Third up on ABC Studios’ Contenders Emmys panel was SMILF creator-star Frankie Shaw, who cultivated the Showtime series out of a short film she directed.

Speaking to moderator Michael Ausiello of TVLine, Shaw teased what’s to come in the 10-episode second season of the often-surreal, lyrical series, following the dating escapades of a single mother. “This season gets weirder and darker,” she said. “We’re dealing with identity and the masks we wear to present ourselves to the world. And who are we when we take the mask off? We’re two months into the writers room, and we start shooting this summer in Boston.”

The Contenders Emmys 2018
REX/Shutterstock

During the panel, Shaw discussed the hoops she had to jump through to gain the network’s trust and maintain authorship over her own series, as well as the exciting level of opportunity available for creators in today’s entertainment climate. “It was like baby steps, and I feel like I kept having to prove myself. It wasn’t carte blanche from the beginning,” Shaw said of her relationship with Showtime. “[But] they’re very collaborative at Showtime—they’re incredible for trusting me and giving me this opportunity.”

“I feel like at no other time in history would I have been given a show like this on a premium cable network,” the actress continued, touching also on her love of directing, and Rosie O’Donnell’s standout work on the series. “It’s an amazing time we’re all in.”