An Open Letter To “Nashville” Creator, Callie Khouri

Dear Callie,

This letter is long overdue. Even though this is something you may very likely never see or respond to, I still feel I owe you the sincerity and time as if you will.

As of the time I’m writing this, it is the day after your birthday. I sincerely hope you had a wonderful day. You certainly deserve it.

I’m writing this letter because I want to thank you.

Nashville is my favorite show on television. One of the first things either my wife or I say when we wake up at around 5:00 Wednesday morning is, “Nashville tonight!” The DVR is always set. She and I are in the Army and don’t often actually watch on Wednesday nights, because here on the east coast, it’s on at 10 p.m., so our early mornings make it a bit tougher, but we definitely have the wine poured and we’re ready on Friday night. (The good news is that we will be moving to Texas to be stationed at Fort Hood next month, so that will of course place us in the central time zone. That means we should be watching live once we get there, which we are certainly looking forward to).

My thanks to you is not only for creating such an amazing show that I absolutely love, but also for giving me a newfound and enhanced passion for something that is a great love of mine: screenwriting.

I can understand that a letter like this may be a little unusual. Please allow me to explain.

A few years ago, I began my journey toward becoming a professional screenwriter. Nashville is the first show that I really wanted to study as far as my writing is concerned, and because of the quality of the show, it really made me want to observe how things are done from the writer’s standpoint as much and as well as I could.

As you are a screenwriter yourself, I am truly in awe at what you’ve accomplished and extremely impressed with your work, especially when it comes to Nashville. My wife and I decided several years ago that we wanted to move to Nashville after we retire from the Army (we were married in Clarksville in 1999 when we were stationed together at Fort Campbell). Nothing makes us even more anxious to get there than to watch this show. You’ve done such a wonderful job in creating this world that I am truly in love with. Very few shows that I’ve ever watched have done that.

I know that there are many others involved who have helped to make this happen, from the amazing actors, singers, songwriters, directors, producers, the show writers and whoever else I may have unintentionally left out. I am so incredibly thankful for them all as well and in no way is this letter intended as a slight against any of them. Absolutely not.

But you are the one who has created such a fantastic world with these characters and as a screenwriter, I feel not only that I want to thank you, but that I have to.

That may not make a ton of sense, but each time I sit down and work on another script, you are the person I think of. I did find a draft of the pilot episode of Nashville online and I have reviewed it many times. I am not at all ashamed to say, as I work on other projects, that I very often think “How would Callie do this? What would she think?”

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years just from watching the show, both as entertainment and as a screenwriter looking to learn how it’s done. I’m not exaggerating at all to say that I learn more and more with each episode I watch. Even as my wife and I watch the past episodes on DVD, I still learn things I didn’t notice before.

I would obviously very much love to meet you one day. I would be so incredibly honored, not only to be able to thank you in person, but it would be an absolute dream to be able to talk with you about screenwriting. I know I would learn so much from you.

However, I do understand the nature of things. An inexperienced screenwriter is likely not very attractive to you at the moment and a world away from someone on your level right now, which is understandably so.

But I just wanted to say again that this show, this amazing show that you have given life to, has given me such a newfound passion, energy, drive and determination to every single day do something I absolutely LOVE. If and when I become a professional screenwriter, no matter where I am or happen to be, there is one person who will always come to mind as far as my appreciation is concerned. That person’s name is Callie Khouri.

I sincerely hope that one day, one day very soon, whether or not you and I are able to meet, that my work does reach you in some way, whether directly or indirectly, whether it’s writing something for you or something I’ve written that has been brought to life as this show has. It is my profound wish that my work in whatever way, will make you very proud.

So from the bottom of my heart, I want to say, now and always…thank you so very much.

Robert People

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