I’m considering getting a journalism degree as a base point for a screenwriting career. I noticed you did the same thing. Do you have any regrets about getting your bachelor’s in journalism, or was is the best option available to a future screenwriter?
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, I think journalism is a good bachelor’s degree choice, particularly if film studies aren’t available. Journalism teaches efficient, structured writing, and good work habits. But it’s by no means the only undergraduate major that helps.
An English degree is a great and obvious choice, particularly one that combines literature and composition. Depending on the specific program, a major in communications could be good, if it had a strong focus on writing. But any field in the humanities would really work. A quick survey of my writer friends reveals political science majors, religion majors, art history majors, and probably a dozen other specialities I don’t even know.
More than anything, I’d advise majoring in something that really interests you. While you may aspire to a screenwriting career now, who knows what the future will bring? A physics degree is no obstacle if you decide to apply to graduate-level film school. In fact, it would probably be intriguing enough to an admissions panel that they’d be eager to meet you.