J writes: I was wondering if you had good suggestions on where to look for/how to find a good writer's group. Are there listings somewhere? I'm pretty new to LA and doing a Google search just brings up too much different stuff. I'm a young gay aspiring TV writer, and if there's a group like that, great. Otherwise I'm assuming that most of today's Hollywood writers are pretty tolerant and open to gays and some gay action in the writing.
There is an LGBT-centered Hollywood networking group called Homotracker, so I encourage you to check that out! Perhaps you could start meeting some other writers at one of their events. Your instincts are right, though -- all the Hollywood writers I've met are tolerant and open to all kinds of people. I would imagine most writers would be thrilled to consult people with differing experiences and points of view...though you may get sick of the straight people turning to you and asking you to weigh in on behalf of the entire gay community. Then again, I enjoy telling a group of men the definitive female point of view on something. :)
I'm not in a writing group anymore, but my group started when a like-minded blogger emailed me and some other people she found online. Reading blogs is definitely a good place to start to find someone at your level - and if other LA writers are looking for a group, feel free to use the comments section here to get in touch with J.
I know it can be awkward to chat up strangers, but you can also try meeting people at events at the WGA and the Paley Center. The latter is hosting free fall TV preview parties this week, and I'm sure plenty of the attendees are aspiring writers. FYI, there are parties in NY too. JHRTS, a networking group for Hollywood assistants, also holds mixers and panels. I try to post about other notable events held at places other than these usual spots. Maybe you could start trading scripts with just one person and eventually meet more people to form a group.
You could also meet potential writers group members through classes at UCB or UCLA Extension.
Lastly, I'm not a big fan of expensive screenwriting seminars, but I would imagine you'd find plenty of aspiring writers at those too.