I was also wondering if there's any particular university degree you would recommend for young people interested in writing for film and television?
I have a double major in Computer Science and English. I would say that my C.S. major helped me at least as much in showbiz as my English major. Computer Science taught me how to write a script "top down." Also, having a C.S. degree, and French, got me my first full-time job in the biz.
If you're a writer, you'll write. That's why when I was at Yale, there wasn't much of a creative writing track. I did more, and better, creative writing trying to get fiction and poems into Zirkus, and The Yale Lit, than I did taking John Hersey's creative writing class. I did even more, and better, when I took a term off to hang around Columbia and audit Kenneth Koch's creative writing class for no credit.
I also learned more about screenwriting from Funky Bob Thompson's class "The Afro-Atlantic Tradition" than I did in some screenwriting classes getting my MFA at UCLA. "Master T" taught about how in West African and Southern Black cultural traditions, syncopation isn't an esthetic exclusively for music; it applies to quilts, to dancing, to everything. I learned how not to write in 4/4 time.
(And when I say, "Master T," think of the whitest guy you ever met, in a button shirt and creased pants. He was the Master of Timothy Dwight residential college until last year.)
So I don't really care what you study in college. And neither will anyone else in LA. They are if you're smart. They care if you know stuff. Mostly they care if you can deliver a hot spec. Whatever gets you there is what you should study. If that's History, great. If that's Electrical Engineering, also great.
Remember, the point of university (as opposed to a graduate degree) isn't to teach you stuff. The world can teach you stuff. Working will teach you stuff. University is to teach you how to learn; and to teach you to attack a problem from multiple perspectives.
So, really, study what you love. If you're a writer, you'll write.
Labels: breaking in, your career