Q: How did you become a professional writer?
A: There is no easy path. I wrote constantly. I took classes. I found like-minded people who were willing to read my work and offer feedback. I entered lots and lots of contests. I really love contests! WB Writers’ Workshop is how I got my break but there are countless fellowships. If you want to be a writer, you have to be prepared to work hard and face constant rejection. Contests are a good barometer for 1) whether you can handle the rejection and 2) does your work measure up. I entered lots of contests in my career and used the no’s to fuel my writing fire and the yes’s to tell myself I was on the right track. I’ve also been fortunate to work with great writers/ producers who have hired me and fought for me as well as having reps who work hard to get me jobs.
Q: I want to take a TV class? Where should I go?
A: I teach at Script Anatomy, which hires working TV and film writers to teach. Check out their schedule to see class dates and times.
Q: How do I get an agent/manager?
A: Most writers are desperate to land an agent or manager. I get it. They are the gatekeepers. You generally can’t get in the door without representation. But before you go a’hunting, make sure your work is ready. Write a lot. Get people who have great taste and know great writing to give you notes. Utilize industry connections, friends and colleagues in the business who are willing to read and pass along your work. Enter contests. Did I say this before? There are many reputable contests that can help get you repped. I landed my first agent and manager right out of the WB Writers’ Workshop. Notice I said my first. After Cold Case ended, I (amicably) parted ways with both agent and manager. I kept writing and luckily a friend I’d taken a class with passed my pilot along to her manager. She’s still my manager today. I signed with my current agent after I was staffed on “The Client List." As for as landing a book agent, I had a slight advantage. My former agency had a fantastic book department and the book agent who read “Baby Doll” loved it and worked hard to get it sold. But that still meant the book had to be ready and it had to be good. Does it sound easy? It wasn’t. It’s been a long journey but I finally have reps who get me and what I want to do as a writer.
So make sure you have people in your corner who love your work and know how to sell you. A lot of writers think anyone will do. If someone doesn’t love your writing or doesn’t want you to write what you want to write, keep looking. If you’re writing the best material you can, you deserve great reps to help you sell it and you.
What else do you want to know? I’m all ears! Ask me on Twitter or shoot me an email.