“These days you have to be a generalist. You have to show you can be flexible and have proficiency in a wide range of formats. No one will take a chance on a new writer who appears to have a tunnel-vision approach to the industry.”
“Stick to one genre. If you write comedy, become known as the go-to comedy writer. Anyone seeing you’ve written comedy specs and drama specs will think - and rightly so - that not only do you not know what you are doing, you don’t even know what you want to do.”
“Have spec scripts in a wide range of genres. There’s too much money on the line for anyone to take a chance on someone whose abilities may be limited. If you can’t show them you can do more than one genre, they’ll assume you can’t.”
“Send me a half-hour, a one hour, and a feature sample of your writing please.”
“Just send me your one hour, please. Just so you know, don’t bother writing half-hours or features if you’re hoping to get a job with one hour dramas. You’re never going to get anyone asking for anything but a one hour.”
“Welcome to the company. Unfortunately, we’re in a bit of a time crunch for the next few months, so we can’t train you very much for a while - just do A, B, C and D… and when we have more time, we’ll go through it all with you so you can actually learn your job rather than just put out small fires as they happen.”
“As you know, three months of any new job is a probationary period. We’re sorry, but you don’t seem to be working out. We need to be able to give you more responsibilities but we don’t think you know what you’re doing with the ones you already have. We’re going to have to let you go.”
Okay. So people are off the table. People had their chance and people have no business speaking to me.
My mirror is my guide. My gut. My sensibilities. Just because you haven’t done it this way doesn’t mean I can’t. Indeed, it probably means I should because no one else will see it coming.
(That, and if anyone hires you because you have no experience so they can train you how they want you to do the job? Smile politely, rise, shake their hand, thank them for their time but let them know you’ve been there, done that, and it’s never worked out the way they think it will. Not when they're hiring a waitress. Not when they're hiring an assistant in a payroll company.)