Monday, January 3, 2011

How to Break into Screenwriting If You're Not in LA

Chad Gervich has a great Primetime column on How to Break In If You're Not in LA, over at Script Magazine this month.  I've gone back and forth my my screenwriting ambitions over the years, but I have one screenplay that I've written that keeps nagging at me.   And then a few other ideas start to percolate.

Chad's column is more than just about how to get someone to read a single script, but really about how to make some attempt at a career even if you're not in L.A.  (I've finally accepted that if you're serious about a career writing for film, you really do need to move out there.  And I don't see that happening in my future.)  He's got some great advice, and some of it is readily achievable here in Boston, and has actually been on my to-do list for some time, including volunteering at a film festival.  There are several here that I'm sure would welcome volunteers (maybe next year, when I have more time).

I like that he counsels writers to be active, too.  "Make something," he says.  I bought a camera and some editing software a year or two ago, but haven't had the time to do anything with them.  But I'll have some time this fall (really, don't scoff), and I'd like to make a few shorts.  I've even been thinking about adapting one of my more episodic stage plays for a web-based video series.  It's hard not to be intrigued by the low cost of access, with cheap cameras and easy posting to YouTube.  Way back in college, I had a blast making short films, and I'd definitely like to try again.  Back then, there wasn't any chance at finding an audience outside of friends, family, and a few parties.  Now a video can go viral and be seen by a million people (I'm lucky if 7,000 people see my theatre work in a given year.)

Definitely something to think about.  I have friends and family members who are makings films here in Boston and in Denver.  Have any of you made any headway?  Let me know what you think of Chad's column.  (I'm surprised that in the comments section, people rail against the reality that it's an L.A.-centered business.  Why blame Chad for the reality on the ground?  And what's the point in being pissed about it, unless it leads you take concrete action.)

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