Julia Brownell

Ali on the Run Show Episode 642: Julia Brownell, Hollywood Writer & Producer

“You know in your head who you are. You just have to be brave enough to listen.”

When Julia Brownell was little, she had a dream and a plan: to be a writer. She played sports, she loved to run, and she loved writing scripts and stories in her free time. And turns out, dreams come true. Today, Julia is a 3:16 marathoner, a mom of two, and a writer, producer, and playwright in Hollywood. She has been a writer and producer on shows including This Is Us, Parenthood, Smash, and more. (See? Living the dream!) In this conversation, Julia explains how a TV show is made, breaks down her favorite parts of that process, talks about what it was like getting her big break, and talks about what life has been like during the ongoing writer’s strike. Plus, she talks about how she’s gotten faster as a master and as a mom, taking more than 45 minutes off her marathon PR. Julia will race the Mountains to Beach half marathon this weekend, and she’s looking to go sub-1:30.


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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How Julia fits running into her busy life, and how she’s feeling heading into her half marathon this weekend (2:05)
  • On finding and making running friends as an adult (5:00)
  • What Julia’s life is like right now, during the writer’s strike, and all about how a TV show is made (10:00)
  • What kind of person makes a good TV writer? (21:45)
  • Julia’s favorite part of the TV-writing process, and what it’s like being “the runner” in the crew (24:35)
  • How Julia became a runner and a writer (30:35)
  • What it’s like to get your big break (39:30)
  • On adjusting from being an east coast runner to an L.A. runner (40:25)
  • How Julia has shaved nearly an hour off her marathon PR (41:30)
  • What’s next for Julia on the run? (46:00)
  • On getting hired to work on “Parenthood” (52:00)
  • What it’s like going to the Emmy Awards (56:30)
  • What Julia was working on pre-strike (1:01:45)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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