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.