It’s been over a year since Kelly Jo Brick graced this site. We would have said “well over a year,” but there’s nothing “well” or even okay about it.
Anyway, direct from her FinalDraft.Com column, some helpful advice about the “bricks of breaking in.” Rock on, KJB!
Bricks of Breaking In: TV Writer Andrea Ciannavei on Building a Creative Career
by Kelly Jo Brick
While there is no one path to break in as a film or TV writer, there are a lot of similar challenges — both internal and external — that aspiring writers have to confront. Below, Mayans M.C. writer Andrea Ciannavei shares how she faced the odds to grow her career as a television writer.
“I’ve always written; I’ve always wanted to be a performer of some kind. That impulse has been with me since I was a very small kid. I didn’t know what any of that meant, I just did it,” Ciannavei said.
Harnessing her writing interests became difficult without her mom’s support, though.
“I wanted to go to college for acting and my mother was absolutely against that,” she said.
It was only after a longtime friend reached out to Ciannavei’s mother to say, “You need to let her do something creative in college or she’s going to flunk out” that her mom got on board, and Ciannavei went on to study dramatic writing at Tisch and attended Juilliard, where she studied to be a playwright.
While transitioning from plays to TV, Ciannavei dealt with a wall of self-doubt that many writers face.
“My agents were like, ‘You gotta write a pilot so we can try to get you a job or at least a meeting.’ I had such a hard time with that; I procrastinated on that for years,” she said.
“I was like, ‘I’m not smart enough to write a pilot.’ I think it was just that I have a severe handicap when it comes to self-confidence. So I had every reason in my mind why I couldn’t write this thing.”
With encouragement from showrunner Liz Tuccillo, Ciannavei began to reflect on her own life, asking herself about things she had done over the years…..
Kelly Jo Brick is a former TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and current writer for the Final Draft blog. She’s a television and documentary writer and producer, as well as a winner of Scriptapalooza TV and a Sundance Fellow. Read more about her HERE.