Screenwriting : Should Aspiring Screenwriters move to California? How important is it? by Jennifer Lynn

Jennifer Lynn

Should Aspiring Screenwriters move to California? How important is it?

For the past 6 years, I've been going back and forth with this question. I've heard from pros that it's not THAT important to live there, other pros say IT IS important. Then there is a group of Screenwriters who are so vocal on that fact. The fact that we HAVE to live in California. They believe in that so much that they don't even care that other people are succeeding in states like New York and elsewhere. I was born and raised in NY, only minutes away from NYC. I really never thought moving to California was going to make or break my career goals. I'm not sure though sometimes, I really wonder sometimes. I mean, I believe in myself and in my work enough to be a success here, but maybe I'm just too confident? In my mind, and in my heart...I do feel like MAYBE I belong in California, and the fantasy of moving there and starting a family with my Knight in shining Armour (a great guy that I just happened to bump into my first week there lol)...well, yeah. I like to think of that when things over here suck. BUT then I look into it for real, and the reality of it is...there seems to be "no more room in LA" and I wouldn't want to live directly in LA anyway (not yet at least), and then I try to look into neighboring areas, and they are either too expensive or a horrible area for a 27 female to move to. Then I think, I AM home. New York IS my home, and California will only be a vacation spot, or maybe even something more career-wise, but never for me to actually move there. I will be vacationing there sooner than later. I do feel like that is best for two reasons: 1.) to get a feel of the state in general. 2.) to see if it's anything like my fantasy. So what do you think, should we LIVE in California...is it THAT important to a successful long career?

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Move there. Spend a year there. See if it makes a difference.

D Marcus

Like all businesses writing is very social. People love to hire and work with people they know personally. So living where the producers, directors, actors, studios and agents are can be important from a social perspective. But writers can and do make sales without living in California. I grew up in NYC. I moved to LA years ago but still think of NYC as home. All my jobs have come from social/business connections - not on line connections, real contact with real people.

Regina Lee

Agree with D Marcus and don't want to be too redundant. Also depends on your intent for your career. For many writers, NYC is a perfectly fine home base. For others, LA is advantageous. For example, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Saturday Night Live are produced out of NYC. If that's your bag, why move? On the other hand, if you're ready and able to staff on TV shows whose writers' rooms are in LA, you'll most likely need to move to LA when you're marketable as a staff writer and go through staffing season in LA. If you're an indie feature writer with a professional network in NYC, or if you're a writer/producer for The Today Show, there's no reason to think you shouldn't continue working from Brooklyn. If you're up for jobs at Fox every month, then you're better off in LA where you can go to the Fox Lot every month and get face-time. It really depends on your specific agenda, your skill set, your network, etc. All that said, if you don't know enough about the "business," then yeah, I think LA can give you the best crash course in terms of learning the overall business and how you can fit into it, how to be strategic in your career development, and as D Marcus said, building a strong network of colleagues. But it is possible for writers to write your sample scripts from anywhere, and to win the Nicholl Fellowship from NYC. Prep yourself as best as possible to dive in whole-hog, then you can move to LA/NYC with contest-winning scripts in hand, ready to be signed by an agent/manager, and ready to take meetings.

Regina Lee

And if money and location are no object, then give LA a shot unless your specific market is in NYC (e.g. Saturday Night Live).

Niksa Maric

Okay, here's something that John Oliver would ask. If the Writer lives in Berlin or Paris and a screenplay or the TV show which he sold to "Universal or CBS is not even going to be filmed or produced in U.S., why is it necessary for the writer to move to L.A. My God, I'm sure people in Hollywood do know there are Web cameras available almost on every computer made.... I'm sure he would start with the comment like this. Sorry about that but why even N.Y. Huston, Denver, Miami? Unless I'm a co-producer or co-director, what's the point or reason to move there, to do what exactly?

Regina Lee

@Niksa, exactly. It depends on the writer and his/her particular situation and desires.

Niksa Maric

I agree on situation but aren't the desires and a goal same for everyone who writes.

