Reflections After a Semester of Screenwriting Studies

An extract from Bradley Whitford’s first draft of The West Wing episode “Internal Displacement”, dated 18th October 2005. [source]

Next week, I start the second semester of my Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting.  I know most people probably want their holidays to never end, but personally, I can’t wait to return to my studies.  Applying for this course is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  It’s been incredibly fulfilling, and, for once, I’m actually enjoying myself.

Right now, I’m officially one quarter of the way through this two year diploma, and I’ve already achieved more than I did throughout my entire French major at Melbourne Uni.  I’ve plotted an entire feature film.  I’ve conceived and written part of a webseries.  I’ve written numerous short stories and other creative pieces.  I’ve given a presentation on why Daria is one of the best shows ever [and it got an HD!], and I’ve attempted to convert each of my fellow students into Press Gang fans.

My screenwriting studies have affected my life in other ways, too.  I watch more films now [something that Glenn has been very helpful with], and I think about them differently.  After seeing Un Amour de Jeunesse [Goodbye First Love] during the Alliance Française French Film Festival, my immediate criticism was that the protagonist wasn’t clearly defined until the second act.  When Glenn and I were watching Friends with Kids and he asked me how long I thought the movie had to go, I found myself saying something like, “Well, we’ve just reached the darkest moment, which is generally at the end of reel six, so we’ve still got reels seven and eight to go.”

I’ve also made some amazingly talented new friends; people who like to sit around analysing episodes of Community, and who don’t think it’s weird when I quote lines from Mean Girls.  These are people who I could be working with sometime in the next couple of years, and I’d quite like that.

Between this screenwriting course, and my new job, I really feel like I’m getting somewhere, career-wise.  My future may not be completely defined, but I’ve got a decent idea of where I’m going, and it’s a good feeling.  Which is why I can’t wait until next week, to continue learning and writing and working hard so that I can actually get somewhere in life.


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