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Old 06-16-2011, 02:45 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,575 times
Reputation: 10

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I'll jump right into it. I'm 21 years old, I have 2 years left of college left. I live in Saint Louis Missouri.

- I understand the culture shock
- I understand how much more expensive it is
- I understand how hard it is to find a job
- I understand that I may not fully understand these things to the proper extent

I have been reading this forum for a couple months now. I read about people who have some connections, a good degree, job experience. I have very little of all of that in the field I'm looking to join, the entertainment industry.

I am interested in writing screenplays for film and television (i've done a couple, how good they are is to be determined) etc, etc. I know this is hard, and a long shot, which is the only reason I'm still going to school and getting a degree in an unrelated field while working on my scripts on my own time (read: not going to film school)

...I guess what I'm asking is. How does someone like me with very little connections (I have a cousin who models and is trying to act out in there, thats it) or job experience in the field I'm hoping to break into move forward? JUst dive right in?

I doubt I'll get a proper answer but after reading this for a couple months everyone makes it sound basically impossible for someone with my lack of credentials and experience to move out their and even BREAK in at the bottom.

Would I just have to go around trying to make friends first? (half joking)

Thanks for reading this long winded and potentially confusing first post.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:57 PM
 
32,525 posts, read 31,738,481 times
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Yes. Contacts and knowing somebody is a definite leg up. How to start? Take film classes at either UCLA or USC or another college. Talk to the people in your class. When your professors start talking about, "My sister who was married to Oscar Winner X" pay attention. You will learn who is related to whom. If you are a solid, talented, great writer and get the attention of your professors they can point you in the right direction. (They can also tell you whether or not you are chasing a pipe dream.)

Sit with your fellow students and talk. Listen even more. Sometimes I swear everyone in the industry is related. You have to learn who is who and who can help you. Good luck.

(And be prepared to have an actual "job" doing something else. Most writers I know are in the same boat as the actors. Not making it solely being writers or actors. Most your age have roommates. I have one friend who moved to L.A. and did odd jobs for 15 years before he found an "in". He worked on a show that was cancelled after one summer. That was his first "paying" job as a script writer. Right now he's back to waiting on tables, hoping a pilot he worked on will be picked up. He saves his pennies. Smart writers become Journeyman writers and can do something besides write scripts.)

What are you studying now? What will your degree be?
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1,045 posts, read 1,679,431 times
Reputation: 690
Don't listen to the naysayers on an open source internet forum. Yes, do come knowing all the risks and pitfalls but don't let that stop you from taking a shot at something you have a passion for.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: California
31,471 posts, read 34,718,140 times
Reputation: 27150
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalParadise View Post
Don't listen to the naysayers on an open source internet forum. Yes, do come knowing all the risks and pitfalls but don't let that stop you from taking a shot at something you have a passion for.
It's not about being a naysayer, it's about what do you do when you get off the plane in LA? It's not like there is a line you stand or an office you go to to be a script writer (or actor or singer or...) and you have to eat and live and all that jazz. It's all about connections and how to make them. DewDropInn had good advice! And doing something on YouTube won't hurt your chances either.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,115 posts, read 7,447,945 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by st_louis View Post
I am interested in writing screenplays for film and television (i've done a couple, how good they are is to be determined) etc, etc. I know this is hard, and a long shot, which is the only reason I'm still going to school and getting a degree in an unrelated field while working on my scripts on my own time (read: not going to film school)
As long as you come out knowing that it may take you a decade or more to get to the point where you're actually writing for a living? And that's assuming you're talented!

If you can accept the fact that you may have a lot of years of working a day job, and struggling, then come!
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:58 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,575 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the quick responses guys and gals. Film School is definitely a smart choice. I've been trying to avoid student loans and I've been successful so far thanks to state university tuition and my parents. My degree will be in business administration, and considering I don't go to a top university nor are my grades exceptional I dont see it helping me too much in the field I'm looking to break into, but I could be wrong.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:03 PM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
963 posts, read 2,679,540 times
Reputation: 1297
Ah, yes...The Gatekeepers. How do you get past The Gatekeepers who stand at the closed doors behind which powerful people with influence and money produce things and set up concert tours and publish books and make entertainment happen?

As with almost any other talent-based occupation, you'll need an agent. Getting a good agent is the difficult part (the FIRST difficult part). There are a lot of scammers in L.A. who will "represent you" for a fee, when they themselves really don't have any connections to the industry. Most legitimate agents have a constant stream of new wannabes knocking at their doors and now have gatekeepers of their own.

As with any other job, there are entry-level positions. You don't start off in Hollywood. If you want to get an agent, you'll need a portfolio of past work that shows why you alone, among the many thousands of aspiring writers who come to that agent's office each year, would be a good investment of that agent's time and effort. If you have video of any locally-produced plays or television writing for the local cable channel back home in Buzzard Flats, MO, that would be a good start. If you don't have any local or regional cred built up yet, don't think you're going to get an audience with Steven Spielberg or Aaron Sorkin just because you'd like to take a stab at the Big Time.

One of The Gatekeepers is actually the industry that is supposed to represent YOUR interests: The Screenwriters Guild (now a part of Writers Guild of America, West). You'll need to become a member. Check out the WGAW website and click on the tab that says "writer's resources." That'll give you a good sense of what's needed to get a foot in the door...well, maybe a toe.

http://www.wga.org/
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:19 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,813,588 times
Reputation: 10931
Try to do an Indy start up where you are now. If it succeeds, then peddle your wares. You could either use that experience to open doors at other firms, or, get bought out and become an employee of the acquiring firm.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:40 PM
 
32,525 posts, read 31,738,481 times
Reputation: 32393
Quote:
Originally Posted by st_louis View Post
Thanks for the quick responses guys and gals. Film School is definitely a smart choice. I've been trying to avoid student loans and I've been successful so far thanks to state university tuition and my parents. My degree will be in business administration, and considering I don't go to a top university nor are my grades exceptional I dont see it helping me too much in the field I'm looking to break into, but I could be wrong.
You don't have to go to "film school" per se. You can enroll in various film-oriented classes. Writing. Film Appreciation. (I'll have to go see what the heck I took back in the Paleolithic Era.) Can you take creative writing courses at your university now?

And Ceece is absolutely right. Youtube. Most writers I know are also filmmakers. Youtube videos. Most enter their films is competitions. The thing is to get your NAME and talents out there.

And write. I can't stress this enough. Write every single day. Write until you can't sleep at night because you are seeing words in your dreams.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
3,817 posts, read 2,500,811 times
Reputation: 11576
I may be off base, but why do you need to be in LA to write? I could see if you were an actor or performer, but what's the advantage of being here until you have something to sell? My neighbor is a screenwriter and has sold some scripts, most of which while he was living in Florida. He only came here because he started getting staff writer offers. It would seem to me that if you stay in a more affordable place, you'll have more time to write and hone your skills. Perhaps write a few plays and get them performed locally, or try to get some stories published. You can always visit LA to shop your wares around, but you need some credentials. Otherwise, you're just gum on their shoe, a dime a dozen. And we're pretty much full up with waiters. JMHO
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