Regina Lee

@Niksa, in my experience, for example, some writers have the goal of writing completely independent movies with no studio involvement, and they can do that anywhere. Others have the goal of writing for Los Angeles studios, and they are best served making direct studio relationships. Some writers have the goal of writing for Disney XD, and they must relocate to wherever the Disney XD show's writers' room is located. Some writers have the goal of writing for the BBC, and they are best served living in the UK. If your goal and your job is writing for an El Rey show, you might have to relocate to Austin, TX. If your goal and your job is to write for The Daily Show on Comedy Central, you have to be in NYC. Just an example of how goals can be very different.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Jennifer: I live in Manhattan and the only way I'm leaving this special island is in a coffin. That said, "SHOULDA" is the worst regret. Make a list of 10 top reasons to move to LA + 10 top reasons not to. You will find the answer that's right for you right there.

Niksa Maric

Okay, you have a good point when it comes to TV shows, you go where the show goes, I could live with that. The part about writing or working with Big Los Angeles studios. Are you talking about Exclusive Contract with, let's say, Universal studio or you mean in general. I'm not sure how many writers even have such contracts. I would have to sell or give something away first, then some studio would approach me or not and offer some contract. Please forgive my ignorance, but I don't think every writer, even with contract lives in L.A. To be there from time to time, YES but to move there for good, I'm not sure what's the reason or purpose. What's agent's or manager's job? Collect 10, 12 or 25 percent. Do you know what I mean?

Regina Lee

@Niksa, please scroll up to D Marcus's post. He points out that it is helpful to have personal relationships with studio execs, agents, producers, etc. He's right. To build personal relationships, it's helpful to be in LA where you can have regular meetings with those decision-makers who can offer you a job. That's if your goal/desire is to be hired by studios.

Niksa Maric

Every man is an island and in this case a woman. That's a spirit Linda. But hey, maybe we should start asking for things that SPOILED stars ask. A bunch of plane tickets, accommodation in 5+ star hotels and bunch of other stuff they demand. Oh, how could I forget money, a pile so high it reaches the third floor ceiling. You think they would go for it?

Regina Lee

@Niksa, in the US we have an expression: "Out of sight, out of mind." So it can be advantageous to live in LA or NY, where you can stay within sight and develop personal friendships with decision-makers.

Regina Lee

Furthermore, if your goal/desire/forte is, for example, writing original scripts, you may be able to do that from anywhere. If you goal/desire/forte is to get jobs rewriting studio scripts, then you're best served in LA where you can meet on rewrite jobs with the greatest amount of regularity. Know your own market and how you fit into it. LA, NY, London, Toronto, Paris, etc.

Niksa Maric

Oh God, now this conversation is turning into John Oliver's show. Don get me wrong Regina, this is still a friendly chat. You've mentioned "regular meetings with those decision-makers who can offer you a job" What job? IF someone EVER even reads or buys something from me, what meetings, with whom. Then "where you can stay within sight and develop personal friendships with decision-makers." I don't think any of them will date me. I'm not gonna sleep with them. I'm not a big fan of sleeping with me, so I don't see why anyone else would be. Then again, unless I'm next James Cameron or Stephen King I better make a reservation in one of 85 homeless shelters in L.A. before I get there. ( The number is correct, I did a research for one of the scripts)

Niksa Maric

Hey Regina, Are you still there?

Regina Lee

@Niksa, yes all good. Best of luck in all you writing. I understand that your situation is very different than a writer in New York who is considering moving to Los Angeles! Take care. Nice chatting with you.

Danny Manus

If you're still working on writing your first couple scripts, then NO you don't have to be in NY or LA. But if you're at the point where you want to make this a career, or you've landed a manager or agent, then it probably is a good idea to move to LA for a while. Not forever, but a while. UNLESS you have the money and job and family situation where you can drop everything at a moment's notice, get on a plane, and come to LA for a week or two of meetings. If you can do that, then no, you don't ever have to move here. UNLESS you want to write for TV (and not Daily Show/SNL, etc) - if you want to be a TV writer, you have to live in LA. Period. It's very simple - if you wanted to be a Wall Street broker, you'd have to move to NYC or close by. If you wanted to work in tech world, you'd move to SF. If you wanted to be a cowboy, you'd go to Texas. If you wanna be a professional screenwriter, you go where the business is. It's about MAXIMIZING OPPORTUNITY. You can live anywhere and write, but here in LA, there are like 5 events per day that you could go to that could improve your chances or your career. Screenings, networking events, classes, parties, bars and restaurants, starbucks populated by A-List writers, etc. You can meet someone on every block. Maybe your town has a pitchfest or film festival once a year and you meet 30 people per year. Great. Here, you can meet that many in a week. Just last week, I literally bumped into 4 actors and a producer, separately, just walking down the street doing nothing. You can't do that anywhere else. So, do you HAVE to live here - No. Should you? Probably.

