Q. Do you have any feedback on the 1 year screenwriting course offered at NYFA (new york film academy)?
I think I asked people about this on this blog a while ago and people were not impressed with NYFA.
I don't know what people need film school for. Sure, if your parents are willing to support you for three years while you get a "terminal degree" (i.e. you can teach with an MFA), why not? But otherwise, why not put yourself through Robert Rodriguez Film Academy: get a camera and shoot a bunch of movies. The MFA credential does not open doors for you in show business. Cool looking if roughly produced short films do. And these days with very respectable "prosumer" cameras going for under a thousand bucks, and very fine editing software available for your Mac, why go to film school?
It used to be that film school would hook you up with people who'd work on your student films. But with the Internet, you can find those people yourself, if you have a little bit of initiative. (And if you don't, don't go into showbiz.)
Personally, I went to UCLA film school. I learned a few things there. I had a few truly great professors -- Richard Marks comes to mind. Okay, I had one truly great professor, in editing. But I learned infinitely more in my first full time job than I did in school.
As I've said before, if you're in Canada, it's a different story. The CFC turns out a disproportionate percentage of successful show people. It is really THE national film and TV school. But in the US, the business is too big for one school to dominate, and a degree will get you no respect at all.
I don't know, Alex. I have a different take on it. I didn't have to go to UCLA to learn about how to write a script. I have the background, and I think the writing chops to figure it out on my own. But I think film school is MUCH more than that. I've used UCLA as a hammer when exploiting various opportunities that have come my way, which could or couldn't have occured with film school. It's like a college degree. It's not particularly necessary for success in life (my personal business idol Richard Branson doesn't have one and he's okay), but it can help you in your ultimate quest. I guess what I'm saying is that if you go to film school thinking it's the magic elixer for getting into the industry, it's not. But it can be a place to focus on your craft, learn different techniques, and then figure out what you're good at and what you're crap at. And if you're smart, you'll exploit it for all that it's worth. If not, it'll simply be a nice cocktail convo point used to impress. But hell, that's undergrad too.
You mention using the internet to find out how to contact people and I was wondering what is the proper way to contact people who I heard giving lectures at the Screenwriting Expo? I don’t want to ask for a job or for them to read my script, I just wish to thank them and ask them follow-up questions. Is it better to go through their agent or the TV show that they work on?
I know someone who went to NYFA. It was expensive, she enjoyed the year in NYC, but I don't think it is very useful in terms of practical knowledge, very airy fairy alt film atmosphere. She's not employed in the industry, if that helps.
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