As freelance writers, we’re privy to reading the occasional listicle (an article published in the form of a list) detailing Easter Eggs (intentionally hidden messages, characters or images inserted by producers) about our favorite TV show or film. We also research shows we’ve watched and enjoyed. For example, we want to know how Captain America did his stunts, and maybe we want to learn more about a location in which a movie was filmed. Perhaps we simply want to know more about certain TV and film genres. Writers often research things that spark their curiosity, especially after reading a particular book, or watching a specific TV show or movie.
As an independent filmmaker, writing about TV and film seemed like a natural extension of what I do. Once I realized that writing and producing screenplays is much harder, I started looking into submission requirements for TV- and film-related websites I usually read while I procrastinate.
These days, most TV and film writing gigs can be categorized as listicles, quizzes, criticism, and reviews. Familiarize yourself with these forms of writing before deciding which one you want to focus on.
One such site had an opening and I decided to try my luck at writing listicles and fact-based articles for them. I passed an interview with the client, which then offered a steady gig, and gave me the chance to write in not one, but two sections of their website.
To succeed at this job, I had to change the way I watch TV. This meant paying close attention to what I’m watching. I had to pay attention to visual cues, lines characters spoken just before a disaster, and even focus on what characters wear. For some assignments or shows, I had to learn about historical context, too. If you can learn about an actor’s skills and repertoire, you may also be able to use this in your writing.
The same goes for films. Let’s say you’re a fan of a director. Research that director, and watch as many of their films as you can. Everyone knows Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino but, if you can watch their films, and look for patterns, you’ll be better able to write about and understand why so many people love them. In my case, I was also given the opportunity to write a script for a YouTube channel that belongs to my client. So far, I’ve been assigned two articles per week, which means that I can expect to have steady work and a long-term relationship that will assist me in the future.
For those interested in writing about TV or movies, whether it’s lists, quizzes, or even criticism, I also suggest being honest with your editors. They may sometimes want you to review or write about something you’re unfamiliar with. Not knowing about a TV show or genre is not necessarily a negative. Your candor, past experience, and hard work will help them decide if you’re still the right person for the assignment.
HAVE YOU USED TV- OR MOVIE-WATCHING TO GET WRITING WORK? PLEASE SHARE YOUR TIPS IN THE COMMENTS BOX BELOW! 🙂
How the Boob Tube Made Me a Smarter, Wealthier Writer – by Jennifer Brown Banks
The Path That Led To My First Big Break In Writing – by Ingrid Cruz
Is That Really A TV Show Calling You For A Guest Spot? By Melanie R. Jordan
My Book Became an Animal Planet Movie! By Sandra Philipson
Ingrid Cruz is a full-time freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Her website is: http://www.ingridiswriting.com