Rising Through the Ranks: Kristina Felske and Ellie Race-Moore
November 13, 2019
Bad breakups, wine and comedic relief brought 30-year-old Kristina Felske and 31-year-old Ellie Race-Moore together. This dynamic writing team has been working together for almost two years now and prove why two heads are better than one.
Both women, from different areas of the U.S. and with their own unique backgrounds, found themselves connected by a dream: to work in Hollywood as comedy writers.
“I’ve been so lucky,” Felske says. “It’s total luck. I don’t know how I got here…a series of weird connections.”
Felske, originally from Milwaukee, WI, graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with a creative writing degree. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015, ready to take on the often-cutthroat world of Hollywood. After waitressing to make ends meet, Felske applied for multiple roles on the UTA Joblist, and landed at EuropaCorp, Luc Besson’s film company. She interviewed with the VP of Development at the time, a woman named Chris Coggins.
“When I walked in, we immediately clicked, and I gave her a hard sell and I said, ‘I don't have experience, but I have life experience,’” Felske exclaims. “And because I haven’t been in the system before, you can mold me into your image. I will do whatever you tell me to do!”
Felske got the job and worked under Coggins for a year. She read scripts, provided coverage, balanced schedules, and completed other administrative tasks. During this time, Coggins became Felske’s mentor, reading and providing feedback on her original scripts. When Coggins decided to become a manager, she took on Felske as her first client, helping her to land an assistant role with a female filmmaker duo.
For two years, Felske says she “did everything” for them. Eventually, she was promoted to writers’ assistant for the pair on an Amazon show that never got picked up. It was around this time that Felske came to a realization: she loved working on projects as a team. This was also around the time that she met her future writing partner, Ellie Race-Moore.
Race-Moore, from Dartmouth, MA, graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in theatre and English literature. She moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and since, her experience breaking into the business has been a bit different than Felske’s.
“I’ve had 3,000 sort of survival jobs,” Race-Moore says. “One of my first jobs was to work for an event company valeting cars because I knew how to drive a stick shift. I cleaned houses, I worked at restaurants...I did 100 different things.”
While working outside of Hollywood, Race-Moore managed to make a name for herself within the industry by participating in improvisation and sketch comedy with The Groundlings Theatre & School, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, something she was vehemently prepared for after performing sketch comedy in Boston for years before the move to Hollywood. Race-Moore also performs with her writing partner; Felske performed sketch and improv comedy for seven years in Chicago before making her move to Los Angeles.
When they aren’t performing together, Felske and Race-Moore are writing; a journey that began in 2017.
“Kristina was roommates with one of my good friends from Massachusetts, so we were all kind of in the same group of friends, and then we joined an all-women's writing group,” Race-Moore recalls. “We had also both gone through bad breakups at the same time, so we were sad, single and getting wine after our writers’ group.”
But when they were at the writers’ group, Felske and Race-Moore realized they always had similar notes, so one day they decided to work on a project together. The outline for their first feature was written a couple of months later in Scotland and Iceland during a vacation.
“We got back to L.A. and wrote the feature,” Race-Moore says. “It was fun writing together. It’s been a beautiful partnership ever since.”
“I think, sometimes as a writer, you get bogged down in your own head,” Felske says. “I learned quickly how much I loved having Ellie to bounce things off of.”
Felske and Race-Moore’s first film is called Debt Free or Try Dying, about two friends who fake their own deaths to get out of their student loans. They also created a web series in the spring and are currently working on a short film for Felske’s former bosses, and an original pilot for staffing in 2020.
When they aren’t writing, they are working their full-time jobs. Race-Moore, a server at a restaurant and Felske, a script coordinator on a new animated drama based on high intellectual property that she can’t discuss publicly.
“Ellie and I both identify as writers and it just so happens that our careers haven’t 100% caught up yet. But they’re getting there and they’re in a place that's cool and exciting,” Felske says.
The comedy duo’s goal for 2020 is to staff or sell their feature. “We’d love to sell our feature,” Felske said. “So, if anyone wants to buy it, we’re cheap, very cheap!”
Until then, they will continue writing, honing their skills, and creating content together.
“We are focusing on the one thing we love and that’s writing with one another,” Felske says.
Written by: Allison NorlianAllison Norlian is a three-time, Emmy-nominated journalist who has worked as a television reporter and anchor in markets around the country. She has covered a variety of stories from the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Trump’s travel ban in the fourth circuit court of appeals. Allison has also won AP awards for her work and a Catalyst For Change award from the Arc of Virginia for her reporting on the disabled community. Allison just moved to Los Angeles with her screen writer husband and two cats and is excited for all LA has to offer!