Aspiring Screenwriters: Day Jobs

“So, you want to be a screenwriter?” That’s likely one of the things you’ll hear from a concerned parent or skeptical math professor if you decide to go to film school while two years deep in an engineering program. The question comes with confusion and condescension, and it’s often followed up with, “How will you make a living?”

Truthfully, you probably won’t make a living as a screenwriter for sometime. Like most creative jobs in the world of entertainment, it can take a while to earn a paycheck for your work. Thus enters the dreaded, awful beast…

The Day Job 

It’s a necessary evil because we all have necessities that a cardboard box and stolen bowling shoes just can’t cover. You also shouldn’t eat off the dollar menu everyday. There are just not enough vitamins in chicken nuggets. I recommend throwing an orange juice in there to battle scurvy.

So, that’s how people like myself end up waiting tables, cashiering, and becoming the best damned sandwich artist south of the Red River. Basically, you do whatever it takes. Oddly, that might include working for free.

I moved to Los Angeles to be a part of the entertainment business, to work a day job that might provide direct access and useful knowledge to an aspiring screenwriter. However, securing employment in Hollywood usually means starting off below the employment level. It means working an…

Internship 

Or, maybe even working two or three internships. Being an intern is like being in the longest interview of your life. Literally, it lasts for months, but it can be a nice way into finding employment in Hollywood.

I landed my internship here, and that’s been a godsend. Yes, I spent several months working for free, but it paid off. How? Well, there was free bagel Fridays. Hey, I had to mix it up with the chicken nuggets. Plus, I learned a few things about show business.

It also landed me my first real job in Hollywood. What was that job?

I’ll tell you next time.

-Zac

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