There are a few things that are more exciting than living your dream in Hollywood, but veteran producer Shadi Petosky is proof that transgender people can succeed there, too.
I thought when I transitioned my career was over. The idea that someone would buy a kid's show from a trans person?! https://t.co/vqhrdNn5Oe
— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) December 19, 2015
As Variety and Entertainment Weekly reported, Petosky learned Friday that Danger & Eggs, the animated children's show she co-created with animator Mike Owens, has been green lit for 25 episodes by Amazon, along with two other shows aimed at kids.
“Our new kids pilots will combine rich worlds with unique characters that we hope will appeal to our customers,” Tara Sorensen, head of kids’ programming for Amazon Studios, told Variety in October, when the pilot for Danger & Eggs was vying for contention.
But for Petosky, this accomplishment did not come overnight. She concedes she is one of maybe three trans TV producers working in Hollywood, but one with an impressive resume as an executive producer, producer, writer and as a successful director of animation.
"I wish I could say I'm just 'so excited' but feeling ALL of the feelings and trying to stay in the middle," Petosky tells The Advocate in an email:
"There is work to be done, so I have a compartmentalized focus happening but then there is intense gratitude for people that I haven't had time to express so I am chipping away at that and little moments of 'wow it's real,' and then it isn't. It's so fresh.
"People are saying 'are you popping the champagne?' but my version of that is calling people with good news about a job and then making a to-do list."
Amazon, of course, is also home to the most successful television program about transgender people in entertainment history: Jill Soloway's Transparent, now in its second season.
As described by Variety and Amazon, the pilot for Danger & Eggs is an original 12-minute long show for children ages six through 11 about "the fearless D.D. Danger, an aspiring stuntwoman, (who) is kept out of harm’s way by her ever-cautious pal, Phillip, a huge talking egg." The "teal-haired" heroine and her best friend attempt "to conquer the world's weirdest water slide."
But this all started, Petosky tells The Advocate, as an adult short, six years ago.
Petosky co-created the pilot with Mike Owens, who previously worked with her on the popular kids series, Yo Gabba Gabba!, as well as Mad and The Aquabats. Together, they pitched it to Amazon late last year. Petosky, who owns Puny Entertainment with Chris Hardwick, is the producer, and she tells The Advocate she was also "script writer, voice director, and co-starred. It was a relatively small production. Very intimate. We all did a lot."
If her name seems familiar, it may be because of something that happened to her in September when she tried to fly home to Los Angeles from Orlando. Agents of the Transportation Security Administration pulled her out of the screening line at the airport because the imaging device detected what the TSA called an "anomaly."
Petosky made headlines by live-tweeting her experience as she was detained, searched and ultimately missed her flight home. All this happened because the TSA agents treated her as someone they needed to investigate as a threat. Advocates and friends have since called on the TSA for fair treatment of transgender travelers, using the hashtag #travelingwhiletrans.
Five hours after learning the good news about her show, Petosky tells The Advocate she got a text with bad news. "My Grandfather isn't doing well so I booked a trip back to Montana. Which is what life is, managing feelings on a day with conflicting calls. This is the job I've always dreamed of and the job I'm most afraid of."
Set to drop in the fall of 2016, Petosky's show features the voices of Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant and Eric Knobel.
Viewers of Amazon Prime can catch the adventures of D.D. Danger and Phillip as she chases her next big thrill here.