Top 5 Picks for Video Editing

We’ve heard of men behind the scenes for years. Now women are becoming less afraid to try their hand editing. We are giving our top 5 resources for any stage you are in as an editor.


Premiere Pro     Price Point 19.99/mo

(You can no longer purchase Premiere Pro outright; you must buy a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud)

All programs have timelines, media bins and a multitude of tools that enable you to perform advanced alterations, adjustments and outright transformations of raw video, audio and image files. If you are graduating from the consumer level there is no better professional editor to start on.

One of the new features in Premiere Pro synchronizes audio and video automatically creating a new unified media clip in your bin that has the audio and video aligned.


Final cut Pro       Price Point 299.99

*Only available for the most recent versions of Apple’s OS X operating system

This editing software is good for both new and veteran editors.

If you are working on a complex project like a music video or a feature, you’re going to have a lot of media elements to work with. Final Cut makes the process of organizing all of your media as easy as possible with what Apple calls smart collections.

This feature enables you to use custom keyword to automatically sort your footage.


Media Composer 8         Price Point $359.88

Media Composer is a complicated application that will stump the unskilled editor. This application is a beat both to understand and to operate correctly. It can take years of training and experience before any individual editor can realize the full potential of the program. If you are an amateur editor this isn’t your cup of tea.

However, if you want to train to be a professional video editor then this is the application to do it on.


Lightworks 11.5                Price Point 299.88

It is missing some features such as the ability to create closed captions. However it’s the only program professional video editing software that is available on all major operating systems. The application itself is quite light weight. A full installation only requires 200 MB of storage space. This is a small fraction of the storage requirements of the top tier applications. Meaning you can install and run this application on even the most inexpensive of laptops.


Cyber Link          Price Point 49.99

This program helps beginners learn the basics of video editing without sacrificing the needs of more advanced users. However, there is no Mac version of this software Apple users would be well served by having an alternative to iMovie.

This editing software offers three main ways to create your video projects. You can use the Full Feature Editor, which is the familiar timeline, or storyboard. But in case you’re not ready to handle all the responsibility on your own there’s also a simplified editor that automatically creates a video for you in just minutes. Additionally, you can use the Express Project module that allows you to fill in preprogrammed templates with your own content, which teaches you how to use the Full Feature Editor.


Shivawn Hill, is a writer, wander, and visual storyteller at heart. She’s currently in production with her short documentary film, Lifting Crowns. She believes that one day soon she’ll form the ultimate group of storytellers who will travel the world to share the stories of creative peculiar people. Come and hang out with her on Instagram



Script Writing Software: The top 5 for Any Stage Writer

You’ve stepped into the world of filmmaking and decided to get serious about your craft as a screenwriter. You kind of know something about formatting but the longer you read books about it you creep into a foggy haze of formatting land leaving your creativity behind in the dust. Don’t worry we have compiled a list of five different screenwriting software that you can use so you can pick back up into your rhythm as a writer.



Celtx Plus            Price Point $0.00 – $19.99 a month            The Best for Beginners

Celtx Plus is full-featured screenwriting software that works for more than just screenplays. This application has the ability to format stage plays, AV scripts, audio plays, comic books and novels. The program provides automatic formatting as you write and saves your characters.

The menu includes tutorials that guide you through writing your scenes. Also includes index card view which reminds you of important points in your screenplay and character attributes.


Final Draft           Price Point 199.00                                            Working Screenwriters

Final Draft is simple, powerful screenwriting software that is the industry standard for professional screenwriters. Final Draft formats your words into Hollywood’s rigid screenplay standard, including font, margins and abbreviations.

Beyond movies, helpful for directors, writer’s assistants, playwrights and even marketers creating a video to sell a product. You have the ability to collaborate more than one writer can work as a unit.

It also tracks all the revisions that occur over time. So if a line has been changed you can search the history and find out who made the change.


Movie Magic Screenwriter          Price Point $119.00

Movie Magic Screenwriter is officially endorsed by the Writers Guild of America East. The software automatically formats your script to industry standards. It supports Screenwriter’s Notes, which is an index card mode of organizing scenes

Note tools allow you to jot down distracting ideas that pop in your head. An outline view helps you keep track of characters and scenes. You can create production tracking and breakdown reports for various crew members to use with scheduling, budgeting.


