Suddenly realised a jammed schedule on forthcoming Fridays means the taught sessions of my screenwriting MA course are all but over. We're still on the Easter break at present, but classes resumes for the second year part-timers on April 27th - when I'll be down in That Fancy London for the Script Factory's TV Forum. The following Friday [May 4th] I've got a business meeting that's taken five months to secure, so that's got to be my first priority. The following Friday [May 11th], I'm off to the Bristol Comics Festival to pimp my latest tome, THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD, the official history of acclaimed British comic 2000 AD. The book's consumed much of the last six years, so it claims precedence.
That leaves May 18th as the only remaining Friday with taught classes that I'll be able to attend. May 25th is a non-teaching day, set aside for submitting the treatments for our final project and prepping our research dossiers. Not that I could make it into clases that day anyway, as I'm back down to That Fancy London for the Script Factory's Storylining for Long Running Television Drama: Soap Story Conference Workshop. Guess I'll be submitting my treatment a couple of days earlier, to make sure I hit the submission deadline. The last week of term again features no taught classes, as our last task for the trimester is submitting our research dossier.
To circumvent my schedule of over-crowded Fridays, I'm arranging to sneak into some of the Thursday screenwriting classes for the full-timers. But with the third trimester devoted to writing our final projects, for me the taught section of my MA course is now all but over. It's been a long, strange journey getting this far. The first year feels like it happened severeal lifetimes ago. Since then Screen Academy Scotland's acquired a stunningly refurbished home and considerably more tutors. I'd like to think I've learnt a lot since wandering warily on to the Merchiston campus back in September 2005. My writing's definitely improved, I secured my first broadcast credit and am building up a portfolio of scripts worthy of the name.
There's still a long, long way to go on the MA course, despite the lack of teaching sessions in the remaining five months. I'm not happy or confident about the synopsis I submitted for my final project. It's an ugly collision of tones, zig-zagging erratically between the comic, the dramatic and the tragic. There's one character too many and the pacing needs work. Frankly, the whole thing's a bit early doors. I need to find time (!) in the next few weeks to sort my ideas out, otherwise I'll have made a rod for my own back come the final trimester when we stay home and write.
The research dossier is simultaneously more and less worrying: more because there's only six and a half weeks left before it has to be submitted, and I feel woefully lacking in progress; less because there's only six and a half weeks left, so once it has been submitted I can concentrate fully on my final project. I'm not using the research module for my final project, because I couldn't get excited about spending time researching side issues relating to it. Instead I'm delving into a period and seeting place in history that's long fascinated me but for which I've never had the time to devote to proper research. I suspect much of May will be devoted to pulling the dossier together, in between pursing all the other projects I've got on the go and trying to earn some money. Spending several hundred pounds a month on training courses, seminars and workshops may be good for career in the long run, but they're not helping my bank balance right now. Let's hope it all pays off, one day...