1. Hannibal Alexander
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    Hannibal Alexander Senior Member

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    any advice for me? writing, journalism, copywriting (sorry this is a long post!)

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Hannibal Alexander, Sep 5, 2012.

    i go to a community college, and a community college in california... so with all the budget cuts and lay offs (and since i also work full time) it's really difficult to find the help i really need in plotting out my future. so i'm wondering if i can just spill my goals here and maybe get some helpful advice from all of you.

    1. ultimate goal is to become an in demand academy award winning screen writer (if you're gonna dream, dream BIG right?) and since i haven't completed any scripts i know now that i should not rush this part of my writing, just work on it steadily and finesse it and when it's ready i'll know. (same goes for novels which i have lots of ideas for)

    2. in the interim, i need to get myself into a career that's focused on writing so i don't want to AUF myself in the near future. and for the longest time i was leaning towards journalism... but that's really, super dead! i mean magazines and newspapers are dying as far as budgets and circulation but also if you actually read some of today's journalism... it really blows! and i'm not just saying that out of jealousy... it seems like journalists write about total crap and go to youtube comments for the bulk of their stories. not knocking all journalists but from the stuff i read it's really super dead
    BUT... they get paid! and for this ... the road is clear. i have to intern at a magazine or newspaper and just work my way up (even though i'm already 32 years old)

    3. copywriting! i was so retarded, i had a marathon of "mad men" a few months ago and than about a month later i was curious about what copywriters do. i googled it and found out "OH, you idiot, copywriters are like peggy!" they basically write content for different companies in varying different ways. and than i thought that would be a smart move because it seems like every industry would be in need of copywriters. including record labels.
    I'm just not sure the road here is the same!? i'm getting my AA in English/Writing this coming December ... and i'm not sure if taking the route of interning at magazines and newspapers would be the smartest. or if i should intern at the sort of industry i'd want to do copywriting for (record labels, film studios, porn companies even).

    4. i know both journalism and copywriting require years of experience in that field. and technically no i don't have any of that experience. BUT ... i have been blogging for about 4 years, and for about 2 years i've been writing for an online magazine (which actually went print recently) and submitted a few things to another online blog. however it seems that's not substantial.

    so -- i guess that leaves it up to all who are willing to respond.
    am i thinking correct in these different avenues!?
    for copywriting what would be the best route!?

    sorry for the length and the rambling... i'm just really confused and don't know what really to ask ... just kind of wanted to put everything out there and see what would be some good options for me.
     
  2. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    Any place will want you to intern. You are correct about journalism, it is not as popular any more unless all based on the internet. Copy-writing is becoming more popular because companies want to be seen a certain way.

    How many years are you into your education? You do have time yet, and if you need to make sure you are going in the route you want to, that is entirely up to you. Talk to a school guidance counsellor. They tend to know more of what is available or really popular career wise now. Plus, they may consider your current job as some part of experience, even if it has nothing to do with it.

    Why not try writing a script? There are many sites out there that can tell you more about it.
     
  3. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    My experience with communit college guidance counselors has left me distrustful of them.

    I once had a community college counselor give me the wrong schedule for school. I wasted an entire semester taking classes that didn't transfer.

    My college education lies in business, but there was one advice that a proffessor of mine gave me that is probably universal. He said find someone who has a career that you want, and ask them how you can be like them when you're their age (or something to that effect.) Ask them how they got to where they are, what education was important, where would be good places to start. Not only does this give you good information, but you may not make whatever mistakes they did earlier in their career.

    It might be hard to get in touch with an award winning screen writer thoguh, but you never know. Older people at the hieght of their careers tend to like to pass off knowlegde to the young who are genuinely interested.

    If you can't get in touch then I guess you'll just have to study them and their careers.

    Above all stay focused and never give up. I have friends who have went to four year universities for film writing and only one is doing something related to that degree.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you don't have to study the lives and careers of successful screenwriters to learn how to write scripts... or get in touch with any, which is generally impossible to do... all you have to do is learn the abc's of the craft and then start writing... the learning is fairly easy, as you can download scripts and study them, while using one of the 2-3 good how-to's out there as a guide...

    i write screenplays and mentor aspiring screenwriters [along with just about all other breeds of writers], so if anyone wants to know how to go about it, they only have to drop me an email and i'll send my 'tools of the trade' list and tips from the pros on various aspects of the craft... you need to be aware, however, of the fact that the first script sold or optioned by a new screenwriter is, on average, the NINTH one s/he had written... so, count on it taking years to get to that point...

    as for journalism, i have to agree that it's not likely you'll be able to make a living at that for quite a few years, if ever...

    that leaves copywriting on your list of potential earning-a-living careers... and there's really only one 'route'... that begins with being a much-better-than-most writer of anything that takes words... being good enough at it to beat out the copious competition...

    once you're satisfied that your skills are honed to perfection, you then have to build up a portfolio... one way to do that is to do freebies for folks you know who have businesses [online, or on the ground] and who need their existing ad/brochure/website copy corrected and/or upgraded/updated... you can also troll the web and find websites with poor copy [= the vast majority!] and offer to 'fix' it for free, as a sample of what you can offer for a fee...

    you'll also need a website on which to display your 'wares'... place ads in freebie giveaways and on internet lists... give out business cards and flyers locally and everywhere you go...

    and so on...

    feel free to email me for more info and/or forwarded tips, help, whatever...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  5. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    There's your expert!
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll be honest, I haven't read all your post, but I read up to;

    1. ultimate goal is to become... screen writer.

    I saw no reason to read passed that point. If your ultimate goal is to become a screen writer, then that is where your time and energy should focus. Learn all you can about the subject. Practice, practice, practice writing scripts.
     
  7. Hannibal Alexander
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    Hannibal Alexander Senior Member

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    Trilby. yeah... but, in the mean time i have to do something right!?
     
  8. Hannibal Alexander
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    Hannibal Alexander Senior Member

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    and i have to say... i really appreciate all of your advice and feedback. i'm really loving this site because you guys totally GOT what i was trying to ask and i so appreciate that.
    and mamamia i took your advice and put out feelers to different companies and what not to do some copywriting for free. i let them know i'm available but nothing has come of it yet... but at least they know.
     
  9. Anthrax
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    Anthrax Member

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    No it doesn’t. I spent 20 years in navy intelligence and when I retired I went to work for a newspaper a month later having never worked as a reporter a day in my life. My secret: I knew how to write and I didn’t try to work for a major newspaper. I went to work for the hometown community newspaper (circ 25,000). From there I went to work for a daily newspaper in Kodiak Alaska (search Ralph Gibbs and Kodiak Daily Mirror and you’ll find some of my work).

    Newspapers are not dead they are just changing. What I think is going to happen is each state will end up having 1 or 2 major papers and a host of community papers. Community papers is where the future lies. What you’re going to have to do is find a couple local community papers and write a few stories for them. Read them for a couple weeks to see how they roll then maybe cover a few high school football games or local events. Free of charge at first then go from there. It’ll help if you can take photographs as small community reporters tend to do it all.
     

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