• Precious Chong

    Outlining Her Future

    Portrait of Precious Chong.
    Precious Chong
    Screenwriting

    George Brown classes give screenwriter a method for success

    Writing a screenplay involves the right mix of motivation, creativity, knowledge and skill. For Precious Chong – the award-winning author of The Red Velvet Coat, a feature-length script that won Best Screenplay at the 2015 Female Eye Film Festival – George Brown College provided the inspiration and structure she needed to thrive in her growing screen and scriptwriting career.

    “I’d tried writing screenplays before, but always gave up because I didn’t do all the planning steps – mostly because I didn’t know what they were – and my enthusiasm would peter out,” says the actress, co-creator and co-writer behind the web series Sex and the Single Parent. “Screenplay and TV writing is a lot more technical than you would imagine for a creative process, and that’s really the benefit of the classes. They not only teach you how to do it but give you a step-by-step structure.”

    Precious, the daughter of actor Tommy Chong, grew up around show business. After working as a dancer and then as an actress in Los Angeles, she decided to branch out into writing for television and movies. She moved to Toronto and began taking our Continuing Education screenwriting classes in 2009. Courses like Writing TV Scripts That Sell, Creating an Original TV Series and Screenwriting I - Write Your Own Screenplay gave her a sense of accomplishment, community and discipline.

    “Classes are broken down really well and you have a nice balance of theory and practice. You get to choose the genres you write about, and spend a lot of time on planning the script before you start writing dialogue; the classes help you make sure all the elements are there, which I have really taken into my work. George Brown is a very valuable place to hone your skills.”

    “The classes definitely help with motivation because when I said I was going to bring in my stuff to read, I had to have it written,” she remembers. “Then you read it out loud and realize it isn’t terrible and people actually like it, so you get inspired to write more. Sometimes what’s difficult about writing is that you’re doing it in a vacuum and you’re not hearing other people’s feedback. That’s really helpful to keep you going.”

    Precious’ classroom experience was also enhanced by George Brown’s inspiring and knowledgeable teachers, diverse mix of students and supportive atmosphere. Our convenient location, flexible schedules and affordable, practical courses allowed this working mother to sharpen her writing skills and find real-world success.

    “I’ve taken courses more than once because I get something out of them each time. Classes are broken down really well and you have a nice balance of theory and practice,” she says. “You get to choose the genres you write about, and spend a lot of time on planning the script before you start writing dialogue; the classes help you make sure all the elements are there, which I have really taken into my work. George Brown is a very valuable place to hone your skills.”

    Precious has kept a physical reminder from her classes to help her as she works. She still uses a photocopy from one of her courses that outlines all the acts of a screenplay and what each one has to fulfill.

    “I actually put it in plastic so it doesn’t get destroyed,” she laughs. “It taught me that if you keep going and keep writing, you can finish a functioning screenplay.”

    Since completing her classes, Precious has recommended the college to friends who want to write a TV pilot or screenplay but need organization and discipline in order to complete an idea. She knows that the process works – The Red Velvet Coat was developed and written in one of her George Brown courses.

    “These classes are good for the creative person who needs structure and technique because professional people won’t really want to read your script if it isn’t in the right format and if there are typos. That may sound minor, but it makes or breaks you,” she notes.

    Precious’ creative career continues to grow, as she hopes to add directing to her writing accomplishments. She credits her time at George Brown as a step in the right direction. “I was that woman who was hitting an age where she was trying to figure out her next stage, and the college helped me figure out how to move forward to that.”