And the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay goes to....you?
by Stephanie Abba
We had an e-mail query recently asking about how to become a screenwriter. Not knowing much about this career, I decided to do a little investigative work.
I found a whole lot of Internet sites that promised to help me become a successful screenwriter, but I didn't want to fork over any money, so I have no idea how helpful these sites may be. Lots of colleges and district school boards offer courses in writing for television or films. You may have to do a bit of digging, but this might be a good place to start. You might also benefit from a course in film theory. Film institutes such as the Canadian Film Centre might offer some courses that may prove useful.
You might want to look into joining a writers' guild. The Writers Guild of Canada seems to have a good resource page for aspiring writers.
Dan Wener, a Toronto-based screenplay writer and writer/director of several independent films, had this advice for those hoping to make screenwriting their career:
"My advice for a scriptwriter is to just write and write and write. I've learned that unless you have a few scripts to present to a potential producer/investor, they won't be interested. Always have a back-up plan.
Screenwriters living in Canada have a bit of a disadvantage compared to screenwriters living in the States. There is more potential for a script to be picked up in the States, whereas Canadian film companies don't really have the money necessary to invest in new projects.
This is a difficult and slow business. The pay is only good if you make it big, and the competition is fierce."
Don't give up - if this is something you really want to do, keep doing it! Just make sure that you can support yourself while you're trying to get that big break. Good luck!
Take a look at these schools to see if what they offer might work for you - if not, try searching at www.SchoolFinder.com for other schools that might meet your needs!
Dramatic Scriptwriting at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology
Playwriting at Concordia University
Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia
Creative Writing at Malaspina University College