I got this question recently:

“Do you think it is just enough to read lots of different scripts and self teach through that or do you suggest actually taking any courses from professionals or anything similar to that?”

I’m not huge on eduction. It certainly helps but I would say it’s fairly unimportant. Since you’re going to be writing for a long time without pay you’re going to need to be really self motived and write a lot. That’s the most important thing. And with the constant writing you should be reading a lot of scripts, reading screenwriting how-to books, and simply seeing a lot of movies, and thinking about what you’ve seen and read. With that said, if the time and money isn’t an issue then taking a few classes might be worth while. There are a lot of useless classes out there so be careful and make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

2 thoughts on “Should I take a screenwriting class?”
  1. Your first two sentences demonstrate just how important education actually is.

    Like you, I thought it was unimportant. Then I realized I needed to get more serious about my writing, so I applied to USC and went. I took classes with Irvin Kershner and Syd Field. They were among the most valuable writing experiences I’ve ever had, Syd’s class in particular.

  2. I agree with one point, that there are a lot of useless classes out there. I took one ten years ago. However two years ago I took an incredible 3-week-intensive course in Seattle at a place called TheFilmSchool. This is a program that concentrates on quality story as well as the basics of screenwriting. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything–it completely changed me as a writer and even as a person. Equally important to the curriculum was the network of people that I became a part of–the students are really supportive of each other and the faculty is really accessible (a faculty that includes Stewart Stern, who wrote Rebel Without a Cause (!!!) and Sybil, etc.)…Tom Skerritt does a course on acting during the program that I dreaded weekly, but it REALLY changed my writing to try to act it out, or watch others try to say the words aloud. Soooo, yes, make sure you get into a class that has great feedback from students and in which the faculty has great work behind them.

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