Victoria Gordon is an acclaimed actor, singer, director, and producer based out of Los Angeles. The class and sophistication she brings to her performances is inherited from the rich history of “show biz” in her family tree and it's no surprise that she turned to the performing arts. Her great-uncle Dr. Ernst Katz was the founder and conductor of the legendary Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic, and her grandfather was the television comedy writer Al Gordon, whose award-winning career spanned everything from The Jack Benny Program to Three’s Company.
This spring and summer Gordon will debut Pilot Season, a new anthology web series that brings five completely different stories to life with a comedic tone somewhere between Gilmore Girls and Better Things. She has kept busy over the past year, perfecting her cabaret performance in quarantine through a series of Twitch performances called Live on Sunday. The performances were a hit and she has already sold-out her upcoming cabaret series.
We chatted with Victoria Gordon about her upcoming projects and future plans.
Victoria Gordon Discusses Her New Anthology Web Series Pilot Season
ML: Now that we are a year into this “new” world and COVID-era, how are you holding up? Have you found this time period to be conducive to creating new content?
VG: I’m doing my best! It’s been interesting, to say the least. I’m really grateful that I have the ability to stay distant from those outside my household, to be able to avoid visiting public places, and to have enough space at home to not feel completely trapped. I’ve gotten a lot done—both in terms of creative work and things like organizing my drawers and closet! I’m just trying to accept the experience for what it is.
ML: How did you come up with the idea for “Live on Sunday”?
VG: It kind of just happened. I had a show scheduled on March 22 at a local theater, and obviously, that didn’t happen. But it was a show in honor of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday, and March 22 was his 90th, so I just decided to do a few songs online. After that, I asked some of my viewers if they’d be willing to watch more shows online and they said “yes, please!” Remember, people thought they’d only be home for a few weeks, maybe a month. So I scheduled shows through the end of May and figured “everyone will be back out in the world by then and I’ll be doing my last few shows for myself.” Well, as you know, that’s not at all how it worked out, so I kept going through the summer. As we went on, I started to make it more elaborate, with every show having a theme, and we really upped our tech game. It was a challenge, but I loved it!
ML: With this shift to more accessible digital content and creation, what do you hope is preserved from the bygone days of film and television?
VG: I love that people have the freedom to create and share so much more content than ever before! The thing I miss, though, is having cultural touchpoints, particularly when it comes to television. Sure, there are still popular shows, but there’s been so much focus on stratifying the audience that there are few shows that everyone collectively experiences. As a classic TV fan, I miss the days when the entire family could sit down and watch television together and then discuss it at school or work. There aren’t enough shows like that anymore!
ML: Let’s talk about Pilot Season. What can viewers expect from the series?
VG: A lot! There are five episodes—five different sitcom pilots—and while I think there’s an underlying common tone to them, they’re very different in terms of the stories they tell and the approaches they take. And we have some amazing cast members. We have Stuart Pankin, Carly Post, Claire Engler, Brooke Forbes, and a few more names coming together to bring them to life.
ML: Was the series something you’ve always planned on creating or is it something new for you?
VG: Definitely not something I always planned to do! I just realized that we weren’t leaving our homes anytime soon, and the best way to share a pilot is to really show it to audiences. Plus, I had these stories to tell and I thought it would be a ton of fun.
ML: Is it going to be a single season or do you have plans to turn it into something larger?
VG: As of right now, it’s an anthology miniseries, but I’m not ruling out another season or doing something similar. But really, I’d love to turn these pilots into full series and explore their unique universes.
ML: I was fascinated to read about your interest in history and your family’s history. Are there stories there that you hope to use and develop for future projects or is that just a personal interest?
VG: I’m not sure! Family history is so intriguing to me, because it’s like a big mystery. But it’s not exclusively my story. There are always other people involved, and I wouldn’t want to share anything that makes my relatives uncomfortable. It’s a balance, and with the right story, anything is possible.
ML: Your family has so many industry connections. What is one of the best pieces of advice that you have ever received from one of them?
VG: This wasn’t necessarily direct advice, but one of the things that I learned from being around so many incredible people is that there is so much to be gained by being a pleasant person. One of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had was giving Carol Channing a ride home from the airport before we did a show together. She and her husband, Harry, could not have been lovelier people. They could easily have ignored me, but they took such an interest in talking to me and sharing stories! Harry also told me that Carol never, ever, refused to give someone an autograph. And that woman was a legend. I’ve also worked with plenty of people who don’t have half the grace of Carol Channing, and I can see how the people around them react to their behavior. So the best advice I’ve ever gotten was from Carol Channing: be a positive force in every environment you enter!
ML: You have done a little bit of everything in the film industry. What’s next for you?
VG: I’m working on getting these shows out into the world! Producing five episodes of TV from lockdown is definitely a lot. After that, I’m planning to do some more singing shows (although I don’t know that I’ll be doing another round of Live on Sunday episodes).
Planning for 2021 has been harder than most years, understandably. I remember checking in on my 2020 goals midway through the year and realizing that they weren’t all achievable at that point. So I read a great book called The 12-Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. Their theory is that, rather than having a year-long plan, you set goals for a 12-week period, which ultimately allows you to plan to do so much more. I used the system three times last year and found it really effective because I genuinely didn’t know what the status of the world would be by the end of each 12-week period. So since I’m a planner by nature, I’m using the uncertainty of the world to focus myself differently.
ML: Do you have any long-term goals for where you are taking your career or do you just let it happen as it happens?
VG: Like I said, I’m a planner! I like to plan everything. Obviously, I know that isn’t always possible, but I have really defined goals. I want to create and star in amazing and funny television. I want to be the voice behind shows that give people something to look forward to, whether weekly as they air or annually when the new season drops! And I want to give back to other young creatives. There are so many wonderful people who’ve believed in me over the years, and they had no good reason to. They just liked my work and wanted to help me succeed. I want to be that person for someone else.