Film School Confidential: The Screenwriter

Screenwriter Film School Confidential

If a movie is to be made, it must make the journey from great idea to readable script. There are plenty of great stories out there, but not all great stories make for great scripts.  Even more intriguing, how exactly does one take a great novel or play or even tawdry news headline and make it into a film script? These are the questions that lead long-time writing enthusiast Chloe Truitt to go to film school and study screenwriting.

When did you discover you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I was 16 and hanging out with some friends from France and I saw the film La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz. It was the first time I realized that film is in itself a universal language and that the most powerful way to spread a message to the world is through movies.

What film jobs interested you the most?

Well obviously I wanted to be a director but I’ve been writing short stories since I was in elementary school so becoming a screenwriter was the obvious choice for me. My hero, Martin Scorsese was an English Literature major, so to emulate that I chose screenwriting to be my craft. Plus it’s really the first place you go to when you want to make a film-the script.   I also discovered I liked the producer’s role.  It really fits my personality.

What was the title of your first student film? 

My first film was a kind of music video montage called Friendship Station.  It was pretty much about my friends and I drinking.  I shot it on an old Bolex 16mm camera in black & white film. I accidentally loaded the film backwards, which turned out to be brilliant.

Did you get involved with any film festivals?

I was lucky enough to score volunteer work with the HollyShorts Film Festival.  It was a fantastic experience. I worked with the festival managers to secure talent to present awards so I had to contact a lot of agents. It was nerve wracking at first, but people were very willing to help out.  Plus I got to network with other students and industry professionals and it was held in the heart of Hollywood.

What advice would you give to a future film student?

Being a great film student takes equal parts courage, humility and determination.  Learn as much as you can about every aspect of the filmmaking process, not just what may be required for your major.  And always, always help your fellow students out as much as you can. Really nurture those relationships.  I’ll never forget the words of my professor, Dianah Wynter who said, “When you get to Hollywood bring your friends because this industry needs fresh voices.  It thrives on new perspectives.”

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