It wasn’t until a series of sports injuries left him on the sidelines that Francesco Borrelli ever considered anything but hockey to be his true passion.
“It didn’t click until the end of high school that my love for film and television growing up was my true life-long calling,” said the 24-year-old Woodbridge, Ontario native.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Borrelli saw it as his chance to finally chase his dream of becoming a screenwriter and enrolled in Toronto Film School’s Online Writing for Film & Television program.
“After two years, I acquired a portfolio full of scripts, my ideas are now in fruition, and my path is looking more clear than ever,” added Borrelli, who was recently named valedictorian of his graduating class.
“I strive to become a better writer every day, as I look forward to the next journey.”
Borelli recently sat down to reflect on his time at Toronto Film School Online, his passion for screenwriting, and his plans for the future. Here’s what he had to say:
First, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Francesco Borrelli, I’m 24 years old, and I currently live in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. Besides writing scripts, I’m very passionate about collecting rare and valuable comic books, as well as vintage cars. I’ve actually sold comic books all over Canada for about five years now.
What brought you to Toronto Film School? Where were you in life when you decided to continue your studies with us?
Well, I used to work in hospitality and then in business. What led me to Toronto Film School was just as Covid began. I realized this was a good time to finally put my foot down and do what I love: write scripts. Since Covid put a damper on a majority of people’s lives, it was also an outlet to explore the ideas I had into a form that I knew my stories would come out the best in.
What made you decide to pursue your passion for screenwriting?
What made me decide to pursue screenwriting was that I didn’t love what I was doing earlier. I’ve always been a fan of film and television ever since I was a kid. Even now, I’m much more of a homebody than an outdoors guy. I come from a very tight-knit Italian family, and jobs like writing aren’t mentioned a lot as a career. But I know inside, it’s what I’m most caring and passionate about. I’m a determined individual when I want something. I was raised to always go get it through hard work and discipline.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at TFS?
The most important thing I’m taking away from my time at Toronto Film School is the relationships I made with classmates and teachers throughout my two years. The knowledge, the expertise and the overall presence and influence they’ve had on me is something I will take with me forever as a truly wonderful experience. Despite the program being online due to Covid these past two years, it didn’t stop me from learning the ins and outs of the world of screenwriting.
What are your plans after graduation both immediate and long-term?
My plans after graduation involve getting my work out there and reading. I currently have a feature script (which I worked on these past two years at Toronto Film School) submitted in quite a few competitions currently awaiting results. I also have and will continue to apply myself to becoming a better writer every day. Besides the film and television industry, other paths can be taken that centre around other forms of media. That’s something I’ve been looking into as well.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
One piece of advice for any incoming students is: always believe in yourself. Writing is hard. It will always be hard. It doesn’t get easier, but that’s how you overcome doubts about yourself. Keep going and keep writing. Take a look at me. I’m an Italian kid who thought being valedictorian at Toronto Film School would never happen, yet here we are. If I can do it, surely you can too. Just take that leap and know you did something others chose not to.