Private Project

Retail Therapy

A TV anchor winds up taking a job in a boutique when her contract isn’t renewed, joining a female staff who all have master’s degrees, but work part-time for minimum wage, because they can’t get their career jobs back.

  • Jodie Burke
    Anchor Away (short film, writer/director)
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Portland Comedy Film Festival
    Portland, Oregon
    May 17, 2019
    Best Director
Writer Biography - Jodie Burke

Jodie Burke is an award-winning director and writer, and has penned feature scripts for Universal, Sony and Fox Studios, among others. Her directorial debut, short film Anchor Away, was nominated for Best Comedy and won Best Director at the 2019 Portland Comedy Film Festival, and is an Official Selection of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, the upcoming Atlanta Comedy Film Festival and the Oaxaca International Film Festival in Mexico. She began her Hollywood career running development for Academy Award-winning producer Art Linson on the Warner Bros. and Fox lots in Los Angeles, and at the Tribeca Film Center in New York. She is currently creating a television pilot, Retail Therapy, inspired by a true story.

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Writer Statement

This is a show about funny, educated, high-earning women who took a break – for various reasons – and cannot get their real jobs back in Corporate America. There is no on-ramp back into the “hire-archy.”

My show features an ensemble of smart, loyal, hard-working women, locked out of the executive suite, who now make a crushing 10 bucks an hour, and grin and bear it.

Recently, I went back to graduate school to learn how to direct. I got a part-time job at a boutique, and was shocked to learn that my coworkers included a Stanford-educated attorney, a scientist, sociologist, journalist, and a drop-dead gorgeous news anchor. Most had taken a break to have children. None were able to return to their lucrative careers. We all labored for minimum wage with no benefits.

Literally, a million dollars of education was going to waste on the styling floor of this store. It’s a problem that is happening all over America. But nobody is addressing it.

So I decided to write a TV pilot about it. My ambition is to shine a comedic light on the gender and age bias that prevent women from re-entering the workforce. It's not only women's earnings that are negatively impacted. The lack of women in powerful positions creates a gender imbalance in our workplace systems. As we've seen with the exposure of predatory behavior of powerful men, not just in Hollywood, but in every industry across America, our whole work system is experiencing a gender crisis and needs to be rebalanced so that girls, women and vulnerable people are no longer endangered and exploited.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "If you want to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh or they'll kill you."

My hope is that Retail Therapy is funny enough to save lives.

N.B. I include here the one-sheet for my short film "Anchor Away", which served as my MFA Thesis Project. It is currently making the festival rounds as a stand-alone short, but is essentially Act 2 of my TV pilot.