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Survival Jobs

Racquel writes in:

I’m an aspiring scripted TV writer who’s been living in LA for almost 4 months now and am scrambling to survive financially. I’ve been utilizing TAPA, the UTA joblist, EntertainmentCareers, LinkedIn, Mandy, the Friedman Agency, and any person from the industry I come in contact with to try to land a gig. I’ve been on 3 interviews, but I didn’t get any of the positions because I don’t have much prior experience in entertainment.

I live with my parents who have been very helpful. Yet and still, my credit cards are nearly maxed, and my savings are depleting. I do have a small glimmer of hope with a non-industry related job that I might get, but….it’s non-industry related. I desperately need a steady income right now, and I plan to continue to write, and apply to jobs/fellowships while working full time. But, I wanted to know if you have any other recommendations for how to continue working towards entering the industry when I need to take any 9-5 I can get to pay the bills?

There’s no shame in taking a survival job while trying to get your start in the business. Breaking in is incredibly difficult and, honestly, four months isn’t that long.

The great thing about writing, unlike most other positions in the Industry, is that you you don’t need anyone else’s help or permission to do it. You can write whenever you like, wherever you like. Truth be told, most non-Hollywood jobs will allow more time to write than you’d have PAing twelve hours a day.

It’s true you need to make Hollywood connections in order for anyone to see your writing. Luckily, there are systems in place for that, too. A quick google search for “screenwriter networking” will turn up dozens of organizations. Meet other writers, and join a writers group. You may not have a job in the Industry, but surely someone there will. You don’t have to know the right person for your script; just a person who knows a person who knows the right person.

Mmmm, bacon...
Yes, I’m saying Kevin Bacon is the right person.

Everyone has had to take a shit job to pay the bills. Ya gotta eat. Don’t feel like you’re falling behind or alone in your situation. Just keep writing, every day.

The only way to guarantee you won’t make it is to quit.

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2 Responses

  1. I agree, 4 months is such a short amount of time. I’ve been in LA for 2.5 years, and it’s still rough. But I keep meeting different people and doing different jobs I know I can excel. A writer friend, always defaults to a barista (nothing wrong with that) but also gets jobs as a writer’s personal assistant or teaching writing to high school students; flexibility is our new mantra!

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