William Martell

California is a huge state... Los Angeles is where movies are headquartered. The reason why living in Los Angeles is helpful: you have a script go out wide and end up with a few dozen meetings all over town. Those meetings lead to more meetings which lead to more meetings which lead to more meetings.

Regina Lee

OK, I'm going to take a page from Danny's book and stop being so diplomatic and wishy washy. One very important point in LA's "win" column if you want to write "Hollywood movies" (not pure DIY indies, which you can write from anywhere): LA is likely to make you a better writer. Why? Because you will be around other writers and filmmakers who are each giving it their all. You feed off each other in upping your creativity, ambition, networking, focus, strategic planning, your overall understanding of how the business works, and how you fit into it, etc. It's like being back in college, when you're all freshman on the same campus (in this case, the campus is LA) feeding off each other's ambition, doing the same thing, working your butts off, and loving it. There, I said it. That's good advice if you're looking to write "Hollywood movies." But man, it's a huge thing to tell someone to uproot your great life to move to LA, and that's why people like me hedge and act wishy washy. No one wants to encourage you to ruin your personal life, leave your family, quit a good job, sell your house, just to move to LA because the LA lifestyle is not for everyone.

Regina Lee

I've never lived in NY. A popular saying in LA: "My life was so much better in NY. My work is better in LA." Btw, feel free to stay in NY. The traffic is bad enough in LA as it is!

LindaAnn Loschiavo

My nephew and niece moved to L.A., where he has a job & she works for a film company. Both of them have TV/ stage credits, do commercials, VOs, etc. But they do NOT go to auditions in L.A. where they must drive beyond a certain distance. In Manhattan that would NEVER happen. Actors would go to as many NYC casting calls as possible . . and walk to most of these.

Fleurette M Van Gulden

Got tips from Danny via his contribution on the writers store. It was vital to my period piece. Knowing my world and the location of my script. The same goes that I can live in New Jersey and set my story in Victoria England. Gosh I'll fly to anywhere when I'm optioned. For now I'm curled up on the divan going over my scene lists. Regina and Danny gave enough for me to go on. Thanks all.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Two of my pals did a doctoral disseration on the same subject: penniless women in Venice who became courtesans. Lynne Lawner got a book deal. Margaret Rosenthal, however, moved to L.A. because her husband got a (non-film) job there. At Meg's first cocktail party, she had a chat with a woman about Venetian poet Veronica Franco - - - she was signed within a week. The film based on her dissertation was "Dangerous Beauty" (1998) - - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118892/ . Lynne Lawner was (and still is) furious about it to this day.

Fiona Faith Ross

I should love to live and write in LA. Can't wait. :)

Niksa Maric

The question has been answered, more or less. If you wanna work for big Hollywood studios, write or re-write, YES, move to L.A. You wanna write TV Shows, not quite clear on that part since most of the shows are not even filmed in the U.S. any more and if all you do is write features you might pay a visit to executives upstairs once or more than once, depends how much material you have and assuming they actually buy something from you.

Jennifer Lynn

WOW! I appreciate all of the comments. You have all given me A LOT to think about. A lot of what was said makes a lot of sense. BUT...let's say I move to LA tomorrow. I get settled, fix up my apartment or wherever I end up...then I go out for coffee....say, I DO bump into James Cameron, or some random Actor...NOW WHAT? I really doubt I can just go up to them and talk to them about MY career and MY career goals, and I certainly don't think I can just hand them a script...right? I understand how to network in person when it comes to acting, but Screenwriting feels different. I feel like it's not as easy to get the word out about my work. Or am I just nervous? HOW do we network WHILE living in LA? I'll post a question in the lounge in a few minutes...you can all go answer or read if needed. Thanks again guys. I respect all of your opinions, and appreciate all of the thinking you have made me do. =)

Regina Lee

@Niksa, just one clarification. Although TV shows may "shoot" in other countries, the writers' room might be in LA, NY, London, wherever. For example, CBS's PERSON OF INTEREST shoots in NY. The writers' room is in LA. So the writer who is producing the episode flies from LA to NY for a week to supervise her episode. The CW's iZombie shoots in Vancouver, but the writers' room is in LA. And how did the writer get the job on PERSON OF INTEREST in the first place? She was most likely in LA, where she could develop a strong relationship with her agent, her manager, the network, the studio, the show's creators/showrunners, etc. Once you have made the effort to build a strong relationship, you might be able to leave LA, and they won't forget you.

