How to Write a Screenplay
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One of the most common questions I get asked is:

Is film-school worth it?

Well... Yes and no.

I went to one of the more well-respected film-schools on Earth, and a lot of my class-mates thought they would have been a lot better off saving the $xx,xxx and just getting a job.

I took 3 years of television-production in high-school (my high school was amazing, I got to take stuff like darkroom photography and a career-preparation course in television that covered literally a quarter of my classes in grades 11 and 12 - and this was over 25 years ago!). So, about 60% of film-school was stuff I already knew.

You’d think I would be one of the ones in the ‘film-school isn’t worth it’ camp, but I’m not. I’m glad I went to film school. Editing on a flat-bed is an experience!

But, then again, I remember things like how our sound-design teacher put off mixing our class’s year-end short-films until the last day possible - then put everyone’s films out-of-sync! He had used stock with the wrong size perforations. So, every thirty seconds, everyone’s film was going out-of-sync by one more frame. By the end of 10-minute films, the audio was off by well over half a second (about 20 frames).

And, I was the only person who noticed it! Every other group in the class mixed their films with bad audio that drifted out-of-sync by almost a second (by the time the end-credits rolled).

When I informed our audio professor that he had just put our sound out of sync - he sat there and yelled at me for half an hour, refusing to believe the film was actually out of sync. None of my classmates stood up for me. They all sat silent, while I argued with the guy. I literally cued up a scene where someone was using a hammer and played it over and over again, showing him how out-of-sync it was. He kept responding with how he was a professional audio-engineer and I was just a stupid student who didn’t know anything.


Is film-school worth it? Is one or more years and many thousands of dollars worth it? Or, should you skip film school and get a job?

Find out the answer here!


But, I know what sync is. I had been an editor for 5+ years before this. I could tell when something was 1 frame out of sync - and this was 15 frames out of sync (the hammer scene was about 75% of the way through the film). So, I stood my ground and refused to budge. He kept yelling at me, about how I didn’t know what I was talking about. So, I’d yell back at him about how this wasn’t just a little bit out-of-sync, like a frame or so. Something that you could possibly miss. This was literally more than half-a-second out of sync! Half a second!

He’d yell back at me again about how he was a professional sound engineer.

So, I’d yell back that that couldn’t possibly be true, because a professional sound engineer would be able to tell if his audio was a fraction of a frame out of sync. And this was a good 15 frames out!

He’d rewind the movie to the start, and it would only be one frame out of sync, and say ‘look, it’s in sync!’

And, I’d say, ‘no it’s not, it’s a frame or two out of sync still!’ I’d fast-forward it to the end, and it would be 20 frames out-of-sync and say ‘Look! See!’

Then, of course, he’d argue that it was still in sync the entire time.

I eventually had to get the equipment manager (the lowest position in the school, but the person who actually did everything) to look at it - and they immediately realized that the teacher had used the wrong pitch (for the perforations). Every ten feet or something like that, the stock he used had one more perforation than it was supposed to. That one little perforation, led to a cascading effect that slowly moved every film more and more out-of-sync.

Of course, everyone’s films had already been sent to the lab! And, it ended up being a big deal trying to get this fixed.

So, yeah, that was one of the better films schools (it’s on the list below)… Let’s not even mention the time I had to sit through a sexual-harassment seminar because I would only allow male crew-members to film in the men’s changing-room and female crew-members to film in the women’s!…

If you’re looking for the more serious screenwriting programs (BFA, MFA), please see our Screenwriting Degrees page.


Notice how we haven’t even started thinking about writing your screenplay yet?

There’s a reason for that. We’re still not done teaching you everything you need to know!

BACK FORWARD Film Schools “It’s amazing how much you can absorb on a film-set!” - Mia Wasikowska FILM SCHOOLS USA | CANADA | WORLD

New York Film Academy

Screenwriting School

New York, NY, USA

American Film Institute

Los Angeles, California, USA

California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, California, USA

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, Georgia, USA

Ringling College of Art and Design

Sarasota, Florida, USA

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, Rhode Island, USA

ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena

Pasadena, California, USA

Colorado Film School

Denver, Colorado, USA

Emerson Visual and Media Arts School

Boston, MA, USA

Los Angeles Film School

Los Angeles, California, USA


Seattle, Washington, USA

Cinema Arts - Point Park University

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Digital Film Academy

New York, NY, USA

Global Cinematography Institute

Los Angeles, California, USA

American Conservatory Theatre

San Francisco, California, USA

Fashion Institute of Technology

New York, NY, USA

List of Top American Film Schools List of Top Canadian Film Schools

Vancouver Film School (VFS)

Writing for Film and Television

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Toronto Film School

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Vancouver, BC< Canada

List of Top International Film Schools

Beijing Film Academy

Beijing, China

London Film School

Screenwriting Program

London, England, UK

Met Film School

Screenwriting Course

London, England, UK

La Femis

Paris, France

Sydney Film School


Sydney, Australia

The Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Lodz Film School)

Lodz, Poland

Central Academy of Drama

Beijing, China

Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute

Kolkata (Calcutta), India

Japan Institute of the Moving Image

Tokyo, Japan

Prague Film School

Prague, Czezh Republic

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