Screenwriting : NY or LA? by Bill Labonia

Bill Labonia

NY or LA?

Hey guys. I really need some advice.

I'm currently relocating to California to further my career, but I also heard that NY is a great place to write. I absolutely need a car in Los Angeles, but in NY i can move more freely with public transportation. In terms of tv work and writers rooms, where do you think a new writer has more chances?

Craig D Griffiths

The WGA has good stats on their sites for both East and West. I would do LA personally. But if there is more TV in NYC and you want to do TV? Then NYC.

The only feature I have sold is being made in NYC.

Dan MaxXx

well, if your goal is to be a union tv writer, it's Los Angeles. That's the Mecca. The money is there, so are all the decision-makers, corporate offices, prod companies on studio lots, staff post-production, and just about every pro tv writer says LA is ground zero.

The car shouldn't be a factor in your decision. It's a car, like owning a cellphone or a laptop. Part of work expense.

Rent/mortgage is high in LA and NY is double $$, for less space. The good news: when you travel to locations, all housing/meals are paid for.

Google Jeffrey Lieber. He does this for a living and he has pages of tv advice

Donnalyn Vojta


Tasha Lewis

You can start virtually. Start expanding your network and select the location that best fits your budget and long term goals. Resources,,, and .

Bill Labonia

Thanks everyone. I think I'll just commit to California. I'm planning to move away from the city, maybe the valley. somewhere around Santa Clarita, maybe. what do you think?

Tasha Lewis

Resources for housing options and If you are looking to buy and qualify as a teacher or public servant, Teacher Next Door Program or Good Neighbor can provide a 50% discount off your mortgage (Source Funding for Internship and Scholarship Programs).

Dan MaxXx

Santa Clarita is 30mins from downtown LA without traffic at 3am driving 80mph :)

Christine Capone

haha that's true Dan! I've lived in Santa Clarita for several years. If you have to be somewhere by 8am, you have to leave around 5:30, latest. I worked at ABC and if I left later than that, I'd arrive by 9:30. But yes Bill, you do need a car for sure! You will be going to meetings/last minute meetings etc. SC is a great city but rents are high. Maybe look in the Castaic area.

Phil Parker

From what I've read and heard, if you have not yet established yourself in the TV industry, you need to be 'amongst it' to network and attend industry functions. Once you have a name for yourself or regular TV-writing gig, then maybe you can move further out to save money.

Stephen Foster

LA for film/tv

Kassandra Heit

All my professors said television writers need to get to Los Angeles. The odds are better there. NYC is more Broadway and theater. Both have television, but my professors in the industry said tv is better in Los Angeles.

Tasha Lewis

I have worked in Miami which is a huge market. Now we have various cities (Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Malaga, Spain, Orlando, FL Belgium, UK, and Paris, Chicago, etc.) If you develop your work opportunities virtually, you can be based where necessary. I have had a global business which allows me to work from almost anywhere. Don't close the door or opportunities that may launch your career.

Christine Capone

Actually, if you do decide to move to LA, don't move to Santa Clarita. It's too far from the studios and they will take that into consideration. It's best to live 10-15 minutes away from the studios. When you've established yourself, then they don't care how far you live. I'd look in the Burbank/Glendale/Westside areas. Just thought I'd mention it : )

Whitney L

I agree with the others who are suggesting LA. Save your money and be prepared for everything to cost more than what it does in other parts of the country. I try to keep a sense of humor about it and just think of the higher prices for everything as an "proximity-to-the-entertainment-world tax." I don't know what your budget is but perhaps you can look into places around Koreatown or Mid-City that might be in your budget. Good luck and keep us posted with what you decide to do.

Bill Labonia

I used to live in Vancouver, it's also very expensive there. Yeah, I'm looking into Burbank, that should be my destination.

Everyone is so helpful, thanks!

Kassandra Heit

I just moved to LA myself. I live in Hollywood and work in Burbank. I drive past a lot of the major studios everyday including Warner Bros. Burbank is a little more expensive, but everything is expensive here.

Michael L. Burris

Stage New York screen L.A. Comically they are probably equal.

I used to be pulled apart through network thought.

Don't even imagine that because you'll end up nowhere.

Its part of that not only learning but doing everything conundrum.

Create adaptability of what you create to the network you instinctively like.

Whitney L

Hi Kassandra. Thanks for sharing. Just curious, how's the rush hour commute between Hollywood and Burbank? I know on Google maps those two places don't "seem" that far away, but we know how LA traffic is :-) Is your job in entertainment or something else? Just curious if you had it lined up before you got here or just stumbled upon it on arrival.

Phil Clarke

If your focus is on writing for the big screen then LA should be your choice.

Bill Labonia

Thanks marc, but i dont really have a choice. Im a film/tv writer. Cheers!

Kassandra Heit

Whitney, I actually transferred through work with Wells Fargo. I'm a teller and have been for over 5 years now. I'm working on getting into the industry though. It's 7 miles from my apartment to my branch. Usually, it takes 30 minutes in the morning and 35 to 40 at night to get back. Saturday mornings are great with only a fifteen minute commute. But, traffic is high out here.

Tasha Lewis

My ebook Funding for Internship and Scholarship Programs has a wealth of resources that can provide a wealth of resources for any geographic location whether you work remotely or on a work site..

Tasha Lewis

Stage 32 Education and Screenwriting services provide a wealth of resources.

Whitney L

Kassandra, that's cool that you already had that lined up. Glad it worked out! That's crazy that your commute is 30-45 minutes, even though you're only 7 miles away! LOL Given that you're close to Burbank, you could probably find work being a seat filler for TV shows that are taped out there. I've heard that those are great opportunities as well. Not sure how it would work with your work schedule, but maybe that's something you could look into. Maybe you can post a message on the Stage 32 "Acting" forum to ask the actors how they get gigs like that! Best of luck and you can message me, if you'd like to stay in touch :)

Taylor C. Baker

Bill Labonia LA really is wonderful. When I lived there, I lived in Valley Village, right by Studio City and North Hollywood. I lived in an adorable apartment with my best friend and paid less rent than anyone I knew in LA. I was 15 minutes from Hollywood, and generally very central when it came to going to meetings. LA is HUGE and there is always traffic - no matter where you live that is true, but Santa Clarita is definitely farther out there. Can't say enough good things about Valley Village.

Whitney L

Hi Taylor! When did you live in Valley Village?

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