I recently asked my Twitter followers if they had any burning questions, since I feel a bit like I'm out of new things to discuss. Kiki asked: What are the top 5 questions people ask?
I definitely get a lot of emails about the same things. Using the super scientific method of memory, here are the top 5:
1. How do I get an agent/manager?
The general answer is: write a bunch of awesome scripts while you simultaneously meet people who know (or will know) agents and managers. One way to do this is to get an assistant job (like I did), which will help you make connections and also teach you a lot about how the industry works. Once you have contacts, you can ask your new friends to refer you, since querying is not very effective. You can also enter contests, fellowships and studio-sponsored writing programs (like the Nicholl Fellowship for features or the Warner Brothers Writers Workshop for TV), since this will get you noticed by reps.
2. How do I get a writer's assistant job?
It's a hard, hard job to find, but you can find more info here.
3. Do I need to move to LA?
Yes. Go ahead and ignore this advice, but all the people who move to LA have an advantage over you.
4. I'm in high school or college and I'm interested in film/TV writing and internships - where do I start?
I recently cataloged posts geared toward students under the heading High School and College Students. I also have a category for posts specifically about Internships.
5. Does it matter if I have a degree in film/TV?
No. Going to film school can be great for screenwriting classes, internship connections, etc., but it's not essential. I'm glad I studied screenwriting in school and came to LA for a semester program (I think I was a bit "ahead" of people who didn't), but you don't need any specific kind of degree to A) get an assistant job or B) become a writer. Please don't go into massive debt for an arts degree...but if you get a scholarship or have supportive parents, film school can be fun.