Minor in Screenwriting '22
Why did you choose a minor at the School of Cinematic Arts?
Although I was enjoying the English courses I was taking in my freshman year, I couldn’t help but feel that the career paths available to me were not very diverse. I worried that, at the end of earning my degree, I wouldn’t feel satisfied with the career options that I could easily go into. A screenwriting minor seemed like a perfect way to broaden the scope of those opportunities, while still staying in the realm of what I loved to do, which was telling stories. After taking Intro to Screenwriting, I immediately added the minor, because I had loved the course so much. Now I felt that there was a new and broader industry that I could diverge into, while still keeping sight of the opportunities available to me as an English major.
How does your cinematic arts program help in pursuing your major area or study or your intended profession?
The minor in screenwriting has helped to greatly improve my writing skills, not just within screenplays, but in prose as well. I have learned through my screenwriting classes how best to create a story, and a protagonist who changes from the start of a story to its end. I translate my new understandings of character, plot, and theme into my writing for English classes, and the improvement in my storytelling is noticeable.
Is there a project you are working (or have completed) that you're especially proud of?
Though it’s been a while since its completion, the work I am most proud of is the screenplay I wrote for my CTWR 412 class. My professor, Kim Beyer-Johnson, pushed us to not settle on our scripts until they were the best they could be. For that reason, this screenplay is still my favorite.
Is there any difficulty in studying cinema that you were unprepared for, and how did you address it?
When I added the minor in screenwriting, I felt confident that this was a new path I could take into my future career. However, once I started actually looking to get a foot in the industry, I realized that it’s not easy to get in! I have applied to and been rejected from many internships involving film or screenwriting. However, I have found so much enjoyment and inspiration in my cinema classes at USC, that I fully intend to keep trying. I have added another minor in Cinematic Arts to further immerse myself into the study of film, and I am constantly writing, or reading the work of my peers, so as to continue getting better at these skills.
What advice do you have for other USC students who want to minor in the cinematic arts?
My advice to students who want to add a minor in Cinematic Arts is to search for classes that really appeal to your interest! If you take a course on something that you were already interested in to begin with, you will be able to filter your passions into the class and produce better quality work. This is easy to do, since SCA offers so many different types of classes. The “Screenwriters (or Comedy Writers) and Their Work” course focuses on a different topic every semester…there has been one on Harry Potter, one on Stoner Comedies, and one on Time Travel—which I took last semester and loved! Know what you are passionate about and seek out those passions in courses; it will give you the inspiration and motivation to produce your best work!
Cameryn Baker is a major in English Creative Writing from West Covina, California