I’ve just returned from a networking event. You all know what networking events are, right? It does not have to be fancy, although most happen in hotel meeting rooms or private dining areas of very nice restaurants. The purpose is to interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career. And have a nosh… with cocktails. Networking is a skill that must be developed like any other. As an emerging screenwriter you may not be all that social, that’s probably why you are a writer in the first place. Even so, it is not possible to emerge without a network of people pushing for its (and your) development. You go. You meet people. You get a contact number. Maybe someone knows someone who may know someone who will want to push your work forward. That’s the deal. So no one would ever go to a networking event and not network, right? That’s just dumb, isn’t it? Maybe it’s me, but that was my take away from the event I just attended. There were a lot of dummies.
It’s April. That time of the year we put away our winter coats and get out our spec pilots. May upfronts are two weeks away and it’s time for all writing gladiators to enter the arena. I have a feeling I am sadly forced to sit this season out because I am in the process of changing my support team, but I’m still here for you.
My manager from hell recently told me in no uncertain terms that only about 30% of writers catch heat. I know, time for a new manager, (but I digress). So if one show passes try to shake it off quickly and move on to the next. Remember, show runners want to hire someone fun and creative, not angry and bitter. With staffing upon us, I want to take time away from my own schpilkas and pass along some constructive advice.
This comes courtesy of Scripts& Scribes.com with thanks to Kevin.
Don’t take it personally. If you get a no, it’s rarely about you. There are a million factors that go into choosing a junior writer. If you take each rejection personally, it will overwhelm you and depress you. Admit that this is a long, difficult process with many, many disappointments. It’s like trying to get into one of the most exclusive clubs on the Sunset Strip. Make sure you have a support group of people who help keep you positive and don’t feed the resentment.
Good luck to everyone no matter what level and genre. Just remember, you did it. You wrote the script, you got the meeting. Now get the job!!!
Ah, Spring. Warm weather, blooming flowers, shooting TV pilots – it’s meeting season. For emerging screenwriters, the first step to getting staffed in any pilot season means having a series of generals.
A “general” is a general meeting, also called a “meet and greet.” They happen as a way for a writer to meet someone who is in a position to support their work somewhere down the line either at the studio, network or production company level. You need to meet as many industry people as you can to get your name out there. The more current and development executives willing to give a shout for you the better chance of getting read up the ladder. That’s a good thing as long as your palms don’t sweat, your tongue doesn’t tie and you can hide your irritation that you are not meeting with Vince Gilligan.
I think it’s written somewhere, probably on a bench on Hollywood Blvd., the main rule to follow in meetings: don’t sound desperate. That’s a note I received during last year’s staffing season. “Dial down the desperation,” was the exact feedback. Whatever — go scratch. Not in the ten plus years of generals had I ever gotten that note. Never. My chronic frustration can come off angry at still being a caterpillar and not the butterfly I see myself as. This was mentioned in one of my Diversity Program meeting prep sessions. And a former agent of mine said I came across as “entitled.” Fair enough, I’ll cop to that. Still– ouch. But desperate just ain’t my scene, man.