If I told you that I have interviewed award-winning screenwriters, producers, managers, and other industry professionals who have worked on projects like the Jurassic Park franchise and with studios such as BBC, Marvel, and Disney without leaving the comfort of my own home, would you believe me?
And what would you say if I told you that you could do it too? In fact, let’s go a step further and say you don’t even need to get off the couch to do so.
In this post, I'm going to share how I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with some of the most influential filmmakers and writers in the world without ever having to go past my front door.
Let’s be clear, I’m an aspiring screenwriter like most of you, and am still applying to contests and working on my craft and writing projects in between freelance writing jobs and internships. I think it’s important to establish that I am in the same boat as you, and it’s tricky waters to navigate in this industry, which I feel very passionately about supporting and encouraging others on the same journey. And how do I interview these Industry Insiders you ask? Through the marvel that is Skype. It’s easy, accessible, and convenient.
This is where social media is an amazing tool, and if used correctly can completely increase your chances of getting noticed, create networking opportunities, and more. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the three channels I use the most. I can’t stress enough how important I believe these tools to be for a writer, there are no limits on the opportunities that are out there. Put in the effort of creating a professional public image, but be genuine. Audiences can smell from a mile off if you’re putting on a persona. Besides REAL means communication and engagement, which is what will work in your benefit.
Recently I had an industry professional who worked on films like Doctor Strange, Jurassic Park, and Fallen Kingdom send me a message on Instagram, agreeing to be interviewed for my blog. This never would have happened without Instagram. And before you ask if you need a huge following to attract someone like this, no. You don’t. I currently have 1,393 followers on Instagram and 410 followers on Twitter.
I am, by no means, anything of a social media influencer. But I have, surprisingly, had a few industry pros who have stumbled upon my account and decided to stay. I recently had James Wan (Aquaman, The Conjuring & Saw) check out my Instagram story. Random, I know, but the point I’m trying to make is that social media allows me to facilitate these interactions and occurrences that wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
Here’s how you can do the same:
Blogging not for you? Well, don’t dismiss it too quickly.
Guest Blogging is a fantastic way to not only showcase your passion, skills, and knowledge, it also allows yourself to put you and your name out there in your professional field. At the same time it builds upon or teaches you a new set of skills, like copywriting and giving/receiving feedback. You should also seriously consider starting your own blog.
It's very easy to reach out via email to inquire about writing a guest post. From there, you can contact others with more confidence in future. There is no reason not to do this. Check out some of your favourite blogs or websites and inquire about writing one. Good luck!
Sometimes unpaid internships create controversy in conversations, I know, but hear me out.
Unpaid writing is a dirty word among some writers, but without my very positive experiences of interning, some of the most incredible opportunities would never have happened to me. I’m currently at my second internship of my career with Shore Scripts as a feature writer in Entertainment & Research.
My duties include reaching out to directors, agents, managers, and production companies to bring onto Shore’s Industry roster. In some cases, I’m emailing people whose work I have long admired. I first started interviewing industry professionals for Bang2Write four years ago during my first internship, and has now evolved into me being a moderator and assistant of Bang2Write’s Facebook group created by Lucy V. Hay. Again, this opportunity wouldn’t have come my way had I not considered interning.
Shore Scripts is based in Los Angeles. I live in the UK in a tiny village like something out of The Shire. I’m more likely to see Bilbo Baggins stumble past my front door then I am to come across a famous screenwriter or filmmaker. Yet I spend most days doing exactly that.
Remote internships are out there and they are doable around full time jobs. That’s how I’ve always done it. I’m not going to lie, it’s a busy schedule but you can make it work, but the advantages of interning (full or part-time) are bountiful.
Search for these opportunities. Too many writers give up at the first hurdle after one lackluster google search. Reach out and contact a blog, company, or website that you admire and would love to know more about and ask if they offer remote internships. Be proactive.
I’ve met some pretty cool people in the most unexpected places. You never know when you’re going to bump into somebody. In my experience, there are two approaches when it comes to reaching out and creating opportunities:
It’s important to remember that you have all these tools at your fingertips. You just have to be confident enough to know that even though it won’t happen overnight, at some point somebody will notice your hard work. You’re just helping your chances along a bit with some helpful hashtags and interesting tweets along the way.
Olivia Brennan is a feature writer in Entertainment & Research at Shore Scripts.
She is also a freelance writer, script reader & blogger. She has a particular fondness
for scary films and is passionate about providing a platform inclusive to all, specifically
supporting BAME & Women in film. Olivia has featured as a guest blogger on many
notable screenwriting and filmmaking sites such as Bang2Write, Stage 32 and Shore Scripts.
She has also worked as a script reader with the world's biggest screenwriting event - The
London Screenwriter's Festival. When she’s not busy writing articles, working on her own
projects, reading scripts or conducting interviews - she’s probably on a Netflix binge
drinking copious amounts of tea. You can find her over on Twitter at @LivSFB, or feel free
to check out her blog www.intothescript.com where she covers Industry Interviews,
writing craft and filmmaking tips and how-to articles.
Like this blog post? Please share it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email etc) by using social media buttons at the top of the blog. Or post to your personal blog and anywhere else you feel appropriate. Thank you.
As always, we welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the Comments section below...
|To Be (in Person) or Not To Be (in Person): The Self-Tape Audition|
|Psst. We Still Need You (For Real and For True)|