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Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:26 PM
I'm about to graduate next semester with a communications degree. I'd like to write some television. I want to start on a show that no one's ever heard of or a brand new show and build my resume. But how do you find a job writing for a new sitcom or cartoon?

Any and all help would be appreciated.

-Cashed

bartleby
10-24-2005, 07:27 PM
yeah, that'd be nice.

sonnylarue
10-24-2005, 07:29 PM
with the advances in computer technology today, you should be making your own stuff, and posting it on the web.

get with some techincally savvy classmates,and go to it.

Angel of Distraction
10-24-2005, 07:30 PM
The same way you get a book published: blood, sweat, tears, and putting up with a lot of undesirable circumstances and rejections.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:31 PM
with the advances in computer technology today, you should be making your own stuff, and posting it on the web.

get with some techincally savvy classmates,and go to it.

Yeah. I want to do that do. But what if I want to write scripts for television shows...?

ItsDLEVY
10-24-2005, 07:32 PM
Get yourself an internship as a writer's assistant, and work nights and weekends to feed yourself. Learn to eat cheap and live cheaper.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:32 PM
The same way you get a book published: blood, sweat, tears, and putting up with a lot of undesirable circumstances and rejections.

So, I have to move to LA? Is that what you're saying?

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:33 PM
Get yourself an internship as a writer's assistant, and work nights and weekends to feed yourself. Learn to eat cheap and live cheaper.

Writer's assistant, eh? How does one get that?

TopFeeg
10-24-2005, 07:34 PM
The same way you get a book published: blood, sweat, tears, and putting up with a lot of undesirable circumstances and rejections.


by blood sweat and tears he means "blowjobs, anal and fist fucking."

TenStoryMother
10-24-2005, 07:34 PM
I'm about to graduate next semester with a communications degree. I'd like to write some television. I want to start on a show that no one's ever heard of or a brand new show and build my resume. But how do you find a job writing for a new sitcom or cartoon?

Any and all help would be appreciated.

-Cashed

Head on over to iTunes and subscribe to a podcast called, "Sam and Jim go to Hollywood." It's about two friends who quit their jobs owning a succesful restaurant and move to Hollywood to become T.V. screenwriters. It's a great podcast and incredibly insightful into the machine that is Hollywood.

ItsDLEVY
10-24-2005, 07:36 PM
Writer's assistant, eh? How does one get that?

Network, network, network. On the most basic level, figure out who's writing the shows you like the best. Figure out how to contact them. Send them nice letters with samples of what you can do and ask if they could use you as an assistant.

What school are you graduating from? Don't they have an office of career services or something like that? Or do you have an adviser in your department? There should be people who are paid to help you learn these things.

There are also books out there specifically about how to break into the industry. In fact, my brother wrote one of them.

JoshuaFialkov
10-24-2005, 07:39 PM
You send out an assload of a resumes to get P.A. work, then, if you do well, you can work your way into a Writer's PA position (mostly getting coffee for the writers, making copies, and doing distribution of scripts), then, if you do well there, you get moved up to being a Writer's Assistant. A WA sits in the room with the writers as the break stories and takes notes, as well as doing more menial stuff, and will often times be in charge of typing up changes or studio notes. Then, you do that for a couple of seasons, and if they like you and you prove yourself, you might get to pitch a story, and then, if they like that, they might let you submit it as a freelance script.

I've had several friends go through it, and come out the other end with either a great writing job, or a cancelled show. It's a crap shoot, and a ton of work, but, it's really just about the only way to do it, unless you're related to or know powerful Exec's or showrunners. Then they just force people to hire you. :D

Good luck, man.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:39 PM
Network, network, network. On the most basic level, figure out who's writing the shows you like the best. Figure out how to contact them. Send them nice letters with samples of what you can do and ask if they could use you as an assistant.

What school are you graduating from? Don't they have an office of career services or something like that? Or do you have an adviser in your department? There should be people who are paid to help you learn these things.

There are also books out there specifically about how to break into the industry. In fact, my brother wrote one of them.