Movie Outline                                 Price Point $144.95

Movie Outline is screenwriting software that was developed by a produced screenwriter. It is a full featured screenwriting programs that helps you develop your characters and storyline while writing your script (in Hollywood standards).

However, the number of features and tools can be overwhelming for the screenwriter just starting out.


Writer Duet       Price Point     Pro 7.99 a month/139.00 Lifetime Screencraft 99.00 a year/199.00 lifetime

Created by writers for writers. The main page formats your script according to industry standards and includes additional windows for scene cards and messaging.

You can log into the program on a browser and write together in real time. You can all write questions or comments in the messaging feature to clear up any concerns.

You can export your writing in writer duet to final draft, Celtx and other screenwriting programs.


Honorable Mention

Amazon Storywriter                                 Price Point FREE

Amazon Storywriter automatically formats your screenplay as you type, so you can focus on the story and skip the busywork. You can maximize your productivity by using the installable app when you are off the grid. Sync your work easily to the cloud when you’re back online.

Once you finish your script you can submit it directly to Amazon from Storywriter through Amazon Studios’ open-door process to be considered for their development slate.



bioadultpic  Shivawn Hill, co-founder of the creative outsiders is currently in post-production with her short documentary film, Lifting Crowns. She looks forward to the day when she has a team that can help her tell stories of creative peculiar people. You can follow her on INSTAGRAM or catch her wandering around Virginia snapping pictures of building art.

Interview with film Producer: Rhema Marthalia

I am Rhema Marthalia, 17 years old from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am currently finishing my diploma program at International Design School, taking Digital Film and Media Production as my major. Before I went to Design School, I literally had zero knowledge about the film industry. However, my passion about the film industry now have extended to producing, editing, directing, and motion graphic.

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How did producing come about for you?


For me, producing something (not just film) is all about managing. Managing your time, managing your colleagues, or crew in film industry, and also managing your money. Inside the production, there are two sides which need to be balanced throughout the whole process, creative side and logical/realist side. I myself have a tendency to work with my left-brain (logical brain) since I was a little. Before I studied film, I thought I could not fit in with this industry, because it is full of creative people. Later on, I realized that my thoughts were wrong – my lecturers and my friends said that they really need someone like me to manage their works, not to brag or anything, but that happened. So, I think producing is all about managing and collaborating with different kinds of perspectives.


Tell us, what does producing really consist of?

Well basically, producing in producer’s eyes is about managing every process until the product is finished and corresponding to the concept we have planned from the beginning. In pre-production, we manage our concept so it still fits the budget that we have. We prepare everything needed for the production day as what the director wants. Although we do assign people to be the heads of every department, but we always need to control everything. As a producer, you just keep doing that, plan for meetings, previews, and also collaborate with the marketing department for the distribution plan.



Why do you make films?

This is probably the simplest reason why people make films. I love making videos. I think everyone watch videos nowadays and it affect them somehow. Mindsets are changing, lifestyles are changing. The whole world can change with just a simple video that went viral (thank the internet for that). From the beginning I thought that in this era, the most influential media is through videos and films. At this point, I feel like films need to spread good messages to its audience. We can give a good impact to people’s lives through films we produce.




What criteria do you use to select a script, screenwriter, director etc.?


The main thing I consider when I choose scripts or the crews is: does it suit my vision as a filmmaker? If it suits, then I consider: the originality of their works and how much will the market and audience love this movie. The ideal thing is to balance between the idealist and the commercial views.


What is a successful moment in your career so far?

My successful moment is probably when I became the head producer in this big collaboration project. We had this collaboration project between Design, Animation, and Film students. Long story short, we produced a YouTube drama mini-series called Menembus Waktu. It was the most tiring production ever because I was the head representative, so I managed all the production of these three episodes. When we conducted gala screening for the series, the audiences were so happy and the head manager of film major just said “It is successful, you did a great job.” That was the best feeling ever! 


What advice would you give to women filmmakers embarking on making their first film?


I would say that being women filmmakers are not easy, that is the truth. Many people are going to be unsure with your work and some people still think that women cannot make films. But as long as you have a strong will to do this and keep your passion stay on fire, you can break any gender roles.

