Celebrities

The simple trick a writer for 'Silicon Valley' and 'Seinfeld' used to get his first big break

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jerry seinfeld
You can get your dream job
too — when you put your self on the market.

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The INSIDER Summary:

  • Alec Berg runs HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” He wrote for
    Seinfeld and Conan O’Brien too.
  • He acquired his begin by cold-calling individuals and
    asking to speak for 15 minutes.
  • Then he would meet with them and strive to make them
    snigger.
  • He says the secret’s “Don’t be an
    asshole.”

 

Alec Berg is in the midst of an excellent profession.

He’s a showrunner for HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” He additionally wrote
for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld,” and Conan O’Brien.

We simply interviewed Berg for “Showrunners,” our new
podcast in regards to the individuals TV’s finest reveals.

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It seems Berg launched his profession utilizing a fairly simple
trick. He would name up necessary, profitable
individuals and ask them: “Can I’ve 15 minutes of your
time?”

INSIDER: Did you name simply everyone? Who’d you name?

Alec Berg: Yeah, anyone, anyone we might consider.

INSIDER: What was your playbook? When you needed
somebody to speak to you, what did you say to them?

Berg: [My friend] and I might attain out and simply say, “Hey, we’re
huge followers. We know you are busy. Can we purchase you espresso? Can we
bend your ear for 10 minutes and simply ask you the way you probably did it, and
when you have any ideas for us?” We’d strive and go and make
anyone snigger for 10 or 15 minutes.

We met with these two guys, Tom Gammill and Max Pross, who had been
[fellow Harvard graduates] who had been, I do not know, 11 or 12 years
forward of us. We acquired to know them, and finally they acquired a present.
It was one of many first reveals that they placed on Fox on Sunday
nights. It was on with the Ben Stiller present. We acquired pleasant with
them, and when their present acquired picked up they mentioned, “Hey, we’re
shopping for some freelance scripts, so when you pitch us some concepts,
possibly we will purchase a script from you.”

I feel we labored most likely 200 hours on this one pitch. It was
shock and awe of comedy writing. We overwhelmed them with the
quantity of knowledge that we gave them, and they purchased a script
from us.

That was the first job we ever acquired. We had reached out, we had
touched base, we had recognized them for months on and off, we had
stored in touch. We despatched them, I feel, a spec that we had
written, and they gave us ideas on it.

Berg says this career-starting trick works finest when you
bear in mind “one guiding
principal.”

“Don’t be an asshole.”

Berg:

People will ship me scripts
generally and they’re like, “Hey, this is a draft of the script.
Can you learn it? Can you give me notes, and then are you able to ship it
to your agent?”

I am going, “Well, let me begin with
studying it.”

Usually, on web page one there’s
about six typos.

It’s like, “Okay, you have requested me
for an infinite quantity of my time, and you need me to learn
one thing rigorously that you just clearly cannot be bothered to learn
rigorously your self?”

It all the time appeared fairly simple to
me. People are busy, and when you’re well mannered, and deferential, and
you ask for a manageable quantity of their time, how do they are saying no
to that?

Some individuals could be shy about
having their work trashed by strangers.

But Berg says he by no means acquired a lot
unfavorable suggestions from the individuals he reached out to.

“I feel if anyone’s going to
ship unhealthy information, typically they only do not name.”

 Listen to the entire interview right here: