McCarthy, who received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College, is a true testament to the notion that good things come to those who work hard. Prior to education, Caitlin worked in public relations, where she fostered relationships with the press and crafted messages for companies that were delivered worldwide. Since then, she has done work on several feature film screenplays, including Wonder Drug, inspired by the true story of DES (diethylstilbestrol), a badly tested yet FDA approved drug created in 1938 to help women with pregnancy issues and a cash cow for pharmaceutical companies; Resistance, in which the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and the horrors of Auschwitz are seen through the eyes of one girl, forced to grow up quickly as she moves from the school yard to the concentration camp, working for the Resistance along the way; and Cape Cod Lite, one young woman’s story of survival during the Cape’s not-so-quaint off-season. Also currently in script stage is a TV series from McCarthy called “Free Skate,” about a teenage Olympic figure skater. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin serves as an English teacher at an inner-city public high school in Worcester.
McCarthy believes her education was truly invaluable in bolstering her career. A huge enthusiast of her alma mater, she encourages students interested in filmmaking to consider Emerson College in Boston. “That program…they really push you to explore many different writing genres while you’re there. It is completely unlike so many other MFA programs, which really focus on one specific subject,” McCarthy says. “They really got me to think outside the box, and you have a really great support system there.”
“If I had not gone to Emerson College,” says McCarthy, “I would not have had the confidence to try the screenwriting; I thought I was going to become a novelist. I never would have taken that chance.”
Also, in giving advice to people interested in getting into the film business, McCarthy says “The main thing you absolutely need it to be responsible, driven, and tenacious. It is also important to just be nice. You don’t want to be a doormat, but people think you need to be harsh to get ahead; that’s only going to alienate people.”
And McCarthy would know. She has had many opportunities to form ties with all the right people. “That’s probably the best part of my job,” she says, “The people that I’ve been meeting.” In 2007, McCarthy was one of only four artists selected to participate in the Hamptons Screenwriters’ Lab, a gathering that takes place each Spring in East Hampton, New York and develops emerging screenwriting talent by pairing established writers & creative producers with up-and-coming screenwriters. “There, I was able to meet Tom Gilroy, who has become a mentor to me. I also met Vanessa and Ted Hope, both producers. These are people who I consider friends. People who have come out of the wood work to support me,” McCarthy says.
Inevitably, there are down sides to any career. One of the worst parts of being a filmmaker? “Constant rejection,” McCarthy says. “And sometimes it’s not even a case that they don’t like the work that you’ve done, it’s just that the timing is off. The economy has gotten in the way of some projects being a green light. You just have to take it in stride, become creative, and come up with opportunities for yourself. The economy is like a wave, you have to try and ride it.”
At the end of the day, though, McCarthy says that following one simple rule can put anyone on their way to a job-well-done: “Early to bed, early to rise, work real hard and advertise.”
“It all comes down to the work,” McCarthy explains. “If you’re not doing the work and you’re not looking for ways to improve yourself and sell yourself to the people around you, you’ll never succeed.”
Check out Caitlin McCarthy’s official website, where you can find her official bio and links to preview her most recent projects and awards.