by Amy Suto & Kyle Cords
It was 2pm on a Wednesday and I was sitting in a sunny cafe in Paris writing a book profiling a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. I’m a ghostwriter, and as far as workweeks go, this was definitely one of the highlights. The following week, I would be in Berlin writing an article about a photographer and helping a friend with his startup, and then next month I would be back in the US, flying out to see another client at their family reunion that I’d be profiling for another book I was in the middle of. I’m not gonna lie — I was enjoying the jet-setting, office-less world I had created for myself, and it’s been my mission ever since to help others achieve the same thing.
I came up in the film and TV world, where I worked as an assistant for a variety of showrunners before writing an episode of the spy show CONDOR, but throughout my entertainment journey I was also ghostwriting memoirs for fascinating people all over the world. My business partner Kyle Cords (who is a Tisch alum) and I met in the Hollywood networking sphere, and both of us saw how the industry ladder was broken.
Freelancing Writing vs. The Assistant Route
Kyle and I have worked for a myriad of the industry’s top showrunners and feature film writers. Even after all of that experience, we’ve come to a conclusion that we share with NYU students: the grind of the assistant ladder is no longer worth the cost.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the current state of the industry shows how promotions have stagnated and our peers often have to slog through 10 years of being an assistant before they maybe even get a shot at co-writing an episode. The saturation of writers in Hollywood is high, and by trying to become the exception we in reality become just like everybody else.
In reality, I got my first staffing meeting from Twitter, and it turns out that all of the people I meet on generals were more interested in my life as a ghostwriter rather than my experience as an assistant. While Kyle went on dozens upon dozens of meetings on a variety of projects, he found himself frustrated by the amount of execs trying to get him to write the next Nerf Gun movie.
From what we’ve learned and what we’ve seen that works for our peers, getting coffee for a showrunner at a job where 80+ hours a week won’t help you hone your craft or do what you actually want to do: write. You have to get your 10,000 hours of writing in on your own time, and that’s where building a freelance writing career comes in.
Kingdom of Ink
If you want to travel the world and earn three times more money than you’d make as an assistant for half as many hours per week, freelance writing is a perfect path. In addition, being able to write your way to a stable living is a skill that anyone with a screenwriting degree can hone. If you can write something that entertains audiences, you can also learn how to write memoirs or creative copy for a website.
Kyle and I founded Kingdom of Ink (KingdomofInk.com) with just that in mind: helping creatives create a sustainable freelancing career so they can take on high-quality clients while pursuing their own writing projects. We source clients from all sorts of industries from tech to academia, and connect them to the perfect writer to make their project real.
We also have a built-in mutual aid system for freelancers, and a percentage of every contract gets redistributed evenly throughout all the freelancers in Kingdom of Ink as a cash payout every quarter. We not only want to create a seamless process for freelancers to find jobs: we want to create a real safety net so that freelancing can be accessible to top tier writers who want to work with fascinating clients. Our clients also reap the benefits of being matched to a highly skilled writer who is being supported so they can do the best work of their lives.
Your screenwriting degree isn’t just to help you write movies: it can help you create a sustainable, exciting life for yourself, and allow you to see the world. So where do you want to go next? If you’re interested in applying to be a freelancer or learning more about Kingdom of Ink, visit us at: KingdomofInk.com