Question by Green L: What is the best film school for screenwriting and why?
Answer by Jake Compson
I know that the University of Texas (The Michener Center) does a pretty good job. It’s a creative writing school where you specialize in not one, but two mediums. Screenwriting is a part of their curriculum. Also, you get paid pretty decently to go there. That is certainly a bonus: $ 25,000 per year. If you click on the utexas.edu link, then click on “fellowship support,” it will tell you in detail the financial package you get if you’re accepted. There was also an article in Atlantic Monthly that I read in 2005 that mentions The Michener Center as a top ten creative writing program. Out of those top ten, it was one of the few that had screenwriting. So if you’re looking for an actual creative writing school, that can pay you, Texas is one of the better places I’ve found.
Goddard College is also nice (David Mamet went there). There is a campus in Vermont and a campus in Port Angeles, Washington. They have a screenwriting mfa. Goddard is one of the low-residency programs. In other words, if you want to try to find out
Then below that, there is pretty good advice from a screenwriting “expert” guy who wrote a book I haven’t read. It’s in that second link.
Third is a screenwriting book I have read that is really darn good, about “the seven moments to capture your audience”. I definitely recommend it.
Other than the Texas Michener school (where you get paid) or Goddard school, I’d just watch a lot of really good films (bergman, fellini, chaplin, buster keaton, John Huston, Hitchcock,) and read screenwriting books, and find contacts through local film festivals and things like that. The reason I think Texas is cool is because if you’re going to try to get a degree in something like screenwriting, you would do best to get paid, otherwise, if you’re paying 40,000 a year (columbia), why waste your time?
Another good book is “Story,” by Robert McKee. You’ve probably read it, I’m guessing.
Anyway, good luck.
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