Theatrical Tuesday – Rapid Learning


TuesdayWell, today was a different kind of day. Much of the day was spent preparing for what seems like an imminent strike by college faculty across the province. In an effort to cram as much as possible into us before this week is over, our teachers have fast tracked a couple of lessons to give us some basic skills with software like Final Draft. They’re also making as many resources available to us as possible through the system before they are unable to access the system as we’ll still be able to access it while the strike is happening. So we’ll be able to write the bulk of our assignments though we won’t be able to hand them in or get graded.

Today, we started our 7-10 page episode treatments, which are like, well nothing I’ve written is like them exactly. Perhaps somewhat like a short story only written in a specific way. Each paragraph is a scene and the goal is to write it in present tense with some dialogue snippets here and there. It’s like writing an expanded synopsis. It might be a screenwriter’s version of pseudocode. I think that’s a good way to think of it actually. Software developers do several documents before writing the actual application. There’s a Statement of Work (synopsis), a Requirements Document, Pseudocode (treatment), then the actual application which may have many versions (screenplay/script plus drafts). Oddly, I think the equivalent to a Requirements Document is the shooting script, which is made just before production happens and is often revised as needed on the fly. It’s like a dynamic project plan at the same time.

We also did a writing exercise to get the basics of Final Draft. Some of the templates seem wonky to me. The one stage play template comes filled with sample text and I have to delete that to use it. The TV templates don’t always seem to behave, but it’s probably just that it’s new to me. There are things I like about Final Draft and things I prefer in Scrivener. Technically I can export to Final Draft format from Scrivener. I might do that for my feature film since I already started writing it in the summer. I’ll play around with it and test it out.

I feel bad for my friends who are in programs that need constant teacher interaction. They won’t be able to continue working during the strike.

For us, it’s training us into the writer life if we aren’t already used to it. I suggested write-ins and such as I know a number of people in the writing community do their best work with others there pushing them to succeed.

It’s kind of unsettling to me how much of my future is unknown. I’m a planner by trade and I can’t plan a damn thing lately. I planned to get this diploma and get a job I enjoy more. What happens? Likely strike. I meet a great man. What happens? Scheduling issues plus the uncertainty of future career stuff. The only things I’m certain of are certain feelings I have.

Maybe the cosmos is trying to tell me to live for today and tomorrow will work out somehow?

I’ve been watching the Child’s Play series of films lately and they’re giving me ideas on scene order and other things for my feature film. So is actually reading the screenplay bible… Yeah, I know. I got behind on that one. Actually, I’m behind in most readings. That’s one of the things I can do while the strike is on too.

Anyway, I’m starving and exhausted. All I can do is do my best and see what tomorrow brings.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

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