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Breaking In Book

Breaking In: Tales From The Screenwriting Trenches

$34.99 $25.99

Chock-full of insights and advice from working writers, agents, managers and industry executives, Breaking In: Tales from the Screenwriting Trenches is a no-nonsense, boots-on-the-ground exploration of how writers REALLY go from emerging to professional in today’s highly saturated and competitive screenwriting space. With a focus on writers who have gotten representation and broken into the TV or feature film space after the critical 2008 WGA strike and financial market collapse, the book provides tangible examples of how success was achieved via hard work and specific methodology.

Inside you will find:

  • Screenwriter Spotlights of 16 writers who broke in following the 2008 WGA strikes
  • Insights from 20+ agents, managers, and industry executives
  • Advice and guidance from industry pros
  • Suggestions for actionable next steps

“With Lee Jessup’s incredible and informative new book, you will learn the mastery of becoming a working writer with longevity. Lee shows you the value of understanding the current state of the industry, the benefits of screenwriting competitions and fellowships, the paths to staffing on television and selling pilots, and the stories of those who are where you want to be.”

Jen Grisanti, Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor for NBC, International Speaker

Product Description

Breaking In: Tales from the Screenwriting Trenches is a no-nonsense, boots-on-the-ground exploration of how writers REALLY go from emerging to professional in today’s highly saturated and competitive screenwriting space. With a focus on writers who have gotten representation and broken into the TV or feature film space after the critical 2008 WGA strike and financial market collapse, the reader will learn from tangible examples of how success was achieved via hard work and specific methodology.

This book includes interviews from writers who wrote major studio releases, staffed on television shows, sold specs and television shows, placed in competitions, and were accepted to prestigious network and studio writing programs. The writers interviewed include (to name a few…):

  • Barbara Curry, screenwriter, THE BOY NEXT DOOR, REVERSIBLE ERROR (Universal television, in development)
  • Melissa London Hilfers, screenwriter, UNFIT, UNDONE
  • Erin Cardillo, television writer, SIGNIFICANT MOTHER, FULLER HOUSE
  • Moises Zamora, television writer, AMERICAN CRIME
  • Greta Heinemann, television writer, NCIS NEW ORLEANS
  • Joe Webb, television writer, SLEEPY HOLLOW
  • Marissa Jo Cerar, television writer, THE FOSTERS, SHOTS FIRED

These interviews are presented as Screenwriter Spotlights throughout the book and are supported by insight from top agents, managers and  industry executives, including:

  • David Boxerbaum, agent, Paradigm
  • Evan Corday, manager, The Cartel
  • Jewerl Ross, manager, Silent R Lit
  • Chris Coggins, VP Development, EuropaCorp.
  • Sean Barclay, agent, Gersh
  • Lee Stobby, manager, Stobby Lit
  • Josh Adler, manager, Circle of Confusion
  • Ryan Saul, agent, APA
  • Jason Scoggins, GM, Slated
  • Janine Jones Clark, former head of Disney/ABC Inclusion department
  • Jennifer Titus, executive, CW Seed

Together, these anecdotes, learnings and perceptions are tied in with Lee’s extensive experience in and knowledge of the industry in order to inform the reader about how the industry REALLY works, what it expects from both working and emerging writers, as well as what next steps the writer should engage in, in order to move their screenwriting career forward.

Below are just a few excerpts from the amazing writers, agents, managers and execs who sat down with me for BREAKING IN: TALES FROM THE SCREENWRITING TRENCHES:

“I think if you really do want to be a writer and really want to be successful in this business, the only way to achieve it is to continue to work on it and believe in yourself and be passionate and don’t let NO stop you.”
– DAVID BOXERBAUM, agent, Paradigm

“meet anyone you can in the business and know, when you meet them, that you have something valuable to offer. I used to avoid reaching out to people because I felt like they were just doing me a favor by meeting me or reading my work. Now I know that every meeting is an opportunity for us to help each other and it shifts the whole dynamic.”
MELISSA LONDON HILFERS, screenwriter, UNDONE (sold March 2015), UNFIT (sold February 2017)

“If there’s anything else that you could see yourself doing and being happy doing, save yourself the time, energy, effort, and go do that thing now. It will save you a few years of difficulty, heartache, blood, sweat, tears. If you can’t, if there’s nothing else you can see yourself doing and being happy, then this business is for you.”
– JOSH ADLER, manager, Circle of Confusion

“You need people who will inspire you to keep writing.  My writers group offers unconditional support, and weve seen amazing successes in the years since weve formed.  We help each other break stories, craft stronger characters, and when we have a crappy day we know there are six other writers we can call who will get it.”
– MARISSA JO CERAR, Television writer, SHOTS FIRED, THE FOSTERS

“Your work is a reflection of you. Yes, being personable is important, but before you get that chance, someone’s probably reading you, so make sure that it’s stellar. Take the time to put in the work. Be students of the game. Be really thoughtful about reading and don’t be lazy about your own careers. It’s finding your voice, it’s knowing yourself, it’s having passion for what you do.”
– JENNIFER AU, manager, Untitled Entertainment

“Take classes and go to conferences, not just because you might actually learn something, but in order to meet other writers. Start or join a writers’ group with people you genuinely like and trust because these are the people you will need to give you feedback on your work and to support you emotionally through the tough times. Personally, I think having a core group of fellow writers whom I trust to read my work and with whom I feel safe in sharing my successes and failures is the main thing that has sustained me throughout the years.”
BARBARA CURRY, screenwriter, THE BOY NEXT DOOR, REVERSIBLE ERROR (pilot sold to NBC)

“Figure out a way to come out of your shell. A lot of writers write and are not comfortable talking, and in any room you’ve got to be ready to jump in or your voice is never going to heard and you’re not going to get the episodes that you want to advance your career. Or you are never going to be able to sell that original the same way that somebody who can even fake it for half an hour is going to be able to do. You know those opportunities are few and far between and you really want to take advantage of them.”
– EVAN CORDAY, manager, The Cartel

“Be honest with your work and don’t be precious. You won’t get good until you allow people to tear your writing down and until you learn to take notes and constructive criticism. Don’t get mad when people don’t like your stuff, try and look at your work objectively, and figure out ways to get better. If you are doing comedy, study it and try to understand your own sense of humor”
– ISAAC GONZALEZ, television writer, COMMUNITY, BOARDERTOWN

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