Screenwriting : Do i have to live in hollywood to succeed as a screenwriter? by Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique

Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique

Do i have to live in hollywood to succeed as a screenwriter?

At least once a month I see a post asking about the need to move to Hollywood if a screenwriter wants to have a professional career. I can say from my experience, which includes two option agreements in 2022, that the answer for me is no. With the advances in digital technology and other factors, I've conducted a lot of business doing video conferencing, which includes vetting out problematic situations. I've attached an article addressing this topic and hope it helps with this issue. If you can't access this article, just join Screenwriting Staffing. It's free.

Dan MaxXx

Hardy, depends on your definition of success.

If you're making enough income to write full time, moving to LA, or a second home, shouldnt be a big deal. Lots of ppl have jobs requiring travel.

So if you're chasing the Californication-writer lifestyle, move to LA & buy a Porsche :)

Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique

Dan М:

I lived in the Los Angeles and Orange County area for most of my life. It would have to be something fantastic to induce me to live there again. And, even then, I would live there only during film production or if I was a showrunner for a major series. And that's highly unlikely. The same goes for New York or any other city where I wouldn't want to live. My wildly popular city is becoming a relocation destination. And, as far as I'm concerned, there's too many people moving here. Ps, when I lived in Huntington Beach, I was a mile and a half from the beach and owned a Range Rover. The only thing I miss, is riding my bike on the beach. And I just painted my old RR and I'm going to drive it until the wheels fall off.

Dan Guardino

The odds of a screenwriter making money are in the 1 in 5,000 range no matter where you llive. However if you love to sit in traffic jams it is a great place to live.

Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique

Dan G:

And I sat in loads of them over the years. A few years back, I went for a meeting at the Alcove in Los Feliz and it took me 20 minutes just to find parking.

Art Wasem

Here in Nashville, we have a saying, "If you want to climb the mountain you have to go where the mountains are." I believe because of Covid and zoom you can live and pitch anywhere. Whenever I am in Los Angeles though, I can't tell you the times I have met an Actor, Producer, Lit Agent, Manager, Wardrobe, etc. in lines at Starbucks, Vons. Not to mention SAG events, Academy events and such. My favorites were the Hollywood star ceremonies and after-parties. Not many of those anywhere then LA. The two times I met RB was when I walked into a bar in LA.

Craig D Griffiths

I remember after the Swine Flu everyone said “how longer before we have worldwide pandemic?”. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Covid. Why am I saying this? On a recent Scriptnotes podcast John August asked “How long before everything has moved to Atlanta?”.

Real Estate and cheap labour is why Marvel moved to Sydney. Johnny Depp had his finger cut off in Queensland. Canada steal more production than most places.

Hollywood has infrastructure. Once that needs replacing it will be moved to a more cost effective place. Detroit is an example. The heart of the Automotive industry isn’t doing well.

Phillip E. Hardy, Prolifique


Nashville is a cool town. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Maurice Vaughan

I've had a lot of success in screenwriting, and I've never been off the East Coast. Websites like Stage 32 are making it easier and easier to build relationships and find success in the industry.

Doug Nelson

The closest I got was living in San Francisco dur its fun days (I remember Keizer Stadium) and I commuted to the studios in SoCal weekly - I've breathed enough brown air. Never more. I still have friends that live down there (although I'm not sure that anyone actually LIVES there). With today's computers, internet, Zoom and stuff; I just see no reason to actually move there.

Kiril Maksimoski

Maybe...I'd say better chances to end up with a full bucket of pocket change begging on a Grand Central than on a corner of 106th and's just the frequency of the place...Hollywood's still a filmmaking Mecca...

CJ Walley

Let's see... last film...

Myself in the UK.

Director in Palm Desert.

One lead in Utah.

One in Atlanta.

One in Oklahoma.

Supporting actor in Texas.

Other supporting moving to Atlanta.

Sound mixer in North Carolina.

Cinematographer mostly working in New Orleans.

All these people cut their teeth in "Hollywood" but have migrated out due to the cost of living and culture of Los Angeles.

This all said, I can see how a screenwriter could benefit massively from being located in Hollywood, providing they were networking a lot with the right people, and had the craft skills needed.

Dan Guardino

People who make movies are like horse shit they are all over the place.

Howard Koor

For a screenwriter, it is possible to not live in LA fulltime. That being said, being there gives you opportunities to "bump" into people that may could help your career. No one sure path!

Jason Mirch

When I was in representation we had a client who lived in the mountains of Colorado. And he would say, "Jason, no one needs to know where I live. If it is Tuesday night and there is a meeting set for Wednesday, confirm the meeting. I will be there. It doesn't matter if I come from Burbank or Boulder."

Craig D Griffiths

To Jason’s point travel is quick and cheap. My son has a successful career in the US medical industry from Melbourne Australia. He flies over a few times a year for meeting. The rest is email and Zoom.

Danny Manus

If youre writing film... no. If you want to be a TV Writer... Yeah, youre probably gonna have to live in or near LA. Yes, the rooms are hybrid or zoom now but that wont last TOO much longer, maybe a year. So, for TV, youre prob gonna have to be here in LA

Doug Nelson

Danny, I see TV and cinematic film as two diverse components of the entertainment industry. TV production is easier in smaller distributed centers - we do quite a bit up here in Portland. Also Seattle, Vancouver, New York City, Toronto, Atlanta and Miami come to mind. I think that the digital era has become more than just a trend already. I think we're in the beginning phase of a new 'normal' and I don't think it's going to return to the way is was - it's called evolution.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In