First Person

The 4-hour Staffing Season

Today’s First Person comes from Daniel Thomsen, a television writer who’s worked on staff at Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and Melrose Place.

From Greenlight back to page one

Today’s First Person demonstrates an important point: you can’t pick the single moment at which you’ve “made it.”

Transitioning from comics to TV

Jay Faerber is trying to transition from writing comics to writing TV, and is doing so with the help of the Warner Bros TV Writers Workshop.

Juggling paid work and specs

Allison Schroeder works in both features and television. She exemplifies something I’ve seen again and again: a career is shaped by talent, luck and extraordinarily hard work

Young vs. new

“Young” is often used in Hollywood when “new,” “green” or “inexpensive” would be better choices.

Looking for more First People

To date, most of the First Person posts have come from white just-post-college guys. While that’s a huge chunk of the aspiring screenwriter demographic, we’re sorely lacking some diversity, not just in background but ambition.

Writing for Hollywood without living there

Bradley Jackson is trying to start a Hollywood screenwriting career while staying put in Austin. He writes in with his experience trying to work LA as a visiting screenwriter.

This guy really loves scripts

You really can’t sell old scripts like these. But you’d do a lot of writers a favor by giving them away.

Getting paid late

A screenwriter colleague recently vented her frustration with always getting paid late for her studio jobs. I didn’t have any particularly good advice for her — what she describes is hardly unique. In fact, the situation is so much the norm that I asked if she would write up a post about her experiences, since I’ve never really discussed it on the blog.

So you’re moving to Hollywood

George Sloan is a writers’ assistant on “How I Met Your Mother.” He graciously agreed to write up a primer for recent college grads considering making the move to Hollywood.

Tales from the script

I’m interviewed in a new book about screenwriters’ experiences.

Sitting in on the Prop 8 trial

Yesterday, I flew up to San Francisco to watch the federal trial regarding Proposition 8.

What does a showrunner’s assistant do?

Jonny Sommers has a job many readers want — or at least, think they want: the assistant to a successful and busy TV showrunner.

Jerome Schwartz, first person

I met Jerome Schwartz during the WGA strike. Afterwards, I asked him to keep me apprised of how his career was going.

Adam Davis, year two

I asked Adam Davis, a young alum from Drake University, to write about his first year starting out in Hollywood. He’s back with a follow-up.

Self-distributing an indie feature

Todd Sklar, who I know from his work up at the Sundance Labs, wrote in to agree with a lot of the points I raised in my post-mortem of The Nines. His experience with the indie film he made and self-released is alternately inspiring and exhausting, but worth careful attention for anyone considering making a […]

Moving to LA (via NYC)

Sage advice from a fresh transplant who took the plunge.

Starting out in Hollywood

First person account of the glorious drudgery of starting at the bottom in Hollywood.

On floating jets

I arrived in Chicago yesterday for a few days’ work on the next thing I’m writing. In the cab leaving the airport, I saw a giant jet landing. Something about our relative speeds and angles created the illusion that the plane wasn’t moving forward at all. Rather, it was gracefully floating straight down. It was […]

As it turns out, I could care less

And both the film and I were better for it.

Turns out, he was busy reconsidering Tyra Banks

You know how you can go months without seeing someone, then suddenly, they’re everywhere? This morning as I was getting into my little Prius, screenwriter/neighbor/inconstant blogger Josh Friedman rolled up in the Death Star Escalade to discuss our respective children’s nap schedules in anticipation of a playdate. Yeah, I said playdate. This is how we […]


About halfway through shooting The Movie, the propmaster asked, “Hey, where are your glasses?” I had taken them off to check my email, and left them sitting on the dining room table. It’s part of his job to recognize continuity issues, so it’s natural he noticed something was off. But it was only his comment […]

Who’s that mumbling screenwriter on NPR?

Barring some sort of Actual News Event, I’ll be one of the guests on Airtalk this Tuesday, July 11th at 11:30 a.m. (At least, that’s the time for Los Angeles listeners.) Host Judy Muller will be talking with Chris Brancato and me about the book Doing It for Money: The Agony and Ecstasy of Writing […]

Are you somebody?

Awkward dances with public recognition.


I’ve had a MySpace profile for a long time, but never really did anything with it. At the time I registered, I remember thinking that MySpace felt like a lame Friendster knock-off. But as we all know, MySpace is now the Google of social networking, a billion dollar eye-magnet. The difference is, I like Google, […]