I’m back at work in Oswego teaching three classes this spring, including Intro to Screenwriting, which I love, as I think one of my strengths is making this complicated style, format and philosophy of writing accessible to newbies.
I’m also teaching a section of Advanced Screenwriting, which I’m really excited about because we’re doing something very different. Last year I had an exercise published in the anthology Now Write Screenwriting, and I’m using that exercise as the basis for this class. Essentially, my students are writing on assignment. I gave them a random actor, location, and genre, and from those parameters they will write a new spec script for me the producer, on assignment. This exercise has led to great success for previous students — but only on a treatment level. Now we will see how it works for a whole script. Students learn to remove preciousness, experience the work of writing toward someone else’s demands, but also, how to bring themselves — world view, experience, interests, voice — to anything they are asked to produce as a writer. The process will include a pitch, treatment, and first draft. There was a lot of anxiety on assignment night, but they’ve settled in and are quickly coming up with some great stuff.
My third class is a brand new endeavor — teaching webisodes. We’re going to develop twelve original series, select three show runners from those twelve, then write and produce the winning ideas as original web series. We’re documenting all of the behind the scenes happenings, including classroom work, pitches, project selection, and production. So, it’s a story within a story as we attempt to not only create great content, but build an audience and study the creative process involved in making a show work. It’s gonna rock. The kids are great.