Monday, February 1, 2016

#Scriptchat Transcript Career Coach Shawn Tolleson @shawntolleson - January 31, 2016

Shawn Tolleson @shawntolleson gave out some great screenwriting career advice for our chatters. Zac Sanford @zacsanford moderated. Enjoy!

Read the transcript below or on the Storify site.

#Scriptchat Transcript Career Coach @ShawnTolleson January 31,2016

#Scriptchat Transcript Career Coach @ShawnTolleson January 31,2016

Shawn Tolleson gave out some great screenwriting career advice for our chatters. Zac Sanford @zacsanford moderated. Enjoy!

  1. Hello one and all. While we're waiting on our guest, how's everyone doing? #scriptchat
  2. Hello @shawntolleson. For those who don't know you, why not tell us a little about yourself. #scriptchat
  3. Okay... I'm a filmmaker, a writer/director, and a career coach. #scriptchat
  4. So, I bring my real world experience in the industry to my work with my clients. I've been a career coach for 10 years #scriptchat
  5. I've been in the business since 1997... I'll let you do the math #scriptchat
  6. I started as an actor and then transitioned to directing theatre. Then transitioned to filmmaking #scriptchat
  7. I've written and directed for the first web series created parallel to a network TV show #scriptchat
  8. developed material as an unknown writer and attached an established director, pitched 25 companies and created a bidding war #scriptchat
  9. And I just finished post on my debut feature as a writer/director. i wrote the script which won a screenplay contest #scriptchat
  10. #scriptchat Another week has passed & Nicholl has yet to open for entries. 😐 What's up with that?? Why the delay??
  11. wrote the biz plan and raised the money inc a successful crowdfunding campaign #scriptchat
  12. @shawntolleson Sounds like you've dabbled in a bit of everything, which is great. How did you get your foot into the door? #scriptchat
  13. And to those following along, feel free to ask any questions. #scriptchat
  14. two more things you should know... I produced and PM'd for 8 years for music videos, commercials and high fashion stills #scriptchat
  15. ah... foot in the door... I started faxing productions (back when we faxed) and got a PG on Armageddon #scriptchat
  16. re: working with clients... as I said, I've been a career coach for 10 years this month... I look at where writers r starting #scriptchat
  17. I look at what would be a breakthrough for you... by breakthrough I mean not impossible and not predictable #scriptchat
  18. but the sweet spot in between. impossible is simply not possible in the time frame you've given #scriptchat
  19. predictable is what you've already done... which is what most people do over and over again #scriptchat
  20. then we look to identify in a very specific and measurable way what would be the next breakthrough for your career or goal #scriptchat
  21. @shawntolleson What kind of "tools" do you typically look for when first working with a writer? #scriptchat
  22. doable, certainly, but bold, specific, perhaps outside the box (but not always)-- a breakthrough will take #scriptchat
  23. the accomplishment of your big dream (the one you rehears the speech for in the shower!) is built on breakthrough on breakthru #scriptchat
  24. okay... i'll take these one at a time... tools: map of relationships (who you know) hitless (who you need to know) #scriptchat
  25. material... is what you have and what you're trying to do strategic? or are you running in too many directions? #scriptchat
  26. @shawntolleson Do you read all the scripts someone wrote & evaluate their progression? #scriptchat
  27. I think a lot of writers suffer from what I like to call Mulitple Infant Syndrome (my made up analysis) #scriptchat
  28. what I mean by that is that too many people have goals or projects that are in their infancy and they have too many of them. #scriptchat
  29. as the mom of twins, I'm here to tell you that multiple infants is WAY HARDER then only one #scriptchat
  30. @shawntolleson Any advice for those of us who live outside of Hollywood & know no one? #scriptchat
  31. think of your goals as infants (especially when starting out) you have to do everything for them. #scriptchat
  32. and they don't just grow up like humans. You have to nurture them to grow. if you don't give them attention, they shrink #scriptchat
  33. so, when looking to take your career to the next level, YOU HAVE TO FOCUS-- and part of what I do is get people to laser focus #scriptchat
  34. okay... there are many things you can and should do on the business side. it can truly be overwhelming. so, what I like to do #scriptchat
  35. is identify the one breakthrough goal that is head and shoulders above the others and is STRATEGIC. meaning, it will lead to #scriptchat
  36. @shawntolleson If you fall behind on questions, most will re-ask down the line if it was missed. :) #scriptchat
  37. next thing. Then I like to narrow down what the heck you should be doing to accomplish that goal. You do need to network, #scriptchat
  38. tbut you don't need to go willy nilly to every event. or you won't have time to write #scriptchat
  39. what I like to do is identify exactly who you need to get into relationship with and then strategize from there #scriptchat
  40. so, an example is this: you want to work in television. Your breakthrough goal is to get staffed on a one hour drama. #scriptchat
