Coverfly Endorsed Writer, Amy Hartman, recently signed with a Literary Manager at Anonymous Content. We had the chance to chat with her about her background, experience, and how she broke in.
How It All Began
This is always a tough question because it’s dozens of little things, but one moment I specifically remember was the first time I saw The Shawshank Redemption. I was probably 12 or so at the time, and the last 30 minutes of the prison break unfolding just blew my mind. That was the first time I realized a movie isn’t something that just happens but something someone writes first, and after that, I was just hooked on the idea of writing film and television.
After finishing undergrad and grad school, I got my first entertainment job through a film festival programmer I met in Singapore who hired me to run social media for the Palm Springs Short Film Festival. I packed my childhood bedroom into a cheap car and drove from Colorado to Palm Springs with plans to go to continue onto Los Angeles after the festival to look for both a job and a place to live. While at the festival, an independent film producer gave a terrific lecture on low-budget filmmaking. After his talk, I approached him and said I was eminently moving to LA and that if he had any projects coming up I’d love to intern if there was a need for that kind of thing. Luckily for me, he had a feature starting a few weeks later. I spent one month working for free on the set of that film, and after production wrapped he hired me as his assistant.
"Working on being kind to myself has been a huge part of developing my writing process."
I didn’t get my first writer’s room job until nearly three years later. I had gone from my producer’s assistant job to working as a Page at NBC. Some assistants in my department invited me to a comedy show, and there I met one of their boyfriends who was working as a writer’s assistant. Up until this point I had had a tough time meeting anyone working in TV, so I asked if he would get drinks with me. We hit it off and he asked for my resume, saying that if the pilot he was working on went they would probably need a writer’s PA. I emailed it off that night but didn’t hear anything for a couple of months. But, luckily for me, the pilot did get picked up and they did need a writer’s PA, and after a few rounds of interviews, I landed my first support staff position.
It’s the same obstacle I continue to encounter: balancing work, writing, and trying to have a life. I have never been one of those people who writes every day, especially if I’m working a job with long days. For a long time, I harbored lots of guilt over taking some weekends off from writing or hanging with friends instead of cranking out a few more pages. It’s still something I struggle with, but lately, I’ve been spending a lot less time feeling guilty, which has absolutely improved the quality of my writing.
Working on being kind to myself has been a huge part of developing my writing process. At some point, I realized that my friends with more “normal jobs” never felt bad for not doing more accounting or engineering or whatever on the weekends. They had their job and when the day was over they had a life. I think artists are burdened with a lot of undue pressure for the art to consume their lives.
Even though I am relatively new to Coverfly, I’ve already gained a significant amount of industry exposure through the platform. One of the hardest things about being a new writer is getting your material read, and Coverfly makes it easier for industry professionals to find and read your work.
"It’s the same obstacle I continue to encounter: balancing work, writing, and trying to have a life."
What Comes Next?
I’m still building out my long-term plan with my very recently acquired manager, but in the short term, I’m focusing on staffing and trying to get my material read. I’ve been fortunate and have worked in support staff positions more or less continuously for the last few years, but all that time in writers' rooms has kept me from making many connections in development, so I’m trying to build out my network in that regard.
Advice For Aspiring Writers
Write the script that scares you. Not the one that you think will sell or get you staffed or get you repped, but the one that you can’t stop thinking about but you aren’t sure you can pull off or are good enough to write. At worst it will make you better, and at best you might have something truly special on your hands.
Y: The Last Man is one of the best things I’ve ever read and I would kill to be involved in the TV adaptation of it that’s in the works right now.
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