writer’s room

How to get agents to ask YOU to read your script

Last week, I showed you a note requesting help from my friend, Jeff. Jeff’s friend wanted his contacts, so he could pitch a script for representation.

Jeff is a good dude. Instead of telling him to spend 4 years of his life building his own contacts (as others would have) he decided to help.

He showed him how to get agents to read his script.

Jeff’s email I’m sharing below is specifically about screenwriting, but the same principles apply to acting, music, photography, etc.  

A little context: Jeff moved to LA with no contacts, no car, and no job in 2010. Today he’s an associate producer on Vanderpump Rules and writes and produces the web series “Quality Time”. He drops A LOT of knowledge in this email, so I hope you enjoy.

Here’s his response. [click to continue…]

Showrunner’s Assistant or Writer’s Assistant? Advice from a Producer on Mad Men

I was happy with my friends’ advice about what was a better career move: Showrunner’s Assistant (SA) or Writer’s Assistant (WA)?

Both seemed to think SA was the better move:

  • You get to meet more people.
  • You see the macro world of television.
  • There’s more job security.

Made sense to me.

Then I sat down with an Emmy-award winning writer/producer on MAD MEN…

And wow. Easily some of the best advice I ever heard.

She shared a few tips, but most importantly, shared 3 nuggets of advice I never really considered…

Despite having spoken to other writers and working in the industry and reading hundreds of blog posts on building your career in Los Angeles.

If you’re looking to get into a writer’s room, and ever wondered which would be a better position, Showrunner’s Assistant or Writer’s Assistant, keep reading.

Her advice could save you somewhere in the ball park of 2 to 3 years of your life.

[click to continue…]

Showrunner’s Assistant or Writer’s Assistant? Advice from Both

I remember during one of my first sit-downs with Dennis, we discussed potentially what my career trajectory would look like, and how this job role would change depending on:

  • If he stayed in Los Angeles
  • If he lived in Boston
  • If a television show went
  • If he was just writing features

“What do you want to do?’ he asked.

“To get to do what you do,” I said.

“Okay.” He said if a television show gets greenlit, we’d transition into a Showrunner’s Assistant (SA) or a Writer’s Assistant (WA). “Then you go find your replacement.”

Which led me to wonder: what’s the better position?

Showrunner’s Assistant or Writer’s Assistant?

What were the pros and cons of each?

Which was better suited for the skill sets I had, and for the trajectory of my career? [click to continue…]

What If I Missed My Chance to Work On A Television Show?

A week after my boss agreed I could work half-time so I could pursue another opportunity (more on that later), news of this show broke:

Ashecliffe

HBO, Paramount Plot ‘Shutter Island’ Series ‘Ashecliffe’ With Martin Scorsese And Dennis Lehane

On one hand, it’s amazing, because I the researcher. I was in the room when Dennis and Tom crafted that story.

On the other hand, by going half-time, I had already shut myself out of the project.

When I saw this story, the emotional reaction was: “Oh man, I am an idiot. What did I just pass up?”

[click to continue…]

Why You Shouldn’t Pay Your Dues

We’re all paying our dues.

Just read any “millennial struggle” article, about the challenges in breaking in, standing out, or moving up.

Like, this one in the NY Times:

This is especially true in more creative fields, whether it is filmmaking or publishing. “It’s fashion,” said Dawn Joyce, 24, when asked why she has gone through four internships since 2010. Those include unpaid stints at a major fashion magazine, where she mingled with Zooey Deschanel and Julianne Moore at photo shoots, and at a public relations firm, where she held front-row seats for late-arriving celebrities like Selena Gomez. “I consider myself to be pretty jaded already.”

“I have seen a lot of people beside me quit,” Ms. Joyce added. “It’s sort of like, ‘Let’s see who lasts the longest.’ ”

Yes, the industry is tough.

Yes, it’s easy to feel jaded.

Ms. Joyce sees internships as the endurance test to pay her dues.

Which is a mistake. She shouldn’t be paying her dues. 

I’ll explain what I mean, but first here’s what I don’t mean..

[click to continue…]