Steer Your Screenwriting Career

I recently met career coach, Jessica Sitomer at The Great American Pitchfest who spoke about becoming informed and strategizing your career.

Firstly research your field of interest. If it’s feature films, find out who’s selling, who’s buying and what genres. If you’re a TV writer,  what is on air/off air, what has been picked up for another season, what’s been cancelled, and who the players are.

Work in groups, then convene and share information. There’s too much information to process yourself.

Get to know the right people. Create a target list. Don’t just focus on showrunners and producers. Think about meeting above the line production crew such as DPs and production managers, executive assistants and actors.

Create referrals. Establishing a link between a common associate will already create relationship. A referral is an introduction rather than a recommendation which confirms your skills.

Visit sets if you can. Go to TV show tapings.

Use social media to your advantage. If you’ve won a commission, sale or contest victory, let people know. They may not initially respond, but they will know. It also creates an awareness of your activities and brand in the industry. Congratulate colleagues on their accomplishments. Don’t wait for them to contact you first. Initiate momentum.

If they’re going to hire you, get them to know you, like you and trust you first. A resume only highlights your tangible skills rather than your personality.

Get a mentor to discuss your goals for ten minutes each week. My experience has been that if your affable, mentors can talk forever and forget their meetings. I’ve had to end phone calls which have gone on too long. The good news is that they like you as a person and want to establish a relationship, even if there isn’t a tangible project first.

Attend networking events; screenings, workshops, book signings, conferences, shindigs and mixers. Your goal should be to meet one new person every time.

Initiate positive karma. Do your good deed first, rather than out of obligation. If there’s information someone might be interested in, email them. They’ll be grateful.

Get business advice and guidance mentors to help you better understand the industry and also help you accomplish your goals.


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