If you need to raise funds for your first feature, simply just learn to pitch, have that charisma that make people interested in you and your works. Show your personality, show what you are really passionate about, show your originality, and show your best feature. To raise fund for your works, you need to sell yourself first.



What advice could offer to female filmmakers who’ve made shorts and are embarking on getting their first feature produced?


For short filmmakers who want to produce a feature, do not get nervous. Everybody has this moment where they do something for the first time and does not know if it is going to work or not. Let me say this, just do it. It is just another project with bigger scale that means you have achieved the next level. Whatever the results, be grateful, because you have done the next step that other people have not done yet.



What’s next for you?


For now I am continuing my YouTube, doing a lot of projects for festivals or competitions, taking freelance editing or motion graphic job.


How can we keep up with you?


2nd YouTube channel 




E-mail :
bioadultpic     Shivawn Hill, is a writer, wander, and visual storyteller at heart. She’s currently in production with her short documentary film, Lifting Crowns. She believes that one day soon she’ll form the ultimate group of storytellers who will travel the world to share the stories of creative peculiar people. Come and hang out with her on Instagram.


The Women Filmmakers Who Crowd Fund & Win Big



The Women Filmmakers Who Crowd Fund & Win Big


Crowd funding is moving and shaking its way into the film world as a viable alternative to securing the money needed to either complete, launch, or make a film from start to finish all together.

It’s also scary as hell for filmmakers. We’re artists.

Asking for money feels uncomfortable for many of us.

And because of that fear or the anxiety around asking for money, far too many indie films are not being made or finished.

However, as an aspiring producer and published writer, I am interested in discovering the films created by women who have succeeded in the crowd funding world.

Therefore, this monthly segment in 2017 is aptly titled,

The Women Who Crowd Fund & Win

To start off the year I am highlighting four films by women who recently had successful crowd funding campaigns.


First Up:


We Do What We Can – Narrative drama feature

Location: London, UK

Woman Crew:

Kwaku, Writer/Director

Nathalie Pitters, Director of Photography

Cassandra Rutledge, Sound Engineer

Max Ross, Producer

GOAL: $2,500 RECEIVED: $4,373


Film Overview: Family drama about a young family’s struggle to survive.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They shared a compelling personal story-

Kwaku, the Writer/Director shared how she had been wanting to make a film ever since she finished film school, which was ten years ago. She highlighted how life got in the way of pursuing her art and how she even went on to work in law and finance after film school.

They provided a spot on break down of what the money that they raise will be used for, from color grading, to sound, to festival submission fees.

They asked everyone on their donation page to at least share it on social media, even if they could not afford to donate.

Kickstarter selected them as a “PROJECT WE LOVE” pick on day 2 of their campaign, which more and likely contributed to their visibility within the Kickstarter ecosystem.

Second Up:


Choice In RecoveryDocumentary short

Location: Denver, CO

Woman Crew:

Irina Bogomolova, Director/Producer

GOAL: $3,600 RECEIVED: $4,100


Film Overview: Touches on how those that suffer from substance abuse can explore diverse recovery options in Colorado.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They presented their case for pulling back the layers on their subject matter very well. They informed readers on their campaign page about the issue with examples. They incorporated strong call-to-actions about the issue to inspire people to become emotionally motivated to support their film. In essence, they used a refreshing social responsibility angle to provoke support.

They shared several photo stills/frames from their panel discussions. This more and likely also played a part in capturing interest from viewers.

They were most successful at getting 114 people to donate $100 each. This was very impressive to me. I couldn’t discern if this was from sheer exposure within Kickstarter or if they were able to garner this support from personal connections within their network, but either way, it made their campaign feel in-demand and worth the investment.

Third In Line:


CYCLE Narrative drama short

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Woman Crew:

Leah Bleich, Producer

Nicole Johal, Director

Olivia Lucero, Director of Photography

Quinnoly Benson, Screenwriter

GOAL: $6,000 RECEIVED: $6,182


Film Overview: The film follows the journey of a young woman that is found unconscious in the middle of the city by a man that can only speak Spanish who takes her to the local hospital on his bike and the challenges their endure along the way.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They provided wonderful incentives for $50 donations. In total, they received 22 donations at this level, which was their highest count in their tiered donation categories. The perks at that level included; digital download of the film, a ticket to the premiere, a movie poster of the film, and a personalized shout out on all of their social media pages.

