Monthly Archives: September 2014

My Last Tutorial….

Had what I think was a pretty good final tutorial with Stapes about my Major Project, although a few hours later the panic of the looming deadline set in and suddenly I convinced myself that despite my feedback, I’d totally messed up my project!

I’ll be handing in the first three episodes of a sex-part series, and then outlines for the final three episodes. Before this tutorial, I had made a lot of changes to my script, including adding in new characters, completely changing some of the spaces, cutting huge things, adding huge things, etc. Normally, before making a bold change, or at least right after, I go running to the lecturer to make sure it’s okay. This time, I decided to go ahead and use my own judgement….. and it paid off!

I had very few notes on those three episodes, as opposed to loads of them in the previous tutorial. This has taught me that I kind of know what I’m doing, in terms of recognising what can be improved and whatnot. It was such a relief to hear that I’d made huge, bold and good decisions for my script.

My 3 outlines, however, were another story. Truth be told, I didn’t spend as much time on them, and wrote them in somewhat of a panic before I sent them. They were not my best work, as confirmed by Stapes. This wasn’t so much a case of tweaking them, this was a ‘back to the drawing board’ situation. I would have thought that I’d be all miserable and feel sorry for myself about it, but to my surprise, I just felt excited to do better and get back to work. I won’t have anyone holding my hand up until the final deadline now, so will have to use my own judgement again and turn it around. I’m surprised that I’m so up for the challenge! Normally, I worry so much about marking, etc, that I’m in a total frenzy trying to get about 70%. I’ve just realised though, that though I want to get the best mark I can, it’s writing about what you care about that really matters, and enjoying the process. I feel kind of liberated and wish I’d come to this conclusion a few months back!

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The Show Must Go On!

Whew! Can’t believe I didn’t post at all in August, but I guess that goes to show how busy I’ve been on my Major Project! I spent the whole month redrafting and redrafting again, looking at every single line of dialogue, breaking down every scene, examining every character, etc. I feel like I’ve sculpted it into the best it can possibly be… that is until Friday when I’ll meet Stapes for some feedback! Sending the entire project to him after so many drafts was a massive relief, and I’m actually looking forward to the deadline as opposed to dreading it.

I’ve realised how much I’ve got out of the degree this month; the biggest lesson I think I’ve learned is how to be critical of my own work, and redraft and tinker with it on my own, without someone telling me what needs to be changed. I made some really huge changes to my project without a lecturers say so, and that’s something I wouldn’t have been confident enough to do at the start of the academic year.

As the title of this post suggests, I’ve also learned that the end of the degree is the beginning of forging a career in writing, rather than the end of something. I can’t wait to get this project submitted because I have three more lined up, and one is a commissioned piece of work so I can’t wait to get started!

Also, just going to shamelessly mention that I got my first flash fiction published (in an actual book with real pages and everything!), it’s called Now You See Them and will be included in In Creeps the Night from J.A.Mes Press Publishing in time for Halloween. I mention this for two reasons:

1) I’m super excited and telling everyone.

2) Flash fiction is a really useful tool that has helped me improve my scriptwriting. Let me explain…. I started off writing stories where the word count was anything up to 1500 words, and I really pushed the word count to the limit. None of those stories were chosen. I set myself a goal to write as short a piece as possible, and managed to round a few off between 400-600 words, one of which is the story I just mentioned. I realised that however big the world of the story and the characters, if you can’t summarise it in 500 words, at least to yourself, then you don’t have a tight enough plot. This helped me during my redrafts for my major project when I asked myself what each episode was about. When I got stuck, I’d adapt the episode into a 500 word flash piece instead to retell the story to myself in a different way. I found it much easier, looking at the story in a different form, to go back to the script and sort out the problems.

I hope everyone has had as great a time on this Masters as I have. I’ve met some lovely and talented people and learned more in this year about writing than I have in the last 10 I think! At graduation, let’s leave the course and enter the world of professional writing with a bang!

xxxxxxx

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