“Advice? Yes. Sleep with people,” he said. “No, I’m kidding. You have to be passionate, and you have to be patient. It’s never about money; it’s always about the love. It’s a damn nice way to make a living on your own terms.”
Steinberg answered student questions on Tuesday about writing professionally and promoted Long Island University-Brooklyn’s MFA program called “TV Writers Studio.”
Steinberg had many words of wisdom for the aspiring screenplay writers who attended.
He encouraged students to write from the heart and said the best projects are passion projects — not the ones that pay the most.
Steinberg had friendly conversation with all who stopped by to talk to him.
Topics ranged from his failed career as a lawyer to the best television shows to binge-watch.
Students were engaged as soon as they started listening to Steinberg.
“I love hearing stories about writers and how they got to where they are,” said Atlee Northmore, a junior communication studies major. “I hadn’t thought about doing any kind of program after undergrad, but I’m starting to consider it now after hearing about this.”
Dana Coen, director of the writing for the screen and stage minor, has known Steinberg for years and asked him to recruit at UNC for the MFA program. They met when Steinberg was a mentor to Coen early in Coen’s career.
Coen said they hit it off, and Steinberg fits right in with what Coen is doing for the minor.
Coen also said he thinks Steinberg is a invaluable connection to have in the professional world of screenplay writing.
“The trick to being successful anywhere is being able to rub shoulders with people who can, number one, give you advice about how to follow through with your career aspirations, and number two, to help you along if they so choose to do so,” Coen said.
Coen complimented the TV Writers Studio and said that he thinks students can benefit from participating.
The two-year program is writing-intensive and is open to graduate student writers. The 20 to 25 students in each class will create, write and produce their own series pilot. Upon completion, graduates will receive an MFA in writing and producing for television.
“TV Writers Studio is rather unique in that it allows student to have a television writing experience outside of Hollywood,” Coen said.
“I think it’s an excellent way of preparing them for a career in television if that interests them.”