How does one get started in screenwriting... or in film for that matter? I'd like some input as to what would be some good possible steps for me to take. Presently I work for a film and video production house in Grand Rapids, MI as a production coordinator (or something like that... I aid three producers, and, when I have spare time from production, the sales rep.). We make mainly industrial and corporate film and video, and a few spots every year. I've been there for about a year and half, and I graduated with a B.A. in English about 9 months ago (yes, my last year of college was hellishly spent going to school full time and working between 25 and 40 hours a week for this film and video production house). I happily took the job because "at least it was something in my field." However, the type of stuff we do is far removed from the kind of films I want to make (ideally, write and direct -- ha,ha) so I'm wondering what my next step should be. Is film school really all that helpful? I don't want to spend a lot of money on an education that's somewhat redundant (esp. when I haven't any money to spend). I've learned enough about what goes into making a film via my present work and work I've done in Toronto during the summers that I think I could start out without a film school education. But I may be fooling myself. At the moment I am working on a screenplay that deals in part with racist and sexist attitudes. It was inspired by the town I live in right now (as I mentioned before, Grand Rapids, MI) where I find racism quite intense. I spent some time developing the idea in London, England (where I just happened to be for my other studies) and found the people there much more encouraging and positive. In the states my ideas seem to be met by so many pragmatists... perhaps simply because the market is a lot more competitve here. I'm tempted to move back to England for a while... perhaps try a film school there. On the other had, because of the kinds of issues I'm dealing with in this screen play and because they'll probably be issues I'll continue to deal with in future screenplays, I was wondering if it would be more advantageous for me to get a masters, say, in American Studies. I visited the University of Iowa last fall and was quite impressed by their Masters program... and the apparent flexiblity of said program. Or should I simply keep working during the day and writing in the evenings in the hopes of being able to, at some point, strike out on my own and make the kinds of films I really want to make? Feed back please! (Why do I sense that there are so many people out there who are in a similar predicament... and what an awful economy to be in to be in this kind of a predicament. Right now I'm just tempted to stay in a place and a position where I can make enough money to make my monthly student loan payments. Thanks. Christina deJong Lantinga p.s. Has anyone out there seen a film called "An Angel at My Table" (directed by Jane Campion)? If so, I'd love to talk to you about it, as it made rather a deep impression on me.