Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMovies · 1 decade ago

Do you have to go to school to become a Film Writer or Director ?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No one can tell you what school is best for YOU. That's something only you can decide for yourself. Once you've narrowed your choices down, contact each school and ask very specific questions about what they will offer in terms of curriculum that will help you achieve your goals.

    There are some people who make a living from only writing screenplays. That's the good news... it IS possible to achieve that (screenwriting) as a career. The bad news is that not very many people manage to make it happen. But don't let that discourage you.

    We all have just one life to live and if screenwriting is something you truly want to do with your life, then do everything you can to not lose hope.

    This might mean taking on some other kind of work in the meantime, until someone realizes your talent or takes notice of your work.

    Having multiple examples of your work is a major plus. Too many people rely on that "one" script that they think is so brilliant that it can't be denied. The film/TV business is an art, but it is also a business. It costs a tremendous amount of money to create even the most modest of productions, so investors aren't interested in the most innovative "new" story possible. New, exciting, and innovative is great for investors, so long as the story is within a "safe" realm for them so that their investment isn't a total risk.

    Having multiple scripts to show is great for a couple reasons. First, it shows that you are serious about being a writer. Second, it gives you more examples to show of your talent. And third, the more examples you have, the more possibilities your have to sell something.

    There are people who make a living writing original screenplays. There are others who work steadily as "script doctors" who polish existing scripts. Then there are writers who are able to take that skill and make the jump into directing.

    Thousands of aspiring filmmakers graduate from the 700+ worldwide filmschools every year and only a scant percentage of them are able to claim that the film industry provides them with their primary income. And only a very small percentage of those ever get to direct a film. And only scant few of those get to direct more than one movie in their life. So the odds are extremely small that you will get to do this for a living. Not impossible, but definitely very difficult.

    Make sure your scripts are as good as they can be. Then, work to get them noticed by an established and reputable agent. Most professional Producers and studios will NOT even consider looking at unsolicited material. It MUST be submitted by an Agent. That affords the studio/Producer a measure of legal protection and it gives you a level of credibility (that someone else has recognized your talent).

    So how do you even start? Start writing today. Don't wait for school before you begin. Start small, by writing a few short stories in screenplay format. That will help you get comfortable with the style and format that is standard in the professional industry. Starting with smaller shorter stories also helps you to hone in on characters and plot so you learn how to get to the point quickly without extraneous scenes, dialogue, and characters. Once you feel you've grasped those concepts, begin work on the longer form screenplays.

    To get you started, there are a couple of resources that I HIGHLY recommend you read. They are listed below.

    In terms of what to study in school, by all means, choose a school that offers screenwriting courses. You likely should NOT major in filmmaking, but instead, concentrate more on topics that interest you, like Sociology, History, Political Science, and Business. Minor in Film/TV if you need to in order to take the classes, but you don't want to hyper-focus on filmmaking classes. As an aspiring writer, you need something to write ABOUT! Film/TV courses will teach you about film theory and some practical production, but as a writer, you need a broader base of knowledge so that your original stories and characters have a background that isn't film-centric.

    Given that, you MAY want to find a filmschool with a strong screenwriting program. For the most complete worldwide list of filmschools offered anywhere, go to and click on the "Filmschools" link at the top of the page. You can search by location and easily find all of the schools available along with their current contact information. Research the schools that interest you then contact them with questions regarding your specific situation. Don't just take their word for it either... if possible, contact alumni to find out what they thought of their education. This is no small thing... you are investing thousands of dollars into YOUR own education and YOU need to make sure that you are spending your money as wisely as possible.

    But know that school alone will NOT get you job in the TV/Film business. YOU must put in the work to develop and build your career. Nobody will care.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, but it may help, especially if the only thing you know about films is that they have actors in them. But going to school for it does not guarantee that you will become a writer or director. There are hundreds of job opportunities in filmmaking that need filling. I would do a little more research about what exactly interests you.

    If you are thinking about film school, you should try these schools out:





    University of New Orleans

    Florida State


    Chapman University

    These are considered the best, but other programs are getting large as well. You may meet some people who argue one way or another about film school, but the decision is yours.

    Source(s): I went to USC School of Cinematic Arts and work in the industry.
  • I would say least film school for sure.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah so you can learn all the tricks

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