I have a TV show idea, but no writing history. Would a studio be interested in hearing it? Okay, so the rules that apply in the regular business world also apply in Hollywood.

So imagine it’s 30 years ago, and I have a pitch meeting at a tech company because I’m a tech guy. And I walk into the meeting. There are 20 of us waiting in the lobby, and now it’s my turn. I go to the meeting and I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have an idea that’s going to revolutionize the world. It’s going to change everything. I call it a Smartphone, and you hit a button and you can talk to anybody in the world. And it has a camera in it. You hit another button, and then you could have a video conference with anybody in the world. You hit another button and you can get access to a site called Google. And you ask on Google any question you have ever had, and within a fraction of a second, it will return 100 billion answers to help you figure out all of life’s mysteries. I think it’ll cost $50 to make this thing, and we can sell it for $900. We are going to change the world, and we’re all going to become billionaires and retire early. What do you think?”

They’re going to say, “Okay, this is interesting. Let’s see your invention.” And then I say, “Oh no, no, no. I’m not an inventor. I’m just the guy with the idea. I got the idea, so give me a lot of money for my great idea.” What are they going to do? They’re going to open the window. If I’m lucky, toss me out. Most likely, they’re just going to toss me through the window.

But let’s say I walk into this meeting, and only this time, when they ask me for my invention, I say, “Okay, well, I don’t have this invention, but I’ve worked for this tech company, and I worked on this other invention that made them a billion dollars. And then I worked on a different invention that made this other company two trillion dollars, and I’m going to marry the ideas because I have a lot of history and experience. I’m going to marry them, and I’m going to turn this into … With a little bit of investor money, I’m going to turn it into this Smartphone that we’re going to sell, and we’re going to make a billion trillion dollars. What do you think now?” They’re going to ask me a question. They’re going to say, “Okay, here’s the check. How many zeros do you want at the end of it?”

It’s the same thing with writing. When I go into a pitch meeting, I don’t just say, “Here’s my idea.” I say, “I have never written this idea before, but I have other ideas that I’ve done. I’ve worked on this show. I’ve sold this show. I’ve got this show. I have experience. I have a track record. I have references. You can read my writing samples. So if you want to get in business with me, I can deliver on this idea that I’m pitching you. I’m the person who can do it.” What are they going to say now? They’re going to say, “Okay, let’s talk.”

That’s how it works in Hollywood. You don’t just throw money around. You’re going to say, “Well, I’m not a writer.” Well, that’s fine, but the 20 other people behind you, who also want to sell their ideas, they are writers. So what’s your choice? Well, you can learn how to write. If this is your dream, you can either dream about it and dream, or you can dream about it and help make it become a reality. To do that, you have to learn how to write. I’ve said it a bunch of times, that I have a writing course. Many of you have already signed up. Great. You can go to Sign up.

Many of you are like, “Well, I don’t want to put the time and effort into it.” Okay. No one’s forcing you to do anything. If you want to make your dream come true, this is one of the steps that you have to take to make it come true. You have to learn how to write, and then you have to become a writer.

For more on how to become a writer, you can follow me here or on Instagram, where I got super-duper exclusive stuff, only for super-smart people like me and you. That’s @michaeljaminwriter.

Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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