I’ve looked through your archives and have found nothing that closely applies to my question. I’ve been a visitor for about three years now, and for some reason have never gotten up the nerve to ask you a question.
I’m 16 and have wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking since 8th grade. I’m sure you’re not too old to remember what it was like to be 16 years old and trying your best to not ruin your own life forever. (I really don’t want to be a receptionist.)
So far I’ve been teaching myself the various techniques of screenwriting through books I find at Chapters, audio commentaries on my favorite DVDs and you.
And here I am. Terrified that I might be making all the wrong moves. Should I have taken drama and bitten my tongue every time that insane teacher opened her mouth? Should I be doing more after school type programs?
And, of course, should I go to film school? (I know you’ve done a response on this, but I’m more concerned with what I need to do before I get there.)
Thank you for your time, it really means a lot.
You’re sixteen. Go out and experience life. As interesting things happen, write them down. If something other than screenwriting appeals to you at some point, pursue it with full abandon and no regrets. You’re at an age when you don’t need to be making any firm decisions, or beating yourself up about missed opportunities. A bad high school drama class is a bullet dodged, in my opinion.
When you’re applying to universities, sure, apply to a film school if that’s still your dream. But if you don’t end up going there, you won’t have missed the boat. Most people in the film industry didn’t go to film school. It’s not like medical school, or law school. It’s not mandatory.
My one bit of trust-me-on-this advice: work on your spelling and punctuation. Your original email had seven mistakes, which I fixed so that they wouldn’t be the focus of a lot of the comments. What I’ve written about professionalism has no minimum age requirement. You’re writing in to get professional advice. Make sure you’re presenting yourself professionally.
Lecture over. Go be sixteen.