wannabetvwriter

I be a good righter.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Side Door

Recently, on Facebook, I've been friended by folks I haven't seen in years. Decades. This Age of Teh Internets is all kinds of stalker-y. The reality is, it's pretty great (with the odd defriending thrown in once in a while).

Anyway, in all of this reacquainting, I find I'm telling my story over and over. And seriously, if you're not in the business, how do you tell someone you've been trying to break in to TV for this many years and YOU ARE STILL TRYING! To the outsider, I'm fucking retarded. To you, perhaps not-so-much. Or maybe even more.

Hey, when I started out, I was convinced it'd take me about three years tops. It hasn't. It's taken double that, and I'm still not there. So, I'm forced to put some sort of positive spin on it when telling people about it. Here's what I've come up with:

"I've tried for years to break into the front door of TV writing. Now I'm trying the side door."

Because that's exactly what I'm doing. I've done the contest route, with great success and greater heartache. In the past three years, since the greatest heartache of my career (and perhaps life; I'm lucky that's the worst), I've lived in Dublin, the writers have gone on strike, and the writing rooms have shrunk. The time to have broken in was when I was poised to. That didn't happen.

When the heartache happened, I posted about it around the interwebs. A cautionary tale. My friends told me to shut up about it. I took their advice. Thing is, people got pretty pissed off about what had happened to me. One person in particular. She and I have become great friends now. And it's awesome.

She has taken it upon herself to help me to the best of her ability. And she really has.

See, when I first started out, people were telling me, NETWORK! So, I did that. They told me to enter contests, so I did that. People told me to get an agent, so I did that. People told me to get an assistant position, so I tried that. And all the time I'm writing/rewriting/writing/rewriting.

Basically, I listen to the advice. And then I do more. Like the Teaching Days during the strike. My little brainchild spawned into a huge event that people seem to love. Which led to me being invited onto the WGA Genre Committee, organizing events that follow the template I created for the Teaching Days.

I had no idea what to do next, so I went back to interning. In the office where my friend works. If it hadn't been for her, I'd probably have given up hope by now.

However, it just so happens that the people I'm interning for are about to film a pilot, based on a book. And back in 2007, I was working in this same office for these same people and I was doing some research for them on what turns out to be this pilot.

Nowadays, I'm just concentrating on doing a great job for them. Which has resulted in me doing some personal work for one of them. And some research for another one of them. And some research and notes on consult calls for another one of them. Going above and beyond. In exchange, I'm learning a shitload of things that I'd never have occasion to learn just sitting in my home office.

So, now the production office is staffing up. And two of the three (the two involved in the pilot) forwarded my resume, for office P.A. Yeah, six + years to get to office P.A. This is what the dream is. EXCEPT. I will have to refer you back to here.

Because... I don't have the experience they need. They have no doubt I could do the job (hey, man, I could have half my brains and be able to do the job), but they don't have the time to "train" me. So, I didn't get the job. But, I've been working my ass off in the writers' office. For free. For a long time. And they know this. And they appreciate it. So, even though I offered to be an intern on the show, the show wasn't going to have interns.

I will again refer you to here.

Because how the hell was I going to get the experience if they wouldn't take a chance on me?

I'll tell you how. I worked my ass off for free. I became part of their family. And I adore them. And they adore me. They created an internship for me. So that I could get the experience. Because, they explained, if the show goes to series, there's a spot for me there. What was unspoken, however, was that I'd need experience in order to work on the show. So, they're creating an opportunity for me to get that experience. On a show that I predict will be the best. show. ever. And that's not just me saying it. Word from friends who work at the network? This is the most buzzed about show. The pilot (script) is fucking awesome. The book was fucking awesome. I'm totally jazzed about this show.

ASIDE: I asked one of my bosses for career advice. He brought me into his office to talk to me. He kept on talking about IF the show goes to series. I kept on talking about WHEN the show goes to series. Hell, I'm already planning my spec for the show. I'm long lost into uber-geek fandom.

ANYWAY

Mine's a long-term plan that's already a bit long in the tooth (like this post). But it's what's working for me. And that's what no one ever told me. It's going to be a different road for everyone. Some will break in with their first script. Some will have overnight success after ten years of writing. And some will have to go through the side door.

Like me.

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