If your screenwriting career hasn’t taken off just yet, and you still need to keep your day job, it’d be nice if you could work in a relevant field. It keeps your mind in the game, allows you to build connections with like-minded people, and learn more about the movie and television business.
Take Caitlin Schneiderhan, for example. She’s a screenwriter with many accolades to her name, including being named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch. Her scripts have placed in the Austin Film Festival’s AMC One Hour Pilot Competition, Screencraft Pilot Competition, Cinequest Teleplay Competition, the Page Awards, and on the Bitch List. But she’s also worked other jobs in Los Angeles, some of which you may want to consider giving a go! Her current role is on the hit Netflix show ‘Stranger Things.’ Season 3 premieres July 4th on Netflix.
she said during an interview at the Writers Assistants Network mixer in Los Angeles.
Showrunners, meanwhile, are the “puppet masters” of the show.
And then, there are writer’s assistants.
There are hundreds of other behind-the-scenes roles that don’t involve writing in the production of a film or TV show, but here are a few you may want to consider if you’re entry-level.
- Production Assistant
The production assistant, or PA, does just about anything that the production may need. That could range from grabbing coffee, chauffeuring talent, or picking up equipment. You’ll learn a lot, meet a ton of people, and feel like you’re part of the action.
- Showrunner’s Assistant
The assistant to the showrunner coordinates the showrunner’s day so that they can focus on the bigger picture items. Your job may include answering phones, keeping the schedule, taking notes, grabbing lunch, and more.
- Writer’s Assistant
In the writer’s room, a writer’s assistant helps the writers keep track of all of the ideas being thrown out, takes notes, and may read and type scripts. If you ultimately want to be a writer, this is a good place to watch as the stories are developed. If you’re in a permissive writing room, they may even let you throw some ideas out yourself!
- Script Supervisor
On set, the script supervisor makes notes about what was in the script versus what was shot and ensures continuity of props and blocking.
Production runners’ job responsibilities vary depending on the assignment. A runner could be assigned to site cleanup, paperwork duties, coordinating extras, and crowd control.
- Tape Logger
A tape logger’s job occurs after shooting. The tape logger is responsible for organizing the film segments, adding time codes, and making sure all footage is usable.
A grip’s job on set is to hold microphones, cameras, and sometimes lighting.
These jobs often require long hours and the ability to think on your feet. But the payoff can be rewarding, and you’ll get a birds-eye view of what it takes to create some of your favorite shows to help you later when you’re writing scripts.
Good luck with your search,