Degrees, Diplomas, and Daydreaming

I got into an argument with a friend of mine recently.

Not so much of a surprise there, I argue with everyone. And I mean everyone. If you say something I think is dumb or incorrect, I’ll argue with you. If  you say something that I know is incorrect, I’ll fight you harder. I’m a Gemini, and a Tiger in the Eastern Zodiac. It’s just the way I am.

But I digress.

I got into an argument about whether having a degree in writing – whether for film or television or just literature in general – is an absolute necessity for making it in the writing world.

They think it is crucial that you go out and spend $30,000 or more and 4+ years on a piece of paper that says you are capable of writing fiction to a specific format.

I laughed at them.

Then I showed them my bookshelf. I have books from the same sort of classes, plus scripts for television and stage and film, as well as workbooks for literature. My collection is more succinct and to the point than the books this friend has for school.

I spent under $250 to acquire all of these things. I’ve read most of them at least twice. And I reference them when I’m looking for specific answers to things I’m unsure about.

Neither of us are published, so if that was your next question, no. At this point, I don’t think either of us are closer than the other, so it’s not like that’s a factor either.

Am I a better writer? I think so. Why? Because I haven’t had professors breathing down my neck for 4 years telling me how to write. I have found my own ‘voice’ in literature, and have picked up the format for screenwriting again after 10 years of neglect. I’m comfortable with how I write and I am comfortable with my stories. I know that this person in question can’t say the same thing.

What I will concede to, however, is the hands-on. Personally, I wouldn’t know the ass end of a camera from a chocolate bar, or some other sort of simile of equal ridiculousness. Well, okay, I know where to look into a camera, but I wouldn’t be able to operate it with any level of proficiency. And that’s okay. I can learn.

I think it’s sad that we have put a price tag on the arts. at least on the things like writing that anyone should be able to do with a relative knowledge of story structure and grammar. Oscar Wilde didn’t have a degree. Neither did Shakespeare.

I guess time will tell us who gets published first.

Cocky bitch. I’m gonna win that race.

Kai Kiriyama should know better than to write blogs under the influence of alcohol. She is currently having a mental breakdown and drinking beer. It’s pretty amusing to watch.

As always, follow her on twitter @thekiriyamaheir
Or to argue with her through email, you can reach her at: 


About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

One response to “Degrees, Diplomas, and Daydreaming

  • Wicked Julia

    That is how I felt about sculpting. Let the market decide. I still feel that there are things that I missed by not learning in a formal setting but, those things are more to do with marketing than art. Are they necessary? As long as I am selling, perhaps not.

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