Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reader question: How does one join the union as a script reader?

Shayna writes:

I was hoping I could pick your brain about the story analyst world... 

I'm currently a freelance reader, whose potentially looking to one day not be a freelance reader. I've done the agency thing, I've done the publishing thing and I'm really hoping to steer clear of the assistant world going forward. The few freelance jobs I've had have basically come to me and I've been exhausting my search for additional jobs, but as you know they're nearly impossible to come by. 

If I were looking to get further into this, would it benefit me to join a union? And on a separate note, is there anywhere else to look for these jobs, besides entertainmentcareers.net?

She's talking about the Story Analyst's Union, which is part of the Motion Picture Editors Guild. There are benefits to Union Membership, particularly with regard to pay. A few years ago it was something like $27/hour. That sounds good, but you have to realize that before the Guild can accept any new members, they have to check their roster and make sure that not a single active member is available.

As you might expect, that usually means that it's a hard union to break into. Very early in my career, I asked the SVP of Development at my company about how one goes about getting in, and he laid out that above scenario, while noting it was virtually impossible to break in. I'd think it's even MORE difficult now as reader jobs have disappeared, leading the union members to cling even tighter to their claim.

All of this goes back to my earlier advice - you don't want to be chasing jobs as a script reader. Find a different area of the business that excites you.

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