I’m 17 years old and still can't decide what to do in the future, but I have a great passion for cinema and I'm considering the possibility of trying to become a screenwriter.
I was wondering whether you think is it better to study at an academy or at a university. Are there good academies or universities in Italy, or is it better to go abroad? Then, is it possible to become a screenwriter after getting a degree in another course. If so, how?
My last question is how did you understand you wanted to become a screenwriter? I have so many interests ad I'd really like to choose a path and follow it with all my energies.
Thank you very much.
These are great questions, Benedetta.
If you can afford to study screenwriting, then I certainly think taking courses at an academy or university is helpful. It’s a chance for you to spend time studying good writing and discovering what you have to say as a writer yourself. Hopefully you would pick up some tools that make it easier for you to begin to practice your craft.
If you want a career in your home country, then I suspect getting an education in Italy makes the most sense. I’m not very familiar with screenwriting education in Italy, although I have spoken at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan and met and worked with several of their talented alumni.
If you want to work in the United States, I would encourage you to seek an education there. In some ways, the relationships you form with your fellow students are even more important than the professors, so it helps if your peers will be working in the same country where you intend to pursue your career.
For most people, screenwriting isn’t something at which they are instantly brilliant. It takes some time to find your voice and understand how to communicate effectively. That means you need to be patient with yourself and have faith that, if you keep at it, you’ll eventually succeed.
I know many people are daunted at the thought of pursuing a career as a screenwriter -- I certainly was. I loved movies and TV as I was growing up, but thought it would be too hard to make it in Hollywood. It was only after pursuing a career as a reporter for seven years that I finally decided that I just had to try to make it as a writer. I moved from Paris, where I was living at the time, back to Los Angeles and studied at the American Film Institute. Lucky for me, after graduating I landed my first job on The X-Files.
No one can predict what kind of career you’ll have – you might find success early, late, or possibly not at all. But if you really love cinema and television and are willing to work hard, then I would encourage you to pursue your dream. I can’t think of a better way to live your life than telling stories to other people.
I hope that’s helpful, and whatever you decide, I wish you the best.