There are a lot of tips and secrets (and rumors) about how to break into the filmmaking industry and get hired as a writer. Some of them are real, efficient ways of getting there, but the truth is, a lot of it is just mumbo jumbo.
In this article, I’m gonna tell you the story of how one of my clients got hired as a writer in a sitcom’s writer’s room without connections or secret magic.
Elena always wanted to be a writer, she majored in Literature and later on studied filmmaking. She did her due diligence by doing short films, looking for internships and jobs, and yeah, “collaborating” (a.k.a. working with no pay) in different projects. But nothing worked. After years of trying to “break into the industry,” she hit a wall.
But not all was lost.
I met Elena about a year ago. She was ready to give up on her dream of getting hired as a writer for fiction and was looking for work as a copywriter (by far not the same thing). On the side, Elena was working on a project of her own. A sitcom that had been around her head for a while and that she was finally putting on paper.
I read the first ten pages, as part of my free script review, and they weren’t great. There was a lot of work to do, but she was on to something. I mentored her for about 6 months and then she went on to work on the script on her own. Using our work together as a starting point and roadmap. We finished our contract and parted ways.
About two weeks ago, Elena called me in tears. She had finished her script and had been submitting it to competitions and pitching it to producers. No one showed interest in that particular piece, but her pitch caught a producer’s eye. He liked her writing style and felt that what she had to say could be a match with a project he was working on.
And then, the tables turned
Now the producer was the one pitching to Elena. She expressed interest and agreed to write a sample. The producer liked it and offered her a job in the writer’s room on the spot.
Elena is now working full time on the show, with a salary that allows her to live comfortably as she keeps learning the craft. And because the world has now changed, she even has a few days a week where she works from home. Which gives her some extra time to keep working on her sitcom.
This isn’t just a motivational story. This is an example of how things happen in real life in the screenwriting and filmmaking industry. Getting hired as a writer is possible if you work smart and focus your efforts in the right place.
Writing and pitching is not an easy task, but there is a fantastic team out there waiting to hire you. So write on, and call me when you land that gig!