Niksa Maric

Kkay, Regina here's a hypothetical situation. I live in London. I wrote a TV show which was picked up by L.A. production company or network. I have to move to L.A. but the show will be filmed or shoot on locations in London and nearby small towns. How do you pick the starting and ending point here. Why does every deal has to be made in L.A., why not London or Paris...etc.

Regina Lee

Who said every deal has to be made in LA? You can get an agent in London who can help you connect the dots! You can sell your show to an English broadcaster, a French broadcaster, an Australian broadcaster, an Asian broadcaster, etc. Each person and each project is different. I think what Danny said is correct: If you want to work on Wall Street, you are best served moving to NYC because it's the hotspot for that line of work. If you want to write "Hollywood movies" for "Hollywood studios," then the numbers game is best if you live in LA. If you want to write Polish movies, then the numbers game is best if you live in Poland. I'm not going to repeat myself because everyone here is getting sick of me! Best of luck!

Niksa Maric

Why would you say something like that. I'm not sick of you, you seem like a nice person to me. Here's another thing about deal. We've all seen or heard at one point something like this. "The winner will be flown to L.A. for a meeting" Again for what? Let's say I won a screenplay contest, in Drama category. based on this script the budget could be between 3-5 million. The big studios will not even read the title (in most cases) but I have to take a 13 hours flight to meet people I'll probably never see again after the movie comes out. Why is that? Why can't I live in London and have an agent in L.A. who will take care of things or make a deal. I know I can sell it to whoever I see fit or the highest bidder but I can't live in London and make a deal with FOX, CBS or WB. And one more thing. Moving to L.A., leaving everything behind and start a new life is not as simple as it sounds, not to mention the cost of living, that can't be cheap. No one pays that much nowadays. The advantage is if you already live in L.A. but again, I'm not James Cameron of Stephen King and I don't wanna end up sitting on Venice Beach a year later, staring at the Ocean and ask myself "Was it worth it" "What was the point of all this" Jennifer should think about this before she decides to move anywhere.

Regina Lee

@Niksa, thanks. I'm getting sick of myself because I'm repeating myself. I'm going to politely withdraw from this thread. Thank you.

Phil Parker

Thanks for all your posts, Regina. Helpful and insightful.

Niksa Maric

Noooooooo, Regina, come back, Reginaaaaaa.

Bill Costantini

I did that when I was younger. I also had a decent job available to me in L.A. The biggest consideration is financial support. L.A. is a great place to live, no doubt. But you're gonna need at least $1,000 a month for rent - and that's probably in someone's garage-turned-guest house. Factor in utilities, car insurance, food, health insurance, and you're talking at least $2,000 a month. I'd say you need around $3,000 a month just to live decently, then. I wouldn't want to put myself in a situation where I have a crappy full-time job, and then only have a few hours at night when I'm really tired for my writing pursuits. That just doesn't seem to be a good formula for success. Good luck with your decisions!

LindaAnn Loschiavo

To Bill's list, you must add a reliable CAR + auto insurance + gas (none of which you need in Manhattan). But heck. Good luck to everyone who relocates to chase the dream.

Fleurette M Van Gulden

I'm not attached to anywhere, but I won't travel anyplace without funds to turn around or hobo on. Interesting points came to light from the debates. They remind me of the story I read in the English primer first aid series. A grand dad, grand son and the donkey. Every view point they got along their journey.they swallowed. In the end they were back to how they started. Thanks for what I garneted. So now I'm borrowing a phrase ...I'm now out of this thread.

Lisa Clemens

I'm doing okay so far from my little house in Rochester. But I've got contacts in LA (my partner and mentor) who did some legwork and introduced me to others via Skype which eventually landed me a repeat gig with the same Director/Producer. (and he also found work for me when he introduced me to another who needed a writer) Now if these are a success and I need to travel I will. So I have never had to worry about the need to relocate but I'll take it one day at a time and see what happens!

