I have 26 meetings scheduled at the Banff Worldwide Television Festival. That's not counting whoever I bump into at cocktail parties, or my pitch session in front of a crowd.
Banff is an expensive festival. Unlike Cannes, say, where it's the flight and the hotels that nick you -- you can pretty much meet everybody if you keep walking up and down the Croisette -- Banff is all in a hotel, and they won't let you in the hotel without registering. For a couple thousand bucks.
So I figure I'm paying about $100 a meeting. Would you pay $100 for a meeting?
The answer, of course, ought to be: yes, if it's a real meeting with someone who can get you hired or get your material bought. Let's say you spend $25,000 a year to live. There are, say, 250 work days in a year. That means it costs you $100 a day to live. If the result of a meeting is one fewer day goes by before you're hired, that meeting is worth $100.
If you look at it from a salary point of view, if the result of a meeting is one fewer day goes by before you're making $1000 a day (par for a tv staff writer), that meeting is worth $1000.
So when you're wondering whether you really wanna go to that showbiz party -- it doesn't sound like fun, you won't know anyone, you'll just stand by the snacks ogling actresses -- pay yourself $100 to go to the party and work it like it was a job. Better, pay yourself $1000.
If you convince yourself you're getting paid $1000 to go to that party and work it -- you'll do a much better job working it, won't you? You won't get bored talking to boring people -- you'll really work to find out (a) why they're actually fascinating and (b) whom they
know who can help you.
Meetings are only half the equation. You must be able to deliver the goods as a writer. But no one gets a job in TV without meeting people; and almost no feature writers do either.
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And don't forget that pretty much all of it can be deducted as business expenses come year end...
Well, if you've got it to spend, great! But some aspiring screenwriters are stuck trying to decide if they can go a week on crackers and water so they can pay their hydro bill. A $3,000 trip to Banff in the hopes of securing a development deal is entirely out of the question.
KJC (who still remembers when she was sleeping on park benches and eating out of garbage cans to stay alive)
Great advice. I'd also throw in a comment about reading the trades. €210 for a subscription? Well, if that's your chosen path and it leads to a few leads...
I'm still very surprised by the numbers of writers that rely on Yahoo or Google for news about their chosen craft.
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