Getting Started: Aspiring TV writers in College

Have you ever thought that you could be a writer for the next hit television series?  Have you ever watched the season finale of your favorite tv show, and couldn’t resist the urge to scream out

“No! That’s not how it should end!”

If you’re like me, you love television.  You have your weekly line up of cannot miss TV and you get super excited about a new series that seems like the next best thing.
Some of my all time favorites are:  Vampire Diaries, Shameless, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars (though I think sometimes I could write better drama), True Blood and Revenge.

One Tree Hill will always be in my heart.

And I just started getting into Dexter, Once Upon a Time, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy.  Too much TV, too little time.

Now if you’re like me, you love TV so much, that you even want to write your own series, with your own characters and drama.

Well here’s my HOW TO on becoming a Screenwriter (well the first baby steps at least)

First, and most importantly WRITE all the time.  If you want to become a screenwriter, you have to practice your craft.

A lot of writing I do is for my college classes.  As of right now I am an English major, pursuing minors in professional writing and communications – concentration in radio, tv and film (obviously).

My recommendations for courses are:  Creative writing (definitely my favorite class) even if you are not sure, its a great class to just try and see what you got! Screenwriting workshop – you will read feature film screenplays, learn the ins and outs of screenwriting and work on your own stuff.  Here’s where you can put on paper all your great ideas for the TV shows that you just wish were on TV already!  Fiction workshop, Topics in Professional Writing, and as many English courses as possible, this will allow you to practice/perfect your craft of writing.

I also recommend getting a degree of some sort in communications, because this way if you cannot get a job write away writing for television, you could work backstage, on the production crew, to get your foot at least in the door.  Some recommendations of Communications classes that are offered at my school are:  Languages of Film and Television, Motion Picture Production, and Intro to Television Studio. 

These are my course/major-minor recommendations for prospect screenwriters and also things that I should have done (considering I switched my major so many times and is now, as a junior, finally getting on the right path).  But if there is anything that I have learned through my many course advisement meetings, its not your exact major or minor, its your experience through internships or extra curricular activities that makes you really qualified for the job.  And as far as internships go, treat them like classes.  Take an internship in something that may or may not be right for you, just at least give it a try.  You’ll gain experience that employers love to see and may also find something out about yourself!

Extra advice:  MAKE A WORK-RELATED TWITTER, follow people in the industry to learn about current events, opportunities, advice, behind the scenes info, first looks.  Follow writers for your favorite shows!


Talk to your professors, they can offer you  A LOT of advice as well as references for jobs/internships.

Hopes this helps, more to come!

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