How to Make It: Rules for Success from TV Writers

Karey Dornetto

Experience: Writer, South Park (Comedy Central); writer, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment; writer, Arrested Development (FOX); writer, Dog Bites Man; writer, Community; writer, Portlandia; writer, Kroll Show; writer, The New Normal

Advice: "To be honest, I didn't know I could be a writer until I was one. It wasn't until I was 27 that I wanted to give it a try. I'm dyslexic, so I didn't think you could be a writer if you spelled like shit. Thanks, spell check! The lesson is: you can do anything, even if you're an idiot! See, Sarah Palin.

"But this is a better lesson: Not everyone is an asshole. If you're scared to ask someone for something, you will never succeed. In this business, asking for something is the only way to do it. The way I got in was, my mom's co-worker from 20 years ago had a nephew who was a comedy writing agent. I called him, spoke to his assistant and he agreed to meet with me. I was a stand-up in New York at the time and thinking about moving to L.A. and just wanted to know what I needed to do to break in. He told me about how every writer needed a spec sample and pilot. Before I left, he told me to send him some stuff I'd written. I got back to New York and compiled everything I had—essays, sketches, and weird drawings. He loved them and submitted them to South Park and that was my first job. Matt Rice, the agent in this story, is not an asshole.

"P.S. I am an asshole."

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