I’m vowing to really get going with my writing. I want to push my career as a writer forward. I’ve gotten several television and film scripts in good shape. Now it’s a matter of getting them out into the world in spite of the Catch-22 that producers don’t want to read material from writers who don’t have an agent and agents don’t want to read material from writers who haven’t produced any work yet.
Yikes! What’s an aspiring writer to do?
In the past I wrote lots of letters and made lots of cold calls. I had some success because I did get a few agents to read my work and did get invited to pitch for a top sitcom, but that was years ago in the ’90s pre-Internet and pre-social media. Things are different now the Catch 22 remains.
I have gotten invited to pitch to producers via Act One’s Upfront program and will submit again once they open up submissions.
I’ve also entered contests, but there are few for television writers. I’ve written some producers and sometimes it’s hard to find the addresses of producers, who do want to limit submissions. One thing I’m glad I did was use my local library to get some addresses. They were able in a few hours to get the address for Reese Witherspoon’s company, Hello Sunshine, and to PBS. Their help saved me from wasting further time. Hello Sunshine, while incorporated, just didn’t show up in any business directories I had access to. So I’m grateful for the librarian who found something I couldn’t.
In addition to writing to producers who seem like a good match, I’m going to start writing a play. Tonight I’ll start an online course on Playwriting given by the Chicago Dramatists’ Workshop. My subject is a vibrant character from Chicago’s 19th century history.
Since I always try to keep my eyes open for new opportunities, I don’t feel like it’s been ages since I’ve looked for a job, but this fall it sure feels like I’ve entered a new era.
When looking for jobs teaching English I rely on my network and two websites, tesol.org and chroniclevitae.com. These two sites have the better jobs. Dave’s ESL Café tends to have poor search filters and worse yet any fly-by-night English school can and does place ads there. I found the dreadful job at KNUE in Miho, South Korea on Dave’s.
This time around I’m branching out. I’m looking for jobs on library websites, which has been straightforward and I’m also using new services like Ziprecruiter.com. So far Ziprecruiter has been the best of the new internet services. Once you set up an account, you get suggested jobs that align with your skills, interests, education and experience. It’s quite tailored and several jobs have “One-Click” applications. Once you’ve applied, you receive emails about when the employer looks at your application and if they look two or three times. Each time the email tells you something like “only 17% of resumes are looked at three times,” which is encouraging.
I’m also testing out Handshake, which University of Illinois offers. Those jobs are relevant to my degree in Library Science. Handshake offers posts on other professions too.
Some other sites like Localwise.com clog your email with lots of unrelated jobs. For example I’ve gotten jobs connected to engineering or physics, areas I have no expertise in at all. Even worse, they sell your email address to anyone so I’ve gotten emails about “opportunities” to sell life insurance. So you have to be leery unless you want to spend your days unsubscribing to spam.
I’m taking a Project Management course for my library degree. We’ve learned about the agile project management approach called “scrum,” which is featured in the video above. Scrum is a very quick and dirty way of fostering accountability and addressing change within a group.
On Saturday I was surprised to hear about this Ted Talk where Bruce Feiler describes how by using scrum through short family meetings, empowering children and sharing family stories (the latter isn’t scrum) can make families healthier.