Week 22 27/06-03/07/2016 # The Help: Immersion Screenwriting Course

– 5 min –

So, half of May I wrote about the ‘unexpected help’ that came on my path, in case you missed it, you can read about it here. And this week it started! The big ship, taking more little boats on board, has embarked on his journey, lasting a whopping 6 months, yes, really, with its own goal: equipping people like me, beginners, who may or may not have had any screenwriting training or experience yet, teaching them the ins and outs of screenwriting. I already have had some training, but that’s ok, it won’t interfere with this course. And this training is not through the studying of books, but by immersion. Immersing us (where else can we go, we are on this ‘ship’) in screenplays. Reading them, studying them, taking them apart, summarizing them, hand copying them even, yes, really. And just like the word immersion suggests, being busy with it daily. They say the best way to learn a new language is to learn it from the nuns. Go to a convent, an abbey and live with them for a while, being surrounded by nothing else but the language and you will learn, fast. And in-depth. This is very similar. And we don’t just read any scripts. Nope. They are handpicked. After all, we want to learn from the best, not just any script.

The kick-off of it was immediately the first test to take. A webinar in the middle of the night at 3 AM (luckily it was the weekend), since the teacher himself is in Australia and many students are from Australia and the United States as well. Somebody is going to get stuck in the middle. Europe in this case was. Happily I wasn’t alone, some students from Norway and Ireland joined the webinar as well. I had done some pre-sleep, going to bed at 9 PM (I can’t remember the last time I did that), to wake up at 02:30 AM, the webinar lasting an hour, till 4 AM and then of course you’re too excited to go to sleep right away, you want to get started already, downloading some of the materials that are provided, so eventually I was in bed again at 5 AM (I think this strategy did help, because I wasn’t as tired the next day, well a few hours later that is and although I am a night owl, staying up till 3 AM and then having to take in so much information for an hour was a little much, even for me). Well, if that ain’t dedication, I don’t know what is! And then there you are. It has started!

What is nice about this course (which you can read more about here), on top of that it is for free at this point and being under someone’s very capable wings, is that it is designed to make sure we take action every single day and on top of that, there is also a community on Facebook for the students, where you also hook up with a fellow student as your buddy, to keep each other accountable. And there we can keep in touch, not only for questions, but also to check up on each other on the progress. Having said all that, although it is free, it’s not without hard work. Because hard work it is. I can already tell. Every 5 days a new script to study and summarize. Luckily the teacher has given us some tools to work with and doesn’t throw us in the deep end completely: how you write a logline exactly according to the industry standards and how you write a good synopsis with the same standards, plus how to write a screenplay without any software, so you can write anytime, anywhere, even without the need of a computer at first (eventually you will want to copy what you wrote into some software, but any document kind will do in the writing process, not having to worry about formatting, but just write! Isn’t that great?). I told you, hard work! But I have a feeling, as the weeks go by, it will get easier.

I am still in amazement how it’s possible this ship passed by, at what timing. I must not forget to thank the guy who asked for the ‘free help’ on the screenwriting group on Facebook, who apparently isn’t even part of the group now. But that could be because he has autism, he himself explained in the group, so he might not be up for this kind of course. But in a way he was the catalyst, his question igniting this version of the course into existence (because the teacher has being doing similar courses already for many years, hence his professional capability to do this) and we are now benefitting from. Dare to ask and see what happens? Truly a Gift.

At this point I am not sure how intense the course will actually turn out to be, but I am guessing that especially in the beginning, it will take some getting used to, like with any new activity or studies, and also to figure out how much time it really takes up every day.

Well, off we go, embarking on this journey within the journey. I promise to send postcards now and then!

Actually, whether I will now write, and if so how much, about this journey within the journey, I’m not sure yet. Although it is part of this journey of writing my first screenplay, it also feels a bit like that I am taking 6 months off to study or something. But that’s not entirely true, because I don’t yet know how much time it will take up and whether I won’t still be able to work on this screenplay on the side or during even. Because I don’t know how it will all go yet, not all of the exact details of the course are revealed yet, and for a reason. So that we will focus only at the task at hand, without distraction. Good strategy. So, who knows. Let’s see how this first week will go. More updates in the coming weeks.

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