Club teaches students from all majors screenwriting

The Film and TV Writers Club serves as a resource to students who are interested in film but not a part of SCA. Members represent a wide range of disciplines at the University. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Doyle)

New members of USC’s Film and Television Writers club spend their first semester learning how to write for film — attending workshops about how to write for screen production, format scripts, conduct interviews and network. Panelists with experience in film also come in to share their knowledge. 

However, the focus of the club is not exclusively screenwriting. Max Jenkins, a junior majoring in narrative studies and cognitive science, serves as one of the club’s presidents and has been involved since his first semester at USC. 

“We teach all different aspects of filmmaking, from idea to creation,” he said. 

After learning the basics and working collaboratively on scripts for short films, people have the option to submit these scripts for consideration to be made into feature films. Everyone in the club is welcome to submit a script, and submissions from this semester are currently in the process of being reviewed and selected. Ultimately, two scripts are chosen, and the club spends the second semester getting hands-on experience with production by adapting these scripts into films. 

The club started with the purpose of making resources from the School of Cinematic Arts available to everyone, said Charlotte Doyle, a junior majoring in business administration and co-president of FTW. She joined the club last fall and has been involved for about a year. Doyle said FTW offers the opportunity to learn about the industry and use resources that may otherwise be limited without committing to studying film. 

“The reason FTW started a couple years ago was because SCA makes it difficult to use any of the great USC connections and resources without actually being an SCA major,” she said. 

People from all backgrounds are encouraged to join, and there are no requirements or minimum commitments. Both presidents said that many people who are involved are not in the SCA, representing a wide range of interests. 

The Film and TV Writers Club teaches students about all aspects of filmmaking, from script writing to film production, and allows members to learn about the industry without having to be an SCA major. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Doyle)

“When you join as a general member there’s no obligation,” Doyle said. “The biggest point of our club is to include all majors, not just SCA film majors but people of all majors and people of all experience levels. Our goal here is really to make the film industry a lot more accessible.”

Matias Leviano, a freshman majoring in theater, joined the club this year because of his passion and curiosity about film. He said he signed up to explore if he wants to add an additional major or a minor in cinematic arts, referring to the club as an “opportunity” to do so without joining SCA. 

Leviano said the guest speakers are the best part of the club. One meeting was especially noteworthy to him because it was a cinematography workshop, and the speaker brought in professional materials such as lights and cameras for student use. 

“We had like two workshops to work on our scripts and had to submit them,” he said. “It was a lot, but it’s fun.” 

For those looking to join, the club has a few different divisions that serve different purposes. Many people are general members, which anyone can join as. There is also an executive board with two presidents, which works on running the club smoothly, and a development team, which works to  keep the club going and assists with scripts during the second-semester productions. 

“My favorite part of the club is the communities that we’ve built,” Doyle said. 

FTW holds meetings once a week and is open to new members throughout the semester. People that want to get involved are welcome to reach out with questions or scripts of their own. To get in contact with FTW’s leadership, interested students can reach out via email at  [email protected] or on Instagram @ftwusc.