, or throwing a shrieking fit in the grocery store. But playing with your food? That’s an all-ages activity.

I thought I’d share the work of two very different designers based in Japan who both play with food in a grown-up way. I am a sucker for miniatures, and this furniture cake mold designed by Ryosuke Fukusada goes right to my heart. Think of how much fun this would be to play with! If you’re more into arts and crafts than playing house, you’ll appreciate the adorable decorated cookies from Antolpo. They are actually quite sophisticated in their craft, but delightfully whimsical in form. I want to gobble them all—after playing with them a bit, of course.

Do any of you have a favorite cute food inspiration? If so, please share with us!

anthologymag-blog-cutefood-3anthologymag-blog-cutefood-5anthologymag-blog-cutefood-2anthologymag-blog-cutefood-1{ Top images above via Ryosuke Fukusada; bottom images via Antolpo }


Girls & Their Cats

by Kate on June 22, 2015

anthologymag-blog-imagery-girlsandtheircats-1I don’t know about you, but I’m going to come right out and admit that cats on the internet play a huge part in my life. Whenever I am feeling frustrated, sad, or depressed; I browse the latest cat videos on YouTube, or scroll through dozens of amusing photos and animated gifs until my heart feels a bit lighter and there’s a huge smile on my face. Call me crazy, but I think it’s a pretty effective form of therapy.

In all my searching, however, I’ve never found a cat-devoted project as elegant and lovely as this one. Photographer BriAnne Wills has created a new site entitled Girls & Their Cats, which is just what the title implies: girls and their adorable cats, lounging about in their apartments. The cynical side of me wants to poke fun, but honestly I can’t because the images are just so lovely, and Wills does a wonderful job of capturing these human-animal relationships. I love seeing these tender, sometimes hilarious interactions between these women and their cats. Instant mood lifter!

anthologymag-blog-imagery-girlsandtheircats-2anthologymag-blog-imagery-girlsandtheircats-3anthologymag-blog-imagery-girlsandtheircats-4anthologymag-blog-imagery-girlsandtheircats-5{ All images by BriAnne Wills via Girls & Their Cats }


Bud Botanical

by Kate on June 15, 2015

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetI consider myself very fortunate to live within walking distance of the botanical gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, and whenever I’m feeling down, I go there to wander. I’m not sure if there’s been any scientific research done on the beneficial effects of admiring flowers and plants, but I know it instantly causes a shift in my mood.

I was pleased to discover Sammy Go of Bud Botanical, a brand new voice in floral design. Go’s arrangements are unfussy, which I love, yet graceful. Go is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s landscape architecture program, and I think it shows in the gestural quality of his work, and how the arrangements allow each bud to stand out on its own and to complement the overall composition. You can see more of his designs here, and perhaps you’ll join me as I eagerly await more behind-the-scenes news of Go’s process on the Bud blog.

anthologymag-blog-floral-bbb-1anthologymag-blog-floral-bbb-2 Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetanthologymag-blog-floral-bbb-5{ All images via Bud Botanical }