My question involves networking. I’m at the level where most of my trusted, objective readers agree I have a legitimate shot, but I live far from Hollywood. Time and again I hear how important it is to network to get one’s work in the hands of the industry players, but I don’t have access, being so far away (DC). Do you have any good ideas about how to make such connections apart from simply relocating to LA?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any brilliant suggestions. Outside of a few screenwriter-specific competitions, such as the Nichols Fellowship or the Austin Film Festival’s screenwriting awards, the kind of networking you’re talking about relies on some face-to-face interaction, and that’s pretty much impossible if you’re in the wrong city.
If you’re trying to make Hollywood movies, this may be the time to move to LA. If it’s independent films you aspire to, you may find just as many opportunities in New York, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco or other metropolitan cities. The Baltimore/D.C. area does have a film community (we used a crew based there for my television show), so it’s even possible you could make a movie right where you live.
But I suspect it’s big movies you’re talking about, and big movies require big money, which pretty much means LA. Some of the bigger screenwriters live outside of Southern California, but most of them started their careers here or in New York. If you’ve done everything you can in D.C., consider whether you feel ready to make the move.