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Monday, March 30, 2009

Networking in Los Angeles

Good morning, Wavers! A Rouge Waver (we'll call him Pete) wrote in and asked, having just moved to Los Angeles, how on earth to meet other screenwriters and get that networking and socializing started from the ground up.

One can't exactly walk into a cafe frequented by writers and stare meaningfully at those writers and make small clicking noises until they look up, catch your gaze and become your new best friend, mentor and super-connection. Well I mean, one could do that but then you'd wind up like my friend Bob, who got a restraining order and permanent ban from the cafe.

First of all, Pete, moving to Los Angeles to further your screenwriting career was a very smart move. So congratulations on your ability to make that happen. There's no silver bullet, of course, you are going to have to be very proactive if you want to meet and get to know other screenwriters and industry types. But here are some resources that might be helpful:

Find your local LA screenwriting Meetup Group.

Check out special screenings and events sponsored by the American Cinemateque.

Contact Marc Zicree's Super Mentor Group for classes and/or admission to Marc's renowned networking group, The Table, which meets each Thursday evening in Toluca Lake.

Check out the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. They have great classes, some of which might be right up your alley - a two day weekend intensive. Classes are always a great way to meet other writers.

The Script Department will be offering weekend classes in the next few weeks and months so stay tuned in to the Rouge Wave for those announcements - but in the interim, there are two back-to-back table reads coming up, April 1st and April 8th at the Attic Theater at 7:30pm.

And this last tip comes with a caveat. The Done Deal Message Board, largely populated by temperamental blow-hards but sometimes frequented by actual nice, intelligent people, does have members who live in the Los Angeles area so you might want to gingerly check there. Again, a caveat: Message boards are generally replete with Anonymous Hostility and Heartfelt Disinformation so go to there with great caution.

So there you go, Pete, that's about as much as I can tell you. Give it some time, put yourself out there, take some weekend classes and read the LA Weekly for events and screenings to attend.

If any Angeleno Wavers have other or more suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.

Good luck, Pete. And welcome to LA. If I find you making small clicking noises at a cafe I'm going to have to intervene. Just FYI.


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5 comments:

Trina0623 said...

Another idea is to participate in contests like the 24-hour film race (filmracing.com) and the 48-hour film race. I've found it to be great fun, exercising your skills, and networking at the same time.

If you have time, you could even hook up with student/indie film projects that are looking for volunteers. A quick search on Craig's List - under volunteer, gigs (crew), and/or tv/film/video jobs sections - reveals numerous opportunities.

You could be a PA or maybe you have other skills too - editing, acting, hair dresser, boom operator, assistant director, etc. Better than laying around the house on the weekend with nothing to do.

You could also volunteer at film festivals, various other film related events, or even any cause that is near and dear to your heart. There are bound to be others there who are either in the biz or want to be in the biz. It's also just a good way to make new friends in a strange city.

Good luck!

P.S. - Julie, would you have any ideas for those of us living outside of LA to network with people in LA?

Trina0623 said...

Just remembered another idea:
take classes in acting and/or improv (if & when you can afford it). This is dual purpose -- not only to meet other creative people-who-know-people, but I have taken both those classes and they have informed my writing.

Hugo said...

I'm a member on the DDP board and have had no poblems with anyone. Granted, there are a few people who have a tendency to get in arguments, but there are also produced screenwriters who frequent the boards too.

Also, people wouldn't purposefully spread disinformation there. And if they did, those people are few and far between.

You just have to take everything at face value and take any not consider advice as tried and true.

But all in all, the DDP is not populated by blowhards. Well, there are certainly a few. But there are also a great deal of legit peeps there too.

But I digress...

Julie Gray said...

@Trina - GREAT suggestions!

@Hugo - DDP blows hot and cold. There are waves of troublemakers who come and go. Nice people too, yes. Disinformation is never on purpose, it's just not grounded in real world experiences. And it's not the only message board with issues; TriggerStreet can be very brutal. Anytime you interact with anonymous folks on the intertubes, you are best advised to use caution.

Christian M. Howell said...

Well, there's the Screenplay Lab by Robin Rowe (www.screenplaylab.com).

There's the Script Writer's Network (www.scriptwritersnetwork.org/swn/)