Are Screenwriting Classes worth it?

As a mentor to many aspiring screenwriters, a seasoned instructor of Advanced Screenwriting at Script University, and the author of the best-selling book, “The Guide for Every Screenwriter,” I’ve navigated the twists and turns of the screenwriting journey both personally and alongside many others. My mission has always been to guide, inspire, and elevate the talents of writers at every level of their career. So, when it comes to the question of whether screenwriting classes are worth it, I bring a unique perspective shaped by experience, observation, and the successes of those I’ve had the privilege to mentor.

The Value of Screenwriting Classes at university

Screenwriting classes offer more than just lessons; they provide a structured environment where creativity meets discipline. They demystify the process of screenwriting, breaking it down into tangible, manageable components—from developing compelling characters and engaging storylines to mastering the art of dialogue. But the value of these classes extends beyond the curriculum. They are a conduit for networking, offering students the chance to connect with peers, industry professionals, and mentors who can offer guidance, feedback, and opportunities. Graduating students often find themselves coming up in the industry together.

Learning from the Experts

One of the significant benefits of taking screenwriting classes is the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals who have navigated the industry’s challenges and triumphs. As someone who has taught advanced screenwriting techniques and shared insights through numerous videos on this very site and a comprehensive guidebook, I’ve seen firsthand how the right mentorship can illuminate the path for emerging screenwriters. It’s not just about learning the rules; it’s about understanding when and how to bend (not break) them creatively.

Tailored Feedback and Support

Screenwriting is a craft that benefits immensely from tailored feedback. Whether it be virtual or physical, screenwriters receive constructive criticism that is specific to their work. This personalized attention can be pivotal in honing your skills, developing your unique voice, and pushing your scripts to the next level. Moreover, the support system that forms in these classes often lasts well beyond the final session, providing a community of peers who understand the journey and can offer encouragement and advice.

Identifying and Avoiding Toxic Mentorship

While the journey to becoming a successful screenwriter is enriched by constructive mentorship, it’s crucial to be aware of and avoid toxic influences. A toxic mentor may dominate conversations, discourage your creativity, focus excessively on negatives, lack professional boundaries, or even want additional credit from your work. One of my past toxic mentors wanted not only a writing credit for my work but also 60% of the pay I was going to recieve. Trust your instincts, seek multiple perspectives, and maintain clear goals and boundaries to protect your creative path, personal growth, and even finances.

Practical Experience and Portfolio Building,

Classes often culminate in completed scripts or projects that can become the cornerstone of your portfolio. This practical experience is invaluable, not just for the sake of creation but for learning the discipline of finishing what you start—a crucial trait for any successful screenwriter. Moreover, many courses offer insights into the business side of screenwriting, from querying to understanding the marketplace, which is essential knowledge for turning your passion into a career.

The Bottom Line

So, are screenwriting classes worth it? The answer is a resounding yes. But like any investment, the return depends on what you put into it. With dedication, openness to learning, and a willingness to apply the feedback and lessons learned, screenwriting classes can be a transformative experience. They are not just a step but a leap in the right direction for anyone serious about carving out a career in screenwriting.

Remember, as you embark on this journey, the resources available to you are vast. From books such as mine The Guide for Every Screenwriter to my online courses offering over 40 videos on various aspects of screenwriting, you’re not alone on this path. Mentorship, education, and community await those ready to take their passion for storytelling to the next level. Whether you’re drafting your first script or refining your latest project, the world of screenwriting is rich with opportunities for those prepared to seize them.

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