For most screenwriters or directors, the work is irregular: unpredictable. Someone recently asked me, what then am I doing for money in the downtimes between screenplay or directing endeavors? The answer: related stuff usually. Such as:
WriteWorks is a writing, copyediting, and proofreading business I operate. Most of my clients are those who need wordsmiths for Web sites, marketing endeavors (banners, print ads, e-mail campaigns, sales letters, customer testimonial acquisitions, etc.), and corporate communications (press releases, internal memos, etc.).
Marketing copy may not be as fun as fiction, but it’s bread-n-butter, it’s creatively stimulating, and it’s a great way to keep the dust off the keyboard’s exclamation mark. 😉
Web Program Management/Consulting
I’ve got a deep background in Web program leadership and consulting, including project management, program management, Web strategy, usability design, information architecture, resource management, accessibility consultation, workflow/publication process design and management.
While Web management may not seem at a glance to be related to writing or directing, I have found that the skills it takes to succeed as a director are not that different. Whether leading a Web initiative or directing a movie, you’re crafting a vision that’s based on requisites (i.e., business requirements or a script), selling the vision to stakeholders, hiring people and companies with the right skills to bring life to that vision, communicating the vision to technicians and creative artisans, managing a team of talented individuals, managing to a budget, balancing the competing needs of investors and consumers, being resourceful and level-headed when things don’t go as planned, and staying objective enough to hold to the big picture while being sufficiently versed in all nitty gritty aspects of the process to orchestrate the right results through each step. Consequently, I find that every Web gig improves my directing readiness, and every directing gig boosts my success as a Web program manager.
Yes, related but…
But there’s a difference. While I enjoy the business of Web leadership, and have the skills to do a bang-up job of it, it’s film directing that I do whether or not I’m getting paid to do it. It “tickles my fancy,” as my grandmother would say. Likewise, while i enjoy just about any work that involves the manipulation of the written or spoken language, screenwriting is the one type of writing that I do whether or not I’m getting paid to do it.
Retired LA TV Weatherman George Fishbeck once said, “The secret of success is: Find a job you like so much you would do it for nothing. Then do it.”
I’m doing it. 🙂