Are you a New York City screenwriter trying to break into the industry? Or maybe you're an East Coaster and New York's your closest industry hub? In that case, this is the blog for you! Today I'm talking about how to land screenwriting jobs in New York City.
Breaking into the industry comes down to the quality of what you write, and the connections that you make. I can't stress enough how important networking is! While LA is the industry capital and you can find yourself networking and making connections at pretty much any coffee shop or bar, in New York, you'll find that you have to put yourself out there a bit more to make connections. There are fantastic writers' groups and workshops based in NYC that can help you network, such as:
The New York Screenwriters Workshop (This one is a great opportunity for underrepresented writers and is hosted by the WGAEAST. There is an application process to be selected to participate in this workshop.)
The Internet is Your Friend
The internet is often a great but underused networking tool for writers. While nothing compares to meeting people in person, striking up a conversation on social media, following and interacting with industry people on Twitter, and keeping up with what's going on via the online industry trades are all great tools to help with networking. Here's a tip: read the trades and make notes of the names of people involved with projects that interest you. Follow them on social media, like, and comment on their posts! Getting to know people online can help facilitate real-life meetings.
If you're looking to get staffed on a television show, there are some based in New York City."Saturday Night Live," most of the late-night talk shows, "Law and Order," and "Blue Bloods" all film in NYC. LA is more ideal for traditional television writing, but if you're a passionate comedy writer interested in writing for "Saturday Night Live" or late-night shows, then there is a unique opportunity for that in NYC.
I'm based in NYC, but should I really be trying to move to LA?
Many managers and agents say that you can sell a spec film script from anywhere. You can pretty much make it as a screenwriter from any location, as good writing is good writing and is quickly recognized. The thing is that you'll need to be willing to travel to LA at least a few times a year in order to take meetings. Most reps prefer LA-based clients, as they can take meetings at any time without the reps struggling to schedule something all within a two-week window of their client being in town.
If you specifically want to be a television writer, there's more opportunity in LA, and it's more practical for you to be LA-based. If you're going to do more independent film work, then there are opportunities in NYC, and you can make a career there. The kind of screenwriter you want to be can dictate where you're based.
Keep at it!
My last piece of advice for scoring a writing job in NYC is to hang in there! Keep writing, keep networking, keep trying to make valuable industry connections. The biggest key to being a screenwriter is perseverance. Don't give up! Seek new opportunities via the internet, apply for fellowships, and enter screenwriting competitions. Keep working towards your goal!
Hopefully, this blog was able to help you NYC based writers out there. Stay determined and happy writing!