Tuesday, January 06, 2004


One of my New Year's Resolutions is to try and be more helpful to the legions of wannabee writers, actors, directors, producers, and basically film and television moguls, who send me letters/messages/videos/(never jewelry though...rats) asking for advice about getting started in Hollywood.

Many of these people really don't want advice, but rather, they want me to introduce them to one of my friends who can write them a check for $87 gazillion dollars and lead them into global adulation.

But for those who are sincere, here is my best shot at a well-considered and pastoral response:

Dear Sincere Hollywood Wannabee -

Thanks so much for your message and words of support for our work here in Hollywood.

In completing several dramatic productions, and in attending specialized classes on screenwriting, you have taken some vital first steps in becoming an entertainment writer. This already sets you apart from the throngs of writing hopefuls who come to Hollywood every year, with only a laptop and a dream of success. Your next several steps should be to singlemindedly work on mastering the craft and artform to the best of your ability.

Push all thoughts of fame and fortune out of your head, and buckle down to practice, practice, practice - which for screenwriters means creating story ideas, researching story ideas, beating out structure for stories, writing pages, rewriting pages, studying classic films, reading works by and about the film masters, going to seminars on writing and the biz, reading the industry trades, and cultivating relationships with creative people as mentors, critiquers, supporters and potential collaborators.

IF you have genuine skill, and IF you work at all this for the next ten years, you will eventually find work in some aspect of this business. You may not end up with your name on the screen as the writer of a movie, but you will inevitably end up producing or assisting producers or directors or writers, or marketing or doing some kind of production design or support. The important thing is to stay open to how God will take your initial fuzzy dream, and open doors in front of you that will tend toward your holiness, the holiness of some of His other sheep, and the ultimate decoration of the world, the joy of which, He has mostly ceded to us.

Act One may be a part of this journey of yours. The program is quite competitive, and if you get in, it is a sign already that you have potential. But we are only able to accept sixty writers this year, out of hundreds who will apply, and so not getting in to Act One may also just be one more challenge for you to navigate, if this industry is truly where God wants you.

I will keep your discernment and efforts in my prayers.

"But the Lord watches over the way of the just.... All that he does prospers."

God bless -

Barbara Nicolosi

act one: writing for hollywood
1763 N. Gower St. - Hollywood, CA 90028
323.462.1348 fax 323.462.2550

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