The Life of a Writer/Producer
What surprises you most about your job?
The imagination of everyone involved in making an episode of television. I will never cease to be amazed by the stories and characters writers can come up with, and the ability of a production crew to bring words in a script to life.
What can students be doing now, here at Hamilton, to prepare for this career?
Any form of writing is always good preparation — continue to sharpen your style and strengthen your voice on the page. But I think the biggest thing anyone can do to prepare for a career in writing is just be a curious person in the world with unique experiences and stories to tell. Writing for television is a job that demands creativity, empathy, teamwork, and a strong point of view. So — play sports. Study abroad. Join clubs or Greek life. Run for student government. Write for The Spectator. Perform at open mics or in theater or improv. Become a tour guide or a jitney driver or a TA or a Café Opus worker. Get involved. Talk to people you agree with and people you disagree with. Do whatever you can with the resources and opportunities at your disposal on the Hill to enrich your life in new and exciting ways that can inform your world view and your art.
What resources are helpful to look into? What should a student who is interested in television/film next steps be?
It's easier than ever now to keep up with the industry through the trades (Variety, Deadline, Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, etc) - following trends in terms of what buyers are looking for, and what types of shows are working / not working, and what types of movies are successful. A lot of showrunners, TV writers, and screenwriters are all on Twitter / Instagram / podcasts and often offer valuable advice in their feeds. John August's website was a great resource when I first started in this business. The Writers' Panel is also a great podcast that interviews a lot of showrunners as well.
Hamilton has a long history of connecting students with alumni and parents whose advice, expertise, and resources help talented young people achieve success for themselves and in their communities.
What project have you done at work that you felt added the most value?
Any time I write an episode and get to add a tiny piece of mythology / lore / character development / story to the overall series arc / engine always feels valuable!
Do you have any other words of wisdom or helpful tips for students interested in the television/film industry?
You have to be where the action is. Move to Los Angeles. That was the advice that Professor Doran Larson gave me in the spring of 2004 when I shared an interest in screenwriting. I did it, and it was scary as hell, but I never looked back and am so grateful I made the leap.
Céline Geiger is currently a writer and producer on the Freeform drama series The Bold Type. She is also the writer, creator and executive producer of the Emmy nominated digital series Relationship Status. She has written for the television series Being Human (U.S.), The Lying Game, The Vampire Diaries, and Valor and developed projects for film, TV, and digital with HBO, The CW, VH1, Freeform, Awesomeness TV, and Berlanti Productions.