Many great writers have said that if you want to write an interesting and engaging script, you must have an interesting and engaging life. To be the next Arron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino, you must be willing to take risks. This means leaving the safety of your hometown and getting out into the world to write! Earning your degree in screenwriting abroad not only offers plenty of picturesque backdrops and introduces you to many interesting characters, but it also shows anyone that you are able to step outside of your comfort-zone. Ready for that dream international screenwriting program? 3-2-1, action!
Why Earn a Screenwriting Degree in Abroad
There are good stories, and there are bad stories. Why settle for the mundane, when there are infinite perspectives and tempos out there to paint the mood and set the pace? Write your own adventure, and turn those fantasies to facts — all with the help of your screenwriting degrees.
Story is the core of a screenplay; without it, not even an A-list cast can save it. The more you travel, the more you are exposed to different types of people and their customs. Movies and TV shows are nothing more than stories, and the more you travel and see, the more developed these stories will appear. Living in another country while studying a screenwriting program’s fine points will breathe life into various situations, characters, and plot lines.
While it is true that America produces more hit movies and TV shows than any other country, there is more to the movie industry than just Hollywood. All over the world, entertainment is being written and produced everyday — each country with its own twist. Diversifying your portfolio as a writer offers perspectives that future employers will see and appreciate. Why study screenwriting in a country where you can see the finished product everyday on TV, when you can learn about an entirely new type of entertainment?
Earning international screenwriting degrees also offers access to completely different set of contacts than would otherwise be available to you at home. The more you network, the more doors are opened to the writer’s room. The more exposure people have to your work, the more likely you are to get a script sold! So, why not expand your playing field to cover new countries?
People all over the world love being entertained. So, whatever climate or setting tickles your fancy, there’s a movie studio there to record the nation’s story. Decide on the type of cinema you’re most interested in, and then pick a complimentary country!
Home to Bollywood, India throws you head-first into a fast-growing genre of the Hindi film industry that is recognized worldwide for producing quality films. With nearly 200 films produced in India per year, the market is open to writers who can bring a fresh perspective. Hosting some truly awe-inspiring locations, such as the Ganges River and the Mehrangarh Fort, you’re never short on places to explore or things to go. Earning your screenwriting degree in India puts you at the forefront of the industry and allows you to make connections that you would otherwise be unable to make. And in this industry, who you know is just as important as what you can do!
To the north, Canada has produced some truly amazing things: maple syrup, poutine, and some of the greatest writers for film and television. Seth Rogan, Dan Aykroyd, and Jim Carey all hail from Canada, and all of these have achieved varying degrees of success as screenwriters. Canada has a vast landscape that scratches the length of the second largest country; what better place to be inspired by for your vacation gone awry script? Looking to write a great musical about an out-of-work musician in Vancouver? Better get to know the local music scene to write a compelling story!
Then, there’s good ol’ Britain. The UK has been producing entertainment in one form or another for longer than Hollywood has existed. Earning your degree in screenwriting there will let you walk down the same streets as J. K. Rowling, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare. Between comedies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and edge-of-your-seat suspense movies like Snatch, the film industry of the UK is still cranking out award-winning movies. With programs in Scotland, Wales, and England, earning your degree on this influential island will spoil you with cultural events (and no shortage of ham’n’eggs).
Screenwriting Degree Programs
Attending an international screenwriting program has more than just traditional options available to anyone wanting to pursue a career as a writer. In addition to getting a bachelor’s or master’s in screenwriting, there are also shorter programs offered by different institutions. Whatever length and approach you choose, there is a program abroad to immerse you in a story that will be considered a cult-classic for generations.
Some screenwriting degrees abroad are not at traditional colleges or universities, but at specialized schools for the performing arts. These programs range from a few weeks to a year, and are far more intensive than regular classes. At the end of the program, you’ll have a portfolio to showcase your talents and a diploma showing that you have completed formal training.
While scouring the internet for information on earning your undergraduate degree in screenwriting, you might be puzzled by the information you find. That’s because at some universities, they do not have the specific major for screenwriting. But never fear; at many universities, screenwriting is covered in film and production studies or other related majors. These programs teach the nuts and bolts of screenwriting and provide instruction on script formatting and story developments, while also introducing you to other aspects of film and TV.
Earning a master’s degree in anything takes a level of commitment that shows you are determined to make screenwriting your career. Amongst a sea of aspiring writers, it’s great to have a degree that will make you stand out. In a master’s program, expect to spend two years writing and producing a script. This is the time where you will truly be tested by, and introduced to, professionals in the field.
Benefits and Challenges
Earning a degree in screenwriting abroad exposes you to walks of life that you’ve never experienced before. This is great inspiration for future work. Imagine yourself in a writer’s room and being able to contribute with something that you’ve witnessed firsthand. Or think about bringing some of the Chinese opera into your next script, complete with amazing acrobatics and face painting. The world is your oyster!
Many people would be nervous about studying in a country that doesn’t have English as their native language, however, learning a new language is a great way to understand local culture and customs. Even more so, it opens up a whole new set of opportunities for your life after getting your degree. Being able to write multilingual scripts and act as someone with first-hand knowledge increases your hireability to future employers.
Finally, the movie industry is based on who you know, just as much as what you can do. Expand your group of acquaintances and rub elbows with the Woody Allens of the world, rather than limiting yourself to your home town. Rise up in the screenwriting world, one rung at a time, and rise to fame. Take advantage of every character that crosses your path!
When you’re trying to sell a script, a logline (a one-sentence summary of the script) is usually requested. So, here’s one about the time you spent overseas: “While earning a degree in screenwriting abroad, The Next-Greatest-Screenwriter assumes that it will just be four years of school. However, upon arrival, they quickly realize that nothing will be the same again!”