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What degree do I need to get my foot in the door of Soap Writing?

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First of all I am being theoretical...Let say I wanted to be a Soap Writer.

What degree (college) would I need? Is a degree necessary? How much would pay be for being a writer for a soap? Also, what is the usual starting position.

Just wondering!

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Posted · Report post

I don't know how many soap writers studied or how necessary it is, but a BA in Creative Writing certainly wouldn't hurt.

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Probably a really good degree....What's funny for me is that I generally hate writing, but I am up to the challenge of writing a soap, and you probably have to be really skilled at writing a lot of different essays/stories etc... to obtain that type of degree.

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Either degrees in Creative Writing, Film, or English Traditional (which I'm currently obtaining) would be the best degrees. However, nowadays, you really don't need a degree to break into the industry as a writer. Networking and workshoping can land you a job quick too. And the usual starting positions would be either writer's assistant (an intern), staff writer (dialogue writer), or breakdown writer.

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You need a connection to get you an internship and work connections.

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A little disclosure-- I have a degree in Writing. I would say, while a degree doesn't hurt, you definitely need connections. I never seriously considered soaps, although someone once passed me an application for a Writers program for ABC/Disney a few years ago. I was still in school at the time so I was not eligible but I never inquired about it further because I'm not a TV writer.You may want to check out some of those programs (NBC/Universal also has one, I believe) and see what their requirements are and if you meet them. Make sure you meet those requirements or else, honestly, you're wasting your time. The Hollywood Reporter used to be a great resource for production jobs, to get a foot in the door. I once actually got a freelance job by looking in their magazine and just sending my resume/cover letter to a bunch of places. Now, they no longer publish information like contact names, telephone numbers or addresses of any kind. Boo.

If you are in school, you should try your Career Services Center and see what guidance/advice they can offer you.Internships used to be great but beware of those that lead to nowhere and only make you a contract gopher, make sure there is an opportunity to get something out of it (experience is great, but ideally you want a tangible next step or even a recommendation for the next step).

Work on a spec script. There used to be a place (it might still be around) called Script City. They did films but I think they had some scripts from classic TV shows (I once took a sitcom writing course). You may actually find a script from your favorite soap. If so, try to get your hands on a couple of scripts and make note of the style, format. I know TV scripts, like film scripts have a very rigid format that anyone reading your script will expect you to conform to but I don't know whether soaps adhere to this style/format.

Try to find the production agencies (for e.g. if you are interested in a show that ABC/Disney, or Sony or Prospect Park produces) and see if you can find contact information. I hate LinkedIN but you may luck out and find a contact name, address, phone number, you could try sending a letter of inquiry to see if you can intern there. For instance, if the rumors are true and this Ginger Smith is set to be showrunner, you can try to contact her (a little pushy, a little risky), and mention your desire to intern at PP, knowing that she began as an intern herself.wink.png

In any case, good luck! Keep me up to speed on your journey.

Edited by DramatistDreamer

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Posted · Report post

Internships can be obtained on the soaps, but you need to receive college credits. That said, the internship to writing is a very wide and long path.

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Posted · Report post

How about time travel?

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I must agree with my Script Editor.

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Is anyone on here (besides myself) working on/have completed a pilot and/or spec script? Preferably for a soap or drama?

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I did a bible for college credit. Don't know how "legitimate" it actually was, but it contained all the requirements necessary to get an A ::::wink:::: It was 200 pages and it contained detailed character description and background for roughly 30 characters, a scene breakdown of the first 5 episodes, a full script of the pilot episode, and detailed storyline plans for the first year of the series.

Don't know about getting into writing, but to be a general office intern at Y&R and B&B, it must be for college credit. I'm guessing it is the same for GH and DAYS.

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That's neat! I'm still working on my story bible, which is currently 87 pages; however, I keep adding stuff which prevents me from completing it.

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Mine is 17,870 words and 95 pages. I want to find a way to publish my story in a periodical of some kind that accepts serial stories. I can probably make it a closed-narrative serial were it has an ending. Sort of what Charles Dickens did. Does anyone know how I can find a way to do that?

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I did a spec for DAYS last year for class (I think the story I did was incredibly hackey but it used the cast well and didn't involve too many sets so...), that came in at 38 pages.

I should do a bible for a show I've wanted to do for years, but I still don't like how the series starts off so I'll likely have to fix the bugs at the beginning first. I find it really hard to balance the exposition and hooking viewers in with the initial drama.

It's incredibly hard to be getting a foot in the door now as a Canadian in debt. Moving to LA to work for free isn't an option, and international tuition in the US is atrocious. The best way is to use the gift of the internet now while it's still the wild west and we can still get our work out without having to worry about a major network investing in it just to get it seen by anyone.

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I agree, beebs!

And I'd love for all us to stay in contact and keep each other updated on our budding writing careers. wink.png

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