Thursday, April 25, 2013

Job Hunting

With about six weeks left of college, it's fair to say I've moved into a land of both desperation and fear, of debt and unemployment. I've just crossed over into... The Panic Zone!

Where do I begin? In between working on projects for school, film club shorts, and covering 2 scripts a week for Spec Scout, any free time I do actually have is now spent probing the internet for a real job in Hollywood.

This article over at The Script Lab has been a big help along with the UTA job listings posted by The Anonymous Production Assistant. Inevitably, my search through the barrage of different titles and positions has forced me to do some uncomfortable self-evaluation (Do I even have a chance?), but also decide on what exactly to apply for.

For awhile I've simply wanted to work as a production assistant on feature films. Problem is, as far as I know, that kind of thing is a day-player position and not at all consistent. Not the best option for a guy like myself who needs a regular income for the first few months of getting settled into LA life. I'm jonesing to work on a legit production crew, but I have my doubts about it being practical for long enough to pay rent.

My other choice would be to work in development and get my hands dirty with some script work. From what I've gathered in the articles and from my bosses at Spec Scout, paid reader positions don't really exist anymore. I've been told that if I want to continue writing/reading screenplays and have a chance at a more consistent employment, I should get a job as an assistant. To who? Good question, but I suppose anyone doing relevant work in the industry would be a decent start. Most of the UTA listings are for these positions, so I'll take a crack at them first. Granted, gluing a phone to my head and managing some goof's calendar doesn't sound like my idea of a great time, but at this point I'm willing to swallow my pride and then some.

It feels shitty to not be qualified for much more than script coverage or running errands. I know I could write for something or work on a crew, but for now I'm just trying to get past the initiation -- what everyone calls "paying your dues". There's a little comfort in knowing that everyone has to start at the bottom. Everyone was in my position at some point and in that way I know I just have to work with what I've got and stifle the panic. Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Short love letter

Dear Craigslist,
I love you and am indebted to your indispensable services. I've bought and sold over three cars, found an awesome apartment with great roommates, and now have secured an internship as a result of simply checking up on new postings everyday and responding on a whim -- for free. All thanks to you! Although there are a few serial killers and scams floating around out there, I can attest that success can be had with enough persistence. Thank you for existing, you have improved my life tremendously :)
Forever yours,

Writing up coverage on a few scripts a week for three months is exactly what I need and it couldn't have happened at a better time. That first connection, even if it is an unpaid reading position, can sometimes be a crucial stepping stone to something more substantial afterwards. It's a great way to get your foot in the door for anyone just starting out just like myself.

John August (Go, Big Fish, Frankenweenie) has a fantastic podcast called Scriptnotes where he talks about doing exactly the same thing when he was just a beginner. His advice is totally on point with where I'm at. He and Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 4, Hangover 3, Identity Thief) offer an interesting perspective as Hollywood screenwriters along with plenty of useful tips. Needless to say I'm an avid listener and note taker... Check it out!

This is the home stretch. My final 10 weeks of college. I've miraculously managed to secure an internship and now I am prepping my own script for the Goldwyn screenwriting competition at the same time. Who knows if anything will turn out. I often wonder if I'm any good or at least competent, but just like everything else in life the only thing to do is to try my best and hope one day at least a funny story will come out of it :)