The Bricks of Breaking in: Writer-Producer Christine Boylan on Building a Screenwriting Career

Former TVWriter™ Contributing Editor Kelly Jo Brick’s latest interview, chock full of info for Hollywood aspirants (no matter where you may be right now!

by Kelly Jo Brick

Building and growing a television or film writing career can come with great obstacles, as well as great opportunities. Writer Christine Boylan shares her experiences and advice on making the journey from aspiring, to working writer.

Boylan began her entertainment career as an intern for the ABC soap opera All My Children, making the cross-country jump from New York to Los Angeles after a win in the Austin Film Festival Screenplay and Television competition. Building on a writers’ assistant gig at Gilmore Girls, she got her first staff writer job on Leverage. Christine went on to write for Off the MapCastleOnce Upon a Time and was a co-EP on ConstantineCloak & Daggerand The Punisher. She’s also the founding voice behind Bespoke Plays, a theater company in L.A. dedicated to offering play readings for local writers who create diverse stories and worldviews.

Through these experiences, Boylan has accumulated several tips for surviving the day-to-day while working to break-in. “Building up a body of work, even when you can’t get a job, is super important,” Boylan says. She also concedes it can be hard to do in the face of obstacles. “I was terrified. I could barely make ends-meet. I was borrowing money like crazy,” Boylan recalls. “Everybody has a different way of getting by—I was just barely getting by. I had no health insurance; so, having asthma, I was just trying not to get sick. Everybody’s got stuff. You’ve got to juggle your stuff if this is what you want to do.”

She also suggests finding a skill that you can do outside of the industry. “But really, find your own way! If having a day job helps you, that works as long as you can do the thing and write, do it. For some people it’s like, ‘I have a day job, but I know that I’m alone for 20 minutes every day.’ Like at Gilmore Girls, I knew I had time to myself at night when everybody left—and I happen to be a nighttime writer….

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