I spent 4 years getting a film degree in Dublin and when I finished I started writing feature scripts – I quickly realised they weren’t any good when someone in the industry was kind enough to pull me aside and be honest and straight with me and tell me so – and they explained why – I simply didn’t have the structure or technique to make a well-rounded script. They advised I go and get some books and teach myself screenwriting – I did and I’m still learning and practicing – but it worked, my scripts improved and I even got one optioned.
Film schools and courses can be very helpful when it comes to getting a grounding in technique and hands on experience and in finding a film-making network but you have to work hard at it yourself at home if you really want to get anywhere.
These courses are not the be-all and end-all especially when it comes to learning to write – writing takes good strong ideas and solid technique and structure that you have to learn and then practice practice practice……
Here are some books and sites that I found and find very helpful;
– The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier
– Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics by Michael Rabiger (great sections on story and writing)
– How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make by Denny Martin Flinn
– http://www.scriptpimp.com – take some time to browse this site and sign upo for their newsletter
These are just some samples – I know there are thousands of books and sites out there but I found these helpful and interesting – try a few and make them work for you – use them as guidelines and then make them your own.
I hope this is helpful and not too preachy!
All the best,