D Marcus

So what does that story mean, Fleurette? That view points are meaningless? That the view points of others are not helpful? It's an unusual story.

Niksa Maric

Marcus. I think some people here are missing the point of this or any other discussion. Look, according to your profile info, you live in L.A. Imagine if I invite you or tell you to move where I live without giving you any additional information, just move here. What would your reaction be? Would you move, think about it, look for a reason...etc. NONE OF US is rich enough to change residence just for fun, Hey, let's move to L.A. it could be fun. I could be wrong but the way I see it, if anyone here takes a realistic piece of advice from several comments, for example: BILL CONSTANTINI. How much money you will need to live in L.A. or JENNIFER'S I DO bump into James Cameron, or some random Actor...NOW WHAT? She's right, it's not like I'll take the cab from LAX to first Starbucks and hold hands with another writers and share ideas. Take something from my posts, put everything together and you'll have 80% of picture completed. According to one comment, starbucks are populated by A-List writers. What, they live there or something? We're not back where we started. There are hundreds of elements in this entire screenwriting process. I'm not saying I know them all, most people don't but I'm making a list to complete the picture, one piece at the time, there's no other way for me and to complete this picture, you'll have to read other posts and take elements from there. A JIGSAW puzzle doesn't come in 1 or two pieces.

Linda Burdick

It makes sense to be where the action is no matter what your goal is. If you have the means to get there and live there then by all means go. You will be on top of everything and hear what's going on, networking connections and forming relationships.

Fleurette M Van Gulden

D. Marcus, directives and input is Important . Like the story it was up to ones choice and circumstance that will determine Where when or how. The contributions taught me much. This is a forum like no other. Thanks

Ace Cheverez

It's no easier in LA. The best place for a screenwriter is NYC or LA. Write a few scripts, if one isn't right, you'll be asked what else do you have. There's also meetup groups in NYC. Enter film festivals and seek agents in NYC. The market is flooded with screenwriters and actors. That's why many actors now produce so they can work, and many screenwriters are making their own films. ~Ace

Laurie Ashbourne

Today's environment is much different than even 5 years ago. It's global and it's connected in the cloud. Today more than ever you do NOT have to live in LA. But you do have to be able and willing to go there frequently. I am (currently) in a tiny beach community in Florida and up until a few years ago I moved once sometimes twice a year depending on production. I don't have to that anymore but I am willing to travel as needed. Perfect example, last week I was camping in the wood with 90 boys under the age of 15 and managed to do a rewrite, hold a story meeting via Skype on my phone in Palo Alto and break down a script for a producer in Florence, Italy. You are in NY, plenty of screenwriters and filmmakers make a living in NY. Sydney Lumet never lived in California. Don't get me wrong I love LA and have lived there in the past and most likely will in the future, but that is a personal choice, not an industry driven one.

Jenny Masterton

It's where the business, networks , connections, jobs are. It's one of the eternal debates.

Danny Manus

@Bill yes if you want to live by yourself in a decent one bedroom in an area that won't get you killed, you're looking at about 1200-1600 for rent in LA. Yes, you probably will need bout 3000/mo to live. BUT you could also get a place and split it with 3 other people and live for half that. it just depends on where you are in your life & how you want to live. @Niksa - as Regina said, shows shoot everywhere but MOST writers rooms are in LA and the writer only flies to set for the week they are shooting THEIR episode. rest of the time you're here. You can have an agent in LA close deals - that's not the problem. The issue us you have to be here to take the mtgs, pitch the projects, do the followups, etc before the agent can close that deal.

Danny Manus

@Niksa if you come here and bump into James Cameron, then what? Well then you try to speak like a person and say hello. Its not about pitching & selling - its about creating a relationship. A month ago I went to this writers networking event at a little bar in hwood. The event was fine, but as I left, I walked thru the bar and who was sitting there? Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men. the booth next to him was actress Ali Larter. the table across the way was celeb chef Michael Voltaggio. And that was just random Thursday night in one bar. Success is one part talent, one part preparation, one part luck and opportunity. If you're prepared you can change your career in one night here. I've seen it happen.

Ace Cheverez

I run into just as many famous actors on the streets of Manhattan as I do in LA. Unless, you're interested in T.V. or you've landed an agent, then by all means move. Many networking opportunities on the island and Brooklyn. There's nothing wrong with Fantasy, after all dreams do come true. But MOST of the time dreams happen due toA LOT OF WORK AND EFFORT.

