I am in the business of helping people. This is what I do, every day. Some think I’m a glutton for punishment. Me? I love love love getting to help writers along their chosen path.
This is the one time, I promise, I will talk about myself. Let you know who I am, why I do what I do these days: I grew up on a movie set. My father is a film producer, and I learned filmmaking from his crew, and story from his various screenwriters who thought it endearing to humor a curious little girl. My father, however, wanted me to make a name for myself, and so I had to make my own way. I started working professionally at 17 – right out of high school – first production, then years upon years in development. Story work has taken me everywhere: North Africa, Europe, the Far East. That is, until I settled down, got married, decided to build a somewhat normal life for myself.
That was the time that ScriptShark.com came my way. I ran the industry’s leading coverage service for 6+ years, during which I launched a popular Business of Screenwriting seminar sponsored by The New York Times and in collaboration with Final Draft. I helped countless writers find representation, get writing assignments, sell and option their work. In 2012, I left the corporate world in favor of working with writers one-on-one and making the business side of screenwriting the focus of my work. Since then, I’ve amassed a client roster full of unique writers, many of whom I now consider friends: A Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated writer. WGA members. A best selling author. Novices as well as repped writers who’ve sold screenplays along their path.
As a coach, I work with each writer to help focus the trajectory of their career, set and attack strategic goals that will have push their career to the next level, be they by securing representation, landing a writing assignment, honing their brand or simply getting their script read.
I often wondered what would be the best vehicle to share with other writers out there the experiences, challenges and obstacles that my clients face every day. I believe in learning from experience, in sharing one’s trials and tribulations (anonymously, of course) so that others may learn. Which was about the time Script Magazine came my way, and offered me the opportunity to contribute columns to their vast library of really great content. What a fantastic opportunity! I could not have been more honored to be included among the renowned columnists Jeanne has brought onto this site.
As we all know, no two writers are alike, and no two career paths are the same. Each writer faces unique obstacles and challenges along their path to success. Some are plagued by personal demons; others find discipline is a challenge for them. Certain writers are great on the business front: Give them something to do, a goal to accomplish, and they are there; writing consistently and with an awareness of their own brand is what represents struggle for them. Others can write every day all day, but cower like sunflowers in darkness when business savvy is required of them. And yet some do everything right, but their career still has not taken off for them. What do you do then?
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share challenges, hurdles and questions my writers share with me every day. I hope that these real-life examples will help you as you tackle your own path to success.
Don’t miss Lee’s Live Webinar
Simple Strategies for Building a Successful Screenwriting Career on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 1:00PM.
If you cannot make the live event, as long as you sign up in advance, a recording will be emailed to you.
Tools to Help:
- Simple Strategies for Building a Successful Screenwriting Career Webinar by Lee Jessup
- Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agents Guide to Your Career
- Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing (And Not Getting Eaten)