• IT'S HAPPENING! Celebrate interview season by becoming or upgrading to a Lifetime Supporting Membership for ONLY $15! (25% off) by entering the coupon code "ITSHAPPENING" . Thanks for being a member of the site!

Is it worth it to enter film school online for the 2020/21 academic year?

lillyloon

Member
I am currently deciding if I should accept my enrollment at the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program, considering it will all be online now. Thankfully, screenwriting is very accessible to teach through online. I am passionate about screenwriting and have been wanting to move to LA and attend a program like this for years. That said, a main reason why I wanted to attend the program was to meet people and make connections, with both the cohort and the professors. I feel that a major part of attending film school/ film programs is about the people you meet. In addition, while it is not much, I am wondering if the $6,000 to attend the program is actually worth it if it is all online. Is anybody else in a similar boat, or might anybody have some good insight when it comes to making the decision?

Thank you in advance!!
 

Andres V

New Member
Supporter+
I am currently deciding if I should accept my enrollment at the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program, considering it will all be online now. Thankfully, screenwriting is very accessible to teach through online. I am passionate about screenwriting and have been wanting to move to LA and attend a program like this for years. That said, a main reason why I wanted to attend the program was to meet people and make connections, with both the cohort and the professors. I feel that a major part of attending film school/ film programs is about the people you meet. In addition, while it is not much, I am wondering if the $6,000 to attend the program is actually worth it if it is all online. Is anybody else in a similar boat, or might anybody have some good insight when it comes to making the decision?

Thank you in advance!!
I just finished the professional program in TV writing so I’ll offer my two cents. The first two quarters were on campus while the last was from home bc of Covid. The program is wonderful and I highly recommend it. You’ll definitely come out of it a much better writer. However, I personally prefer on campus classes for the reasons you mentioned. In the remote class, the discussion/workshopping just wasn’t the same. People don’t participate as often (you have the same classmates for the entire program so it was easy to tell) and riffing off each other to iron out a scene or idea is much more difficult. Plus, when you’re doing table reads it’s hard to tell how the scene landed as everyone is usually muted. So, their genuine reaction is hard to catch. As I said, I absolutely recommend the program but Covid really does hinder some of its perks. Hope this helped!
 

I.P. Miller

New Member
I am currently deciding if I should accept my enrollment at the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program, considering it will all be online now. Thankfully, screenwriting is very accessible to teach through online. I am passionate about screenwriting and have been wanting to move to LA and attend a program like this for years. That said, a main reason why I wanted to attend the program was to meet people and make connections, with both the cohort and the professors. I feel that a major part of attending film school/ film programs is about the people you meet. In addition, while it is not much, I am wondering if the $6,000 to attend the program is actually worth it if it is all online. Is anybody else in a similar boat, or might anybody have some good insight when it comes to making the decision?

Thank you in advance!!
I attended this program online. You ask if it is worth it to attend the program online. I would have to say yes, it is, if what you want to be is a screenwriter. The connections and socializing will be important -- later -- once you have 2-3 good scripts under your belt that you've submitted to contests, rewritten a lot. Once you have found that you can actually produce and perform in a way that makes you a good match for the demands of the business. Until you have something to shop around and talk about intelligently, until you have some creds and can put up a decent website about your work and convince others you're a sure thing and a good risk. Until you can talk about screenwriting, scripts, genres, plot, character, sequencing-- the whole shebang. Until you have the skills to take meetings -- not for the weak. Until then, learn. write. work. Become a screenwriter. Be on your way to being professional. Professors and friends are helpful, but can't do the work for you. And it is work.
 

I.P. Miller

New Member
I am currently deciding if I should accept my enrollment at the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program, considering it will all be online now. Thankfully, screenwriting is very accessible to teach through online. I am passionate about screenwriting and have been wanting to move to LA and attend a program like this for years. That said, a main reason why I wanted to attend the program was to meet people and make connections, with both the cohort and the professors. I feel that a major part of attending film school/ film programs is about the people you meet. In addition, while it is not much, I am wondering if the $6,000 to attend the program is actually worth it if it is all online. Is anybody else in a similar boat, or might anybody have some good insight when it comes to making the decision?

