As much as I wax poetic about decades gone by, I’m incredibly glad I live in the Digital Age. You probably are too. How else would you be reading this if it weren’t for the Internet?
Modern technology has made it possible for a screenwriter to not have to live in Los Angeles in order to have a career. Sure, you may have to to go there for meetings, but you can literally write anywhere you want. And you can do even more than that.
Another benefit has become that you can get people to notice you and your work via an online presence, or as my incredibly-talented marketing-savvy wife would say, “create your own brand”. You think you’ve got what it takes? Let’s see it in action. Put it out there for the world to see. Cliched as it sounds, the possibilities really are endless.
Most likely you’re reading this on a computer that has an abundance of tools at your disposal to produce your own material. You can make something in any number of forms – a short, a web series, etc. You can post it on YouTube, submit it to Funny or Die, even use it as a work sample or calling card.
If people like it, they’ll let you know. If that’s the case, chances are they’ll also want to see what else you’ve got. Why not build up your own arsenal of product?
Undergoing a project like this also gives you something else a lot of people may not have: experience. You think it’s easy to put together a 15-minute film? Getting the story done is just the beginning. Now you’ve got a zillion other things to worry about. Do you have the necessary equipment? Where are you going to film? Can you find the right actors? Do you need more light? The list feels endless, but the upside is that you will know what it’s like to be more than ‘just a writer’.
Don’t worry if your first efforts aren’t high-quality. Like the first draft of a script, most likely it will suck. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and more often than not, you’ll learn from your mistakes. Nobody does a phenomenal job their first time out. Like every other skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the easier it will get.
The Internet makes for an incredibly even playing field, but it’s up to you to put yourself into the game.