So you want to be a writer for Saturday Night Live? Congratulations! It’s a highly coveted gig, and if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve managed to snag one of the coveted internship positions at the illustrious NBC studio in New York City.
The catch, as they often do, is that you have to be able to write – brilliantly, it goes without saying – and in a hurry. Let’s take a look at how hard it is to get a writing job at Saturday Night Live and what you should do to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
The Variety & Deadline Reports Try Their Best To Game The System
When it comes to getting a job at SNL, the best strategy is to look at the bigger picture and see what others are doing. If you want to get a taste of the variety of assignments that come with an SNL internship, simply peruse the weekly online listings for the upcoming featured performances. These listings announce the various TV shows and films that SNL will be appearing in, and you’ll get a feel for the kind of content that the show produces.
Additionally, it’s crucial to keep your eyes open for any sort of “call for pitches” that SNL may be running. These are the unsung bits of writing that often appear in the fine print at the bottom of Variety and Deadline articles, and they’re often the best place to find the tiny bits of writing that the show needs. When you’ve got one, grab it! Most importantly, it will require a great deal of research into showbiz and media. Knowing what’s trending and what’s hot and what’s not is essential if you want to impress the powers that be at SNL with your knowledge.
The SNL Writers’ Room Is A War Zone
If you’re fortunate enough to land an internship at SNL, you’ll have to wait until you’re actually “in the room” to discover the true nature of the working environment. You won’t believe the pressures that are placed on the writers there until you’ve experienced them for yourself.
It’s a common misconception that all the writing for Saturday Night Live is done out of a big conference room where several writers get together to hash out the jokes and sketches. Far from it! While there is a regular conference room where the senior writers and creators meet to discuss the themes and characters of the show, most of the writing for SNL takes place in smaller, more isolated writing rooms. More often than not, the conference room is actually where the showrunner sits, looking over the stories and plots that have been submitted by the various staff members.
The good news is that you don’t have to write in a war zone. There are plenty of opportunities to get your work “seen” by the show’s sharpest minds – provided that you know where to look. Remember: you’re not applying to write for a specific show. You’ll be pitching your ideas for everything from movie parodies to fake romance stories. The catch is that this is all basically done “on spec,” which means that your work will never be seen by actual subscribers.
The Most Successful Strategy For Landing A Writing Job At SNL
So you’ve made it this far, and you’re probably wondering what strategy you should follow to make sure that you stand out from the crowd of applicants. You can’t be the only one, so let’s examine the most successful methods for getting a writing job at SNL. (And, remember, we’re not recommending that you go above and beyond to “trick” them into giving you a shot – doing nothing is also a legitimate strategy!)
The first and foremost rule to follow if you want to write for SNL is to not apply through regular channels. While it’s an undeniable fact that many talented writers could be doing your bidding, the simple truth is that the show is inundated with applicants. If you want to stand out above the rest, then going the “traditional” route and applying through a channel is probably not the best idea.
Know Thine Enemy And Learn From Their Mistakes
One of the oldest and most reliable methods for getting a job is to apply through a family member or friend. Relatives are preferred, as they’re less likely to be in a position to turn you down. And it’s always preferable to have a contact in the industry – even if it’s just a friend who works in public relations – when it comes to getting a job in showbiz. Keep in mind that this is a perfectly legitimate way to get a job, and it’s something that many proven professionals do. So, while it may seem obvious to you, keep this in mind: know thy enemy and learn from their mistakes.
Don’t Forget About Resumes
A common mistake that many aspiring writers make is that they forget about resumes. Believe it or not, having a resume is one of the first things that a hiring manager will ask you to do – before even giving you a chance to pitch your ideas. It may seem obvious that you’d need a resume in order to get a job in the first place, but many people forget about this critical part of the application process. You may think that having a resume is a thing of the past, but it’s still very relevant today. Even if you’re applying for a job as a script reader, resume writing and presentation are still very important.
For many, the stress of applying for a job in the real world is somewhat comparable to that of a graduate school application. There’s a lot of pressure to get your application in on time, and for the most part, you’re competing with a lot of other students for a limited number of spots. Resumes are your ticket to getting that all-important first interview, which can lead to a job that you’ll love.
The Importance Of Being Available
Another vital part of the writing process at SNL is that you have to be available to work. For the most part, Saturday Night Live is a “work hard, play hard” sort of place, and while it’s fun to imagine that you’ll get to explore the city and meet celebrities, the reality is that you’ll be working hard to prove yourself. The upside is that you can develop valuable work habits that will serve you well in your career.
If you want to get a job at SNL, then you must have the ability to write – brilliantly, as they often say – and you must be able to turn in your work on time. If not, then you’re basically wasting your time, as you can’t very well get someone to give you a chance if you can’t even keep up with the pace of a professional writer.
That’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities for writers to work on less high-profile shows. Many writers and journalists who cover the entertainment industry have day jobs and can often be found working on less prestigious projects. If you’re looking to break into the field and want to ensure that you don’t waste any time, then it’s best to look for assignments that you can get right away. Of course, this often comes with a lower pay grade. But it’s still possible to find work that you can do remotely from home, as long as you’re able to keep up with the deadlines. It just takes some legwork and a little bit of luck.
Ultimately, getting a job at SNL is a lot easier than you’d think, but the best way to succeed is to have the talent and drive to prove yourself. If you make the effort to show that you have what it takes to write brilliantly, then you’ll be able to land that job that you deserve.