Writing, Arts & Entertainment

Breaking into the Industry

Shonda Rhimes

Lesson time 13:06 min

Shonda reveals her top tips for networking, working entry-level jobs, and her thoughts on film school.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Film School • Networking • Writing Programs • Mentors


It's interesting. I think that USC was really instrumental for me in getting me contacts and getting me acclimated. I came to Los Angeles not knowing a single person. And getting an internship, getting to know people, getting the introductions to things, USC was very helpful for that. Here's what I think, because I think film school is invaluable in that it's an amazing little lab. And I did learn, I did come in knowing a lot about production because of it, and that was really helpful as well. But I think in terms of just financially, if you are hurting for money, if you have to take out a lot of student loans, if there is not a scholarship waiting for you and you are worried about that-- and frankly it's different now. Student loans back when I went to school, because I'm an old lady, and when you might be going to school now are just different. So to me, if you have to make the choice between going to film school and coming out to LA and getting a job as a PA on a set, or getting a job as a PA in some writers office or something like that, get the job, because I think that there is a lot to be done with you writing at night, and getting a job during the day, and working your butt off and making contacts that way. I think it's very, very, very expensive to go to school right now. And while I think that everybody should get a college education, I'm not necessarily sure you need a film school education. A thing that I think can be really helpful for people when they got a job, and people don't seem to know this right now, and it feels very obvious. If you get a job in the industry, making someone coffee, making someone copies, running someone's errands, you better make the best coffee they've ever had. And it better be with a smile. The ones who seem flat out pissed that they're there, or frustrated, or lazy, or entitled, you want them to go away, because you think, man, they're just sucking the air from the room. You better run those errands as cheerfully as you possibly can with the most energy. And the reason is is because the entitled, sort of I can't believe I'm doing this thing gets very old, very fast. Now, I say this, and I can say this, because when I got my first job as an assistant, I was the most spoiled, miserable, pathetic assistant in the world. I had the most sour look on my face all the time. I used to drive around the corner from the studio and cry all lunch hour, because I had to do all these terrible things, like feed the fish. And I was pathetic. I mean, it was embarrassing. I embarrassed myself frankly, all the time. And I cannot believe I didn't get fired really fast. I was very lucky that they were nicer to me than I would have been. But I do think that there's something about this job that-- it's a hard job. You want to get noticed and you want people to notice you, because you have a great attitude. People who have a gr...

About the Instructor

When Shonda Rhimes pitched Grey’s Anatomy she got so nervous she had to start over. Twice. Since then, she has created and produced TV’s biggest hits. In her screenwriting class, Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows. Welcome to Shondaland.

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Shonda Rhimes

In 6+ hours of video lessons, Shonda teaches you her playbook for writing and creating hit television.

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