Screenplay Hack: Is Film School Really Necessary?

Film schools bring in the discipline

A lot of writers ask questions from experts such as is going to a film school necessary? Can a person become a screenwriter without attending such places? What are the benefits of attending writing classes? Well, the answer to all these questions is that it isn’t compulsory. In modern times, the need for film schools isn’t that much. It’s a great experience and provides discipline. Such schools make writers sit down and deliver material within deadlines. It’s beneficial but only for those who can’t do it themselves.

Lazy people need to reminded about everything. Moreover, they have no self-discipline so writing on their own becomes challenging. If someone has enough resources and motivation, they can do quite well without additional support. Whether people agree or not but the biggest benefit of such schools is that they kick you to do something.

Are schools teaching in the right way?

Having a community to talk with is great. Schools help people make friends with whom they can share ideas. Students are always trying to learn something new. It’s a positive aspect but the different order of learning affects writing skills. Some schools lack a pecking order of priority in learning. Structure taught in the starting days, should be kept for later stages. Mythology, arch types, and heavy structure discussed within the first few weeks are not much beneficial. Honestly, the main focus of such initial lessons should be on character development. Once done with character development, the structure can be defined intuitively. Professional writers don’t succeed overnight. It’s a long journey where writers pen down several scripts to achieve their goals.

Experienced writers or film school graduates have had to unlearn structure. They had to start from the beginning because even with all that structure, they were always stuck. Such writers had no idea of how to take the story ahead. Remember people run to writer’s block as they have structure first mentality. Writer’s block is there for writers who cannot conclude their script outlines. Writers get blocked because they don’t have a clear motivation nor do they have a clear goal.  Their character development is off the point.

So, film school students often need to unlearn structure first mentality and have to go into character development. People can read about it but there isn’t enough material. Moreover, whatever material is present, it only focuses on irrelevant details. It won’t be wrong to say that there is insufficient literature on character development.

Working in professional life

Most of the time, writers work with people who have already made a name for themselves. Such renowned personalities give writing assignments to newcomers. They explain the idea, the process and assign others to work on it. Working in this way on someone else’s existing project makes a new writer feel a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, writers gain an insight into what is exactly happening on the set. Ultimately that is why forums like the screenplay awards network were created. It’s there to boost young writers. Even though writers are a bit receptive but this project has aided them in testing out their work.

There are many instances where the audience isn’t able to guide writers. The script might seem okay to them on the outside, but lacks a lot of essential elements. Therefore, getting the right kind of advice is necessary to address the real problem. Being properly advised is the biggest stepping stone in anyone’s career. Experiences make writers better. Three scripts are written under supervision as a ghostwriter makes people emerge as a completely different writer.

Film schools cost a lot

It’s not as though these schools are harmful. Not at all, but yes they are expensive. They charge 50 grand’s or even more which comes out of the student’s pocket. That 50 grand could have been used to produce a project. Film schools are great for producers. They teach individuals about distribution, post-production, and other elements. However, this is the age of information and all resources are available online. Due to the presence of such useful resources, the concept of schools doesn’t remain that strong.

Screenplay lessons can be picked online and attending a class is not that necessary. Colleges can’t offer an understanding of mechanics in ways that online material can. Writers surely get guidance, information, and notes on their projects from teachers but don’t learn new concepts. In a class of 10 to 15 writers, learning becomes limited.

For writing a screenplay, understanding mechanics and characters is vital but both concepts are not touched within a school. The curriculum might differ for various screenwriting programs but most places follow the same old traditions. Overall, film schools are great for the community and great for starting out but not necessary for every writer. If a writer has a certain drive and self-discipline, they can join online mentorship programs. Multiple online platforms are available for young writers.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the cost of going to a film school will be much greater than getting information online. It’s a sad reality but writers pick skills from practical experiences, not from schools. Online platforms have all kinds’ material and opportunities for personal engagement. Places like SAN provide access to resources that most overpriced institutions don’t. Therefore, it’s important to have relevant knowledge but getting that at a film school isn’t the only way.

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