Friday, September 28, 2012

Teaching the Teacher

Just because I'm a Creative Writing teacher certainly doesn't mean I know it all, that I've stopped learning, that I'm unteachable.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I'm learning new things--about the process, about myself as a writer, about the craft--all the time.  As a teacher, I see my main roles as informing students of what I've been taught along the way, encouraging/inspiring them, and facilitating activities and exercises and assignments that will jump start their creativity.  I think of myself more as a coach than teacher.

Well, tonight, while watching "On Story" (a PBS program in which various filmmakers/screenwriters discuss the art and craft of writing and filmmaking), I was TAUGHT.  I listened to screenwriter Shane Black give some fascinating gems about the process, and I learned things I thought I knew, but in a totally new way.  Very inspiring.  Wanted to share...

Link to video here

Bio of Shane Black:  Thriller master writer/director Shane Black (KISS KISS BANG BANG, LETHAL WEAPON) discusses the critical elements of a taut, suspense-filled movie – raising stakes, unexpected reversals, and satisfying payoffs – using examples from such classics as ROCKY, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, and LA FEMME NIKITA. Followed by the apocalyptic short film Blind Spot by writer/director Matthew Nayman.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

So True....

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ~Anais Nin

Advent Calendars

I love finding good writing analogies from unexpected sources.  Today, I was watching a Tavis Smiley interview with the actor, Jeremy Irons.  He's promoting his new movie, "The Words" (which looks very interesting -- trailer here).

Tavis asked Mr. Irons about why he chooses characters who have secrets.  And Mr. Irons says that, just as in real life while getting to know people, he enjoys the "process of discovery" of a character.  He believes audiences should get to know a character little by little, not all at once.  Characters should have secrets, he says.

Then he told about being fascinated with advent calendars as a child.  Of the excitement of only being "allowed" to open one window per day, while the rest must remain closed.  And he compared that excitement to acting, to developing a character.  How characters need to have secrets that they only reveal a little at a time.

It reminded me of a Stephen King quote, that characters "shouldn't give up their secrets all at once."

Great advice!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life Gets in the Way

School started this week (actually, last week, if you count the massive number of faculty meetings I had to attend).  I've essentially worked for 14 straight days without a break.  And have dealt with a wonky Mac that I'm trying to get repaired.  So, with all of that going on, I've had no time to write, or blog, or do anything mildly close to "fun."

But, isn't that a picture of real life, anyway?  The struggle to squeeze our writing, our hobbies, into our busy daily lives?  To try and work inside the small spaces that each day offers, in between family, jobs, real life?

Once things settle down a wee bit, I hope to return to it.  To writing.  To that which makes me happy.   :-)