Being in LA, and trying to break into something somewhat sorta related to the business of movies, I am friends with people that have gone to or are going to film school. Not to mention whatever Chewers have gone to or are going to film school themselves.
And since I watch a hell of a lot of movies, I honestly question how it all works. I know some of the basics, and that some film schools have you do a thesis film or two. That could involve directing, I think editing, or in some cases writing. And when they get out, there are movies that are incredibly well-written, and some not so much. But, in between there are movies where the writing isn’t necessarily the point, but the writing isn’t necessarily bad either.
I would imagine that film schools want to have their students be awesome Oscar-winning types that write deep scripts about gay cowboys eating pudding or something. It’s all prestigious and stuff, like a university churning out the CEO of Enron. But what if you aren’t that guy, the writer not the CEO of Enron. What if you don’t have a story about how you were a kid dividing his time between slinging crack rock and working on your wicked jump shot?
What if you want to write movies where a dude kicks another dude in the face repeatedly. Or if you want to write a movie where a British-sounding dude sticks a shotgun up somebody’s butt and pulls the trigger. Can you get into USC film school if that’s your ambition? I’m not saying that you don’t want to make great movies, but rather that you want to make a particular type of great movie.
What do you write on your film school application?
Dear Dean Elizabeth M. Daley,
I want to tell the deep deep story about a rock-hard manly man that kills a bunch of Asians and/or South Americans because Burma is bad or something, and the CIA has set up South America as a haven for military dictators who oppress farmers or carpenters or something. I’m not actually sure what people do for a living in South America.
It’s my dream to write THE EXPENDABLES 2 or something in the same vein. I think that the USC School of Cinematic Arts is the best place for me to accomplish my cinematic dreams and know that I can be a valuable asset to your school just like Stephen Sommers (Gunmen, Deep Rising).
I’m being completely serious. That’s not being unambitious or mediocre, that’s following in the scriptwriting footsteps of Sylvester Stallone and the guy that wrote RAMBO with Sylvester Stallone. You know, writing awesome movies where guys get turned into savory meat chunks.
So how do these film writers happen? Do they even go to film school? Let me know. What are your cinematic dreams aspiring writers?