I'm graduating from the University of New Orleans...

So, I might be able to e-mail career services but I can't talk to anyone.

But writer's assistant sounds good.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:40 PM
You send out an assload of a resumes to get P.A. work, then, if you do well, you can work your way into a Writer's PA position (mostly getting coffee for the writers, making copies, and doing distribution of scripts), then, if you do well there, you get moved up to being a Writer's Assistant. A WA sits in the room with the writers as the break stories and takes notes, as well as doing more menial stuff, and will often times be in charge of typing up changes or studio notes. Then, you do that for a couple of seasons, and if they like you and you prove yourself, you might get to pitch a story, and then, if they like that, they might let you submit it as a freelance script.

I've had several friends go through it, and come out the other end with either a great writing job, or a cancelled show. It's a crap shoot, and a ton of work, but, it's really just about the only way to do it, unless you're related to or know powerful Exec's or showrunners. Then they just force people to hire you. :D

Good luck, man.

Thanks.

reeechard
10-24-2005, 07:45 PM
Go to LA. You should have a portfolio of writing samples. Stuff published, scripts you have written for shows you want to write for, etc. Try to get an agent. Not really very likely of course.

Get any writing job possible in any field possible in LA. Not very likely either.

Be prepared to do that for years, decades, and hopefully you get lucky.

The few people I knew that were writers never broke through the barrier.

The best way is to know someone and get hooked up with a chance. Even being willing to work for free/next to nothing doesn't get you an opportunity since everyone in LA is willing to do that.

Angel of Distraction
10-24-2005, 07:46 PM
So, I have to move to LA? Is that what you're saying?

I wouldn't know, but having access to literature professors doesn't hurt for books, so I'd imagine that befriending TV people could do no harm.

Tim Simmons
10-24-2005, 07:52 PM
So, I have to move to LA? Is that what you're saying?

yes.

See ya when you get here.

Pia Guerra
10-24-2005, 07:52 PM
LA, Vancouver, Toronto, NYC. That's where most of the shows are done. It helps to live there. You need to write spec scripts. Lots of them. Look through Entertainment Weekly and find the top ten list for tv shows that week. Pick shows FROM THAT LIST. Don't be making specs for shows execs don't watch (ie. leave the DS9 fanfic in the drawer). Write and write and write. When you have something you think is professional looking start sending them out to agents. Agents won't read everything that comes in but you may get lucky. Having some published credits elsewhere will help. Take any work you can get, kids shows, cooking shows, anything. Build up your resume. Getting work as an assistant or intern in a studio will also help. Ian started out by skipping classes and hanging out at the CBC studios offering to write stuff. It worked back then but later security beefed up so you probably won't find it that easy.

The most valuable thing you can do is make friends in the community: other writers, amateur filmakers, actors and collaborate on projects. Also, look for local script reading nights. Vancouver has a cold reading series that lets people try out scripts on an audience. It also helps improve your writing when you see actors translating your work. And sometimes there are scouts in attendance.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:55 PM
yes.

See ya when you get here.

I'm going to be there visiting soon. I'm going on my west coast "I don't have a home anymore so I'm going to drive around and write comics and television scripts" road trip! First stop Austin, then Colorado, then Cali! Yay!

Tim Simmons
10-24-2005, 07:55 PM
The most valuable thing you can do is make friends in the community: other writers, amateur filmakers, actors and collaborate on projects. Also, look for local script reading nights. Vancouver has a cold reading series that lets people try out scripts on an audience. It also helps improve your writing when you see actors translating your work. And sometimes there are scouts in attendance.


I forgot about Vancouver...but that's because I live in Los Angeles, where if you stay too long, you forget about the REST OF THE WORLD.

