To be precise, Amtrak is offering what it calls “social media residencies,” which do indeed involve writing – on, as you’ve probably already figured out, social media. Here’s what they have to say about it:
The #AmtrakTakeMeThere Social Media Residency aims to showcase how people from different walks of life travel by rail. By way of social media, our chosen residents will share their individual experiences aboard our long distance trains while engaging users through their respective online communities.
The idea here is that AmTrak puts you on a cross country AmTrak train for free – and even pays a $1000 stipend to cover travel expenses! – and you record your trip in whatever creative way you usually – and, because you care about your audience -best do that kind of recording and publish it via your FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts.
They’re very clear that:
We’re not looking for glitzy influencers with millions of followers who quit their day job to travel the world
So that means that real people like those of you who hang out over here at TVWriter™ from time to time have a real chance of making this happen.
But why take our word for it when you can get the deets and fill out the application form HERE?
Oh, and for the record, although we aren’t guaranteeing that this will be the greatest gig ever, we do want to say that it seems like one of the absolutely coolest “I’ll do anything to be a writer!” ops ever.
If you apply, please, please, please, let us know how it goes. We love bragging about our visitors, you know?
Every wonder what the writers you worship/adore actually worship/adore themselves? Here’s the scoop:
by Gregory Cowles
IF WISHES WERE BOOKS: It’s holiday time. So in keeping with a loose tradition at Inside the List, I asked a handful of best-selling authors to talk up their favorite reads of 2017, old or new. Granted, not everybody will find a limited 1909 edition of “Gulliver’s Travels.” But we can wish.
Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Brown Girl Dreaming”: As someone who doesn’t read a lot of nonfiction, I was pleasantly surprised by David Friend’s “The Naughty Nineties” — basically a sexual history of that decade (and a guidebook for this one!). Friend brings us right back to all the amazing drama of that time: from Clinton and Lewinsky to Lorena Bobbitt to O. J. Simpson. It’s funny, scandalous, whip-smart and infinitely readable.
Celeste Ng, author of “Little Fires Everywhere”: In a year that made me furious, Daisy Johnson’s “Fen” was a howl I didn’t know I needed. This linked collection takes place in the marshes, where things that some might wish to keep hidden refuse to stay buried, and resurface in unexpected ways. It’s hauntingly written and full of unabashedly, refreshingly angry women who are hungry — both figuratively and literally — for things long denied them….
Don’t let your mothers read this one, newbies. But definitely read David Silverman’s wise words yourselves – and remember, knowledge – even if it’s scary as hell – ultimately will give you power:
by David Silverman, MA, LMFT
It’s relatively easy. First you get a job as a screenwriter or TV writer. You get to deal with deadlines, rejection, and a roller-coaster of ups and downs in your career. You might encounter heartache, or agonize over where your next job is coming from. You could be the flavor of the month one day and forgotten the next.
On the other hand, you might just become successful, buy a house in the Hollywood Hills, drive a Lamborghini, and chase after beautiful starlets. You might have wild parties where your friends and acquaintances share drugs, or get hammered and carry on long into the night.
Whether you bottom out or become wealthy, you’ll find there’s a rich tradition around writing in an altered state and partying with other writers.
There was a long tradition of writers drinking in Hollywood. Everyone likes tradition.
Back in the day, the infamous hard-boiled detective novelist, Raymond Chandler could be seen drinking at the Formosa. Chandler went on to write the Oscar nominated The Blue Dalia and got stuck at some point. He’s said to have gone on an eight-day bender, which helped him break through the slump.
In the 1930’s Herman Mankiewiz had the reputation as a reckless drunkard who picked fights with actors and studio executives alike. Mankiewiz would one day write such classics as Duck Soup, The Wizard of Oz, and – he even won the Oscar for Citizen Kane.
Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman and Robert Sherman were all known to “drink their lunch” at the Algonquin Hotel, and are now known for writing classic screenplays and Pulitzer Prize winning plays.
Once you’re a writer, you’ll be surrounded by intoxicants at parties, and even at work.
I remember an Executive Producer of a certain TV show I worked on, who smoked “a pipe,” during our rewrites. One day, he dropped his “pipe tobacco” on the floor and it was clearly pot.
He finally admitted he was smoking pot all year at the rewrites. Being the boss, nobody was going to do anything about it. Interestingly, he told us that the “hide the pot in the tobacco pouch” trick was something he learned from Rodney Dangerfield. When you realize your boss is getting baked, why not join him?
When you find out how little respect you get as a writer in Hollywood, you might easily find yourself “self-medicating.”
In Hollywood, the writer is at the bottom of the totem pole. Actors are important, directors are important, they both have power to change the story, and rewrite the lines. The actor brings people into the theater. Not the writer. The director can have the last word on a film. Not the writer. Writers are not famous. They are, however, quite expendable.
After all, anybody can write. Who remembers who wrote “Casablanca?,” or “Gone With the Wind?,” or “Silence of the Lambs?,” Everyone remembers the stars, Bogart, Bergman, Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins.
Once you decide you can make a living by writing for TV or film, the roller-coaster ride begins. You’ll live with insane deadlines, paralyzing creative blocks, out of control bosses, anxiety, resentfulness and sometimes even depression. You’ll have to constantly try to reinvent yourself, stay “twenty-one” forever, prove you’re still “hot,” otherwise, it’s “what have you done lately?”