How can I find a Mentor / Writing Community?
February 19, 2021 1:11 PM   Subscribe

How to get hooked up with mentorship and or a community of writers?

So I've been writing for a while (generally film/tv stuff) and working in production for quite some time (for NYC-based productions.) I'm doing pretty well in screenplay competitions, but no finalist placements yet. I've decided that this is the year I find representation and actually do something with, you know, the passion that I'd like to be more of a career.

The trouble is that I have no idea how to go about this effectively or in a way that won't feel like banging my head against a wall. Several people, including my therapist and my wife, have separately made the very good point that what I need is a mentor and/or (preferably "and") a writing community that I can consult. And of course they're absolutely correct. But I have even less of an idea about how to do that.

I went to a top film school, but that was almost twenty years ago and I've lost touch with most of my friends from those days, and the ones I've stayed close with weren't really in the "writing" side of the game so much. Similarly, my production career path has led me into a niche in non-fiction, so I don't really have any professional resources to draw on.

I'm not looking for advice on finding an agent. (I won't turn it away, mind you, but I'm aware that it's going to be a lot of cold-calls and query letters, and going to industry gatherings once those start up again and learning how to schmooze without alcohol, etc.) What I'm looking for is advice on finding people doing similar things, or who have gone through this recently enough to be a helpful guide.

Does anyone have any helpful tips here? Thank you.
posted by Navelgazer to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know much about it, but I know that everything2 is a community for writers.
posted by aniola at 3:24 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


I would recommend asking around in your local film/tv community about where people are taking classes. Classes are a good opportunity to meet a lot of other writers who may have similar professional aspirations. It might take a few different classes to find a good community or teacher. From there, I'd recommend joining up with their existing writing groups or starting your own group with classmates who have writing you admire, or write in a similar genre. In my experience, people usually have small groups (like 3 - 7 people) where they share feedback on scripts and professional opportunities.

I would also recommend going to virtual panels where working writers are speaking, because people often ask about this type of thing in Q&A's. Especially since all the film festivals are (or should be) virtual this year, I'm seeing a lot of free or otherwise especially accessible panels pop up.

I'm not familiar with any NYC local ones, but there are also larger communities that help writers get hooked up with professional mentors. If you are a member of a marginalized group or write in a certain genre, you might find groups specifically focused on that. Another good way to tap into writer communities is to ask around for any groups that set up table-reads for scripts, like Deadline Junkies. Sometimes these events have awesome and very active communities around them. Hope this helps and you find some great folks!
posted by sweetjane at 3:49 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


I found my writing group by attending a local writing conference, and I’ve met other writers by attending conferences. With the pandemic, a lot of that stuff has moved online. AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) has their online conference starting March 3. I’m not sure how much if any is specific to screenwriting, but you could also google screenwriting conferences. AWP seems to have a mentorship program, which I know absolutely nothing about. (I’m very new to AWP. A writing friend was going and suggested I join her. )

I’m also taking a class now with writingworkshops.com. They do have screenwriting classes, and that can also be a way to meet people.
posted by FencingGal at 6:56 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


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