Screenwriting: the vaguest, most obscure course at the University of Melbourne
Here it is folks, what you’ve all been waiting for – a guide to the most obscure course offered at the University of Melbourne! I wish I was joking.
When people ask what I’m studying, the reactions all vary. Some think it’s awesome – some ask me what on Earth screenwriting actually is. No matter the response, it’s always accompanied by a “I didn’t even know that was a thing you could study!”. Which is why I’m sitting here, writing all the ins and outs you need if you want to consider studying screenwriting, or are just wondering what the course entails (sure, the University of Melbourne site is slightly informative, but is it? Is it really?)
Firstly, I’d like to put out there why I chose to study screenwriting. Unlike almost all of my peers, it isn’t because I was a film and TV fanatic. Wild, I know. I haven’t seen every Hitchcock movie, nor do I watch a different film everyday like my good friend Jamie. I struggle to keep up with the TV Tonight gossip, and I haven’t seen Breaking Bad. But I do love to write, more than anything on the Earth, and I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. I’m also a history and physics fanatic, but I was too dumb to be an astrophysicist, and too smart to study history full time because I knew it would likely lead to nowhere. So I found a career where I can incorporate all three of my primary passions, and here I am; one semester into screenwriting, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. If you have the same or a similar problem, consider writing for film and TV – the possibilities of what you can create are endless, and the limit only stretches as far as your writing ability and budget.
The Screenwriting stream at the School of Film & Television only takes in around 20 people per year, and if you really want to get in, you have to write your little heart out. There’s a writing component you submit in response to one of the prompts that is provided for you, and it isn’t even a script – it’s an 800 word short story that can take any turn you want. One thing they stress is that they aren’t looking for anything, just the makings of a good writer and a decent imagination. Seriously, you can write about ANYTHING. And that’s one thing you quickly learn throughout the year; this isn’t high school, they aren’t trying to prepare you for anything other than your own career. They don’t care what you write about, just that you use the tools they eventually teach.
So, studying screenwriting. It’s lit. I write, I study films, and I’m going to (try and) break into an industry I have always admired and idolised. Sure, I’m only one semester in, but if writing is something you’re interested in, hit me up for some more screenwriting tea and I can give you even MORE information.
I do feel like I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent, but here are the facts:
- If you love to write, consider screenwriting.
- If you love movies and are good at English and Drama, look into it.
- If you love television and can imagine yourself writing your own show, consider screenwriting.
- If you just binged Stranger Things and want to make something just as cool, maybe check whether or not you have any original ideas first, and THEN consider screenwriting.
- This course and the general career is hard. You’re constantly being pressed for original ideas, and you can’t slack off. There’s a lot of added pressure considering only 20 people are accepted into the course, and it’s drilled into you. But don’t let that turn you off.
- There’s no course in Australia quite like the one the University of Melbourne offers. The VCA has such a prestigious reputation that every course associated with it pretty much lives up to it, and the opportunities you are given are pretty amazing.
- Everything you learn during your course WILL be relevant to breaking into the Film and TV industry.
- If you have multiple interests and can’t imagine giving any of them up, also consider screenwriting. The piece that scored me an interview was based around Anne Boleyn’s execution – you really CAN have it all!! You don’t have to give up all your passions just to have a sustainable career (maybe get back to me in ten years about that)
So, that is all I will be putting out about screenwriting specifically. I mainly wrote this because there wasn’t much information when I was looking into it as a high schooler, and I hope this has maybe helped at least one person get all the information. If you’re wanting to have a look at the University website, here’s the link: https://study.unimelb.edu.au/find/courses/undergraduate/bachelor-of-fine-arts-screenwriting/
So, that’s all for now. Until next time Jaffy readers xx