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07/09/2002 - WRITE IT ALL
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WRITE IT ALL

Dear Friends,

Someone asked me the other day how I got started in my writing career. He seemed genuinely interested, and I had some time to kill, so I gave him a fairly detailed answer. As I did, I started remembering all of the dues-paying and under-the-radar projects that I wrote, even to get a step or two up the ladder, which is where I am fortunate enough to be nowadays.

I'm not just talking about scripts, either. I'm talking about business writing, letters to the editor, humor pieces, speeches, websites, commercials (which I've touched on again recently, and had lots of fun doing), press releases, newsletters, comedy sketches, toasts, annual reports, vision statements, treatments for a little cash, treatments for free, script rewrites for cheap (and for no credit), and so many more.

I didn't write any porn, but that doesn't mean I would not have done it. In fact, I remember a friend of mine told me about an opportunity to write for some adult-oriented Cinemax or Showtime series, and the only reason I didn't do it was because I happened to get some other (equally low-paying, though less exciting) project instead.

As for scripts, well, those rewrites began when I was an executive working for a television producer. I wouldn't touch the scripts of the "real" writers with whom we worked, but I was often asked to touch up the scripts and treatments of a certain writer friend of the producer before we sent them into the networks.

Nowadays, I get to be more discriminating about what projects I work on. But I would have never made it to this position had I not taken on just about every writing assignment thrown my way, especially in my pre-credited days. Every paying gig got me closer and closer to being able to write full time, and helped me refine my work habits. Just going through the process was valuable to me, and I kept it from annoying me by constantly continuing work on projects that were important to me. And this doesn't even mention the fact that some of those strange little writing assignments turned out to be a blast, and/or ended up leading to something terrific.

In fact, about five years ago, one internet humor piece that I wrote for a friend was faxed around and finally ended up in the in-box of a major comedy producer, who asked me to write a treatment for him. I did and, well, let's just say we weren't on the same page for that project. But we have since spoken many times, and search for opportunities to work together.

Take those little writing gigs, wherever you may find them. They help remind you of what it's like to deliver on deadline, and get paid for it. They might even help in ways you never imagined.

Writing on,

Grady

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