I kind of hate that I have to write this blog post, but I want writers to be armed with all the knowledge they need to carve a place for themselves in the writing world. Today’s topic is about something totally out of your control but is also totally necessary to make it in this business.
We’re talking about luck.
Sure, you can prepare, practice, and do everything correctly to better your chances of scoring a writing job. But the truth is that luck also comes into play. As someone who firmly believes that if you work hard enough, anything is possible, it pains me a bit to say this.
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But there’s a silver lining, and that is that you can make your own luck.
To explain both sides of this argument, we asked industry veteran Marc Gaffen to step in. I initially questioned him about the mistakes writers make that prevent them from having a career. But his two-part answer elaborated on the issue that so many writers face when they come out to Hollywood to make a go at writing for TV. Some “mistakes” are simply out of your control.
Marc moved to Los Angeles right after college and got his first “lucky break,” if you can call it that, after faxing his resume to more than 100 different job openings. He landed a job as a camera assistant on “The Bernie Mac Show.” Over the next several years, that “luck” kept coming. I put the word in quotation marks because writers often misunderstand what it means to be lucky in Hollywood. Working for it is critical.
Now that is lucky.
You’ll quickly see that what a lucky break looks like in Hollywood is more about being in the right place at the right time, with the proper creative work to show. You won’t get far, even with a tremendous lucky streak, without that hard work part.
Anyone can write one thing, Marc said. But to take advantage of lucky breaks, you can’t stop creating.
And remember, one lucky break doesn’t give you forever success.
Marc’s been writing, working, writing, and working for almost two decades since he landed that first lucky break. Since then, he’s hopped around Hollywood to shows including “Grimm,” “New Amsterdam,” “Lost,” and “Mare of Easttown,” but he does his best to remember his own advice. When he has time, he continues to work on personal writing projects (like his recent graphic novel, “Tuskers”), so he and his resume stay fresh for that next “lucky” opportunity.
Oh, and that extra stroke of “luck.”