Where It’s At

Yesterday, Nathan wrote, “You want to write… write!” This is the best, most important advice any aspiring writer can get. But if you’re sitting at a desk in Nome, Alaska, typing away on an Underwood by candlelight, filing your scripts in a drawer, you’re not going to have a writing career.

There’s an old saying that goes, “You’re the average of the people closest to you.” This is why I stopped working on shitty cable shows and direct-to-video movies. I took both a pay cut and a lower position so I could be on a real network show with real writers.

No, the show runner isn’t going to ask the office PA to write an episode. However, WGA rules dictate that he has to ask someone who’s not on staff at least twice a season.  (The number is something like that, anyway; I can’t find the exact rule, because when I google “WGA Rules,” I get a bunch of old crap about the strike.)

Often, this means hiring the writers’ PA, script coordinator, or even the executive producer’s assistant.  Basically, if they’re going to hire someone, they want to hire someone who’s sitting in the writers’ room with them every day.

So, how do you get to be a writers’ PA? Well, one way is to be an office PA, and hang out with the producer/writers down the hall.  When the script coordinator becomes a real writer, the writers’ assistant moves up to coordinator, the writers’ PA moves up to assistant, and all of a sudden, there’s an opening at the bottom.

That’s my plan, anyway.

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9 Responses

  1. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter…I’ve had all kinds of education in FilmTV Producing & Development & PA (DGA mentor Program Staff)…I am writing treatsment for a TV movie series (My project)..and I want a job in the mean time…Script Coordinator…hmm.. sounds great….in a TV studio…Is there training somewhere for this (hmm..more education)…..I did have training at UCLA Ext in screenwriting and Script Supv….& another degree in Broadcast Journalism..but I really don’t like gossip!)))

  2. I don’t know exactly how often, but it’s very common in shows with tight continuity, like Lost or 24. The reason being, it’s tough for someone to write episode 12, when they’ve only seen up to episode 4.

    The writers’ assistant or script coordinator has been sitting in the room the whole time, so he or she know exactly what’s expected. An outside writer’s story will probably have to be heavily re-written, which is time consuming and annoying.

  3. Working in features instead of episodic, I wasn’t aware of the WGA rules you brought up.

    Yeah, it also makes sense to make sure you’re hanging out in the right place when the breaks happen.

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