I graduated film school. Now what the Hell am I supposed to do?

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I’m month and a half out from graduation and there’s a bit of movement. Here’s the thing: nobody tells you how to find work as a writer. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no job board for television writers. You have to FIGHT your way in. Even in our “Biz: Marketing” classes at VFS, we only ever learn about the tools you must use: your portfolio, query letters, networking, and entry-level jobs where you might get your foot in the door.

There’s a very distinct line between finding employment that does not define you as a person and finding a job as a writer (good effing luck!). As an American temporarily living in Canada, I have a slight disadvantage – a Canadian show can lose its government tax credits if it employs me. And most frustratingly, because my partner is a woman, I can’t help her obtain a visa to move to the states with me. I don’t want to leave my family up here. So until we have a game plan in place to eventually get her into the US of A, we’re both trying to stay happy in Canada without damaging either our relationship or our future careers.

(I’ll save you the rant about how discriminatory federal marriage laws – and by extension immigration laws – are to gay couples. Let’s hope there’s federal gay marriage in the next five years…)

But back to life in Canada: For the moment, I just need to pay my (now quite sizable) student loans. To that end, I’m in the training period of a phone fundraising gig. It pay slightly better than minimum wage. I might totally suck at this, but if I don’t, I tell myself it’ll be a good gig to cite when I apply for jobs rolling calls in LA production offices.

Now the more exciting news – that I’m reminding myself not to get my hopes up about – is that it seems I’m a semifinalist for the ABC/Disney Writing Program. I thought for sure I was not because a friend had heard from other applicants that they had been contacted for additional writing samples and I had not. But I guess the emails are released in waves. Luckily I had an additional spec and (most importantly) an original pilot in decent shape because you’re given less than 24 hours to email the materials. So they’re in.

And now the waiting game begins again. Hopefully, since the judges are now reading from a much smaller pool, it won’t be too long. If I don’t advance, I won’t hear from them again. If I do, I’ll be traveling to LA for an intense week and a half of interviews.

Cross your fingers for me, friends! If there were as many applicants this year as there were last year (1800+), I have an 1:225 shot of making it to the final 8. If that happens, au revoir Canada. The girlfriend and dog will have to trail me by a few months – hopefully not much longer.

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5 thoughts on “I graduated film school. Now what the Hell am I supposed to do?

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed, excuse the typoes 😉
    Don’t let numbers run you down. People do get in so the odds worked for them, why not you? Look back and see what you’ve accomplished, the strokes of luck you had in the past, sometimes long shots. You’ll make it.
    As for discriminatory federal laws, visas and long distance, feel your pain. My girlfriend may get a job with the UN and New York-Paris… I’d rather not think about it yet.
    Let’s all hope it changes soon. In the meantime, I’m rooting for her, and for you.

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