Testimonials


“TheFilmSchool is not just another film course; it dives deep into all aspects of creating a script that could go the distance. You are taught by established screenwriting professionals, based on their real experiences in the motion picture business. Screenwriting is not just structure, it is writing from your heart, its observation, and using your life experiences to make your script believable.

John Jacobsen and Warren Etheredge will go over the building blocks structure, and character. Tom Skerritt will demonstrate how to look at your script as an actor, and John teaches a second course on how to view at a scene as a director.

When I signed up at TheFilmSchool I was hoping it would take my writing up to the next level, up the next level was being conservative, it made me a contender.”

Thank you,
Keith Johnson
Proud member of the spring 2013 class
Winner of the 2012 Comedy Short Contest

 

“The knowledge and experience I gained during TheFilmSchool intensive was invaluable to me as a screenwriter/filmmaker. The intricacies of screenplay structure, character depth, personal voice…there’s nothing else like TheFilmSchool. TFS also provided an amazing opportunity to meet other screenwriters/filmmakers and opened up wonderful opportunities for future collaboration.
I am so grateful for my experience at TheFilmSchool and for TheFilmSchool’s Great American Short Screenplay Contest (GASSC) which made it possible for me to attend the intensive. Since TheFilmSchool, I’ve won several screenwriting competitions and was hired to write the screenplay for a feature film project. That film is currently set to go into pre-production early next year. Thank you, TheFilmSchool!”

– Kristi Simkins – GASSC Winner 2010

 

“Thanks for everything during TheFilmSchool. I’m still processing what an incredible three weeks it was. I feel changed as a person not just as a writer. I’ve been working on my ‘testimonial’ to send to you and haven’t come up with anything brilliant, but I’ll keep thinking about how to describe what an amazing thing it was in one short sentence”

–Elena

 

“For screenwriters who seriously want to learn the art of writing a story, developing characters, learning more about themselves, TheFilmSchool is the best place to be. The approach is unique, the result is amazing.”
–Beverly Magid

 

“The Film School is one of those rare opportunities in life to actually change your own course. The diversity of approach by the instructors and the tools that you gather along the way make this the best three weeks a filmmaker can spend. It is a journey from which you will return a better writer, a better filmmaker, and dare I say a better person! Thank you John, Rick, Warren, Tom and Stewart!”
–Scott

 

“Screenwriting seduces because anyone with a pen can put words on a page. But 120 pages do not make a screenplay. TheFilmSchool will show you what does in terms of both form and function. Movies are collaborative efforts and screenplays are living documents.Screenwriters cannot fully understand what they are doing without an experience like The Film School because it is necessary to take part in the whole process from conception to performance. If you don’t ever direct a scene or get up on your feet and act, how exactly are you supposed to know what your screenplay needs to do?
Only a fool would climb Everest without a good map. And you shouldn’t write a screenplay without one. The Film School is a good map. Use it.”

–Jonathan

 

“I recommend the Film school to all my writer friends. I of course have a special place in my heart for Stewart Stern, but I thought all of you (Instructors) did an outstanding job of teaching and I’ve never been in a class with so many gifted people. I don’t think there is a writer alive that couldn’t gain from attending the Film School.I would recommend the Film School to any writer, whether he or she is a ‘newbie’ or an ‘old pro’ — there is something of value there for everyone. TheFilmSchool helped me reach another level in my writing. I would recommend that any writer beg, borrow, or steal the time and money needed to take this course. If you do nothing more than hangout with the talented instructors and the gifted group of students who qualify to join TheFilmSchool, something good is bound to rub off.”
–Wally Lane – “The Inaugural Class”

 

“Stewart Stern’s compassionate and compelling romance with the stories that weave through our very own lives as writers, hearken to those now-lost days when sitting around in a circle and actually communicating with our loved ones was not simply ‘sharing stories,’ but ‘living life.’”
–Michelle Thorson

 

“The teachers are top notch. You’re given all the tools to succeed. TheFilmSchool is truly a life changing experience.”
–Jeff Todd

 

“John Jacobsen is the consummate ‘teacher’s teacher.’ This is what he was born (and is dressed) to do. In the chaos that is the writer’s futzing mind, John is able to unearth clarity and deliver eloquent discourse to illustrate the profound, universal structure of the stories we’ve told and those we wish so desperately to tell.”
–Michelle Thorson

 

“Happy: I am very happy with my experience and will highly recommend TheFilmSchool to others. I am very grateful and proud to have been part of TheFilmSchool!Theme: I was impressed by how the theme of authentic and powerful storytelling was emphasized in every class. Although instructors might joke with each other about minor differences in approach, I felt that each class complemented the other in a powerful way.
Finding Our Voice(s): I value the emphasis on self-analysis. I have a much deeper appreciation for how an awareness of self and an empathy for others are critical in developing our characters and sticking with our screenplay during the grueling process of rewriting. It also demonstrated that everyone has drama in their lives and that we can be confident that our personal truths will often be universal.

