Week 16 16-22/05/2016 # Unexpected Help

– 3 min –

Just when you’re feeling a little out and blue about the progress, because of course I do feel that a little, even though I say I don’t mind, you’re browsing through the screenwriting group on FB and the questions people ask, which I also learn tons from and articles they post, and you stumble upon a ‘funny’ question, with a gazillion comments. Not all too friendly and when you know the question, it is a little understandable. The question was from a young person asking whether someone could teach him screenwriting completely, for no money. Because apparently he didn’t have money to spend.

To me, everyone has a story to why things are the way they are in someone’s life. And the way things can be and are handled in a certain situation or circumstance. It’s not up to me to judge on why this person hasn’t been able to use the internet and all its free resources out there to learn about screenwriting in a beneficial way. I personally know how tough this can be. Setting up the DIY film school is a perfect example for exactly this ‘problem’. So many (free) resources out there, where to begin? And how to structure that? And not everyone is a self-starter and can keep him or herself going in self-study. It’s hard! Especially when you don’t have people in your social network to keep you accountable. And perhaps you don’t have a clue how long it takes or hard something like screenwriting really is, to become really good. So, zero judgment from my side. I know!

But then someone in the group, an experienced person, working in the industry for many years already, took it upon himself to offer the ‘free’ help the guy asked. And to others out there with the same wish. But he immediately took it further. This guy decided to set up a free course, yes really. But with some strings attached. It’s not based upon any books you have to read (it has to be free, right, and not all books are available in the library), but on scripts to read and different (writing) assignments to do from those scripts, amongst other assignments. And it’s a strict program, you have to do the assignments, you can’t skip them, or there’s a penalty. And it’s a ‘long’ program to do, 6 months, but ‘only’ taking up one hour a day. Because nothing can be taught in a few days and then voila, you can do it. So, I signed up for it! I figured ‘hey, I do know a lot already about screenwriting, but I really do need someone to push me, to keep me accountable in doing something’. Which isn’t the case now. Even giving some friends the link to this blog, hardly anyone of them reads it and then sometimes ask how things are going anyway, while they could be reading how it’s going. I know I’m not the only one with this, it seems a very common thing when you ask friends to give you feedback on your art. Someone posted a funny on the screenwriting group on FB, on the levels of friendship:

4. Take you to the airport.
3. Not snitch if you murdered somebody.
2. Murder someone for you.
1. Read your script.

This ain’t even a script and still this way. But that’s ok. I don’t love those friends any less, but sometimes it is nice to have some more like-minded people in your social network, when working on something like this.

Anyway, back to the free screenwriting course! I already received the first script to read, apparently accidental, because the course isn’t starting until July 1, but it’s a bonus for me to already have it. I watched the movie first, because I hadn’t seen it yet, still have to read the script. The movie itself is already mind blowing and not an ordinary story. But I already put my screenwriter’s brain to work. Who’s the protagonist, what does his ‘normal’ life look like, what does he want in it, what is the inciting incident, or call to adventure, or central dramatic problem or whatever sticker you put on that and whether they are similar or not, what does the protagonist want now, who is the antagonist, how does that go? And in this movie all very, very interesting. Not sure to reveal which movie it is already, I don’t know how this course will run and so on. I won’t for now. All I can say is, hurray, help is on its way! And could not have come any sooner.

In the mean time I will still do my ‘homework’ and will keep brewing on my story and how to proceed and learn other stuff about storytelling and screenwriting. But isn’t this nice? I think so. I think so very much.


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