How I Became A Professional Screenwriter by Christine Conradt
I had been working there and I mean it was fine, it wasn’t what my degree was in. At one point finally I thought well…I had a lot of school debt. Going to USC obviously…I think I was about $60,000 to $70,000 in debt at that point. And my executive director came to me and said “You know, we’d really love to give you your own branch. But we need a five year commitment from you to do that.” And they were going to pay me over $100,000 dollars a year and that would have been great going toward my debt. And so I said “Let me think about that.”
I went home that night and I really thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I had gone to film school and I really hadn’t given it the chance that it deserved. So I thought “Well I’m this much in debt anyway, I’m going to take the chance on being a screenwriter.” (Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Seven Days a Week by Summer Pierre
The Two Worlds Of A Young Screenwriter by Mark Sanderson
Mark Sanderson: Well, the day that I was in Variety, the headline was this new company had formed and they optioned my script and they were going to buy it and make it into their first movie. And that day in Variety I had to do a catering job at one of the biggest producer’s in Hollywood’s house. And so it was this catering company and my friend and I drove up to Beverly Hills and here we are at this giant mansion of this producer and it was a big breakfast meeting with big power players, former Prime Minister of a Middle Eastern country, (you know) security everywhere, and I was thinking “Wow? I’m in Variety today? Why should I be catering?”And also I was thinking in a way (which story is in the book) “What if this producer had rejected my screenplay?” Here I am in his house, serving him coffee, you know? So just be careful of who you disrespect on the way up or down because you just might end up in their house pouring coffee for them…(Watch the video on Youtube here).
When Is It Time To Leave A 9 To 5 Job To Be A Hollywood Screenwriter? by William C. Martell
Film Courage: You were in and out of working for Safeway with a warehouse job while writing scripts?
William C. Martell: Yes…I worked in the store for three years and then in the warehouse for years afterward.
Film Courage: When did you finally quit that job?
William C. Martell: When I sold the script to Paramount, literally. The script that got passed to the actress to all of the way through to a production company on the Paramount lot and they asked if they could fly me in and put me up in a hotel and discuss my script and I said “Yeah? I think that sounds okay.” And they bought the script. And basically I made two years of Safeway money off of that sale.
I went back and gave my 6-week notice because I was going to give a 2-week notice and they said “Look Bill, we really need you to stay for a little longer.” And I said “Okay. I could do that.” And it was in…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
The Moment My Filmmaking Dream Became A Reality
by Jay Duplass
Film Courage: Do you remember when filmmaking was no longer a dream and had become a reality for you?
Jay Duplass: I’ve had several stages of realizing that, it’s still happening. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and am like “Wow! I’m being paid to make movies. That’s a good thing.”
But honestly that one click never…there’s never really one click of the dream is now a reality and I think it really has to do with the fact that I guess I’ve always known subconsciously that it’s all about just making stuff. It’s all about just making art. And you can do that whether or not someone is paying you to do that. It’s just something that you do and I’ve always done it…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Advice To Filmmakers Who Want To Leave Their Day Job
by Hunter Weeks
Hunter Weeks: If you’re thinking about it because there are more day jobs to come. And unless we all crash (which we’ll all do together) there’s going to continue to be jobs as far as I’m concerned. If you’re a self-thinker, a self-motivator, you know, somebody who is motivated and can make stuff happen, then take your chance. Leave your day job. I think we’ll all ultimately maybe know when to go back…I hope. I say that too because I throw a little caution out there because I have had that moment back in 2008 when…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
The Day My Day Job Let Me Go by Jason Horton
Jason Horton: I wanted out so bad and I never like mindfully wanted something to end so bad and then I got laid off and I was so, so happy. But I was like [exhales] “You are really burning me here, people!” And like meanwhile I was like “I cannot wait until this is over so I can just engage everything and turn everything on.” Because I was ready to go. When that job was over, I hit the ground running and just attack, attack, attack, and create as much as possible. Because even at that time [of the job] I…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Filmmaker John Sayles on His Rejection of a Standard 9-5 Job in Order to Write
John Sayles: Well, I wouldn’t say shunned is the word…I don’t think I could have gotten a corporate job. You know, I got out of college in 1972 with a BA in psychology, which was not especially useful. I had been working summers since I was in high school just to make money so I immediately went back to what I’d done before, working in factories and hospitals. So I wasn’t actually shunning [corporate work], I just got the best job that I could. Eventually I got lucky and a couple years after I was out of college I got a union job as a meatpacker, which paid probably about four times what minimum wage back then about a $1.00 to $1.10 an hour and…(Listen to the podcast interview on Youtube here).