Thank you, John, for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity available to all of us!”

–Alex

 

“Tom Skerritt is enchanting. What can I say? He called me, “Darlin’”, and let me be a crotchety 90-year-old Japanese grandmother. I’m smitten. I also learned a great lesson by staging one of my scenes in his class; from my previous training as an actor, I’ve been writing the actor’s inner monologue and subtext. I’m now going to start writing like a writer. Thanks, Tom.”
–Michelle Thorson

 

“Warren Etheredge has given the gift of passionate love for cinema to the city of Seattle. Thanks to Warren, I’m on the edge of my seat ready to jump for the day when my vocation and avocation are one in the same.”
–Michelle Thorson

 

“Rick Stevenson’s gentle, yet heightened sensibilities and love of inquiry allow for some of the most organic and informative dialogue I’ve seen from today’s top filmmakers. The intimacy and level of comfort he is able to evoke between filmmaker and student is unparalleled. “
–Michelle Thorson

 

“Though I studied the craft of screenplay writing using all the right books and watching movies looking for structure, I never felt I got a real grasp on how to build a strong framework for my stories. The FilmSchool positively impacted my approach to writing and gave me a deeper understanding of how to strengthen my scripts. I have gotten amazing feedback from people who read my work before and after The FilmSchool and the improvement is unanimously palpable.I enrolled in The FilmSchool hoping to better my understanding of screenplay structure. I walked away with that and so much more. The instructors were well versed in their individual craft and so very inspiring. On top of the broad range of writing tools they instilled in me I also left the program with a trusted community of writers that I now rely on for feedback and support.
I wasn’t sure I could afford to do the mentoring after The FilmSchool course was over, but I am so glad I committed to it. The one on one work with John really solidified what I had learned about structure during the FilmSchool courses and quickly strengthened a screenplay of mine in a way that would have taken me a year to do without the support.”

–Lisa Halpern

 

“The experience at the film school opened my eyes to a myriad of possibilities for me creatively. My previous experience had been limited to live theatre in the acting/directing realm. The school enveloped many important pieces that coincide with the human passion and voice. The important roles of structure, character, acting/directing and most importantly your human connection gives your writing life. The film school provided the luxury of putting these elements into action. Hard and rewarding work. “
–Susan Peck, Fall ’04

 

“I learned so much at TheFilmSchool that it is difficult to sort out how different I feel from the writer/director I was before. In prior years I had been to screenwriting intensive and film school, written three screenplays, and directed many plays and one short film, but the work I am doing after taking the TheFilmSchool’s program is from a deeper, more centered, more complete place. The combination of teaching styles represented by the five instructors makes for a completely harmonious blend of disciplines. It was a total immersion into the art of film; a deliciously intense journey that re-made my sensibilities as a filmmaker. I will be grateful for the experience for the rest of my life.”
–Corrie Moore

 

“Plenty of courses teach pieces of storytelling, and turn out students with pieces of what they need to know. The Film School goes after the whole process, from observing and researching, to structuring that research into a story, to getting actors to put that story on screen.”
–Tim Harahan

 

“One of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. Brave, unique and inspiring. The whole scope of the school is so well conceived and designed. All the instructors are hand picked and perfectly suited for what they teach. They all care so much about us and their material that one just has to continue. They help us believe that any one of us can reach our goal of getting a movie made, no matter how big the challenge, and they give us the tools to achieve it.”
–Andrew Kwatinetz

 

“Stewart Stern’s class was nothing less than amazing. Not only was it a living history of movie making; but the writing exercises caused one to gain profound insights into self as well as life in general.John Jacobsen is a truly gifted teacher who combines humor with an in depth grasp of structure so that each class is entertaining and enlightening.

 

Warren Etheridge is a gifted and dedicated teacher. His character class was a joy to attend. After I completed it, I had a much better grasp of how to create interesting and compelling characters in my stories.

