I made a near-zero-budget short film to act as a calling card, a comedy entitled “Mr. Game Show.” It’s no “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker,” but I think it’s pretty funny and have gotten some good feedback on it.

One obstacle, however, is that I cannot submit it to film festivals because I don’t own rights to all the footage. So, my question: would you have any suggestions on how to get this so-called calling card “out there”?

Second, everyone’s heard of your writer’s assistants who have gone on to great success. I’ve also heard this is a great career path for television writing. Salary-wise, do these positions pay enough to be someone’s sole means of support? Or are they more like internships which pay little or nothing (aside from experience, opportunity)? In other words, would you also need a day/night job?

–Kevin
Sherman Oaks

One way to get people to see your short film is to get it mentioned on a website. So, well done.

I always applaud people with the zeal to make a short, rather that just fret about how they’re never going to get into the industry. Your short features a nice, straightforward idea, and makes smart use of today’s off-the-shelf editing technology. I hope you get good feedback from it, and hopefully some meetings.

Writer’s assistants don’t make spectacular amounts of money, but it certainly should be enough to keep a roof over your head. Obviously, you want to treat it as a learning experience, but it’s a job, too. If you’re working on a television show, you’d probably be making a fair amount of your money on overtime, because there are inevitably long hours involved. Working for a feature writer, the hours would probably more regular, because we’re so damn lazy.