Are you a writer dreaming of a career in Hollywood but not sure where to start? Consider becoming a writer’s assistant. This is an entry-level assistant role that can serve as a great opportunity for you to start working in the TV industry. It’s also a great way for you to rub elbows with the right people.
What Does a Writer’s Assistant Do?
In this job, you’ll be the one who writes notes and types up the script on the monitor as the writing team pitches lines. Sounds easy enough, right? However, it can actually be a high-pressure job and it takes the right kind of person to do it.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Writer’s Assistant?
Because being a writer’s assistant can be a high-pressure job, it’s important that you have these three skills:
- Know the word processing program like the back of your hand. You need to be able to know all of its functions and where everything is at in order for you to best perform your job.
- Be a good speller. In this role, you’ll usually be seated at the front typing away on a monitor with a team of writers watching you work. If you mess up, they might give you a hard time about it.
- Have a good sense of humor. This is an important soft skill to have in the writer’s room!
How to Move Up in Hollywood by Starting Out as a Writer’s Assistant?
First and foremost, appreciate the role as more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to learn and network. By working in the writer’s room as an assistant, you’ll gain more of an education than 10 years of film school could ever give you. That’s because you’ll be watching writers do their craft. To quote Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway Hit, Hamilton, you’ll be in “the room where it happens.”
One thing to know about Hollywood (and life) is that it’s important to have a service mindset. When you’re working with individuals, think about how you can best help them. What can you do to go out of your way to make sure they can not only do their job successfully but also have an enjoyable experience? The little things do matter, and they do add up – possibly resulting in favorable outcomes in terms of your Hollywood career later on.
Want to Learn More About Hollywood Writing Careers?
If you’re an aspiring TV or film screenwriter, then Michael Jamin is the person you want to learn from. With TV hits like King of the Hill and Rules of Engagement, Michael Jamin has quite the Hollywood career resume. If you’re looking for writing and Hollywood career advice, make sure you subscribe to his newsletter The Watchlist and tune into his podcast Screenwriters Need to Hear This.