Dan Bingham is the 2016 valedictorian of the Toronto Film School’s Writing from Film & Television Diploma program. The Montreal native ended up at the Toronto Film School by chance but says it is here he found some of the most creative and funny people he has ever met. Read more about Dan’s experience at the Toronto Film School and his reflections on the Writing program in the Q&A:
TFS: What brought you to Toronto Film School?
DB: I was sitting in a coffee shop working on an idea for a new television show. But I was new to Toronto, no job, no connections, and no idea what to do with my idea. So I Googled “How to pitch a television show” and BAM! The Toronto Film School popped up.
TFS: Why did you choose your program?
DB: For years I had been searching for a writing program that was more than just creative or short story writing. I wanted a practical program geared specifically towards television screenwriting. So when I saw that TFS had a program called “Writing for Film & TV” my curiosity was piqued. Then I read the curriculum and the instructor bios and realized I had found exactly what I was looking for— a program where I’m being taught by relevant, industry professionals.
TFS: Why do you think you were chosen as the Valedictorian for your program?
DB: I was probably chosen because since day one I embraced the program and everything it had to offer. I displayed the utmost respect for my instructors and my peers, poured all my discipline and talents into every class, every assignment, and jumped on every chance to collaborate with the other programs as well as any outside opportunities that came my way. Oh and a cumulative GPA of 4.23 probably didn’t hurt.
TFS: If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
DB: Don’t treat your experience at Toronto Film School as school, treat this as the real world: Be on time; be helpful to others; treat everyone you meet with respect; always do your best work and just be an all-around decent human being. Who you are in the classroom is a reflection of who you will be as a potential colleague in the industry.
TFS: What is one of the most important things you have learned/experienced at TFS?
DB: That I am ultimately responsible for my own success in this business. If I am to “make it” I must remain pro-active, disciplined and open-minded.
TFS: What kept you motivated?
DB: My dream of creating a successful television show. That and endless amounts of coffee.
TFS: What are your plans after graduation?
DB: To keep writing, to get a job in television and to return to standup comedy.
TFS: What makes Toronto Film School and your experience here special?
Aside from the fact that I’ve met some of the most creative and funny people at TFS, for the last year and a half the Toronto Film School has been like going to TV Writing Gym. Every day we worked out our writing muscles, our pitching muscles, our feedback muscles, our idea generation muscles. TFS got us in shape and I’ve already seen evidence of our strength in all the aforementioned areas in the real world.
TFS: If someone asked you to describe Toronto Film School to them, what would you say?
DB: The Toronto Film School offers the most practical training for anyone interested in working in the film and television industry. It offers the equipment, the knowledge, the network and the sky’s the limit to what you can accomplish when you embrace what TFS has to offer.