Screenwriting Tips for Film School Students

Screenwriting in Film School is extremely difficult process. You're brimming with ambition, sometimes you have very limited experience on set, and you likely have very few resources. That's okay. There are great student films out there, made by people with a camera, small crews, and a great story. Here are some tips on how to make student films that stand out.

Collaborate with Peers

A lot of people may know how to write good films, but if you're in film school, you're missing out on an amazing opportunity if the only people who read your scripts look like you. Most programs attract people from a variety of different backgrounds. Finding collaborators and feedback from outside your immediate peer group can be great to give your work a more worldly perspective. A level of self-awareness in film school goes a long way.

Recognize your weaknesses, not just technically, but socially. Keeping an open mind and learning how to have conversations with people who will disagree with you is a super power. It's okay to make work that creates conversations, it's a dangerous to create work that showcases naive privilege.

Watch A Lot

Film majors watch a lot of movies. Opening yourself up to watching foreign cinema, the rise of the auteurs of the 50s, and social movements through cinema is going to be the crux of your creativity. I once had a high school teacher ask me "Do you think you can make your movie better than Orson Welles?"


"Then just copy him! If you can't do it better yet, do what the greats did!"

You should also be a RELIGIOUS Vimeo user. Genius short films are uploaded to that platform everyday. Get inspired by the filmmakers in the trenches doing great work right now.

Obviously, as a portfolio-hosting platform for student filmmakers, we gotta encourage you to check out other student films. Watch the stereotypes, watch the "original" ideas that are done to death, watch the genuine creativity that comes from a lack of resources. It's all available to you (for totally free, on the website you're on right now [seriously, dude, check out the website]).

Simplicity is Everything

One location, simple dialogue, simple concepts. Don't write things to prove you're smart.