Fiona Faith Ross

I'll move to LA in a heartbeat. Want it.

Anthony L Khan

Whoa - I'm in Oxfordshire in the UK, so relocating, even to the States, never mind the west coast is out of the question just now. Having said that, I have to agree with you, Jennifer - sometimes LA makes itself out to be the only way ahead but at the same time you're aware of just how many industry revered screenwriters are already there, and firmly in place. On the other hand, Fiona, I went to LA years ago and was bitten so hard that I'd be there in that same heartbeat.

Scott Kushman

Jen, I live in NYC area and been thinking the same thing. I did some TV freelance work in NYC with comedy, and the trend in that field is that a lot of comedians have left NYC to be in California to be closer to staring on each others projects and podcasts. A lot of TV moved out west and tech in San Fran. I think there has to be ways with the net and grassroots that you could get material out there.

Niksa Maric

Maybe this is the right bag to pack if you wanna move to L.A. But seriously, the advice is not even bad if you made some kind a deal already, made some money and you've signed a contract with any company to work on other projects but since most of us here are beginners , I think I'll pass and stay where I am for now.

Jennifer Lynn

LOL @Niksa...I think they may charge just a tiny fee to get that over to LA!!! hahaha ;) That IS a big ass suitcase, carrying that on will be a b*tch LOL ;) Hey, but that's a great way to get over to Italy in a couple of weeks when my cousins go...lol In all seriousness though, I seriously can't afford to move at the moment, and I'm seriously going to try to vacation there AT LEAST in the next year or so. So, I'll make small steps along the way to maybe get there at some point. Hell, maybe my personality will help me network while I vacation there. I would definitely try of course. I'll see.

Jennifer Lynn

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I'm pretty sure at some point I will vacation there, then vacations will turn into longer stays, then who knows...but right now, I think I should stay in NYC and save up some serious dough.

Niksa Maric

You think you could fit in? The suitcase I mean.

Bill Costantini

Not counting "work" stuff.....FIRST FIVE PLACES TO VISIT IN L.A. 1. THE BEACHES!!! Duh...no brainer. How can you not love Mother Ocean first? Santa Monica for the wide and long sand and gradual ocean drop...Venice Beach for the sheer eclectic vibes...Leo Carillo for the sea caves and because that's where Donny's ashes were scattered, and the Dude abides....Surfrider for the, like, waves and great surfers...the list goes on and on. 2. THE SUNSETS!!! At the beach, of course. As the dolphins frolic around your kayak. Don't let them tip you over, though - they love to do that. 3. SUNSET BLVD!!! Starting in Downtown at Chavez and Figuearo....through Echo Park....West Hollywood....East Hollywood...HOLLYWOOD....Little Armenia....Thai Town....the Palladium....Amoeba Music...the Transvestite Hookers...In and Out Burgers at Sunset and Orange...Hollywood High....The Laugh Factory....The Chateau Marmont....and then it veers left, into...THE SUNSET STRIP....on the south are the clubs, and on the north are the HOUSES IN THE HILLS....Beverly Hills...Holmby Hills...Bel Air....UCLA....Brentwood....Pacific Palisades....veer...around Santa Ynez Lake....and the Lake Shrine Temple....and the Self Realization Gardens where many a writer self-realize....and dead end at Pacific Coast Highway as the sun sets over Mother Ocean.....whew. Awesome. 4. THE CANYONS that go over the Santa Monica Mountains and to the City and Ocean!!! Malibu Canyon...Topanga Canyon...Coldwater Canyon...Laurel Canyon... 5. THE MEDICINAL MARIJUANA SHOPS!!! Look...there's one! And there's another one! And another...and another..and another.... And that's just for starters. Mulholland Drive...Ventura Blvd...Hollywood Blvd...Downtown...Universal Studios...Griffith Park...the Observatory...The Greek...The Zoo....the Valley...the subway...the film studios....Movie screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary....the list goes on...and on...and on...and....whew...just in time....another medical marijuana dispensary....and it's a two for one sale! Thank you, God, for L.A.!

