Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Location! Location! Location!

I've got a question for you all: do you think location matters in your career as a writer?

I've been so conflicted about that answer. Does it help if you're a novelist to live in or near New York City? I'm sure it would help with networking, meeting editors and meeting your agent (if necessary), but I'm not sure what the other benefits are.

I'm trying to decide where to go to grad school and if I *need* to be in/near NYC.

Of course, the other side of the dilemma is that I want to do screen and TV writing and for that, LA is the coast of choice. To get staffed on a TV show, you've obviously got to live in LA and go to work every day. I've heard of freelance TV and screenwriters, but I believe it takes a person higher up in his/her career to do that kind of work.

It seems like many writers don't live in NYC and are doing quite well. I'm just very unsure as to what to do and where it would be most beneficial to live.



Erica Ridley said...

My guess is that it matters more where the agent/editor lives than where the writer does. I'd pick a college based on what university can offer you as a grad student, not as proximity to NYC/LA. (Although both are extremely cool places. *g)

Jessica Ferguson said...

It doesn't matter where you live as a novelist because you meet editors, agents and publishers at writer's conferences. If I were you I'd check out Hollins in Virginia for grad school. They boast a lot of great writers - I think Jill McCorkle? Check to see if they have a program for screenwriters. Research some of your favorite movies and screenwriters. See where the writers attended school -- if they did. Join a screenwriting group. I think RWA has an online group-are you familiar with it? Connections are really important in this business, Jess. You need to get yourself to some conferences--one that includes info on screenwriting. And if you think conferences are too expensive, check out their scholarship programs. Most of them offer scholarships. I got one once. :) Are you writing screenplays? Are you studying/reading screenplays? I've heard that you should really read a lot of them. It's just like reading a lot of novels -- we learn by reading. :) Do you have something you can pitch? Do you know how to write a treatment? I have friends who write screenplays but they're older women and that's an industry that caters to younger writers. Subscribe to the Screenwriting mags and enter their contests. I'd say you need to head West if your heart's desire is on the big screen. You can write novels anywhere. :) My 2 cents.

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

That sounds about right, Erica! :)

Hey Jess, I LOVE Hollins. I've been looking at them for some time now. I've been looking at conferences and the scholarship offers are definitely worth applying for. I'm just starting to read the "how too" screenwriting books, so I don't have a written screenplay yet, but I'm toying with ideas. I agree that networking is quite important. :) Glad you shared your thoughts.

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