Vancouver seems like LA, only a hell of a lot nicer.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:56 PM
LA, Vancouver, Toronto, NYC. That's where most of the shows are done. It helps to live there. You need to write spec scripts. Lots of them. Look through Entertainment Weekly and find the top ten list for tv shows that week. Pick shows FROM THAT LIST. Don't be making specs for shows execs don't watch (ie. leave the DS9 fanfic in the drawer). Write and write and write. When you have something you think is professional looking start sending them out to agents. Agents won't read everything that comes in but you may get lucky. Having some published credits elsewhere will help. Take any work you can get, kids shows, cooking shows, anything. Build up your resume. Getting work as an assistant or intern in a studio will also help. Ian started out by skipping classes and hanging out at the CBC studios offering to write stuff. It worked back then but later security beefed up so you probably won't find it that easy.

The most valuable thing you can do is make friends in the community: other writers, amateur filmakers, actors and collaborate on projects. Also, look for local script reading nights. Vancouver has a cold reading series that lets people try out scripts on an audience. It also helps improve your writing when you see actors translating your work. And sometimes there are scouts in attendance.

Sounds good. Thanks a lot.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:56 PM
I forgot about Vancouver...but that's because I live in Los Angeles, where if you stay too long, you forget about the REST OF THE WORLD.

Vancouver seems like LA, only a hell of a lot nicer.

What shows are made in Vancouver?

Tim Simmons
10-24-2005, 07:57 PM
I'm going to be there visiting soon. I'm going on my west coast "I don't have a home anymore so I'm going to drive around and write comics and television scripts" road trip! First stop Austin, then Colorado, then Cali! Yay!

OH! I remember you...weren't you talking about Canada at one point as well?

Let me know when you'll be out here, we'll go get a beer!

Simps
10-24-2005, 07:57 PM
First it's about who you know. Then if you're any good, you may have a shot. You need to find some way in, either through family, friends, or school. Otherwise, you could be Aaron Sorkin and no one would know.

Patton
10-24-2005, 07:59 PM
First it's about who you know. Then if you're any good, you may have a shot. You need to find some way in, either through family, friends, or school. Otherwise, you could be Aaron Sorkin and no one would know.
that's troubling.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 07:59 PM
OH! I remember you...weren't you talking about Canada at one point as well?

Let me know when you'll be out here, we'll go get a beer!

Sweet! I really had no idea what I was doing for a while so I was thinking about a lot of places. I was even thinking about Hawaii. As of now, it's the grand west coast tour. I'm going to Portland as well (my sis moved there) so I might check out Vancouver too. Why the fuck not!?!

8-)

Pia Guerra
10-24-2005, 08:00 PM
I forgot about Vancouver...but that's because I live in Los Angeles, where if you stay too long, you forget about the REST OF THE WORLD.

Vancouver seems like LA, only a hell of a lot nicer.

Big yes. I know writers here who have flat out decided never to work in LA based mostly on seeing fellow writers going down and having the life sucked out of them. The scene is not as big as LA, some of the shows outright blow conceptually, but it's work.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 08:00 PM
Big yes. I know writers here who have flat out decided never to work in LA based mostly on seeing fellow writers going down and having the life sucked out of them. The scene is not as big as LA, some of the shows outright blow conceptually, but it's work.

Very interesting. Vancouver.

You've opened my eyes Pia.

Simps
10-24-2005, 08:01 PM
that's troubling.

That's the reality though, especially if you want to write. At least in production you have a shto at starting by getting coffee and holding a boom mike, but writers have it tougher. That's why I'm banking on my family friend connection to La La Land.

Greenville 90210
10-24-2005, 08:03 PM
First it's about who you know. Then if you're any good, you may have a shot. You need to find some way in, either through family, friends, or school. Otherwise, you could be Aaron Sorkin and no one would know.

Yeah. Hopefully my advanced screenwriting class (which I'm taking online) will allow me to meet people and network.

Pia Guerra
10-24-2005, 08:17 PM
A few of the shows friends have worked on here:
Chris Isaac Show
Big Sound
11th Hour
Carey and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs
Yvon of the Yukon
Da Vinci's Inquest
What About Mimi?
Scary Godmother
Weirdos
Reboot
Gerald McBoing Boing
Edgemont
Madison

These have been produced here but may have most of their writing done out of LA:
Stargate
Smallville
X-Files
Twilight Zone

Tim Simmons
10-24-2005, 08:21 PM
A few of the shows friends have worked on here:


These have been produced here but may have most of their writing done out of LA:
Stargate
Smallville
X-Files
Twilight Zone

Heh...I actually had no idea that Smallville was up there- that's a total compliment to the crews in Vancouver...I tell ya, those Location Scouts KNOW their town.

