Hiya folks! So sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve said hello! Whenever I have a million projects flying at me, I find that I have to focus on those. As a result, the blogging and social media thing tend to fall by the wayside. But I have a few minutes to breathe and reflect on the past 2.5 months that has been this crazy summer!
What I’ve Been Up To
It’s the dawn of a new day! A new life, new place, new things to do, and new goals. But let’s clean house first. So, I’ve been away from my beloved Cove for three main reasons. Firstly, my internet access sucked while traveling through Europe, and I just sort of gave up on the blogging thing for a while. I will do some back posts on my travels though, so be gentle with me. 😉 Secondly, I’ve been working two pretty cool internships that have added up to full time hours, and… I MOVED! It was a harrowing experience trying to figure out how I was going to move my entire life on no money, but friends, loved ones, and lots of meditation saw me through, lol.
I’m already hitting the pavement hard with job and internship hunting (in film, television, market research, and doing film & tv market research), finishing up these two internships that I’m already on, and (gasp) sending out query letters to literary agents!!
Yes, SHOCKER, right? No worries, I’m still a proud indie. Hell, it’s my slogan. But I’ll explain exactly why I’ve taken this dive and how I expect it to benefit me in my next post! Can you still be an indie and have a literary agent? YUP! But you gotta wait until next post to find out how! 😉
Sorry I left you all stranded! The last time I checked in, I was broadcasting from Prague, which is an amazingly beautiful city with LOTS of character. I’d LOVE to shoot a film there. Vying for first place next to Prague is Budapest, which is hauntingly beautiful, affordable, and gorgeously filmable. LOVED BUDAPEST, and I want everyone to go when they have a chance! These two cities, plus Rome, turned out to be my most-loved places, especially for the people and the eats. (These are just place-holder pics for now. I’ll post my own pics as soon as I find my USB cord for my camera… EEK!). Traveling Western-Eastern Europe was amazing, and while it didn’t have the same emotional impact as when I took my first solo trip abroad, it certainly opened my eyes to even more awesome people, beautiful architecture, rich culture, and yep, mouth-watering FOOD!
Won’t be taking another massive trip for a few months yet; still recuperating, and plus I need to settle a bit for a few months to get settled and focus on my career. Between now and then, I gotta grind, make money, and WRITE. The next trip (probably in the fall of 2014) will be either to Mexico or to the Amazon in South America. I wanted to hit up some nations in Africa too, but we’ll see! So many choices and I love it!
As for now, I’m safe and sound back home… actually I’m at my *real* home in New York. Yep, I finished up my Masters in Madison, WI and now I’m back in the city that never sleeps and am SUPER excited about it. For those of you asking, yes I’m still moving to Los Angeles, but not until January of 2014. In the meantime, though, I’m visiting family, friends, saving cash, and enjoying my hometown (Yonkers) and NYC. And guess who’s hitting up the film scene, writing conventions, comic cons, AND the Writer’s Guild of America all in NYC? This girl! There’s definitely a film and literary scene here that is not to be missed, and if I can make connections on both coasts, that’s ideal. 🙂
Starting a Career in Film
So I was lucky enough to score two internships locally in Madison, WI and am still able to participate in them now even though I’m back in NYC. One is as a Script Reader for one production company, and the other is as a Line Producer for a different production company! Between the two of these internships, I’ve been working nearly full-time hours, and it’s been both intense and educational. My responsibilities on both projects will have ended by the mid-September, hopefully leaving me wiser, stronger, and ready to upgrade my responsibilities (and my pay too, lol)!
But what exactly IS a Script Reader and a Line Producer? What do these folks actually DO? Furthermore, are you able to get an internship too? Of course! Let’s start with explaining what these roles mean…
Script Reader: You read scripts, usually really terrible ones, and then you write a 4-5 page report on it. This report is called coverage. The first page will usually be a summary of the story, its major turning points, and character points (i.e. Bob ate a sandwich and then hoagie-stealing ninjas burst through his front door). The next 3-4 pages will be an analysis of the script by premise, character, plot, pacing, writing style and ability, dialogue, story logic, and more. You answer questions such as, what were the major flaws of the plot? Did a character feel “real” to you? Was the dialogue incredible? Is this a great script that can be produced? And you must provide examples and evidence as to why or why not.
Getting experience as a Script Reader: Being a script reader and analyst is probably the best thing you can do for your craft if you are a writer (besides actually writing of course). It allows you a sneak peek at how story mechanics work or don’t work, and it gives you insight into the tricks that actually DO work. It also allows you to understand how scripts are structured and paced. If you’re interested in doing a Script Reading Internship from the comfort of your own home, I suggest that you email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Eclectic Pictures website for more info on how they roll. You can also call production companies (who get scripts all the time) and ask if they are looking for a reader or an intern.
Line Producer: These folks are badass mofos who pretty much handle ALL of the behind-the-scenes nuts-and-bolts stuff behind a film. There is no limelight glory for a Line Producer, but we’re integral to your film. We create and manage the budget, wrangle the film crew and talent, help to secure locations, track down and provide filming equipment, create the production schedule, schedule the film shoot itself, and keep you from blowing your cash (no, sorry, the burning palace scene in Fiji is not exactly within our financial limits). We are also responsible for making sure that the union rules are being followed (that your actors, writers, directors, and below-the-line crew all get credit and get paid) and that crew and cast alike are safe and healthy on set as per legal regulations. And like most people who work on a film, we handle other administrative tasks as required. In my case, I also had the luck and privilege of pitching, writing, and developing parts of Season 2 of the web series I’m working for, which is a nice treat!
Getting experience as a Line Producer: The way I got into this job is by a referral from a teacher I took a class with. The production I’m working on is an indie project with a modest budget. They were looking for reliable interns who were open to gaining experience while contributing in a meaningful way. I got in, bust my rump, and took initiative to innovate and to fix problems without being told that they needed to be fixed. I worked super hard, was clear about what I wanted (which was more responsibility and a title), and eventually that earned me the title of Line Producer (since I was doing a Line Producer’s work anyway). This is my journey, but everyone’s journey is different!
You don’t always need a referral to get an unpaid gig, for example. If you’re in school, look through your internship office (or your fine arts department’s internship office). If you’re not in school, go visit a school that has a film department. Almost always there will be postings on the walls asking for PAs, extras, or more experienced crew for projects. Make friends with people who are on the film scene and see if you can’t go and visit a set. You can also check out craigslist.org or mandy.com for gigs that will be unpaid, low paid, or fully paid. Also, look up the local production companies in your area and ask if they need interns or volunteers! From there, it’s about applying yourself, making yourself invaluable to a production, and then asking for what you want. If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it. (This is a whole other issue that I’m sure I’ll write about in the future, so stay tuned!)
Phew! What an update. Hopefully, some of this info helped a bit. “But what about writing?!” you ask! Great question. I’m definitely still writing on spec for both the screen and the page, and I’ll update you on all of that in my next post, “Being an Aspiring Writer-Producer & The Big Bad Writing Portfolio”!
Until then, keep it indie (while looking for agents)!