I didn’t discover the value of mentors until later in life, and I wish I would have sooner. Mentors can help you avoid mistakes in your career (and life) because they’ve already made them and learned from them. They can give you honest advice, and support if you’re down. They can help you make connections and find jobs. I never knew how to find a mentor and was lucky enough to have mine find me.
If you’re in the market for a screenwriting mentor, there are some easy ways to find someone willing to guide you, according to New York Times Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry. He told us he was fortunate enough to have Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson (um, wow) mentor him as a kid.
“Approaching writers for feedback and mentorship is a good thing,” Maberry told us during an interview. “The easiest way is to go to a convention. There’s always an opportunity to have a conversation, get a question answered, get some advice, and do a little networking.”
To go deeper with someone, and ask them to become a regular mentor, many writers’ groups offer mentorship programs.
“So, look up the group that’s associated with your genre, and see if they have a mentoring program and then apply to it,” he said. “They’ll position you with someone who is not only capable and experienced enough but also is willing to do it because not all writers have that amount of time. So, if someone is volunteering to be a mentor, they have the time to be able to dedicate the right kind of attention to your work and to help guide you through it.”
Jeanne V. Bowerman, Editor-in-Chief at Script Magazine, has a great list of dos and don’ts for finding a screenwriting mentor. And the International Screenwriters’ Association has a resource page for mentorship, too.
We get by with a little help from our (screenwriting) friends,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach