Article by Roy Sencio

The screenwriting major is often forgotten about in the realm of film school. The screenwriting student isn’t actively on set and involved in the filmmaking process trudging around equipment and going over storyboards like others. Instead they spend a great deal of time with their notepad jotting down ideas and sitting in front of a computer typing away trying to create the next Good Will Hunting that will propel them into the industry with one grand swoop and land them right on stage at the Academy Awards. Although under appreciated, the screenwriting major is one of the most important. Without a script there is no movie, even reality or documentary programs have some writing to them as there is a narrator or some logical sense of where the story goes and how it develops.

What to ExpectA lot of reading and writing. A ton in fact, likely more than you’ve ever done in your entire life. You will have to read screenplay after screenplay then book after book. You’ll have to write out a thousand character bios, outlines, pages and ideas. It’s very computer intensive so you should like spending time sitting in front of a computer because that shiny screen will be your new best friend.

The CoursesThere are lots of levels of feature screenwriting you’ll have to take; beginner, intermediate, advanced and so on. There are also a lot of classes you should take on character development, how to write dialogue, writing television shows, commercial writing, industrial video writing, crafting outlines, adapting novels and more. Some schools offer a wider selection of classes than others.

The ProjectsYou will have lots of small assignments; to develop multiple ideas, pitch them in class, and write sections of scripts. In addition to this you’ll have to write at least two complete feature films and perhaps a television script as well.

After Film School Finding work as a screenwriter right out of school is tough, almost impossible it may seem. Most people continue writing while they work other jobs both in the industry and out of it. It’s a good idea to apply to be a writer’s assistant for any show that is hiring because you’ll get actual experience in a writer’s room and if you do good work you may get a chance to write for them eventually.

The Benefits of Film School Internships

One of the best and most beneficial things about film schools, especially the larger, more established ones, is their contacts with internship opportunities. Some schools have internship coordinators whose sole job is to locate internships and help students secure the internship that will be right for them. Larger schools tend to have huge databases of internships because the companies seeking interns contact them directly and give them their requests.

Many film schools actually require internships, one or more during each student’s course of study in order to graduate. Internships are a great chance for students to get some real world experience and learn from professionals by working alongside them. Companies and producers love it because they get free (or practically free) labor plus they might just find their next new hire and simplify the entire hiring and promotion process.

Having an internship coordinator gives a student the inside track at the most desired internships as they know what the hiring company wants, they get the leads first so the applications of their student get their fastest and they can personally call companies to put in good words about their best students in order to get them the internships they really want.

Most internships are on the development side of the business and involved reading scripts then writing coverage to let producers know whether the screenplay has any potential or would simply be a waste of their time. There are some actual production based internships but they are very hard to get and are far less common. If you’re interested in agency work you can also intern for an agent or manager and get to see a whole other side of the industry. No matter what area you end up in there is one thing for certain, you will learn a lot. There’s no way around it, when you spend time in the industry you start to realize what it all actually involves.

Learn to write, shoot, edit, score and produce your own film at Asia’s Premier Film School, the International Academy of Film and Television. Learn filmmaking from accomplished professionals from Hollywood and other film capitals.

Screenwriting Tips

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