Q&A: Do I Have to Live in L.A.?

Q&A: Do I Have to Live in L.A.?

Pre-pandemic. Yes, to be a TV writer, the short answer would always be ‘yes.’ You may hate to hear this, but to have a career in TV being in L.A. was a requirement. Not only because there is no substitute for the networking power the city offers but being in a physical writers’ room was an expectation of any showrunner trying to squeeze their writers of every last drop of creativity. There’s an energy to riffing off other writers and navigating a narrative together that has the potential to produce something great.

Creators need creative spaces, but that leads us into—

Midst-pandemic. Bless this little thing called the internet. It not only created the virtual writers’ room but opened up the gates to those outside the boundaries of Hollywood to potentially get their work noticed. Geographical advantage was, all at once, leveled. And the L.A. writer had no more of a leg up on “breaking in” by simply sitting in their living-room like the rest of the world. We all had to go to the same online platforms to network, find gigs and get our work out there.

This state will continue for a minute yet. Sure, Zoom isn’t ideal for those creative spaces, but writers on the geographical outskirts during this time I’m sure are thrilled to have the option. And thus, the need to be in L.A. suddenly vanished …

Which brings us to—

Post-pandemic. It hasn’t happened yet, but there will be a lot of pushback to close the virtual option to outside writers once the pandemic concludes. This is simply because no boundaries, means more competition. And Hollywood has a tendency to be snooty.

I don’t have a crystal ball or anything … but I am of the mindset that the virtual option will be here to stay for the longterm. Historically, any major shake-up that causes “cracks” to form in those impenetrable industry walls has always been an opportunity for writers to slip in and, well, change the landscape. I am of the opinion that this change is here to stay.

So, welcome to L.A.! Or not? Guess we’ll see.  

*Feature photo by Eileen Lamb (Pexels)

Ruth Sabin has a secret identity: children’s book author by day and by night... a screenwriter who loves a gritty adventure. Makes for an eclectic portfolio and a fun career of creative consulting.
More posts by Ruth Sabin.
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