Another exciting perk in their campaign was that at the $200 donation level a donor would receive the title of Associate Producer and at the $400 donation level the donor would be given the title of Executive Producer. They received 6 donations at the $200 level and 1 donation at the $400 level.

Last but not least:


Clara’s Closet Documentary feature

Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut

Woman Crew:

Bridley Elliott, Writer/Director

Sarah Windshall, Producer

GOAL: $30K RECEIVED: $33,790


Film Overview: Elliot films her showbiz family and uncovers their dysfunction and off beat appeal.

SIGNS OF SUCCESS: (how they did it)

They used humor and quirkiness throughout their pledge page to engage page viewers and inspire them to donate.

They kept their donors in the loop with weekly updates and even shared other films worth donating to on Kickstarter. The use of paying it forward and altruism worked to their advantage ultimately.


Share your personal story as a filmmaker on your pledge page.

Be extremely transparent. Break down what raised funds will cover.

Use humor where you can in your pledge page.

Pay it forward. Share the work of others in film.

Update supporters and donors often on the crowd funding platform you use as well as on social media and in email marketing.

Create relevant perks and incentives.


If you are a 1st time filmmaker, let viewers know. Allow your passion for your new career as a woman filmmaker to serve as a place of inspiration for potential donors.

Make your campaign funds be to primarily cover 1-2 core areas. Share WHY those areas need funding and the effect they will have on your film once there are funded. Think about showing RESULTS.

Find ways to be memorable such as sharing funny lines from the film and behind the scenes photos. People resonate with glimpses of real life and candid humor. Use that to your advantage in your crowd funding.

Share three films that are in the early stages of their campaign with your followers on social media.

Decide before going live with your campaign how often you will share fund raising updates with your supporters (weekly, daily, at milestones, etc.).

Overall, these four films succeeded for the most part because they were strategic and passionate about raising awareness for their film. Of course luck played a part to a degree but storytelling was at the heart of their campaigns.

I walked away feeling as if they were all confident that they would succeed. They did not use a passive voice when it came to explicitly sharing why they were fund raising and how much they needed.

Having a plan of action and infusing authenticity into your actual pledge page will take your crowd funding campaign a long way.

Remember: if they can do it, so can you!

fotor_148432643971353 CJ Childress is a business writer & aspiring film producer. She works with social ventures, non profits, and change agents to tell their stories RIGHT! Currently, she is learning as much as she can about producing films while writing books in her spare time. Cinematography fascinates her and she’s not a half bad photographer. You can say “What Up” to her on Instagram. 