Rick Stevenson is a very good teacher who combines a very accomplished career in movie making with a very kind and gentle laid back approach to class work that lended itself to asking probing questions that normally students would not be able to ask movie making professionals.

Tom Skerritt – a true Hollywood actor who worked one on one with us. It was fun and a gift to see how an accomplished actor approaches a script, breaks down a scene and acts. Furthermore, he is a regular guy who frequently would hang out after class to talk with us.”

–Tom Kennedy

 

“TheFilmSchool was one of the most rewarding human experiences I’ve ever had. The instructors were critical yet positive. TheFilmSchool has filled me with such inspiration and insight that I can’t even imagine my life without those three weeks. I feel like a new person. The friendships I’ve made and the sense of community was as special as summer camp as a child, but much more meaningful since the sincerity and intelligence of adulthood allowed for a deeper connection that I never imagined possible.I applied to the film school hoping for a bit of knowledge and a kickstart to my motivation. I had no idea that those three weeks would change my outlook on life, fill me with inspiration, provide me with lifelong friends, and give me so much knowledge about films and screenwriting that I feel as if I previously knew nothing thereof.”
–Bert Sperling

 

“John Jacobsen has ruined my life–my movie-going life that is. I used to just know intuitively when a movie was missing something, when I didn’t connect with what was on the screen. I either felt compelled to just walk out of the theater or stick it out to see if it would somehow get better towards the end, and warrant its ticket price. Now I have a vocabulary for what’s wrong, and can articulate what’s missing to the dismay of anyone unfortunate enough to be sitting nearby.A truly life-altering experience. If the film school doesn’t inspire you to your best work, nothing will.”
–Andrea Seybold

 

“TheFilmSchool is like a bootcamp for writers — just the kind of ass-kicking, tough-as-nails, get-your-flabby-gut-in-shape training every would-be scribe needs to achieve the kind of mental condition necessary to tell a truly good story. Blood, sweat, tears and lots of cramped writing hands await those who join. But as they say: No guts, no story.I spent three weeks in TheFilmSchool’s intensive story-telling program and it was one of the most profoundly kick ass experiences I’ve had. This immersive approach to learning the craft of screenwriting and directing was enlightening, inspirational and a hell of a lot of fun…and my writing has improved immensely because of it. If you’re ready to stop talking about being a screenwriter and actually learn how to be one, then I recommend you sign up for the next session pronto.
Crafting a well-told story for film is a daunting task. But FilmSchool instructors Warren Etheredge and John Jacobsen break down the art and craft of storytelling into comprehensible pieces and then teach their students how to assemble screenplays populated with compelling characters, convincing plots and captivating themes. Their classes are simultaneously demanding and enlightening and after spending a solid three weeks in their classroom I feel as though my brain has been filled-to-bursting with an absolutely indispensable store of knowledge.

When Warren Etheredge unleashes his hyper-intelligence and acerbic wit in the classroom, he teaches his students to be better observers, thinkers and writers. His classes are provocative, his ideas inspirational and his method unflinchingly honest. And if you want to learn how to write screenplays with characters that demand to be heard and themes that truly resonate with the world around you, then you’ll hang on his every word. He has forever changed the way I approach writing and has so vastly improved my storytelling skills that I probably owe him my first born.

John Jacobsen excels at helping his film students truly grasp and begin to unravel what is a complex and difficult art form. His structure classes have helped me learn to craft my stories into tales that are compelling on multiple levels and to approach screenwriting in a methodical way that ultimately allows for maximum freedom and creativity. A superb teacher and speaker, his classes are as much fun as they are educational. Also, he’s a unbelievably dapper dresser…and who doesn’t like a teacher with a sense of style?”

–Winda Benedetti

 

“I entered The Film School with my head screwed on one way and left with it spun around in another direction. In fact, I’m not a complete garment yet, a rag doll of sorts, still sorting out the frayed scenes of my inner protagonist’s/antagonist’s interiors and exteriors. I found I needed structure; that my cheekbones were not high enough and my second act sagged. But there’s hope and a lot of useful information presented by a group of dedicated instructors. The Film School offers an intense, safe and enriched environment to evolve your story and maybe even yourself.”
–Maryna Ajaja

 

“I started an amazing class [7 Secrets] last night at The Film School. Once again, I am so damn impressed with the brilliance of the teachers there. If you live in Seattle I really encourage you to check this school’s programs/classes out.”
–Gina Merchan