Writing for Film & Television’s 2017 program valedictorian, Krystyna Byers, grew up in Pickering, Ontario, where she spent most of her free time at the skating arena or the dance studio. At 15 she moved to Peterborough where she attended a boarding school called Lakefield College School. After graduation, she went on to The University of Western Ontario where she obtained an Honours Specialization in English Literature and Language and a Minor in History. At Western, she studied creative writing under Larry Garber, a man whose passion for literature greatly influenced her to write. After her undergraduate degree, she found her love for storytelling unsatisfied and went on to acquire her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Cedar Crest College where she studied underwriters such as Fred Leebron and Jake Lamar. Through this program, she also completed her first novel which is currently in the process of publishing. She currently lives in Toronto with her two cats, Oliver and Richard.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from? What are you passionate about?
I’m 27 years old and grew up in Pickering, Ontario. I moved to Toronto 3 years ago. I’m passionate about creating stories that tell universal truths. I have two cats that I love and spend most of my free time writing.
What brought you to Toronto Film School?
I came across Toronto Film School at a convention a few years ago and was excited by the idea of expanding my abilities. I had already completed my MFA in creative writing so this was a logical next step.
Why did you choose the Writing for Film & Television Diploma at Toronto Film School?
I chose Toronto Film School because I was interested in the intimate nature of the program. I liked that the classes were small and students were able to develop a relationship with each of their teachers. I was also very intrigued by the idea of working with production students to film my scripts.
Why do you think you were chosen as the valedictorian for your program?
I’ve worked hard and been an active participant in the TFS community. I believe that I was able to spread my passion for writing to other students and succeeded in working with my teachers to improve my work.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
Enjoy it! 18 months goes by much too quickly. I’m sure I will spend many days missing my time and my friends at TFS. Go to class. Get the work done. Have fun.
What is one of the most important things you have learned/experienced at Toronto Film School?
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is how to work with others. As someone coming from a prose background, I had not spent much time writing with other people. I came to learn that this is actually a huge part of screenwriting and different perspectives can make a story so much stronger.
What kept you motivated?
It’s easy to stay motivated when you love what you do!
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to continue writing, of course. I am starting a job writing for a production company in the near future and hope to write something that makes it to the big screen.
What made Toronto Film School and your experience here special?
Definitely the people. The people in the TFS community are all so warm, welcoming, and ready to create that it is hard not to become engulfed in the atmosphere. It is a place where creativity flourishes and comes to life. The positivity and excitement are something I hope to carry with me for the rest of my career.
If someone asked you to describe Toronto Film School to them, what would you say?
It’s a great place to learn and make friends. The collaborative nature of the programs keeps things interesting and ensures that you get a well-rounded education and understanding of how the industry works.