Have you ever tried to find a job on Craigslist? If you’re not an aspiring vagina model, I can’t recommend it. I do, however, strongly recommend making a TV show about a woman who takes the sleaziest gigs on Craigslist… and steals the identities of the people who hired her.
How did we get here? It’s 2018, so it started with a blog. Back in 2014, I graduated from college with a degree in film and virtually zero bankable skills. With a quickly depleting savings account, I did what many desperate millennial freelancers do: I began to check Craigslist gig listings every day. I was searching for low level producing gigs and one off writing assignments, but instead I found a trove of creepy, bizarre and borderline illegal job listings. People were definitely hiring, but there were mostly two categories of women they were hiring: sex workers (predictably, there’s lots of amateur porn jobs on Craigslist) or not-quite-but-almost sex work (usually posted by men who were pervy but indirect – and paying zero dollars to almost nothing for the services). I quickly became fed up with these generally offensive and often misogynistic postings and did what most desperate millennial freelancers do not do: I invented a naïve character named Katie who responded to these gig posts via email. While I, personally, was not willing to offer my massive booty for destruction purposes, be a hot female TV host for a sports show in my lingerie, or become a, um, “head doctor,” Katie was always extremely interested in the gig but never quite understood what they were looking for. Through her naïveté, I, as Katie, coerced these men into saying what they were really after. Emailing people as Katie became a creative outlet for me and bizarrely, my own small way of feeling like I was fighting the patriarchy… even if it was just me trolling middle aged dudes who wanted to take pictures of vaginas or pay for women to hit on them in public in order to make their girlfriends jealous. Sometimes I felt tiny pangs guilt at messing with these people, but mostly I felt twinges of redemption. Email retaliation against gross assholes made me feel like a vigilante. I posted the email threads on a blog and was sad, but not surprised, to find that they resonated with a lot of other women.
Over the past couple years, I’ve been told there should be life for Katie beyond the blogosphere. I agreed but became caught up in other projects (non-Craigslist people started hiring me to write and produce things, imagine that!) At the end of last year, the most inconvenient event of my life made me revisit Katie.
In December 2017, I was driving from Santa Monica to Echo Park in bumper to bumper traffic (of course) when I got a series of emails from my bank. I pulled over and found out that my bank password, pin, and security questions had all been changed -- and certainly not by me. I called the bank and found out that someone in Minnesota had spent literally all of my money at a Walmart Supercenter. My identity thief was able to call the bank pretending to be me (using my phone number!) and had my social security number, address, and all my other identifying information. At the time I called my bank, she was knees deep in my account.
As I trudged through the aftermath and learned how easy it is to steal someone’s identity (and their money), I began to think of my old friend Katie. What if she actually took gigs from those Craigslist goons instead of just trolling them via email? What if she had her identity stolen like me and realized how easy it would be to do the same to other people? What if she formed a rag tag team to help her? What if they ruined bad people’s lives? What if a smart, funny, conniving woman in her early-20s was TV’s next great antihero? What if this all unfolded in an hour long serialized dramedy that was hilarious, tense and touching?
I’ve answered many of those what ifs on the rest of this site. I hope we can answer the rest of them together.