I was interviewed by my sister’s friend the other day for her college assignment, and I’d like to share my answer to one of the questions asked.
What advice would you give to fresh graduates who want to pursue writing as a career?
You have to have relentless perseverance and a thick face. If you’re talking about being a freelance scriptwriter, I’m still very new. Speaking from my own experience, it’s very hard to get into the industry if I didn’t know already know someone. They don’t like to take risks. When I had nothing in my resume, it was almost impossible to get replies from production companies and to have them give me a chance. I would advise to only pursue scriptwriting if it’s something you live with every day and want to continue to live with for the rest of your life. It has to be because you want to tell stories, and you can’t see yourself living a life where all the stories within you are left untold. Otherwise, in every logical angle, it’s not worth it. Bear in mind that before you could tell your own stories, you’d have to help others tell theirs first. When you’re writing for clients, it’s different from writing your own stuff. It gets stressful like any other job, and takes the joy away from writing. But that’s the reality of it, because at the end of the day, it is a job. It’s lots of long hours (although at home) with a pay less than what you would earn monthly from a full-time job. If you work for money, you’re better off being a copywriter.
But if you still really want to be a scriptwriter even after I said all of that, then go for it. Just email people nonstop. Bug people until they give you a chance. Build your portfolio. Build your way up. It takes time and it doesn’t come easy. Everyone’s pace will be different because everyone will get different opportunities and sometimes it’s just the timing of projects and no one can help it. Take every opportunity you can when you’re first starting out. If you’re good, hopefully the company that first gave you that opportunity will keep calling you back, or even better, will help spread the word. But you have to hustle. There’s no other way to it.
Featured image by Hunter Powell.