While the act of writing is usually one of solitude, the business of writing requires a healthy network. Your network is who will read your scripts, give you notes, introduce you to industry professionals, recommend you for jobs, and hire you in their rooms.
They’re also who you’ll turn to when you need to bounce ideas around or get some inspiration. Your network is critical. So let’s talk about how to build it.
Let’s put this right at the top. Wherever you go, whoever you talk to, whenever you tweet — be authentically you and remember that connections take time.
In a social media age, it’s also really important to remember that access does not equal familiarity. If you’re tweeting your favorite writer, stay mindful about boundaries and keep it respectful.
Speaking of which…
A great place to meet writers is online. Keep in mind, though, that while you might want Ava DuVernay in your network, it’s more realistic to make connections with the peers you will rise to the top with.
Twitter is a great platform for meeting other writers. Start out by following handles like @WeScreenplay and reach out to the people engaging with their tweets. Look for writing tags like #PreWGA or #WritingCommunity where you can connect with other writers over celebratory wins, writing tips, industry advice, and more.
Facebook is another great social media tool because of its groups function. Whether joining a huge group like LA TV Writers or starting one of your own after connecting with writers in a workshop or webinar, Facebook groups are a place to share articles, opportunities, and questions.
CLASSES, WORKSHOPS, AND LABS
A great way to meet writers at your level is in class. You share a hunger for knowledge, you are probably in the same ballpark with regards to skill level, and you have an excuse to connect. If you’re in a particularly strong class, start a writers group and read each other’s work once a week or keep in touch by creating a Facebook group.
If you’re starting to realize that you want to level-up the writers you’re meeting, submit to exclusive programs like our Diverse Voices screenplay competition, which culminates in a lab with other writers.
ATTEND (VETTED) EVENTS
One day we will be able to meet safely in person again. It doesn’t take an exclusive invitation or an expensive ticket to build your network. In fact, I’m writing this article because I went to a free Ms. In The Biz meet-up where I saw a hard-charger from the Self-Management for Actors Facebook group. I introduced myself and we kept in touch, eventually becoming accountability partners. By the time she was in a position to recommend a writer, she was familiar with my work ethic and my writing chops. BOOM! Networking!
Look for organizations that build creators up, like Seed&Spark or Sundance Collab. Follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters. Attend their virtual events for now and then, one day soon, show up in person primed with business cards and a fun answer to the question: “Tell me about yourself.”
CREATE EXCEPTIONAL WORK
Sometimes it’s important to remember that great work is magnetic. It will draw people to you. They will tweet about the incredible pilot of yours they just read. They will tell their reps about that awesome table read. They will reach out when they read your logline in the competition winner list.
Remember, it always comes back to the work. You want to have something to talk about when you strike up a conversation. You want to have something for people to read when they ask for a sample. So no matter what, keep writing, keep editing, and make sure your writing sample is undeniable.
Shannon Corbeil is a writer, actor, and filmmaker in Los Angeles with recent appearances on SEAL Team and The Rookie. An Air Force veteran, her articles have been published in Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, and Military.com. She has written and produced hundreds of digital videos with millions of views. You can read more about her on her website or come play on Instagram and Twitter!