Friday, June 20, 2008

Your Resume

Scott found the blog while searching for examples of TV writer resumes, since he is putting together an application for the ABC/Disney fellowship. The hard thing about putting together our TV writer resumes is that we're not professional TV writers yet. When you are, your resume will just list the shows you've written for, nothing else. (At the agency we just call them credits.) But at this stage what you put together should be just your standard work resume - where you went to school, what your degree is in, work experience, etc. I'm sure the fellowship people will be happy to see sme industry experience, and anything you've done that utilized your writing skills. Also include any awards you've won, poems you've had published, etc. If you're just getting into this whole TV writer thing and don't have any related experience, don't fret; there is no set training to become a TV writer, and sometimes the best thing is to have an expertise in something else so that you can write about it. Are you a doctor? Hair stylist? Your nonwriting jobs might be the exact things that the fellowship people will want to see to know that you're an interesting, unique writer. And, in my opinion, the more unorthodox, the better. If you were a lion tamer for a circus or in the Israeli army, put it down! Things like that give you a really unique perspective (and those fellowships are all about diversity). One of my coworkers just got a new job at a TV studio, and she said that person who interviewed her noticed on her resume that she was also a yoga teacher, and they talked about that for half an hour. It made her stand out, and it gave them a talking point - two very valuable things when you're just a resume in a huge a pile of resumes. At the bottom of my resume I list the fun fact that I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - and it's come up in at least half of my job interviews.

Also, I shouldn't have to say this, but I've seen enough horrible resumes to know that I need to: Please spend some time on the layout, and check your spelling and grammar. You're a WRITER, for Chrissakes!

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Amy said...

There's a lot of animation production in Canada and many Canadian writers seem to break in through the animation world...

But I have to admit that I'm a little stumped! There's no information on how things work. Anywhere.

I read on one person's blog that he queried the animation studio directly and was hired, but upon checking out the web sites of animation studios, I found many statements like "we employ top notch animators blah blah blah..." and none of the descriptions included writers. Is this because they're mostly freelanced? I'm so utterly confused at who I should be trying to contact.

I know this isn't really your area (or country!) but if you have any info you could share, that would be amazing!

Sous Chef Gerard said...

For the Disney Fellowship, are applicants sending in a writing sample from a tv show or an original work of your own? Doesn't really clarify in the instructions.

Dan Williams said...

Amy, if you do a Google search for "Canadian animation studios", you'll find a list of 14 studios: the link is:

One approach might be to send out a letter saying you are a writer and want to speak to somebody about writing for the annimation industry. (You aren't asking for a job, but information on how to get one. If they like you, of course, they may make you an offer.)

The idea is that you are networking, and letting people know you are available. You might also want to set-up a website as Amanda has done, giving a lot of information on yourself and your goals.

But you should expect no results from your letters, not even a courtesy form letter, just to protect yourself from a letdown. Writing the letters is just a tactic to see what's out there.

Anyway, good luck. You might have to knock on the door a few times, but if you have talent, the door will open.

adam ___________________ said...

Actually, ABC Disney is pretty specific:

"Appropriate writing samples for the television include: a full-length script appropriate for a half-hour or one-hour television series, based on a current prime time television or cable broadcast series currently in production... We do not accept feature animation, musicals of any kind, sequels to motion pictures, or original television pilots."

Amanda- Thanks for that post. I never spend a single moment thinking about my resume for these fellowships. I usually put all my time into the other stuff and then attach a resume and send it off. Food for thought.

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Iceman said...

What if someone, like myself, wrote on their college soap opera? Does that go in the resume? Does it go under a different category other than the work experience part? Please email me at