Best places to study screenwriting?
I believe NYFA would be ideal? I had a brush with screenwriting during j-school, but now I'd like to delve more. The idea is to go get a basic idea of film-making as well to complement the writing skills.
I want someplace ideally in the US, and something that's not very long. A three or four-month long workshop, perhaps?
Writing and learning
For me, I like learning through DVDs, and in the end, it's much cheaper and you can watch them over and over again, taking detailed notes. The 3 best in my opinion are:
After watching a lot of their DVDs, it's all about writing and improving the craft and applying what they have said, shown along with putting your personal spin on things.
Thanks, Sekime, for your response. I agree there are cheaper ways to learn, but the idea was to be where all the action is. I'm currently in New Delhi -- not the best place to be writing for Hollywood from! Being in NYC -- or another US city -- would help a lot in terms of exposure. Don't ya think?
Writing and learning
I think it's all about the information, not where you are. The best thing about going to school are the contacts you make, but for value for learning, I think it's hard to compete with a few good books and a bunch of DVDs from professionals. Most of the books and DVDs are from people that know more than most of the instructors you'd study from in person.
I don't know how much you want to spend, going to NY, paying rent, paying for courses etc. but it's going to be a lot of money. Why not consider an alternative type of education first? At most, even if you were to spend $200, which is a fraction of what you'd pay for even a plane ticket, you could learn a lot from amazing instructors.
Last edited by sekime; 11-21-2012 at 04:05 PM.
The best reason for attending film school - is forced labor and connections. By 'forced labor' - I mean there is usually some requirement for classmates to crew projects. So there is a built in crew system. Makes it easier to get things done. By 'connections' - I mean you wind up forming bonds with peers - usually the people you are forced to work with - that can pay off as you move up the ladder. (Not to mention the possibility of getting noticed by instructors who might be working in the industry) Oh, and gear. Film schools are likely to own gear you wouldn't ordinarily have access to.
But not all film schools are created equal. And the really good ones are hard to get into. And if you're going to enroll in a film school - you'll want to finish it. So four years for a bachelors, two or three for a masters.
I get the impression you're looking for a few weeks to a month?
There are courses like the Dov Siemens' 2 day film school. They even offer 'certificates' - if that's important to you. I think these are helpful for people who simply can't find a local school or film community to hook up with. Sort of a crash course on the industry - but they don't carry much weight in the professional world as a credential. http://dovsimensfilmschool.com/
The New York Film Academy also has specific courses targeted for particular skills.
But you can learn the material - any number of ways. By taking intensive workshops. Studying DVDs and books. And WORKING ON A SET.
India has a very active film community. "Bollywood" is going to be a lot easier to reach and break into than coming to the US.
Sure, you can go to classes and seminars, etc., but you can get the same info via DVDs and books and finding pertinent videos on YouTube. What you need to be doing--if you haven't done so already--is read lots and lots of pro movie scripts. Read them, study them, take notes. Let it all sink in. Then sit yourself down and write a script. It doesn't need to be a feature-length; a short will do just fine. Get critiques from people who actually know how to write a screenplay. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, get critiques. Keep writing, keep reading pro scripts. Trial and error is what it's all about, seeing what works and what doesn't. It might be a year before you can write a script that could potentially sell. It could be two years, or five years. It could be never (sorry, but not everyone can write a marketable screenplay). But when you have a couple of solid scripts that are FANTASTIC and ready to be seen by the powers that be in the film world, get yourself there. Los Angeles. This is where a majority of the filmmaking action is. Once you're here, meet people, get them to read your scripts. Hopefully they'll become fans of your work. Hopefully it will lead to something big.
But first...learn the craft. Read scripts, write scripts. Don't wait. Start NOW.
Last edited by MrJayVee; 11-22-2012 at 02:06 PM.
Writing and learning
Here's the ScriptNotes podcast regarding information other than reverse engineering scripts, reading lots of them and just writing. They seem to think buying stuff for knowledge has limited value (they talk about script consultants, books, seminars etc) and you're better off just doing it.
In an later podcast, they also talked about no one should go to school to be a screenwriter. Screenwriting is free.
My view on everything is to limit your budget, get some information, but spend time reading screenplays and writing. I view the money I spend on books and DVDs and education and entertainment. If I happen to spend $100-$200 a year or every couple years, it doesn't kill me. But spending loads of money on school or seminars is a lot of money.
The podcast is free, and if you're interested to hear what they have to say, start at the 14 minute 26 second mark.
Or read the transcript here:
I'm curious - if you are in New Delhi now ... would you be eligible for a work visa ?
Originally Posted by SpiderGal
Is there a reason to get exposure to peers - when you may not be even legally allowed to work on their films once the 4 month course expires?
Obviously I don't know the answer - I'm just curious.
(Who is also a non-USA-ian)
Sorry for the disappearing act! Just came in to thank everyone for their advice. I've given this thought, and think it might be better for me for now to learn scriptwriting from my current writing base. If I ever get to the point where I feel I've a marketable script, I'll think about flying to LA or NYC.
And Mac H, you're right, work visas are a bitch, but I was only looking at film school, which would have taken care of by J-1 visa or some such thing.