Most People Think You Can’t Make Money As A Creative
by Alexis Kirke
Alexis Kirke: I see frustrated creatives all the time. It seems to be symptomatic of the situation. I mean I went through that long period of trying to find how do I do this? There doesn’t seem to be a manual. Maybe there is a manual, but I read it and I didn’t listen to it. It’s really hard to take advice about this, I find (I don’t know why that is).
But yeah…I would come across people all the time [in the workplace]. I think a lot of people just think that you can’t be a creative and make a living, that you can’t make money from this. I think they divide the world, people who are frustrated creatives…I mean I’m talking about myself really. But where I was then, I kind of divided the world into the creative people who could make money from it and those like myself who were probably very talented, but for some reason couldn’t make money from it. No one understood, no one appreciated me. And I created that wall.
I think there is also a frustration because working on Wall Street, working in Artificial Intelligence, working in a tech startup, these are all defined career plans. And there were simple steps I could take which…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
It Is Possible To Be A Doctor & Full-Time Actor by Paul Sidhu
Paul Sidhu: I’m very much interested in medicine and I will always be interested in helping my patients. That’s a part of me that I signed up for when I took the Hippocratic oath, so that I won’t leave behind.
But I’m also interested in being a full-time actor. A lot of time people get confused when you tell them, how can you be a professional in one field and want to do acting? They’ll say “Okay, you’re a doctor. But you want to be an actor?” But you can be a professional in two different careers, it’s very possible. It’s just what’s called time management. That’s all it boils down to.
So I very much am pursuing a full-time career in acting but I’m not leaving medicine behind. I will still in some form run my practice and be very involved in that aspect. And I certainly believe I can do both. I’ve looked at people’s schedules, actor’s schedules and how they work….(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
8 Hours On The Grind, 8 Hours On The Passion by Christopher Miles & Angel Valerio
Christopher Miles: Everybody has their day job. Well, some people are lucky enough to have their day job actually be their passion. But for me, it’s not there yet. So I work my day job and after that (you know, the moment the clock ticks) it’s Street Films time and I do that. And I try to live by the mantra that if I’m going to put in 8 hours on the grind, I’m putting 8 hours on my passion. I live by that everyday. As a writer, I try to write a scene a day. That was my thing, if you do a scene a day, you’re going to have a script done in about two months. And I did that and that’s my thing…whether it’s a good one or not…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
How To Stop Being A Dreamer & Make Your Passion Your Life by Gary W. Goldstein
Gary W. Goldstein: It’s a matter of discipline, you hit the word. I mean there are people who are dreamers. I was a dreamer. I went to law school (in part) not because I wanted to be an attorney, but because I wanted to learn an adult language and a discipline and a framework where I could ground myself because I really was quite a dreamer and it worked. And I am very disciplined in my approach to stuff which is…you know it’s one of the great paradoxes…who wrote the book Flow and the book Creativity who talk about the 10 paradoxes of the creative personality? And one of them is that you are…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
What Caused Me To Leave My Day Job For Filmmaking by Brandon M. Freer
Brandon Freer: I mean this was the whole reason I came to LA. It was the whole reason I wanted to be in LA was to pursue a career in film and so why am I not doing it…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
The Perfect Day Job For Screenwriters by Zoran Lisinac
Zoran Lisinac: Then I started writing at my work. My uncle got me a job at a hotel in Santa Monica. I worked at the front desk since I got here and before I shot this film [ALONG THE ROADSIDE], that’s when I quit. It wasn’t like [makes middle finger gesture] “I’m going to Hollywood!” It was like a really big support of all of them there, knowing that this is coming. But I wrote all the scripts at the front desk…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Finding Self-Worth Outside The Day Job by Tennyson Stead
Film Courage: Tennyson, most people who’ve come to LA have had a humbling job or two or three. And LA is an easy place to feel humbled, have you ever been in this situation? And (if so) how did you take care of yourself, because there is a mindset that you can adopt to survive these humbling jobs?
Tennyson Stead: …At the end of the day, I need to pay the rent, I need to keep food on the table. I am…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
You Will Have 9 Careers In Your Lifetime by Adam Leipzig
Adam Leipzig: I really never counsel people to quit their jobs, especially in today’s economy [editor’s note: this video was shot in 2012]. And I think there’s a really rational model where people can have days jobs and night jobs and a job where you’re paying the rent and then you go home and do other stuff. And when I work with people who are screenwriters, they do one for them, one for me, and that way they keep their soul alive. So one big studio gig, one little movie that may never get made, but I really want to write it…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
From the American Bankers Association Foundation – Students can participate by submitting their short, up to 90 seconds, savings videos to banks in their area that host a contest. The 2017-2018 contest, open to students between the ages of 13-18, will run from Oct. 1 – Dec. 1. Thanks to this year’s generous sponsors,the Foundation will award cash prizes of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 to three national winners. No fee or purchase to enter or participate.