please help me get a media/arts job in NYC!
December 14, 2006 12:42 PM   Subscribe

need an entertainment job offer in NYC, or a good writing or film program.

this Q is directed to people who know about theatre, television production, film school, or screenwriting school in NYC.

i'm a canadian woman, mid 20s. fairly successful in canada- i direct, act, and write. good resume credits, good press, good peer recognition. extensive experience doing sketch comedy both live and on tv, hosting a tv show, producing educational and kids' tv, done a ton of respectable semi-pro theatre and a fair bit of real pro, too. i have a university BA and i'm a theatre school graduate. i'm a visible minority, i look younger than i am, and i'm reasonably cute. probably the main "problem" with my credit list is a lack of focus- i have some good credits in each discipline (acting, writing, directing) rather than a specialized resume in any one area. jack of all trades kind of thing-- but i like it like that.

i want to move to NYC. i've researched my options for getting US working papers, and have been assured that i can get an O1 visa (outstanding achievement) pretty easily. all it will take is a job offer- NOT an internship offer. but i don't know where to begin.

a brief summary of my skills:
act, host a televison show, mc live events, direct live tv, direct theatre, write plays, write dialogue, improvise on film, appeal to kids and teens, fairly knowledgeable science geek, good at trivia, work well under pressure, work fast.

i could also go as a student. i've gone through 2 post-secondary programs already, and am not really jazzed to do more, but i know how valuable the connections are, so i think it'd be worth it. i do want to learn more about screenwriting. if i go to school, i would like to be on or very near manhattan island, and in a program that's short (under 2 years), respectable, and attended by serious people in their mid 20s or older. i don't mind tuition fees, extravagant as they may be, i'd consider it money well spent. any suggestions would be welcome.

so.... hive mind, what should i do? there must be avenues. i'm really overwhelmed by the big city from this distance, and would appreciate any leads. you can email me privately too, at
posted by twistofrhyme to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
NYU and Columbia are the two most obvious options for academic programs, if a bit pricey. You may be able to get a teaching fellowship at one of them, given your resume/degrees.
posted by availablelight at 3:14 PM on December 14, 2006

The most prestigious film school in NYC (possibly in the entire U.S.) is the graduate program at NYU. Unfortunately I think you may have just missed the application deadline for fall 2007 :( Actually, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts is well-reputed in general in case any of their other programs appeal to you. You might also check out NYFA.

Since a lot of American productions shoot in Canada, maybe you could find an "in" as a PA or something on one or another film/TV set and then cultivate contacts from there? Just a thought.
posted by JustDerek at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2006

Columbia also has a very small screenwriting dept associated with its writing/fine arts school....if your experience/reputation is as solid as you say, you might want to email whomever the relevant (professional screenwriting) faculty members are there about the options available to you (as a student, instructor, or both).
posted by availablelight at 3:38 PM on December 14, 2006

Maybe this is opening a huge can of worms, but I'd suggest against going to school for screenwriting, unless you're viewing it solely as paying for time to write. I'm not a big proponent of screenwriting programs, especially graduate ones, though surely there are others here who disagree. I'd say your funds are better spent taking a class or two from a community college or the Learning Annex or some such, reading a lot (both how-to's and scripts themselves), and just writing. Otherwise, you're looking at saddling yourself with a lot of debt (I'm assuming, unless you've got cash at hand) and coming out of school with scripts that may or may not be marketable (and if my own experience is any judge, the latter is more likely from what I've seen of NYU and Columbia grad students). Since you say that you're reluctant to go the school route, that's another red flag -- it's WAY too much money at the schools that count (someone correct me if I'm wrong here). I'd say your evaluation of it being money well spent might not quite be right. Although surely you can get a visa as a student at a community college. If so, that may be your real solution.

Looking at the things you've done, you're right -- you aren't focused on one discipline. What's your end goal? Do you want to be Nancy Meyers? Tina Fey? Mary Tyler Moore? Do you want to be on TV or film? Do you want to do sketch comedy? The jobs that you seem to be qualified for are the same jobs thousands of New Yorkers want -- so do you want to work in production? Maybe the business side? Development? THOSE jobs you could get from beyond the border, with a few decent contacts and a week spent in the city interviewing. I get the idea, though, that what you really want to do is keep performing, and if that's your goal, then you'll never get a job doing that unless you're pounding the pavement every day while living there.
posted by incessant at 11:29 PM on December 14, 2006

Response by poster: thanks for the tough love, incessant. you're right, i need to focus on a specific goal. and thank you for making me feel ok about not wanting to go back to school. the very idea felt like a hairball in my throat.

justderek- PAing is a great idea too- i just called an art department friend to see if he can get me on his next american shoot, and it looks good.

availablelight, the idea of going for a teaching fellowship had never even occurred to me- but since you posted that last week, i've talked to people i know at a couple of canadian institutions to see if i can do a guest lecture, just to try it out and maybe beef up my relevant resume here before i go. already it looks like two of those institutions are into it, and i have tentative offers. thanks for that, it's a great idea, and i can't believe it had never occured to me.

i love you, hivemind. thanks.

if anyone has any more ideas, i've bookmarked this thread and will check it fairly often just in case.
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:50 PM on December 18, 2006

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