Screenwriting was my favorite class in college. It was a brutal class, too. I kept at it, and eventually I made it into a group of writers who were all Master’s students, except one. This was a big deal for me, who was in the last year of my Bachelor’s degree.
At the start of the semester of screenwriting 3 we pitched a screenplay idea and then spent the next 2 and 1/2 months writing a feature. Most screenwriters take six months to a year to write a feature. If they’re fast. (Christopher Nolan took 10 years writing Inception with his brother.)
A feature is between 90 and 120 pages long. My teacher was kind and preferred scripts to be about 95 pages. Mid-way through 2 and 1/2 months, we had to present the first 10 pages. That meant my teacher read the prose out loud and my classmates read the dialog out loud.
Then everyone had a chance to tear the script to shreds and stomp on it, all with a smile. Sometimes with great relish. If you survived this first presentation–in screenwriting 2 we had a student get completely trashed that night–you would return to class a few weeks later with the finished script, modified per suggestions.
This is me after class.
At the end of the semester, I had a screenplay that no one understood except me and a deepening resolve to quit before my last semester of film school. But over Christmas break something clicked. Something changed.
I came back. Screenwriting 4 wasn’t even ready for me. I tore up that semester with a sci-fi script that succeeded in smashing all my classmates’ expectations.
And it was fun.
Next post I will share some of the things that occurred to me over that break, but until then, keep writing. Just because you’re the only one who gets it now doesn’t mean it will always be that way.