101 Greatest Screenplays


The Writers Guild of America West


  1. CASABLANCA Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch.
  2. THE GODFATHER Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola
  3. CHINATOWN Written by Robert Towne
  4. CITIZEN KANE Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles
  5. ALL ABOUT EVE Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
  6. ANNIE HALL Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman
  7. SUNSET BLVD. Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.
  8. NETWORK Written by Paddy Chayefsky
  9. SOME LIKE IT HOT Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond.
  10. THE GODFATHER II Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo.
  11. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID Written by William Goldman
  12. DR. STRANGELOVE Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern.
  13. THE GRADUATE Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.
  14. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson.
  15. THE APARTMENT Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
  16. PULP FICTION Written by Quentin Tarantino.
  17. TOOTSIE Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal.
  18. ON THE WATERFRONT Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg.
  19. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Screenplay by Horton Foote.
  20. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra.
  21. NORTH BY NORTHWEST Written by Ernest Lehman
  22. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION Screenplay by Frank Darabont.
  23. GONE WITH THE WIND Screenplay by Sidney Howard.
  24. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman.
  25. THE WIZARD OF OZ Screenplay by Noel Langley and Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf
  26. DOUBLE INDEMNITY Screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler.
  27. GROUNDHOG DAY Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis.
  28. 28. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
  29. SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS Written by Preston Sturges
  30. UNFORGIVEN Written by David Webb Peoples
  31. HIS GIRL FRIDAY Screenplay by Charles Lederer.
  32. FARGO Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  33. THE THIRD MAN Screenplay by Graham Greene.
  34. THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS Screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman
  35. THE USUAL SUSPECTS Written by Christopher McQuarrie
  36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY Screenplay by Waldo Salt.
  37. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart.
  38. AMERICAN BEAUTY Written by Alan Ball
  39. THE STING Written by David S. Ward
  40. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY Written by Nora Ephron
  41. GOODFELLAS Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese.
  42. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan.
  43. TAXI DRIVER Written by Paul Schrader
  44. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood.
  45. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST Screenplay by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman.
  46. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE Screenplay by John Huston.
  47. THE MALTESE FALCON Screenplay by John Huston.
  48. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI Screenplay by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson.
  49. SCHINDLER’S LIST Screenplay by Steven Zaillian.
  50. THE SIXTH SENSE Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  51. BROADCAST NEWS Written by James L. Brooks
  52. THE LADY EVE Screenplay by Preston Sturges.
  53. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN Screenplay by William Goldman.
  54. MANHATTAN Written by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman
  55. APOCALYPSE NOW Written by John Milius and Francis Coppola.
  56. BACK TO THE FUTURE Written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
  57. CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Written by Woody Allen
  58. ORDINARY PEOPLE Screenplay by Alvin Sargent.
  59. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT Screenplay by Robert Riskin.
  60. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL Screenplay by Brian Helgeland & Curtis Hanson.
  61. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Screenplay by Ted Tally.
  62. MOONSTRUCK Written by John Patrick Shanley
  63. JAWS Screenplay by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb.
  64. TERMS OF ENDEARMENT Screenplay by James L. Brooks.
  65. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN Screen Story and Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green.
  66. JERRY MAGUIRE Written by Cameron Crowe
  67. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL Written by Melissa Mathison
  68. STAR WARS Written by George Lucas
  69. DOG DAY AFTERNOON Screenplay by Frank Pierson.
  70. THE AFRICAN QUEEN Screenplay by James Agee and John Huston.
  71. THE LION IN WINTER Screenplay by James Goldman.
  72. 72. THELMA & LOUISE Written by Callie Khouri
  73. AMADEUS Screenplay by Peter Shaffer.
  74. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH Written by Charlie Kaufman
  75. HIGH NOON Screenplay by Carl Foreman.
  76. RAGING BULL Screenplay by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin.
  77. ADAPTATION Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman.
  78. ROCKY Written by Sylvester Stallone
  79. THE PRODUCERS Written by Mel Brooks
  80. WITNESS Screenplay by Earl W. Wallace & William Kelley.
  81. BEING THERE Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski.
  82. COOL HAND LUKE Screenplay by Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson.
  83. REAR WINDOW Screenplay by John Michael Hayes.
  84. THE PRINCESS BRIDE Screenplay by William Goldman. Based on his novel
  85. LA GRANDE ILLUSION Written by Jean Renoir and Charles Spaak
  86. HAROLD & MAUDE Written by Colin Higgins
  87. 8 1/2 Screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rond.
  88. FIELD OF DREAMS Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson.
  89. FORREST GUMP Screenplay by Eric Roth.
  90. SIDEWAYS Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor.
  91. THE VERDICT Screenplay by David Mamet.
  92. PSYCHO Screenplay by Joseph Stefano.
  93. DO THE RIGHT THING Written by Spike Lee
  94. PATTON Screen Story and Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North.
  95. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS Written by Woody Allen
  96. THE HUSTLER Screenplay by Sidney Carroll & Robert Rossen.
  97. THE SEARCHERS Screenplay by Frank S. Nugent.
  98. THE GRAPES OF WRATH Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson.
  99. THE WILD BUNCH Screenplay by Walon Green and Sam Peckinpah.
  100. MEMENTO Screenplay by Christopher Nolan.
  101. NOTORIOUS Written by Ben Hecht

If  you haven’t already committed to reading the Top 101 screenplays, now is the time to get started. You can visit or Go into the story  to access many of the above listed screenplays.

Shivawn Hill is a writer, wander, and visual storyteller at heart. She’s currently in production with her short documentary film, Lifting Crowns. She believes that one day soon she’ll form the ultimate group of storyteller who will travel the world to tell the stories of creative peculiar people. You can come hang with her on Instagram.


