How to brand yourself as a writer: a thread.

The biggest branding mistake I see from writers is trying to convince everyone that you can write anything. I get it! You want a job writing. It’s your dream. You will take anything that comes your way. Here’s why that’s not smart:
(First off, let me say that I love you and believe in you and I do believe that you can truly write anything you set your mind to. That’s not the issue here).
When it comes to branding, many writers are either afraid of 1. Missing out on opportunities or 2. Being put in a box permanently once they start specializing in something. Let’s address each of these:
1. I’m sure you know by now that breaking into this industry is HARD. It is so competitive. I like to say that making a living as a tv writer is impossible—yet many people do it.
It’s also important to note (from @coreymandell) that many aspiring writers make the mistake of thinking their competition is other aspiring writers when it’s actually other aspiring writers AND all the writers currently working (and between jobs) in this industry.
So it’s not enough just to be able to execute well: you have to be able to write in a way that no one else can. That could be elevating your quality of storytelling or honing a unique style. It could be offering a fresh and unique perspective. Either way it needs to be specific.
That job that anyone else can do? It’s going to go to someone with way more experience and credits. That’s why “being able to do the job” just isn’t going to be enough.
2. Regarding being put in a box: as I heard a writer once say (I forget where, sorry. Probably on an episode of Scriptnotes): “you should be so lucky.” In this cutthroat industry, there are so many worse things than being the “go-to” person for certain types of stories.
Sure it might get tiresome, but you’ll never be hurting for work (all the more reason to not worry about #1 from earlier), and it’s been proven time and time again that once you corner a brand, you can ascend out of it for the next phase of your career (see: Jordan peele)
So knowing this, how do you brand yourself as a writer? Think of the unique worldview you can offer. Think of the types of stories, characters, and themes you want people to associate with you. And reverse engineer your script premises, pitches, even the anecdotes you tell people
One mistake I often see writers make is that they focus too much on trying to ~articulate~ that brand. (Ex. “I am a dramatic writer who focuses on telling stories about strong women in history that resounds with topical themes” blah blah blah) I zone out immediately.
When I say “brand” I mean something intangible, specifically evocative of a type of project, and often inarticulable. Think of the strongest writer brands you know: Judd apatow, taika waititi, ava duvernay, shonda rhimes, Stephen king, mike schur, insert your favorite here.
When you think of them, you know EXACTLY what kind of theme, subject matter, and story is going to be told. But you might not be able to adequately convey that in a sentence. That’s why you shouldn’t focus on the phrasing of what you write. You should focus on the whole package.
Once your worldview and your voice is solidified (though they will be constantly evolving), your brand will emerge. Think of how your body of work illustrates that. Think of how your personal story illustrates that. Your brand will be created in the minds of the people you meet.
Then it will be reinforced by the opportunities you’re given and the ones you take advantage of. It’s your most important project. It must be found in all that you do, not just in a one sentence thesis statement.
Writers, how have you found your brand? Don’t tell me what it is. Tell me how you’ve discovered and reinforced it. #screenwriting

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More from @audreyknox

29 Dec 20
ATTN aspiring TV writers: As we move into 2021, many of you are thinking of your next steps goals—one of which is probably to sign with an agent or manager. I tend to get many of the same questions regarding this process, so I’ll write some threads with the advice I usually give:
First, a disclaimer: these are my opinions based on my experiences and insights from this side of the business (management representation). If another professional offers different advice or a different opinion, that’s awesome! I highly recommend getting multiple perspectives.
My qualifications: I’ve spent 4 years working for @CartelHQ (starting as a receptionist, working my way up to Assistant, to coordinator, and now manager). I rep TV writers at the producer, story editor, staff writer, and script coordinator levels.
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