Best Day Jobs For Aspiring Screenwriters

The following tips are really for more than “day jobs.” They’re entry level showbiz gigs. But show us the newbie who says s/he doesn’t want one of those instead and we’ll show you a writer who’s lovin’ every second of working at McDonald’s.

production-assistant

by David Silverman, MA, LMFT

“Malia Obama has been working as a production assistant on the Los Angeles set of Halle Berry‘s TV seriesExtant, the CBS sci-fi produced by Steven Spielberg.”  – Leslie Larson.

A problem facing almost all aspiring TV and film writers or filmmakers is how to pay the rent while they’re writing speculative TV pilots or features.

The traditional entry level day jobs, working as a barista, an Uber driver, a waiter, cocktail waitress or bartender (combined with writing) can be physically and emotionally exhausting.  When these writers finally have time to knock off a few pages, they’re hardly at their best.

Meanwhile, the other key to film writing success, networking with other writers and entertainment workers, gets short shrift.  How can they work all day, write all night and network?

What about getting a day job working on a studio lot or at a production company?  You’re going to be working closely with others who have similar interests.  Knowing these people will pay off some day.

1.  Story Analyst.

When I was still at USC Cinema, I worked as a bartender weeknights and a “story analyst” during the day. The job involves reading a screenplay or a novel each day, then writing a very tight synopsis for the execs higher up to read.

We also had to rate the script’s concept, setting, production values, storyline, plot structure, character, dialogue and pacing from “poor” to “excellent.”  This turned out to be almost as valuable an education as film school.

As a story analyst, you will also have access and be working closely with people who have the power to greenlight a project.  You’ll make a lot of valuable and very close connections.

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