  41. once we know that, and which one hour dramas (because you can't target all 300+ of them) #scriptchat
  42. we identify who should be on your hitless. There will be a north star show that you're right for #scriptchat
  43. there will be "constellation" shows around that north star show. #scriptchat
  44. Who on those constellation and north star shoows so you need to meet? #scriptchat
  45. how best to meet them? events? mentorship letters? introductions from friends you know? #scriptchat
  46. outside LA... so, i have a story for you... I speak at the GAPF most every year. I also do one on one coaching at the GAPF #scriptchat
  47. I had a private client who had flown in from Iowa. We worked on her goal for the pitchfest and her strategy #scriptchat
  48. She narrowed down her approach and got really specific with who she was pitching, how she was pitching and what she was asking #scriptchat
  49. Anyway, she asked if she could keep working with me and I suggested my ongoing program THRIVE (will post link a bit later) #scriptchat
  50. so she got on my thrive coaching calls and i coached her in her follow up. how to be politely persistent. #scriptchat
  51. She is in dialogue with several production companies about her projects #scriptchat
  52. also, I found one of her log lines to be charming and asked her if she would be willing to send me the script #scriptchat
  53. @shawntolleson Do you read all the scripts someone wrote before you decide to work with them? #scriptchat
  54. I read it and thought it needed a lot of work, but I thought she had a unique idea and a hooky take on a premise #scriptchat
  55. So, the circumstances were such that my manager was talking to me about pitching TV MOWS and did I have any ideas. #scriptchat
  56. i wouldn't have a TV MoW to save my life, because my ideas are totally different #scriptchat
  57. but I thought of my client and asked her for 10 ideas-- if she'd be willing #scriptchat
  58. I asked my client if she'd want to write one of her ideas, and she jumped at it #scriptchat
  59. I just signed with new representation two weeks ago and lo and behold, one of the things we talked about as the #scriptchat
  60. easiest transition for me with my feature is to TV MoWs and the best way is to have an option on a script #scriptchat
  61. which is of course what my client is writing. my new reps flipped when I pitched it to them... we are going to go out with #scriptchat
  62. my point here is that you've got to identify who you are as a writer, be specific with who you target to get into relationship #scriptchat
  63. nurture those relationships (which is really hard when you have not much to report) #scriptchat
  64. Take your time. You're doing great and faster than most guests. RT @shawntolleson: pausing again #scriptchat
  65. and look for ways to collaborate with the people you meet. I asked my client if she'd be willing to send me ideas. #scriptchat
  66. then if she'd be willing to write on spec (which she was already doing, of course) #scriptchat
  67. then if she'd be willing to take my feedback (and she waited for it for weeks sometimes with my crazy schedule) #scriptchat
  68. I don't know what will happen, but it sure is more then she had happening a year ago in her tiny mid-west town #scriptchat
  69. We're halfway through the chat with @shawntoleson, talking career advice. #scriptchat
  70. okay, questions to help you narrow down your focus... what are you really motivated to do? What has you get up in the morning? #scriptchat
  71. I'll continue with the quests to focus in a sec, but wanted to give you the link to THRIVE #scriptchat
  72. You can do it from anywhere and first month is only $7 :) #scriptchat
  73. back to questions... sometimes I hear people say they want to write for TV, but they are writing features. #scriptchat
  74. or they say they want to write for TV but they never watch TV #scriptchat
  75. What do you want to do most? And what do you actually do? What you think about and take action on is where your breakthrough #scriptchat
  76. where your breakthrough will be. Also, what's the most straightforward path? #scriptchat
  77. You might want to write huge studio block busters, but those can be very hard to get financed and in the door #scriptchat
  78. If you want to write features, it can be helpful to write something that can get made on a smaller scale. #scriptchat
  79. this is not hard and fast advice, but these are all questions to think about #scriptchat
  80. politely following up: okay... there are four keys to a successful meeting or exchange: relationship, excitement, logistics #scriptchat
  81. each exchange-- phone, email, meeting, etc. -- they all need to have all four of these #scriptchat
  82. When you're following up, you've got to work on relationship first. Don't just jump to "did you read it? #scriptchat
  83. even though that's likely what you feel. What's most important for you is almost never what's most important for anyone else. #scriptchat
  84. everyone knows this, of course, but most people forget it when they care deeply about something and the stakes are high #scriptchat
  85. NEXT QUESTION: Do you read all the scripts someone wrote before you decide to work with them? #scriptchat
