Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY Screenwriting School

I’m always at a loss when people ask me to recommend screenwriting classes.

Because my focus is television writing, I have almost no experience with the many, many options for learning the art of screenwriting – boot camps, weekend workshops, extension school offerings, and the hundreds of classes taught by teachers in person or online.

Despite this lack of first-hand knowledge, here’s what I always recommend –-

Get a screenwriting book, read it, then write your first script.

Any book on screenwriting structure and storytelling will do – I don’t have any to recommend specifically. And no need to buy it – there are hundreds at the library. Just get one.

Then start writing your script!

“But I don’t know how!” you cry. “That’s why I want to take a class!”

Here’s my theory – if you want to be a figure skater, it behooves you to know how to ice skate in a straight line before you hire a coach to teach you a triple salchow. Gotta learn to walk before you can run, you know?

Writing classes can be expensive, so I believe getting some experience under your belt before you open your checkbook will really help you get the most out of that screenwriting course when you finally take it.

And as any working screenwriter will tell you, every script you write makes you better and better. But you gotta start somewhere. Why not get your first script under your belt without paying a dime?

The first pilot script I wrote was meh. The second script was okay. We’re not even going to talk about the third script.

Then I finished my Certificate in Television Writing at UCLA Extension. My fourth script? Gold.

Start your journey toward your first Gold script. Start writing today!

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