Working as a freelance writer in the entertainment industry is a dream for people who have the interest and skill to write for a living. However, because this is such a desired job, there are a large number of people trying to fill very few positions. This lean, competitive environment makes writing for entertainment, writing about entertainment or even becoming one of the more common freelance entertainment copywriters out there very difficult.
While you can write about entertainment (as a blogger, columnist or film reviewer) or for entertainment (as a novelist or screenwriter) from just about anywhere, to have a real chance at actually working in the entertainment industry usually requires an aspiring entertainment writer to move to New York or Los Angeles. This is where the vast majority of the entertainment industry is based and where a green writer will learn about the industry, discover what they need to do to succeed as a writer and make connections. Making the move to one of these cities is the first real step to being successful in this writing career.
The other important step in becoming an entertainment writer is to, well, write. Write as much as you can, hone your storytelling skills, read the writing of contemporaries and peers in the field of entertainment writing you want to do and learn as much about the business as you possibly can. Many writers have a pipe dream of becoming famous in their first few months or year on the scene. Writing for entertainment is a very difficult career and it takes a long time and a lot of hard work. Make sure you’re in it for the long haul and never stop writing.
Once you have made the move and are dead-set on writing for the rest of your life, you will need to become good at a few things so you can make it in the entertainment writing business itself. The first is doing research about what jobs and entertainment writing projects are already out there. Check Variety and Mediabistro for jobs for freelance entertainment copywriters to feature film screenwriters. If you have an idea for an entertainment project, industry resources like Deadline.com and IMDBPro will let you know what projects are already out there, or give you a sense of what projects established entertainment writers are currently selling.
The second—and arguably hardest part of the entertainment writing business or any business for that matter—is making connections. Meet people who are producers or editors and already have established careers in the entertainment writing game. Learn from them and try to work for them at the beginning. Later, once you have gotten some experience in the entertainment industry as a whole, try to work with them. Being good at this is how the best entertainment writers truly rise to the top.
E.K. is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.