Workshopping, Networking, and “Getting Out There” in DFW

In a followup to: How to Become A Production Assistant

From: M******* U******** (***********@*******.***)
To: Gerald (neuroticnomad@gmail.com)
Date: February 27, 2011 12:36:30 PM PST
Subject: Re: Re: Getting Started

Haha I should be careful of what I put down in writing, you never know when it’ll end up on the front page! Well, I’m glad I could provide some conversation for the blog. Several of the points you made are things I’ve been told all along…like going to the listed websites, looking in craigslist and FB but access to the vendor directory put out by TAFTP was new and great to have. I’ve made some changes in my way of thinking recently and changed my perspective on this whole thing which is refreshing. I’ve been so distracted about how to make a living and provide for the family while trying this “on the side” that I didn’t realize that I can make this job a priority and the rest will come. It’s kinda like the “if you build it they will come” philosophy. I know that I can work part time as a nurse consultant and pick up odd production jobs and make it just fine. I don’t need a full time nurse job like I thought I did. That was the 1 thing holding me back and keeping me from getting anywhere with this career. Anywho, I think I’m on the right track 🙂 Now to work on my screenplay.


From: Gerald (neuroticnomad@gmail.com)
To: M******* U******** (***********@*******.***)
Date: March 18, 2011 6:01:00 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Getting Started

First of all: Don’t quit your day job to join the circus (said the guy who quit his day job and joined the circus).

I can’t help but feel like I sort of left you in the dark a bit with my last piece of advice, so did a little more digging for you, especially on the screenwriting tip. (Screenwriting tip? Who am I? Grand Master Jay?)

OK, both Craigslist and The Dallas Observer turned out to be a bust. Also all the bigger theatre groups. (BTW: The local theaters all seem to be stuck in 1995 with their websites, except DTC which specifically says for you to buzz off (in so many words) if you aren’t writing something you want them to put on stage. So no help workshopping there. ) I’m beginning to recall how hard it is to find The Scene in that neck of the woods.

I found The Official Website of the Dallas Screenwriters Association but I seem to remember them being a bag of tools and a bunch of “buy my book, pay for my seminar” types. I could be wrong. It’s been known to happen. (Maybe I’m thinking of a different group.) Your milage may vary.

It seems that Meetup.com is quite popular there. Here’s just a sample:

Filmmaking:


Screenwriting:
Writing in General:
Other People You Want To Know …and who will want to know you:
…and of course, there’s always Facebook (It’s for more than being vain and stalking your friends and exes) groups.

Dallas Screenwriting Workshop | Facebook

…and you should take advantage of the fact that DFW has a WomenInFilm chapter.
This is probably the most valuable connection you can have. At least check it out once (in person!)
…and like The League of Women Voters, it’s open to men, too.

If you have money falling from various body openings, you can take a course at SMU that starts next week: Rex McGee – SMU Screenwriting Workshop Courses like these have some value in what they teach, but most of the value comes in meeting your fellow classmates. The price tag keeps out the riff-raff and the tourists. The people in that room care enough to break four bills. How many of them you meet is up to you.

Also coming up:

The Dallas International Film Festival put on by The Dallas Film Society (March 31 – April 10, 2011)

Writing Winning Business Plans for Independent Filmmakers with Louise Levison May 2011. Hands down the BEST business plan writer I know of – I envy you that she’s coming there to speak.

I recommend you do ALL of these things, especially the Meet ups.

For those I recommend you go again and again.

– Gerald

*Weird people are the ‘only’ people with the vision necessary to see what you are proposing for your life before you can articulate it for “normals”. Also, surrounding yourself with people weirder than you helps you grow as a human being. At the very least, it teaches you patience and acceptance**.

**Beware: Like any group, there are Good Eggs and Bad Seeds. Those with hearts of gold, and those who are manipulative jerk-faces. Don’t be too quick to judge. Some weirdos may surprise you – in both directions. One of the sweetest women I know has a manly name (Lou) and a blue mohawk. One of the craziest (in a bad way) grew up in suburbia and looks ‘normal’ in every way. That whole book/cover thing goes double for judging weirdos.

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