Yeah, my resume is not what I thought it would be when I moved out to L.A. I did go to school for writing. (In my case, I got my MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.) I had gotten into playwriting and then screenwriting kind of by accident as an undergrad back east, and for me film school was my excuse to move to Los Angeles, and also a way to meet people I would have at least one thing in common with in a city where I knew no one. For me, it was a choice that worked out, I made good friends and even some professional connections, but it’s also an investment I’m still paying off, so I’m not going to say that film school is a must for everyone.
After I graduated I spent about four years “working at working in the entertainment industry.” I worked day jobs, wrote before I went into the office or on weekends, and when a mentor was in a position to hire me as a writers assistant on his TV show, I was ready to jump in with both feet and take advantage of the opportunity.
The show was The Middleman which (unless you count the $1 a friend paid me to option my short script–I still have that dollar though!) turned into my first paid writing job when I wrote a freelance episode.
That’s the short version. The shorter more useful as general advice version: I stuck around long enough to find my opportunity, and was ready when it came!