Rich writes: How's old too old for LA? I'm nearly 31 (though I look maybe 25-ish), am practically fed up with my MA, and am thinking of heading off to LA as soon as I can somehow afford it. My other choice is Toronto, where the business is much less youth-conscious but there's less opportunity as well. What are your thoughts?
It's true that Hollywood values youth, but there's definitely no hard and fast rule about being "too old." Never forget that good writing is good writing, and your writing matters the most. If someone reads the Best Script They've Ever Read, he or she is not going to care if the writer is 18 or 48. My boss discovered a client (who is now his most expensive one) when the writer was in his 40s. But since there is so much competition in this town, you have to try and have as many things going for you as possible. It can only help to have a lot of contacts, be "good in a room," and sure, be young and hot.
But at the same time, it's not like writer's rooms are filled with 22 year-olds. I don't know anybody who is under 25 (maybe even 30) and a working writer. It takes time to gain experience, get your work noticed, etc. In a way, that's really the more important thing to think about if you're wondering if you're too old to venture down this career path. Are you willing to spend the next 5-10 years working your way up? Do you already have a family that financially depends on you? Are you too anchored in one place to pick up and move here? I wanted to get started straight of college because I don't want to be answering phones when I'm 30...but there are plenty of people who do it.