Building Your Screenwriting Muscle with Samantha Wilson 

Tell us who Sam is? Why screenwriting?

I’m a current script reader and former agency assistant. I’ve always been interested in the arts from a young age and that kind of morphed into screenwriting around college.

I started Any Possibility in January 2016 to explore how screenwriters were getting their first big break. It’s such a nonlinear path that I became really invested in discovering the different approaches. Because I had friends and acquaintances who were making their first giant career advancement in film and television, those interviews became great learning opportunities.

Any Possibility grew into a platform to talk and share about how the industry works. Because I’m still in the trenches, too. And it can be so frustrating, grueling, and challenging to figure it out on your own. I want people have access to information that I didn’t have when I first moved out to Los Angeles – things I wish were talked about more. Information is a great equalizer and tool to make smart, educated decisions about your writing career.

You took the leap after college and went to Hollywood, where you soon became an assistant. For those who aren’t clear on what an assistant is please clarify and what are the duties of an assistant. In addition, what was the most valuable lesson you learned during your 3 years as an assistant?

I had a really roundabout way of becoming an assistant. I interned after I graduated because I moved to Los Angeles without really knowing what to do. Going to school meant I knew how to use camera equipment and how to write, but it did very little in helping me figure out what to do once I graduated. I knew I wanted to write, but at no point had I been prepped on the real-world application of that. I wish I could say my experience is unique in that, but so many people have the same problem.

I feel like the resources that are available now weren’t around 5 or 6 years ago. In that respect, it’s a great time to be able to research and understand what you can do and what you need to be doing! For me, it was complete trial and error. I interned trying to get experience because a lot of entry-level jobs required it. I knew quickly that I really wanted to work in literary management, which was actually a bit of a problem because it was one of the hardest jobs to get. That led me to make a few beginner mistakes. I’ll explain…

Take any assistant job that you can get. An assistant job is basically working for an agent, producer, manager, or executive in Hollywood. You do administrative work, act as your bosses third arm, and multi-task like crazy. What it really becomes is an opportunity to learn firsthand how the industry works.

You’d be surprised how far understanding the etiquette, workflow, and language of the industry gets you. It was also an opportunity to network with other assistants. Maybe to put it into perspective, think of it as the assistants you meet now become executives in five years. The things about building up your early career and relationships is that none of it comes quickly. It takes years of establishing genuine relationships, helping others, asking for nothing, and working hard to show people what you can do. Time is a big factor. No one wants it to take so much time, but it does. We always hear the story of the overnight success and want that over route that takes a lot of persistence.

And really, being an assistant isn’t the only way to enter the industry, but it’s great start if you know no one and are choosing something to do on the side while you write.

How did you land the job of being an assistant? What was that process like?

It was unusually hard because I wasn’t flexible. I should have been, but I didn’t know any better. What I mean by that is, I really wanted to work in literary and that was the only interest I had. Because of that, it took me longer to find and interview for those jobs. Months. I turned down great opportunities that were at great companies because in my mind, I was like well I don’t want to be xyz, I want to be a writer.

If I would have just gotten any job, anywhere, I could have had a full year of assistant experience under my belt to finally get the job I wanted rather than holding out. After a certain point, I stopped holding out for what I wanted and took a job as a receptionist because A. I needed money to pay rent and B. I didn’t want to commit to a job that would keep me somewhere I didn’t want to be.

Again, I didn’t really understand the time factor. To me it was like, why would I take a job that I don’t even really want to do. There was so much hesitation on that point. So much. I think my point is that, it’s okay to take a job and learn the skill set and then plan for your transition. You will be required to stay at a desk for a year to a year and a half. In your early 20s, that may seem like FOREVER. It’s not. It’s what you do during that time that matters. You get in where you get in. Apply using Entertainment Careers. The UTA joblist. Word-of-mouth. Whatever is accessible. Then make that year about utilizing your position. Get networking drinks with all of your peers. Force yourself to write at night. Be great at your job. Because the assistant job is grueling and you can get lost really easily – you stop writing because you’re so tired after a 10-hour day of high pressure. It’s creatively unfulfilling. It can be so, so easy to lose your way, but you do it to make connections and gain a skill set that will be incredibly valuable throughout your career.

