I’ve covered a lot of topics in this blog: mostly focusing on ways that you can you can get a screenplay off the ground. I’ve talked about different associations and what they can do for your career, but there really won’t be any career unless you can fund your project. Funding is crucial for anyone in the film and writing industry. Without funding, it is extremely difficult to get your project going.
So where does the funding for Canadian film come from? That would be the Canadian Council for the Arts. This council is dedicated to funding the creative endeavors of people pursuing the arts. There are many grants given out to film and video artists that include: research/creation grants, production grants, and scriptwriting grants. The scriptwriting grant covers the cost of screenwriting for independent films and documentaries. Grants like this will help cover the costs of living while researching and creating a screenplay. Also, if you choose to turn your screenplay into a film on your own (many screenwriters start out making short films that they can produce themselves to build their resume), there is also a grant for that.
Another important aspect in starting your career is formal training. I know we’ve all heard the Cinderella story where a filmmaker or screenwriter has gotten their lucky break by being in the right place at the right time, but lets be realistic here. If you want people to take you seriously in this business, then you need to take yourself seriously, and the best way to do that is by educating yourself as much as you can. Schooling will help fine-tune your techniques, give you experience, and help you start networking (always important).
There are so many programs out there that you really have to do your research. Many colleges offer scriptwriting programs, and there are places like the Toronto Film Institute that specialize in training people for all types of jobs in the film industry, including screenwriters. Also look around for any seminars and workshops in your area.
When it comes to funding and training; keep yourself educated, do your research, and become involved in your own future. Opportunities are not going to come to you; neither will a grant and a diploma. If you want be a screenwriter, then you need to invest the time in getting formal training, get funding for your projects, and become a member of various associations. If you can keep up with the industry, you may just find your big break.