It is easier to get into Harvard than to become an intelligent writer. At least that’s what television writer Jenna Bond told her virtual audience Tuesday night.
Bond took her audience on a journey of what goes on behind the scenes of television production during the eighth event in this semester’s Closs Virtual Reading series.
Bond is a screenwriter and strategy professional who strives to capture and engage new audiences through digital content and other forms of media. Most recently, Bond worked with the Writers Guild of America, East, and ran screenwriting fellowships and professional development programs for writers. She has also spoken at various film festivals including Austin Film Festival, Urbanworld Film Festival and Nantucket Film Festival, thereby helping other screenwriters to better navigate the entertainment business. She also developed a partner program with FilmNation to better connect the NYC film industry, and she is currently a staff writer on the STARZ upcoming half-hour comedy, “Run the World.”
Bond began her talk with a brief presentation on what it is like to be a professional writer, giving a short background of the Screen Writers Guild, explaining who she is as a writer and offering advice on professional writing.
According to Bond, freelance writers have to approach their work not just from a creative perspective but also from a business perspective.
“No matter what field you are in as a writer, it’s really important that you pay attention to the ad revenue and the value that you bring,” she said.
Bond also emphasized the difficulty of developing skills as a professional writer.
“If you are not disciplined, focused, obsessed in this moment, you make it harder for yourself to break in,” Bond said. “So, if your mom, your cousins…don’t take you seriously, you’ve got to work on it because if you don’t who is going to refer you.”
The panelists then opened the floor to questions.
“Where did you find good opportunities to share your work or assist other screenwriters?” one student asked.
In response, Bond’s primary advice was to build network and relationships. She gave some practical suggestions on following production companies, studios and personalities that one might want to work with. In general, her words of wisdom were to “be able to have a conversation where someone will take you seriously.”
Correction 10/31/20: One line was removed from this article.