Setting: The Showrunner and I personally read 368 scripts AND reached out to another 50 people to check avails for the room’s five writer spots.
Truth: The odds are not in your favor, so how do you help make them in your favor?
1) Write something BUZZY. Your sample needs to be something that cuts through the noise, that makes us remember your script after reading 368 scripts. We aren’t necessarily looking for a pilot that sets up a series for staffing, just something that makes us remember you and your writing.
2) Work on the first 15 pages, make them SING. If the first 15 pages aren’t good, it’s unlikely we will keep reading, but if they are, we will most likely keep reading to the end.
3) Have a second sample ready to go. Many times we asked for a second sample to read more of a writer and was told they had none. A second sample should show off something different about your writing; we should not read two versions of the same story in two separate samples.
4) Make sure you have a bio and credit list and that your rep has it and it is updated. For a bio, tell us something that makes you unique. You never know what someone is looking for in a room, so adding something specific that separates you from everyone else is ALWAYS helpful. Especially if you are lower level and don’t have a ton of credits, a good bio is KEY.
5) Contact info. Ensure your correct reps info is on your script, on imdb/studio system, and your website. It is very difficult to contact a writer if there is no way to get in touch with that writer. If you don’t have reps, make sure your contact info is on the script.
6) If you hear about a staffing job and have no reps and think you are a perfect fit, take your shot and reach out to the producers with an email explaining why you feel you might be an ideal fit. Not all producers will say yes to reading someone unrepped but some will, and it’s worth taking a shot. Just make sure you specify why you think you are a perfect fit. (Do NOT attach the script in the original email, that will get your email immediately deleted.)
7) Social presence – if you have a website, make sure it works, even if it just lists your contact info, make sure it’s not a dead site. Think about joining Twitter, Insta, etc. – being part of a writing community is always helpful but also a way to express yourself so producers/showrunners can get a glimpse into you. (There is a flip side of this: Think about what you are posting, no one wants to hire someone who is always negative about other people, shows, etc.)
8.) Build your writer community! Often a showrunner/producer will reach out to their friends for personal reccs, and those scripts will ALWAYS go to the top of the pile
Okay, so now you got a meeting, now what?!
1) Be enthusiastic. Tell us what you liked about the show, what excites you? What part are you most interested in writing about?
2) Have show pitches ready to go. Some showrunners won’t want to hear them, but some will. At least have them ready in your back pocket should a showrunner ask!
3) Write a thank you email after the meeting!
4) Most importantly, be YOURSELF. Again, you will never know what exactly the needs of a room are and what mix the showrunner/producer/network is looking for, so being yourself is always the best answer.
Break a leg out there!
By Rachel Miller, Founder at Film2Future, Founding Partner Haven Entertainment