Lynne Logan

My personal experience: I wrote for television talk shows for fifteen years as well as presented (in front of camera) the info on the program. When I pitched to NY shows, they called me because they were INTERESTED. When I pitched for LA shows or San Fran shows, they called me because they were INTERESTED. When NY wanted me, they flew me there. When LA wanted me, I drove to the studio myself. I was able to get much more work here in LA because I lived here and it was less expensive for production. After establishing some consistent relationships, LA produces/directors became my 'referral" base for NY. So what's my point. I believe the tight knit 'hub' truly is in LA. It may just be easier to get started here simply because of the community, contacts, networking opportunities, etc. BUT, the bottom line is always going to be three things: TALENT, OPPORTUNITY and PREPARATION. Each of us holds the key to our talent. I believe we make our own opportunity. And of course, we must be prepared, as we never know when the phone will ring. Either way, I encourage all to continue to believe in yourself and your projects. Get professional guidance from people in the business. When I started out, I knew no one in the business. But it took only one producer (Bob Bastenchury) who opened the door for me. This business truly is based on relationships. So go where you can shine your best work, meet the right people, and make a name for yourself. (PS. I don't know where Bob Bastenchury is now, but if anyone does, I would love to have his contact. He was the producer of ABC's "A.M. Los Angeles" talk show for years.)

Phil Parker

I think that's good advice, Lynn. I would add to that, if you are thinking of moving to LA, make sure you have a portfolio of work to show people BEFORE you move there, it will make things so much easier. Also, do some online networking with people who live in LA BEFORE you move there because again, it will make things...

Laurie Ashbourne

^ RB's example is perfect and happening around the world every day.

Jennifer Lynn

I'm staying in NY for now. I appreciate all of the comments. I'll be visiting LA regularly sooner than later, but for now...just going to write as much as I can.

Jennifer Lynn

And yes, very valid points all around. It's a lot to think about, and I appreciate you all filling my head with much needed info to figure out what my next step would be on this particular topic.

Bill Costantini

No offense, Steven, but I've been to New York many times, and love it immensely, but L.A. has as many great upscale restaurants as New York, and maybe more, in the final count. And probably more good cheap eats, too. L.A. also probably presents more geographically large-scale ethnic neighborhoods than any city in America. I know the stats - New York has the most foreign-speaking residents than any other city in America - but no city has as many entire ethnic neighborhoods as L.A. and its suburbs. My favorite thing about the New York situation is that you're within a few blocks of so much at any given hour. That can't be beat anywhere in the states. But the rents in Manhattan are even crazier than the rents in L.A. And speaking of food...Las Vegas is pretty gastronomically amazing, too. And so is Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Philly and Miami. San Diego and Phoenix are a little disappointing, for cities of that size.

Bill Costantini

Note to self: never try to tell a New Yorker something, and especially one who can't taste the difference in the beef brisket at Katz's and the Carnegie Deli! Oh! :)

Bill Costantini

Oy vey - it was a joke!

Lori Sivage

I have a similar situation I live in Wichita, KS. So, I feel like I am stuck. I am writing my first screenplay and nervous. I love to write and I have a whole ton of ideas. Any suggestions?

Niksa Maric

Start them all. You'll never run out of ideas and you will probably need more than one script to start filling a giant bag on photo above, when you move to L.A. Why are you nervous?

Lori Sivage

@Niksa I do not want to move to LA. I do not have the resources to move right now. I want to move to NYC. I am a broke screenwriter and everything else. I am a Jack of all trades.

Niksa Maric

Welcome to the club. A lot of writers, not a single Bill Gates in the bunch.

Lori Sivage

I am a vegetarian, but it is one of the places I have always wanted to go.

Fleurette M Van Gulden

Then by all means get out and go Lori. Doubt Hannibal is there except for the production studios for the TV production.. Today is my fun day. All the laughs if any, is on me..

Bill Costantini

I love L.A., and could even tell Steven Harris Anzelowitz where he could get authentic brisket sandwiches - and Glatt Kosher no less - at about 25 different places. Not as mountainous as the Carnegie sandwiches at the legendary New York deli, but just as yummy. Hey Steven - have you ever finished the entire Woody Allen sandwich? That thing is huuuuuuge.

Regina Lee

If you guys have time, try to check out Benderspink manager Jake Wagner's thoughts on queries, LA/NY, and when it's the right time to seek management. https://www.stage32.com/lounge/screenwriting/Great-QandA-with-Jake-Wagne...

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