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Saturday, December 18, 2004

> Q. If someone doesn't live in LA, and they want to get into TV,
> do they have to move to LA? Or would it be enough to have two socko
> spec scripts and be willing to visit for staffing season -- and how
> long a visit would that be?

My source writes:

Short answer: yes. Long answer: no. You can get staffed from out of town if you are brilliant and have a brilliant connected agent. But it's also just as likely you'll win the Lottery. Never say never. But if you really want to get staffed you need to know people and have heat behind you. You need a friend who will get you a showrunner meeting, or who will bring you onto their show, or give you a script. If you're from elsewhere, you need to have produced/written/directed something people in this town will have heard of. If you want to just be one of the thousand competing in the trenches, then you have to be right here, in the trenches, ready for months of meetings all leading up to the right meeting with the right person. I'm not saying it can't be done by flying in from time to time, but it's rare. I've staffed someone that way, but boy is it a fluke.

Staffing season runs at its heat from March through end of May. The craziness is the 3-4 weeks after the upfronts. That's when the true frenzy is going - BUT all the groundwork is done weeks and months in advance. By the time shows get picked up they already have a wishlist of writers they're going to go out to. Returning shows generally get picked up much earlier (late January, February, March) and they're the best bet for a new or undiscovered writer).

Let's say you were aiming for staffing this year (05-06 season). You would have spent last summer getting your specs in shape (one spec, one original). You would have spent the fall finding an agent who totally digs you (meaning you've flown here periodically to take meetings and do face to face). You'd work with your agent as the fall season unrolled watching what works and deciding what spec you're going to finish before Christmas. As fall becomes Christmas, you and your specs would start to get introduced to executives and cable shows. Hopefully you start to get great feedback, and you get
some momentum. You get some meetings, you rock in the room, and an executive sets you up on a meeting with showrunner. So far you've flown in at least 4 times. You're getting serious heat, and people are loving meeting with you - you stay down, find a place and hang out until you get a job. If you're not getting any love or any heat, staying down here may be pointless and expensive. So you head back home and write a new and better spec and start the process all over again...

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