Thursday, April 20, 2006

You Can Not Be Serious

One of my fellow course mates (who shall from now forth be known as CM) has left the sandy beaches of Bournemouth and made the move to the bright lights (and dingy streets) of London.

After graduating five years ago, despite a short lived attempt dabbling in computer game writing, he has never tried to follow a writing career. In fact he's actively avoided it. CM felt very strongly his degree was worthless and was very skeptical regarding his fellow graduates' chances of making it in the film and television industry. It came as a shock to me therefore, that he has quit his job and moved to London with the intent of starting a writing career.

Always one to offer encouragement and support I text him to let him know that if he needed any advice he should give me a call. No reply. Thinking he might have changed his number I emailed him a couple of weeks later telling him about my fellow bloggers and how forthcoming they are with advice, as well as offering advice on which books to read to help him on his chosen career path. I even offered him an old version of the writing software I use to help him with his writing. Still no reply.

I know we never saw eye to eye on everything and he may on the odd occasion have had good reason to think me an idiot, but to turn away free help, help that he obviously needs, seems to me to be very silly. He's in London, not earning any money, living off his girlfriend's wages, with no contacts in the industry and with no portfolio of work. I can't help thinking he's making a mistake and that maybe he's not really that serious about a writing career after all. But then it's his mistake to make I suppose.

All I can do is offer my help and let him decide if he wants to take it.

12 comments:

Optimistic_Reader said...

You've been kind enough to offer your advice and support and that's all you can do. There were a couple of people in my year on the course who didn't seem to accept feedback from their peers - in fact one of my former housemates was on of them and we used to continually lock horns over the fact he tended to very bluntly offer me "advice" on my work, but was very defensive if I tried to return the favour! For me one of the most valuable things abour doing a course like that is being able to learn from your peers - if your friend hasn't learned that then its a real shame. Of course, maybe he is just so poor in London he can't afford to put credit on his phone?

Mystic Twiglet said...

Some folk listen. Some walk away. I sense (for whatever reason) the urge to 'connect' is yours, not his. Who knows what possibilities may unfold for any one of us? MT

Dom Carver said...

Boy that was deep... but true none the less.

femme au foyer said...

It's a competitive ole world - perhaps he thinks he stands more of a chance alone! As a matter of interest, what is the success rate of people who have done your course (difficult to judge, I suppose, but what I mean is, does it get you in?)

Dom Carver said...

Most went off to do different things. From my graduating year besides myself there are only two others still writing. I don't know how they are getting on.

Optimistic_Reader said...

From my year I think there are few of us doing script reading and similar work, and I've heard that someone has written a couple of episodes of Holyoakes.

Not sure about you Dom, but when I did the course it was drummed into me that the course alone would not get you "in", and in fact I distinctly recall it being said that there are "loads of good writers out there, all ahead you you in the queue". That didn't do my confidence a lot of good and that's one of the reasons I didn't pursue a writing career as soon as I graduated.

Since becoming a script reader, I can say that there are also a lot of not very good writers out there and writers who have learned the basics from a scriptwriting course do stand a better chance purely because they tend not to make the same obvious mistakes as writers without good training. It doesn't mean the ideas scriptwriting graduates come up with are any better of course. I have to say though, being as objective as possible that so far the only script I've read from a screenwriting graduate that combined both a strong idea and skilful writing, was from a Bournemouth graduate. Of course, there are lots of really good evening and short scriptwriting courses as well, I don't necessarily think a degree is the only way to go. It's not for everyone.

Optimistic_Reader said...

From my year I think there are few of us doing script reading and similar work, and I've heard that someone has written a couple of episodes of Holyoakes.

Not sure about you Dom, but when I did the course it was drummed into me that the course alone would not get you "in", and in fact I distinctly recall it being said that there are "loads of good writers out there, all ahead you you in the queue". That didn't do my confidence a lot of good and that's one of the reasons I didn't pursue a writing career as soon as I graduated.

Since becoming a script reader, I can say that there are also a lot of not very good writers out there and writers who have learned the basics from a scriptwriting course do stand a better chance purely because they tend not to make the same obvious mistakes as writers without good training. It doesn't mean the ideas scriptwriting graduates come up with are any better of course. I have to say though, being as objective as possible that so far the only script I've read from a screenwriting graduate that combined both a strong idea and skilful writing, was from a Bournemouth graduate. Of course, there are lots of really good evening and short scriptwriting courses as well, I don't necessarily think a degree is the only way to go. It's not for everyone.

Optimistic_Reader said...

sorry for the double post. no idea what happened there, maybe you can delete it Dom?

Lucy said...

Sounds like a bit of a knobhead to me (your mate, not OR). Mind you, in this business, there's a lot of em about...

I've always found people have been for the most part very kind to me and I've always tried to return the favour... When someone is as standoffish as that tho, you gotta shrug your shoulders and walk away. They'll be sorry - maybe he already is!

The course at Bournemouth was a great start. However, it's only a tenth of what we need to "get ahead in the queue" as OR says. Loads of my class appear to have vanished off the planet. They might have high powered media jobs, but they aren't writing. The only reason I am scraping my way up the tenuous ladder bit by tiny bit is 'cos I never stopped writing and I never stopped asking for people's advice and getting involved in other people's projects. It's the only way! If your friend doesn't get this, then you've done all you can.

Dom Carver said...

One girl from my course went and became a lapdancer after Uni. I didn't know you needed a scriptwriting degree to do that.

Lucy said...

I KNOW WHO SHE IS!!!

She earned more than me last year too. Cow.

kenny said...

Is your mate Swedish ? (reference to the kh bit)