Thank you in advance!!
 

lillyloon

Member
I just finished the professional program in TV writing so I’ll offer my two cents. The first two quarters were on campus while the last was from home bc of Covid. The program is wonderful and I highly recommend it. You’ll definitely come out of it a much better writer. However, I personally prefer on campus classes for the reasons you mentioned. In the remote class, the discussion/workshopping just wasn’t the same. People don’t participate as often (you have the same classmates for the entire program so it was easy to tell) and riffing off each other to iron out a scene or idea is much more difficult. Plus, when you’re doing table reads it’s hard to tell how the scene landed as everyone is usually muted. So, their genuine reaction is hard to catch. As I said, I absolutely recommend the program but Covid really does hinder some of its perks. Hope this helped!
Thank you so much! This was super helpful. I think I would much prefer the on campus classes as well, though I've heard so many good things about the program an we don't even know when it will be able to be in person again. Even if it's online, I think I am on board.
 

lillyloon

Member
I attended this program online. You ask if it is worth it to attend the program online. I would have to say yes, it is, if what you want to be is a screenwriter. The connections and socializing will be important -- later -- once you have 2-3 good scripts under your belt that you've submitted to contests, rewritten a lot. Once you have found that you can actually produce and perform in a way that makes you a good match for the demands of the business. Until you have something to shop around and talk about intelligently, until you have some creds and can put up a decent website about your work and convince others you're a sure thing and a good risk. Until you can talk about screenwriting, scripts, genres, plot, character, sequencing-- the whole shebang. Until you have the skills to take meetings -- not for the weak. Until then, learn. write. work. Become a screenwriter. Be on your way to being professional. Professors and friends are helpful, but can't do the work for you. And it is work.
This was also super helpful and I appreciate your reply. I can understand how connections would be best once you have some merit and experience as a writer. I also just love the classroom environment and meeting other creative minds with similar interests, so I wish it could be in person, but it's great to hear such an awesome review from someone who experienced the course online. Just a question about your comment on contacts--I have never written a feature but my shorts have placed in large competitions/ festivals and have a website about my work, though I have yet to learn how to be a professional screenwriter and the logistics surrounding the industry. When you say connections and socializing, do you mean that which comes as a direct result from success of your previous work, and not through film school? Thanks again, and I am pretty much on board for the online program!
 

I.P. Miller

New Member
This was also super helpful and I appreciate your reply. I can understand how connections would be best once you have some merit and experience as a writer. I also just love the classroom environment and meeting other creative minds with similar interests, so I wish it could be in person, but it's great to hear such an awesome review from someone who experienced the course online. Just a question about your comment on contacts--I have never written a feature but my shorts have placed in large competitions/ festivals and have a website about my work, though I have yet to learn how to be a professional screenwriter and the logistics surrounding the industry. When you say connections and socializing, do you mean that which comes as a direct result from success of your previous work, and not through film school? Thanks again, and I am pretty much on board for the online program!
Hi again -- you mentioned your preference for the in-person program, saying "a main reason why I wanted to attend the program was to meet people and make connections, with both the cohort and the professors." Did I misunderstand you -- did you just mean you wanted to attend to make connections with other students and professors?" That's great and it is def helpful to have a group of peers you can go to for support. If the professor likes your work, he or she may introduce you to a few people or give your scripts some extra attention. None of that will make you a writer, it could help you as a writer, but IMHO either you are a writer, or you aren't -- I don't think that can be taught. It's between you, your muse and the page, no? My experience may not be typical-- I worked my way up as a writer in an ad agency before doing this program. I knew how to write, I knew I could write, and I wanted to see if I could tackle this medium. First and foremost for me, it's about a lot of alone time at the computer. A lot of planning, outlining, questioning, the eternal roller coaster, devoting time daily, and doing it again and again even when you have no energy or inspiration. I myself find the social side a bit of a drag, but a necessary evil in this business. LA is a professional town. What I wanted for myself was to learn to write good scripts. I guess I had the confidence to believe that if they were good enough, they would get attention. To be fair, I had a lot of the schmoozing and presentation skills already from advertising. And for every bit of help my peers gave me, they took a line from my script. It's been said the best writers are plagiarists. This is the business, too, learning to deal with that, with people's egos, with your own, with people mad for personal success. I found the best support group was a small screenwriting group my undergraduate college created in LA. Very strong writers. It's really really hard to write a great script, I admire people who do it. There were also a decent number of people in class who wanted to say they took the class for whatever reason but who didn't intend to write, or who wanted some familiarity with writing so that when their production company optioned/bought a script they'd know what to do with it. I guess what I'm saying is, this isn't college. You will write at a professional clip. If you want to write, you face the page and your insecurities alone every day. Sometimes there is magic. Scripts are written around a table in some office meeting room by a bunch of tired writers drinking coffee, working out the fine points of structure and trying to problem solve. All so the viewer can. have a wonderful bit of entertainment. Sorry if this is dark. It's real.
 

Kira

MFA TV Writer @UCLA
Staff member
FilmSchool.org Writer
I see there are a ton of responses above :) I did not do the professional program, but a few of my friends did it - online too! Since they were out of state or out of the country and they found it useful. While the current situation is not ideal, you can still make connections with fellow students and your teachers via Zoom / whatever system they use.
 

Latest Classifieds

Latest Applications

Latest reviews

Top