View Full Version : How To Utilize an Industry Mentor?

12-16-2009, 07:22 PM
Hi, everyone,

I'm in a writing program where they've assigned a network vp over business affairs as my mentor. We are to meet in person every month for a year. I'm meeting him in a few days and am expected to express what I hope to get out of our mentorship relationship. Here's the problem - I don't know what someone in business affairs can do to help me as a screenwriter! I mean, I could ask him to introduce me to people at the network who are involved in tv shows or feature films but that seems kind of crude plus that would only cover 1 or 2 meetings. What about the rest of the year?

I'm hoping you guys can help me generate some ideas. Do you have any? Help!

12-16-2009, 07:31 PM
He's in business affairs now, but what has he done before? Ask a few questions to get a feel for his background. Or Google him before you go. Maybe he was a writer or producer once.

If he can't help you directly with your writing, maybe he can help you understand the business needs that a network or studio has when they look at scripts. There's a lot of valuable lessons you can take away that might not be about "writing" but that will help you be a successful writer.

Good luck!

12-16-2009, 08:45 PM
That's a good suggestion! By the way, his whole background is law - went to law school, had own law practice, etc. But you're right - who knows what he does in his spare time. Isn't everyone a writer here in LA regardless of your job?! :)


Mac H.
12-17-2009, 02:41 AM
If he's involved in business affairs, then he probably has a feel for what deals have been going ahead, and what ones have stalled.

How have things changed in the last few years? Reality TV - is it really on the wane? How important is overseas sales? What about network affiliates? Do they care about ratings in Kansas when making a deal in LA? What about foreign sales for original content?

Heck - you've got a chance to learn about the MAJOR factors in why some deals go ahead and why others fail.

These guys are effectively a major factor in buying your product .. and you can't see why talking to them can help you make a more saleable product !??

What an opportunity !


12-22-2009, 10:52 PM
Good ideas, Mac! Thanks!

12-23-2009, 08:13 PM
I would say, prepare for the first meeting by doing your research and don't stress yourself out at this stage about what you're going to talk about later. Your first meeting will set the tone for the rest of the year and you'll do great -- just run with it and enjoy this opportunity.

12-23-2009, 11:20 PM
You're in a writing program and assigned a mentor who is a network VP in business affairs. First thing I would like to say, that's a wonderful program you are onto. While writing is paramount, obviously, a most important plus to any writer is getting to know the business aspects which are a prominent part of the biz. And, it's a part of the business too many writers know little of. Consider yourself fortunate to have this opportunity. Take full advantage of it.

01-04-2010, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the advice, Jean. I'm doing my research right now. There's not much info on the person so that's done but I'm also trying figure out what exactly the heck business affairs is and what projects the network has coming up. Hopefully I'll sound semi intelligent during our first convo!

Alliebro, I really do feel fortunate! I moved to LA last year for this very reason - to network like crazy. I've spent the last few years learning the craft of writing and placing in contests - now its time to make something happen! Reading all the success stories from fellow DDers is encouraging to me! :bounce: