Hey, get your mind out of the gutter...
I'm talking about an event I recently attended at the Writers Guild of America for feature writers interested in crossing over into TV.
Because more and more screenwriters are realizing their business is wack - the spec market is dead and scripts that do get sold may never make it to the big screen. In television, you write something and a few weeks later, you're shooting it. That's a satisfying prospect.
The panel included comedy showrunners Lee Aronsohn (CBS’ Two and a Half Men) and Jenny Bicks (Showtime’s The Big C), drama’s Matt Corman and Chris Ord (USA’s Covert Affairs), Graham Yost (FX’ Justified), and ICM TV series agent Mark Gordon.
I've been on my laser-focused path long enough that I already knew most of the information presented, which felt good. Check out the recap article from the WGA for more details.
My favorite moment of the night was the candid discussion about taking meetings with showrunners for a job. Once you get the meeting, they're just wondering, "Do I want to be stuck in a submarine with this person?" Because that's what the writer's room is like - trapped with no escape. In a good way.
All you have to do is be normal. Some no-brainer notes --
- Don't say what you don't like about the show
- Don't badmouth people you know
- Don't name drop excessively - you don't need to prove that you're showbiz-savvy
- Don't offer up more material for them to read - you're already in the room
- Have a passionate POV about why you wrote the pilot that got you the meeting
- Doesn't hurt to end by saying you really want to work on the show
- A handwritten thank you note after the meeting is nice - reiterate why you're passionate about the show
"The most important thing in Hollywood is sincerity. And if you can fake that, you've got it made."