Oh, and not to get too off topic, but Pia: Great work on Y!!

CraigM
10-24-2005, 08:23 PM
Heh...I actually had no idea that Smallville was up there- that's a total compliment to the crews in Vancouver...I tell ya, those Location Scouts KNOW their town.

Oh, and not to get too off topic, but Pia: Great work on Y!!

Yeah, they've been shooting it up there since the beginning I believe.

And I'm fairly certain they do the writing out of Los Angeles because Loeb used to be a Consultant/Writer on the show and he's out of Los Angeles.

Craig

Tim Simmons
10-24-2005, 08:27 PM
Yeah, they've been shooting it up there since the beginning I believe.

And I'm fairly certain they do the writing out of Los Angeles because Loeb used to be a Consultant/Writer on the show and he's out of Los Angeles.

Craig


Yeah, it's a WB show, they do write it out here...I don't watch the show all that often, but I've caught a few episodes and it never really occured to me that it might be shot in Canada.

JoshuaFialkov
10-24-2005, 08:28 PM
Yeah, it's a WB show, they do write it out here...I don't watch the show all that often, but I've caught a few episodes and it never really occured to me that it might be shot in Canada.
There's very few US Network shows that are written up north. There's WGA rules against it for broadcast network shows, i believe. Need to be created in the good ol' USA.

Joe Henderson
10-24-2005, 08:50 PM
If you want to write TV, it's also a good idea to write some spec scripts. For an agent to look at your work, they'll want 2 spec scripts of existing TV shows (basically, you write an "episode" of the show) to show that you can handle characters not of your own creation. It's also good to have an original TV pilot or an original feature script under your belt, to show them that you have your own voice. Also be careful with tv specs--try to choose shows that'll be on the air for awhile, because they won't read a spec of a show that's been cancelled, and turn their nose down to older shows. For instance, good shows to spec now are Desperate Housewives, Entourage, Shield, Nip/Tuck, the CSIs and Law and Orders, etc. My Name Is Earl will no doubt be popular soon.

Get to know lit agent assistants or get a job as a writer's assistant, as tons of people have said. Problem is, writers assistant jobs are scarce, and you pretty much only get them if you have an in.

Simps
10-24-2005, 08:53 PM
If you want to write TV, it's also a good idea to write some spec scripts. For an agent to look at your work, they'll want 2 spec scripts of existing TV shows (basically, you write an "episode" of the show) to show that you can handle characters not of your own creation. It's also good to have an original TV pilot or an original feature script under your belt, to show them that you have your own voice. Also be careful with tv specs--try to choose shows that'll be on the air for awhile, because they won't read a spec of a show that's been cancelled, and turn their nose down to older shows. For instance, good shows to spec now are Desperate Housewives, Entourage, Shield, Nip/Tuck, the CSIs and Law and Orders, etc. My Name Is Earl will no doubt be popular soon.

Get to know lit agent assistants or get a job as a writer's assistant, as tons of people have said. Problem is, writers assistant jobs are scarce, and you pretty much only get them if you have an in.

Good call, My Name is Earl basically screams "spec script me".

Joe Henderson
10-24-2005, 09:31 PM
Good call, My Name is Earl basically screams "spec script me".

It sure as hell does--one of the few comedies that has a formula as easy to follow as a procedural. It's basically "Earl negatively affects someone’s life. He goes to remedy the situation, only to come to the realization that there’s a different problem that needs to be solved." I'm halfway through writing one right now.

Tim Simmons
10-25-2005, 02:06 PM
Ellis posted up a link to John Roger's blog, where he talks about pitching:

http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/09/writing-pilot-pitch-prep.html (http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2005/09/writing-pilot-pitch-prep.html)

Good blog!

