BPS 382: Screenwriting Side Hustles to Survive the Pandemic

Alex Ferrari • May 11, 2020

Too many screenwriters' thinking is based on two months ago. They believe that the world will go back to exactly how it was before once this pandemic blows over. That might be true and I truly hope it does but hope alone will not pay the rent. Our industry is going through an unprecedented shift. If I may quote the Ghostbusters,

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

We as screenwriters need to start thinking about how we can pivot your business, writing skills, and knowledge into the new reality that we are living in and very well might be in for some time to come.

Things that already are pivoting in the film industry:

No theatrical screenings, release on TVOD Premium
SXSW teamed with Amazon for a Virtual Film Festival (this could do more harm than good)
Drive-ins are making a comeback
Can’t screen your film in theaters, set up a virtual screening
AMC Theater’s stock has been downgraded and isn’t expected to recover
You have to think about what your customer needs are right now and address them. The companies that are sitting on the sidelines fearful of making any moves will be left behind. You as filmmakers need to change your mindsets. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Entire new industries will rise from this turmoil and if you are smart you will be ready to be a part of the new world.

In this episode, I breakdown some side hustles that will help filmmakers and screenwriters not only survive the pandemic but thrive in the new world we will be walking into.

Screenwriter Side Hustles
Write commercially: handbooks, corporate brochures and the like
Blog Writing
Write for a website
Advertising copywriting
Editing copy
Write grant applications
Offer Gigs on Fiverr
Create an Upwork Profile to sell your writing services
Create a comic book (partner with an artist) – Could turn this into a short or feature once the air clears
Online Moneymaking Side Hustles
Swaybacks.com (Get paid to watch videos)
Become a virtual assistant
Virtual Tutor (VIP Kid – $14-$22 per hour) Chegg.com
Transcribe Audio or video (Rev, Scribe, TigerFish)
Review Software (SoftwareJungle)
I go into more detail in the episode. Think outside the box because the box you knew is not coming back. It will be a new box. Don’t be Blockbuster Video and fight to keep what you know while you reject the reality of what is.

Stay safe out there.