Certainly, writers can write anywhere, but professional screenwriters will tell aspiring screenwriters time and time again that the business of screenwriting happens in Los Angeles; ergo, if you want to have a career in screenwriting, you have to be in LA. You need to be in LA to take meetings with producers and studio executives, to network with peers and industry associates, to pitch your current and future writing projects. Or do you? As for pitches, you can easy post those online like Josh Hallman's pitch for The Abstract below. But there's a catch:
You see, while Hallman has put together a tight, pithy pitch for The Abstract online, giving producers and execs not only the concept and story but also a glimpse at who he is and what he would be like to work with on a project, Hallman also lives in Los Angeles. That means if creative execs find Hallman's online pitch and like what they see, a meeting over breakfast, lunch or coffee with this writer can happen tomorrow (assuming Hallman can clear his schedule, of course).
How long will this have to be the case, though? As the next generation of junior executives rises through the industry ranks -- a generation raised on YouTube and Skype, tweets and txt msgs -- perhaps face-to-face meetings in Los Angeles will become less important. Heck, for NFS, I've never met Koo, Joe, or any of the other contributors to this blog in person - we just talk over HipChat (although Ryan and I have spoken over the phone. Once). With virtual connections and meetings happening so much more frequently nowadays, posting a pitch for your screenplay online may be one of the best tools to promote your work. And if the pitch doesn't work, you could always post some or all of your screenplay online as a writing sample.
In all honesty, I think to become a professional screenwriter, you will need some sort of presence in Los Angeles. For most, that means living there. But for those of us who can't or choose not to live in Los Angeles, we'll eventually find ourselves there to take a meeting. If we're so lucky.
Do you have any pitches posted online? How do you think Skype, FaceTime and other online "face-to-face" communication tools impact where professional screenwriters can ultimately live? Share with us in the Comments.
[via John August]