For a screenwriter who isn’t necessarily in Hollywood, what are five steps they can take to launch their screenwriting career in the right direction?

1. Number one would be to write. Writer’s seem to forget that. Don’t write one thing. Keep writing. I’ve seen people break in from out of state and they only had that one script, then they get their chance. They get agents, producers are interested. And then, guess what? They don’t have another script, so all this momentum has built around them, and they have nothing to follow it up with. Then your agents lose interest because they have nothing to sell. The industry forgets you and moves on. Some of those people have never recovered that immediate success. I’m not saying you shouldn’t perfect your script. Yes! Perfect everything. But keep writing new material too.

2. Another thing is contests. I read for contests. Competitions are a great way to get your foot in the door if you aren’t in Los Angeles because your script can speak for itself. Write something that really resonates universally, and it will do well. That really requires you to be the best at your craft. You can’t just be good. You have to be great.

3. Build up your network online. Talk to people. Interact with your favorite writers and showrunners on Twitter. Join the Reddit community. Find Facebook groups to connect to people. Don’t cross the stalker line, but build authentic interactions. Be real. Be yourself.

4. Make your scripts into short films, web series, and movies. Actually, become a creator. That has a lot of stock these days. Sometimes we can’t seem to get over the barrier of sucking. Your first short film might be a terrible piece of trash. That’s amazing! You made a short film. Get better. Keep getting better. I’ve seen crappy cartoonists, bad writers, and filmmakers who make real garbage their first go-around, but you know what? They don’t give up. You can usually see the seed of a good idea in what they are doing. And after a year or two, they get good. And then they get great. That’s why I love the Ira Glass speech on The Gap.

5. Be patient and persistent. Not complacent. Know that things can take time. If they don’t, then great! I love not having to wait. But a great portion of the people I know who write on TV shows and movies got their break in their 30s. Yes, their 30s. I know one major exception, who combined hard work with a mentorship from a showrunner right out of college. She’s built her career in TV and has sold shows and movies. Prepare for everything. Be prepared. Write.

It is suggested that screenwriters read scripts often why is this beneficial and what 3 scripts do you suggest we read?

Reading scripts subconsciously trains you in story structure, cadence, plot and character development. You start to understand the way a story works and how to push the rules. I suggest that you read three scripts in the tone and genre of what you’re working on right now. Pick one genre, or “brand.” Seriously anything. BUT don’t pick a script by an “auteur.” What I mean by that is that auteurs are not examples of standard scripting. Maybe you want to be an auteur or filmmaker. That’s perfectly fine. They often finance and make their own films rather than work inside the industry. There’s a difference. I would never advise anyone to read a Tarantino script and go, “well, he did it this way, so I can.” That’s probably not going to fly because it can be completely dependent on acting and directing, which a script on its own is not a sample of. It’s a writing sample, unless, again, you’re making it yourself (that always changes the rules).

What services do you offer screenwriters?

I offer a ton of free resources in my resource library on Any Possibility, like workbooks, checklists, prompts and more. I want to help people focus and treat themselves like their own business. You have to create a product, market it, sell yourself, and keep your own hours. It’s so much work!

I also recently launched a paid e-course called Crushing Competition Season to help people prep for contests using my insider knowledge as a script reader and experience sifting through the other side as a writer. In the future, I want to create more courses to focus on the beginning level steps of entering and even working in the industry.

What groups, or organization should a screenwriter be a part of?

Find your alumni network, JHRTS, Women in Film, Film Independent, etc… Also volunteer if you’re in Los Angeles. If you’re out of town, try a film festival or cool and reputable workshop. There is a lot out there.

What’s next for you?

Last year was the first time I put my writing out there; up until then, I was too terrified. I had a script make quarterfinals in three contests, and that gave me a little hope – a refuel maybe. Like, okay I can do this. And because I read so many scripts for work, I knew exactly why my screenplay advanced the way it did and how to move forward with my writing for next time. So, I’m working on new material and pushing forward.

Any Possibility helps motivate me, too. I love connecting with people and creating focus. So, I want to keep expanding the free and paid content I offer to help eliminate the struggle of starting out that a lot of people run into. It’s really hard to go after your dream. Most people give up. We’re afraid of failure. It’s so human. You’re not alone.

How do we keep in touch? 

Any Possibility