An Emmy For Megan Is The Summer's Most Successful Scam

Photo: David Walter Banks/The Washington Post/Getty Images..
Spoiler alert: This interview contains mild spoilers about the web series An Emmy For Megan.
Thursday morning, the Television Academy awarded an Emmy nomination to An Emmy for Megan, a web series devoted to, well, getting the titular Megan an Emmy. Actually, it has two nominations: one for the show overall, and another for Amram, its star. Amram, a veteran TV writer currently working on The Good Place, made the six-episode series with the express goal of getting the award. She took the idea to the production company Abso Lutely in the spring, and she filmed the series in early April. By April 27, the day the series had to be online so it could be eligible for a nomination, she had six tidy episodes about winning an Emmy on anemmyformegan.com.
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Then, she launched a "for your consideration" campaign, which included a massive billboard in Hollywood. It worked, clearly, because she's now secured her first Emmy nomination(s). (The nomination also goes to Dave Kneebone, Janel Kranking, and Joseph Carnegie, producers on the show.) By golly, it worked! An Emmy for Megan is the silliest scam of the summer of scams.
"I was cautiously optimistic about getting nominated, but it is still is very funny to me," Amram told Refinery29 when we talked to the newly minted Emmy nominee on the phone Thursday afternoon. She's at work on The Good Place right now, toiling away at season 3, but, she said, her focus is all on her Emmy nomination. She's fielding phone calls from journalists like myself, an essential part of the Emmy-winning process. She hopes to appear on a talk show soon, too. It's all a part of the ultimate goal: an EGOT for Megan Amram.
Refinery29: Did you think An Emmy for Megan would actually get nominated?
Megan Amram: "I truly — going into this morning, if I had to bet, I would've put money on myself. But the Emmys are also unpredictable and sometimes the best web series doesn't get nominated. There's no way to know for sure. But this is my first nomination — first and second nomination, ever. And I've worked in TV for a while, so it's very exciting."
Did this just seem like the fastest route to an Emmy?
"It seemed like the most accessible way to get an Emmy nomination. You know, you can work really hard on a sitcom, and that takes a lot of time and effort. But this web series was something I shot in one day. And I was able to really tailor it towards things that I thought would win me an Emmy. So it seemed a little more streamlined and straight to the point."
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How much effort did it take, ultimately?
"It took a lot of emotional work, I'd say. The physical work was less intense. We did film it and get it out the day that it had to be online to be eligible for the Emmys this year. So we were really pushing our luck with that. But I would say more of the time and effort has been going into the publicity. That's a very important part of the Emmys — getting the billboard. I had a show at UCB to promote it. I've been doing some public meet-and-greets. And that kind of thing is only going to ramp up exponentially now that I've been nominated."
What's the next step in publicity?
"I started brainstorming immediately after putting out my series for what I would do after I got nominated. And I have a lot of really fun, really expensive marketing tools cooking. Definitely looking into a billboard in a more trafficked area. Mine was in Hollywood, and it was great, but I'm thinking more Times Square or something like that. I also am considering a pop-up shop where maybe I can sell off-brand Emmy trophies so you can all have 'an Emmy for Megan' too. I am looking into skywriters. I am just gonna be calling in a lot more favours from celebrities. Julianne Moore already has filmed a little video in support. I'm thinking maybe the cast of Game of Thrones can start marketing for me rather than their show."
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Did you fund this yourself?
"We got funding through Abso Lutely, the production company, but then the marketing stuff is really coming out of my own pocket. So I'm gonna be looking for extra work from now until the Emmys, so I can funnel that money all into billboards."
Did you have to deal with SAG at all?
"The producers made sure everyone followed the rules to a T, because we did not want to be disqualified on a technicality. So I'm not quite sure. But we did have a lot of 'real' actors, is what I'd call them, who were in the series, and who were fantastic."
There were even special effects! You foamed at the mouth.
"It's truly amazing what you can do with Hollywood magic. If you look closely at the final episode where D'arcy [Carden] kills me by poisoning me, you can see that the Alka-Seltzer tablet I was using on my tongue didn't fully dissolve. And that there's just pieces of it that I spit out on my floor. It's fun facts like that that make Hollywood just so interesting for the people watching at home. I feel like maybe I should do a DVD commentary, now that I'm talking with you about behind the scenes. I'll release a DVD boxset with all the interesting tidbits from the shoot."
Where are you going to put your Emmy, if you win?
"I have a place in my home office where I've literally put a Post-It note that says: 'Emmy goes here.' And I look at it almost every day. I just see a big old circle on my desk that says, 'Emmy goes here,' and I hope that I get to cover that up with a real statue."
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What would you try for next? An Oscar?
"Yes. So I'm planning on doing a behind-the-scenes documentary of the making of An Emmy for Megan. And I need to start that soon, but it would be called An Oscar for an Emmy for Megan. And I hopefully am going to submit it as a short form, live action documentary for the Oscars. We'll just go from there. If I can squeeze an entire EGOT out of this, that would be ideal."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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