  86. I do not read all scripts. Sometimes I read, sometimes I do not read. It depends on what the client needs. #scriptchat
  87. it's a decision we make together about where to allocate the time #scriptchat
  88. Yeah, but did you read it? SORRY DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS QUESTION #scriptchat
  89. I think I"m through most of the questions. LMK other questions, thoughts! #scriptchat
  90. If anyone's question was missed, feel free to ask again. Or any new questions out there? #scriptchat
  91. Is this a one-sided #ScriptChat tonight? Should we remain silent?
  92. @shawntolleson What is one of the biggest mistakes you see young writers making that hinders their career? #scriptchat
  93. @shawntolleson How do U know if writer has what it takes 2 B taken seriously by the people with whom they develop relationships #scriptchat
  94. Go Into The Story | Re-Write-O-Rama: Day 31: Re-Write-O-Rama: Day 31. January 1: Type FADE IN / Th...  #Scriptchat
  95. #scriptchat I know. I'm so funny but I put my characters through hell. :)
  96. @SarahAlexis4 good question... what kind of work do you do? If you had to tell me your breakthrough goal as "By 12/31/16 I will #scriptchat
  97. @writeranthonydp what's your breakthrough goal? I'd love to hear from you all viewing... Shoot me "By 12/31/16 I will have... " #scriptchat
  98. Interestingly it was not a big contest industry-wise, but it was great credibility for the small town I was raising money in. #scriptchat
  99. Okay... being staffed and selling a pilot are two totally different things. So that's the first thing. The people you need to #scriptchat
  100. know to sell are different then the people you need to know to get staffed. #scriptchat
  101. Let's take the getting staffed goal: u need to identify your north star how and the shows around it. Meaning what are the #scriptchat
  102. components of your north star show? If its the good wife, it's single female lead, procedural, closed ended episodes with #scriptchat
  103. @shawntolleson By 12/31/16 I would like to have a true crime miniseries optioned/sold. #scriptchat
  104. #scriptchat My breakthrough goal, to be a paid writer. (With features)
  105. serialized personal story lines and the engine of the show is about the battle she faces both publicly and privately when #scriptchat
  106. possibly the worst thing that could happen actually happens to her ( that's the engine b/c she has it happen over and over) #scriptchat
  107. @shawntolleson "By 12/31/16 I will have... " sold/optioned the indie romantic comedy that I know is almost in really good shape. #scriptchat
  108. so... what then are your hitless shows. Who actually do you need to meet/get intros to on those shows #scriptchat
  109. its not just the show runners. of course you need to know them but everyone wants to get to them. You need to get intros to #scriptchat
  110. the slightly lower level producers-- co-eps, supervising producers, consulting producers, and get them to read you #scriptchat
  111. yes, this is hard, but it's much more doable then only focussing on show runners who are very very busy #scriptchat
  112. I could keep going, but I'm hoping you get the specificity with which I started breaking this one down #scriptchat
  113. So, build a relationship with the people of the show I am looking after. #scriptchat
  114. and also that what i just described it completely different then the network execs who you need to get in the room for to #scriptchat
  115. "By 12/31/16 I will have... " sold/optioned the indie romantic comedy that I know is almost in really good shape. #scriptchat
  116. let's go with: By 12/31/16 I will have... " sold/optioned the indie romantic comedy #scriptchat
  117. @JonFour I'd love to talk strategy on this one, but I'm running out of time. #scriptchat
  118. So, I'm going to give a plug: I work on all of these tools and much much more in my one month intensive Jump Start #scriptchat
  119. Jump Start is 30 hours of coaching with me and my team leaders. it start March 5th and there's both an in-person in LA option #scriptchat
  120. and a livestream option for those of you living outside of LA #scriptchat
  121. There's an early bird special on right now, too. Also, you can email me about Jump Start #scriptchat
  122. or other ways to work together: #scriptchat
  123. Identify who your target hitlist of producers and production companies are. They are not the big studios if you've got #scriptchat
  124. look at film festivals, lifetime, hallmark, other places who are making your kind of movie and the poepel who are making them. #scriptchat
  125. If you don't know who you need to know, it's hard to get to know them. #scriptchat
  126. I want to thank @shawntolleson for being here tonight, and going deeper than most on her answers. Truly appreciate that. #scriptchat
  127. Most people do not know who they know and do not know who they need to know and they think they know no one. #scriptchat
  128. Make sure you give @shawntolleson a follow and follow up with any other questions you may have. #scriptchat
  129. As was already stated, no chat next week. Enjoy the game (or write some extra pages). #scriptchat
  130. Loved this everyone! yes, please tweet me other questions or visit me on Facebook "Shawn Tolleson" and we'll keep talking! #scriptchat

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