Interview with Justin Winters
Justin is currently a lecturer at the School of Film & Television at Loyola Marymount University. He also taught at Arizona State University and the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, regularly guest lectures at universities and conferences both nationally and internationally, and contributes to ScreenCraft.org, FilmCourage.com, and CreativeScreenwriting.com, websites dedicated to encouraging writers and filmmakers to study and pursue their goals and aspirations. Justin wrote a movie that's coming out in theaters later this year, 'Killing Winston Jones' starring Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, and Jon Heder. Check out Justin's website here
Hey Justin, could you tell us more about the service offerings of Sixty Second Script School?
Hey everyone, I'm Justin Trevor Winters and I am the founder of Sixty Second Script School. So some of the services that we offer: well, if you're interested in screenwriting then Sixty Second Script School is definitely for you. We teach you all about the craft of screenwriting, as well as the business of screenwriting. So in one of my most popular courses, which is the 30 Day Screenplay, we teach you how to create an original TV show concept; how to pitch your concept to network executives and industry professionals; we teach you how to write your TV show treatment, which is kind of like an outline; teach you how to write your pilot, which is the first episode; and we teach you all about the business of becoming a professional screenwriter. So the main goal is to teach you how to become a writer, but more importantly, how to make a living as a professional screenwriter - a working professional screenwriter. So every lecture is 60 seconds, give or take, and we just find that it's much easier to work that into your busy schedules. I've been working in the entertainment industry for 15 years, writing movies and television. I spent five of those years in the classroom, teaching at universities, as well as guest lecturing all over the world. So, many of my students have gone on to option movie scripts, and set up TV shows, and get staffed on TV shows and some of them even gone on to win some pretty prestigious awards, so it's pretty cool. So if you're interested in becoming a screenwriter check out Sixty Second Script School or the link below.
How would you describe the typical Sixty Second Script School user? Who is your main target group?
The typical Sixty Second Script School user is really anyone who's interested in learning the craft of screenwriting, or learning the business of screenwriting. My students really range from all ages. Some students take this class because they want to learn about screenwriting; other students take the class because they want to try and make tons of money and become famous; some students come to me and say that they are not writers and that they are absolutely not creative. But the interesting thing, and what I've found, is that everyone actually can be a writer and everyone can be creative. It's all about just learning the conventions of storytelling. So I really work with anyone and everyone to achieve their specific personal and professional goals. It does obviously help if you have passion, because passion is contagious and the creative executive is buying you, just as much as they're buying your content or your concept, at the end of the day. But I guess the short answer to the question really is that - you - are probably the typical user.
Do employees at Sixty Second Script School predominantly come from the business or film industry world?
I am the captain of the Sixty Second Script School ship, but everyone who has helped and continues to help is in the industry in some way, shape or form. It's really been a collaborative effort. This site was actually beta tested by several agents and managers, and producers and development executives, screenwriters and actors, and directors and teachers. I basically just called in as many favors as possible to all of my friends in the industry and outside of it. And we edited lectures, and reworked lectures, and worked tirelessly to create the best curriculum possible. So with all of the help of everyone, we found a great balance of curriculum, but also great information about the entertainment industry and how it actually works, in order to make a living as a screenwriter. So our goal was obviously for you to be successful so that you can thank us when you win a bunch of Emmys and Oscars, naturally.
What qualifications must your students have before enrolling?
No qualifications are required. As I mentioned before, it obviously helps if you have passion, but really all you need is an interest in screenwriting. If you want to learn about screenwriting, then you got to check us out: Sixty Second Script School.
If you're teaching people to be screenwriters in 60 days, does that mean doing lengthy academic courses in the subject is not worthwhile?
Are lengthy academic courses worthwhile? Yes, final answer, drop the mic - that was an invisible mic. Taking any class in screenwriting is really worthwhile, if you're just starting out, you're wanting to learn the craft and find your voice. Malcolm Gladwell believes that it takes 10000 hours to master a craft, so you've got to get started somewhere. If you're a seasoned veteran, you should always be studying your craft. I remember reading a great book years ago called Your Screenplay Sucks: 101 Reasons Why Your Screenplay Sucks, and I read through so many of them and I was like, "This is obvious, I know, I don't make these mistakes." And then finally I read one and I was like, "Ah! Mind blown - I've been doing that." And I learned something and learning is obviously great - knowledge is good, right? So I think Sixty Second Script School works well because it's bite-sized lectures that fit well into your busy schedules. The lectures are really like highlight reels, and they teach you what you need to know. But in all honesty, the real work comes from you when you apply what you learn and you get out there and you actually start writing. So what are you waiting for? Learn and write.
What are your 2019 goals for Sixty Second Script School?
The goals of Sixty Second Script School for this year and into the future, are to educate and inspire as many writers as possible. That's aspiring writers, that's established working writers, writers in the US, and writers all over the world. We really pride ourselves on our graduation rates - which are extremely high. And I'd like to see our writers sell more scripts, and get staffed on TV shows, and get agents and managers and lawyers, and have a bidding war on their scripts, and get seven figure deals... I'd just like to see more writers have success, and obviously I want to see my writers win some Emmys and Oscars so they can thank us in the process. But honestly, I'd just like to continue helping anyone who's interested in screenwriting, so if you have interest in learning to become a screenwriter, check out Sixty Second Script School or the link below - if there is a link, hopefully - Sixty Second Script School, I'm sure it's a Google search away. So thanks again for having us LAMA, we really appreciate your support. Thanks guys.