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The Boss' VP son at my work(Auto Parts business) ask me to post this question to writers in Hollywood -- will a degree in screenwriting from a University guarantee an okay paying studio job?
I hope you don't get fired, but you need to tell him a big fat NO. There are no guarantees in anything in this business (and probably also in auto parts).
Degrees don't make for smarter people. Vivid imaginations do. I'm not a Hollywood writer but I still feel you can't replace a good imagination, no matter. Question-Do universities offer such degrees?
Ben, the answer is "No." The only guarantee of a screenwriting job is to be the spoiled son or daughter of a studio head. A degree in cinematic arts from USC or NYU would probably help, mainly from the contacts one would make, which can get you over the biggest hurdle -- getting someone in a position of influence to read your work.
But, my recommendation is to wait until you read the advice of someone far more knowledgeable. You'll recognize it when it's posted. It ain't me, that's for sure.
How many times though do you read an ad that a studio wants a writer with a college degree? I'm not saying studies don't help but call me a naive romantic, I believe your writing will speak for itself. If anything you want a degree in English to have a knowledge for greater source material.
Tell him to check out Thefilmschool.com if he's interested in screenwriting. A short intense course will tell him if he wants to be a writer. A relative has $150,000 in film school debt and isn't being offered any jobs. (you need to add in the cost of making a film to the cost of tuition) Other than that a degree in English or HIstory is sufficient.
If you've ever read the bios of proucers, directors, screenwriters, etc. who have graduated from either USC or UCLA film, it wasn't their degree that propelled thier career(though it did help), it was the people who they met in school that jump started their career...
Connections help out big time.
Education always helps if you want to teach but it won't get you a job. I run a writers workshop for screenwriters in California. In the four years we have been in existance, I have turned down at least 100 writers applying for membership. This includes graduates from Yale and Harvard, and Master Degrees from UCLA. You can't teach talent. You can't teach creativity. Some scripts I read were perfectly formatted and structure, and were so boring it was as exciting as watching paint dry. The advice you received previosly was good. Take a few classes before spending the money on a degree. Enter a few contests to see how you measure up. Out here it is who you know or overwhelming talent.
Thanks all for the timely input.
Really impressed with such understanding and helpful posts.
If you're going to get a degree anyway then why not major in film or screenwriting?
I've taken a number of seminars and classes in film and video but after I already had a degree.
Unfortunately, a degree won't guarentee you a job regardless of your major. You'll still have to learn the lessons, be good at what you do, go through the interviews and get hired.
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