Complications Ensue:
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Q. What would you say is the best strategy for a Canadian
writer get staffed on a U.S. show?
Move to Los Angeles like everyone else.
I'm Canadian. I've got both feature and television specs. I want to work on U.S. television. I can fly to L.A. for meetings on short notice but can't move down there for longer than a month or so until I have an income of some sort (no Green Card).

I'll have my collection of specs ready in the next few
months and am deciding on a strategy to go out with
them. I just don't know what my odds are of doing so
successfully from Canada. Can I pursue an agent in the
same fashion as an L.A. based writer? Should I try to
get into Canadian television or does that add anything
substantive to my resume if I'm being considered for,
say, Battlestar Galactica or Veronica Mars (to name
two favorites)? Is the path in through features?
There is no path through features. Features is a different world with different skills and different buyers. Learning features will teach you about half of what you need to know to be an effective TV writer, but it won't make you any of the contacts you need.

If you can scrape together six weeks in LA, then your best bet is to send your specs to LA agents and tell them you'll be available in LA for staffing season. If one signs you, be ready to come down and be available for meetings during staffing season. If no one signs you, don't come down. You don't need to be in LA to get an agent, but they won't rep you if you won't be around for staffing season.

You have already missed this staffing season. That is, staffing season is already on and agents are superbusy with their current clients. The best time to get an agent is probably mid-summer, after staffing season is over and not much is happening. However there's very little an agent can do for you until next March, except try to staff you on mid-season replacements.

Sure, get on Canadian shows if you can. Any show experience is better than no show experience. Also, if you can get on a Canadian show, then you'll have some money in the bank.

Being "considered for" a show does nothing for your resume. I was shortlisted for Roswell two seasons in a row. Really, I was. See how lame that sounds?

Odds? If you're seriously asking about odds, you are in the wrong business! The odds are terrible. You have to believe that you're better than everyone else. If you're not better than everyone else, it probably isn't going to work out...

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