Kenneth I. Wolfe
10-25-2005, 02:33 PM
My dad had worked with Larry David before Larry David asked him to write an episode of Seinfeld.

If you want to go the direction my dad went, you better be a comedian first.

glk
10-25-2005, 02:40 PM
Take an internship for any reputable company (agency, production company, even studio if possible) and start learning how the town works, who's who, and making connections. Then, use everything you know to land a writer's assistant job. Best way is going to be during pilot season when stuff sells and shows ramp-up for production. But it's a craps-shoot. I have a friend who took a writer's assistant gig on Gray's Anatomy. When he described the show to me, I told him to keep his resume fresh. Joke's on me: show is a huge hit and he's writing an episode this season. But he's also a good writer and proved himself in the short replacement season the show had earlier this year.

You really do have to move to Los Angeles. When you get here and make connections, job openings will open up around you. They'll pay piss and work you to death, but that's what everyone does.

ds9
10-25-2005, 02:57 PM
I'm about to graduate next semester with a communications degree. I'd like to write some television. I want to start on a show that no one's ever heard of or a brand new show and build my resume. But how do you find a job writing for a new sitcom or cartoon?

Any and all help would be appreciated.

-CashedYou have to know someone in the biz.

glk
10-25-2005, 03:00 PM
You have to know someone in the biz.

An unpaid internship will solve that.

Greenville 90210
10-26-2005, 10:34 AM
It sure as hell does--one of the few comedies that has a formula as easy to follow as a procedural. It's basically "Earl negatively affects someone’s life. He goes to remedy the situation, only to come to the realization that there’s a different problem that needs to be solved." I'm halfway through writing one right now.

Wow. I should watch this show and write a spec of my own...

Thanks guys!

Greenville 90210
10-26-2005, 10:35 AM
My dad had worked with Larry David before Larry David asked him to write an episode of Seinfeld.

If you want to go the direction my dad went, you better be a comedian first.


Who's your dad?

Kenneth I. Wolfe
10-26-2005, 10:38 AM
Who's your dad?

Steve Skrovan. He was one of the writers for Everybody Loves Raymond.

Ben
10-26-2005, 10:40 AM
Move to Los Angeles and work as a PA on reality shows for the rest of your life. That's the only way to get started.

James Patrick
10-26-2005, 10:45 AM
I write for television and I have no idea.

Hope this helps.

Greenville 90210
10-26-2005, 10:52 AM
I write for television and I have no idea.

Hope this helps.

More than you know.

RøcketFrøg
10-26-2005, 10:55 AM
I write for television and I have no idea.

Hope this helps.
What do you write for?

James Patrick
10-26-2005, 11:04 AM
What do you write for?

Nobody national -- though it looks like we'll be syndicated -- and will be national eventually.

We have a show on our local NBC affiliate called Independent Axis, which aires after SNL on Saturdays. We take short films and show them, and there's an actual character that requires jokes and intoductions to the shorts that I write. The short films we've shown are quite good.

Anyway, it's not directly pertaining to what your'e talking about -- but I fell into it. People who like my comics knew I was local and tapped me to write it. Which, kind of goes toward the point, there's no set way. See, it's a writing credit for TV, and it could be national, and it could lead to other things, even though I wasn't looking for it. That's about all i can contribute is that you can get in any number of ways

RøcketFrøg
10-26-2005, 11:11 AM
Nobody national -- though it looks like we'll be syndicated -- and will be national eventually.

We have a show on our local NBC affiliate called Independent Axis, which aires after SNL on Saturdays. We take short films and show them, and there's an actual character that requires jokes and intoductions to the shorts that I write. The short films we've shown are quite good.

Anyway, it's not directly pertaining to what your'e talking about -- but I fell into it. People who like my comics knew I was local and tapped me to write it. Which, kind of goes toward the point, there's no set way. See, it's a writing credit for TV, and it could be national, and it could lead to other things, even though I wasn't looking for it. That's about all i can contribute is that you can get in any number of ways
Very cool.