I probably would be a terrible teacher because after five years of covering the same material with successive classes I would likely be at the end of my rope at having to answer the same questions again and again, year after year.
Running a screenwriting blog, I've found there are certain questions that will. not. die. Sometimes this is because it's a basic question and other times because the answer is unpopular and people keep asking in the hope of finding exceptions.
Top of the list? "Do I need to move to LA to become a screenwriter?"
YES YOU NEED TO MOVE TO LA TO BECOME A SCREENWRITER!
I don't care that you think technology makes it possible to do your work from afar and build your career. I don't care that you may have put down roots somewhere and have a desperate need to believe that you can enter a few contests and compete on the level of people who have come to down, done the legwork and done a far better job of landing in the right circles. This is a reality of the business. If you are serious about being a writer, figure out a way to get out here.
"But, what about---" NO. Shut up and read this post covering the subject. Read the other posts linked within it.
Then go watch this video.
I know my audience, and I know that there are people ready with one or two exceptions, as if that impeaches my entire premise. Yes, there are people who managed to get repped from afar via the Black List, and that's great. There might even be one or two sales there - that's also great.
I'm also not going to pin my hopes to that. I've got a friend who got great representation via the Black List, but as he's currently living and working out of town, he's ended up trying the routine of flying in for a week once ever four months or so. His reps are good at packing those weeks with meetings, but I know he's gone on a fraction of the meetings that local writers have. Those meetings are what build relationships and relationships are what really provide the foundation for a long career.
Once you've written a couple half-billion dollar blockbusters for the studios and you're the first guy or gal they're calling for every assignment and rewrite, you can move to Antarctica for all they care. But those writers have earned the right to be so remote.
But I can hear you. You're still about to tell me about the exceptions. So let me tell you a story. Have you ever heard of Amy Purdy?
Amy Purdy is an Olympian. She won a gold medal for snowboarding in the 2011 Olympic Games. If you don't follow sports, you might also remember that she was the runner up on last spring's cycle of Dancing With The Stars. Pretty impressive, right?
Amy Purdy also did all of this with two legs that had been amputated below the knees. Yes, she won a gold medal and a dance competition while using artificial legs! Her competitors, despite not having the handicap of needing to learn to walk all over again on leg prostethics, still got their asses kicked!
It's an inspirational story. It's an exceptional achievement. But does it mean that everyone who has their legs amputated will be able to hit those heights? No, of course not. Amy is an incredible exception.
When you tell me you don't believe me that staying in Sioux City, Iowa is making things harder for yourself, what you're basically saying is that you think you're Amy Purdy. When you get your gold medal and get to the finals of Dancing with the Stars, I'll tell you I was wrong about you. Until then, my advice is always gonna be "Get to LA."