Writer’s Corner is a place to get to know outstanding writers, talk about the craft of writing, career advice, share horror stories and find out more about compelling films, television shows, plays, etc. There’s so much great content out there being made by female creators, we should all be keeping an eye on these women.
Today we are featuring Catherine Clinch.
Catherine, What’s your own personal elevator pitch? How do you introduce yourself?
The elevator pitch I use depends on who’s in the elevator with me. I have a number of professional identities because – in order to stay relevant as an older woman – I have to keep reinventing myself in different directions.
- HOLLYWOOD :: I am a content machine. Or…Give me a title and I’ll give you a world.
- SOCIAL MEDIA :: I help people fall in love with what you do.
- TECHNOLOGY :: I am a pioneer on the digital frontier.
- EXTENDED EDUCATION :: I teach you how to be relevant in an industry that is constantly changing.
- GENERAL PUBLIC :: I get stuff done. Well.
Is there something you have learned the hard way that you wish someone told you?
People in Hollywood have the capacity to be horrible beyond anything you can imagine about them. I have seen “esteemed” members of our industry play a zero-sum game for the sport of it. In other words, it wasn’t enough for them to succeed – they had to destroy their competition in order to make their victory more satisfying. The industry that castigated the historic Hollywood Blacklist maintains a panoply of unofficial blacklists. It’s primitive, it’s venal and it’s real. For writers, the only real solution is for the networks and studios and cable companies to hire based on blind submissions that are protected by HR and government regulations that prohibit discrimination for the full spectrum of protected classes. Scripts would be judged purely by quality rather than hype. Guess who would fight against that the loudest? Agents, A-listers and the WGA.
You are a prolific writer, you’ve written for TV, you’ve written articles, you’ve edited books, you know the business side of the business better than most people I know. What piece of advice do you think women writers need to hear in this business?
Stop competing and start working together! I will throw the F-word – feminist – into every possible scenario. However, I have never had a woman help me get a writing gig. Whatever help or mentoring I received always came from men. Yet, I always do my best to mentor and help other women whenever possible.
Books give you more independence. I’ve edited other people’s books and I’m writing my own first book now. Nobody has to give you permission or insanely large sums of money to “produce” your book. If you can’t find a publisher you can self-pub on Kindle. You can do a podcast for pennies. You can Start a YouTube channel with a cell phone. You can launch a magazine or a brand on Instagram. There are a million things you can do without waiting for somebody else to give you permission! You just have to take the step and be willing to be entrepreneurial.
You know a lot about technology. Can you tell us what are some of the best and worst ways we can use social media?
The worst way to use social media is to have one all-purpose account. You can’t do business with a profile that has pictures of your kids and your vacation. Keep a private “friends-and-family” account for that.
Professionally speaking, social media is the best way to establish your brand. Who are you as a writer / producer / performer / thinker? What do you stand for? Why should I care? This is where you find your audience! Any job you apply for will check your social media postings. It is a necessary part of due diligence – so realize that there are potential consequences to everything you post. LinkedIn is ONLY for business. If a post would fit Facebook, do not put it on LinkedIn! Instagram is a magazine – all the photos should have a sense of harmony and a theme that builds your brand. “Hey, Harry… Hey, Matilda…” was a book that was “published” as an Instagram page. The author built a following online and got a legit book deal from that page. Innumerable people who couldn’t get a start through the traditional means built their content brand on YouTube – where they made a ton of money and got legit careers because they proved they were commercially viable. The half-life of a tweet is 8 seconds – which means that half of everybody who will see your tweet sees it within the first 8 seconds after you post it. So, unless you’re a celeb who has a huge following that wakes up every morning eager to search your page to see what you said while they were asleep, I don’t suggest that anybody put much effort into Twitter. By the way, the Woman’s March on Washington started with a single post from a grandma in Hawaii – but it’s what happened after that post that built a movement. I teach a 48-hour immersion program that leads to a Certificate of Social Media Strategy & Content Marketing at California State University. Students come out of the program with a full portfolio to launch their brand online – and an understanding of how to sustain the momentum. I teach students how Fifty Shades of Gray went from fan fiction to a $1B business and how Trump did what he did – and how it can be replicated by anybody with a good story.
Most important of all…NEVER BUY FOLLOWERS! First of all, nobody looks at how many followers you have – they look at how many people are actively engaging with your content. That’s why you’ll see people who have 170,000 followers get only 4 likes on a post. They do not know how to engage their audience. Second, Google and all of the other search engines know the difference between a human being with a reasonable online existence and the 50,000 “bot” followers you bought for $39.99. The presence of bots in your followers will immediately render your account unsearchable – which is the exact opposite of what you want. DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS! EVER!
Tell us about the new technology for professionally created content you’ve created.
There are five major problems that confront anyone who wants to be productive in the mobile space; curation, engagement, sustainability, reach and cost. I invented a consistent and reliable way to “solve for x” with each of these challenges and combined them into a platform I named KLIKZIT. In doing that, I designed a new format for mobile content that is unlike what you can find on other screens. I literally had to imagine that there would be something like a “smart phone” when we were all thinking that our Blackberry was state of the art. Klikzit is designed for professionally created content – meaning union members – and is protected by three full-utility patents. The process took seven years and I funded the development myself so there is no money against it. It’s ready to go. I’m in the process of looking for the right “home” where it can scale quickly and effectively.
Of all the projects you’ve worked on, what are you most proud of and why?
Overall, I have to say I’m extremely proud of the fact that I came to Hollywood with an introduction to one person and turned it into a career where I had 11 years of straight writing employment with 18 produced credits in network television. That means I was vested in the WGA pension at a time when they lowered the requirement from 10 years to 5 years, saying it was too hard for anybody to get 10 straight years without interruption. I’m also extremely proud of the fact that out of those 18 produced credits, the network green-lit 9 of my first drafts into production without any notes. How often does that happen? AND I was a girl working in a predominantly male industry long before anybody said the words “equity” or “diversity.” Ironically, none of this seems to have endeared me to my colleagues at the guild.
What are you working on now?
I just finished the writing portion of a comic book / back door pilot for Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. Next step is to pick the right artist to bring it to life on the page. At the same time, I’ve ventured into writing books – one fiction and one non-fiction. Beyond that, I’m doing a lot of social media projects – some for other people/companies and one for myself. In my spare time, I narrate the inner lives, loves and turmoil of the pets of Pinterest. Best of all, I have a wonderful husband and three grown sons who enable me to say I’m living happily ever after! I invite your readers to follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. All of my profiles are under my name: Catherine Clinch.
Bio: Catherine Clinch
Catherine Clinch began her career writing 18 produced episodes of network television for hit series. But that was just her day-job. At night, she did standup comedy as a regular performer at The Improv, The Comedy Store and The Playboy Club (where she was conspicuously overdressed). While her three sons were young, her “placeholder job” was Associate Publisher of Creative Screenwriting Magazine and a co-coordinator of Screenwriting Expo. Over the past six years, Catherine has been awarded three US Patents for inventing a new mobile entertainment platform. Catherine loves every aspect of writing and storytelling. She plans to die with a pencil in her hand.