Sunday, January 10, 2010

Introduction to Screenwriting trainer training

Spent Monday through Friday trudging through the snow to attend a course that trains people how to teach an Introduction to Screenwriting. Script development guru Phil Parker devised it all, but our course was taught by four trainers who'd been taught by Phil how to train others. [We came close to an infinite recursion loop at time, but avoided that hapless fate.]

Tomorrow most people are reconvening in Glasgow for another five days, this time getting trained in how to teach a writing for feature films course. For this the wizard will appear from behind the curtain to lead the training. I'd happily have taken part in that [especially as the course is free] but, ironically, I'll be busy teaching in Edinburgh. The academic year resumeth...

Getting back and forth to Glasgow proved quite the palaver. I'd hoped to get trains via Lanark, but recent Arctic conditions scuppered that plan. Not only were rail services cancelled, but the road conditions were deemed too dangerous for a replacement bus service - lightweights! So I drove back and forth, skidding and sliding all the way but never touching the brakes.

Tomorrow it's back to Craighouse to teach a bridging course for two of our creative writing MA students who are pursuing a screenwriting option this trimester. [See, that course in Glasgow was worth all the travel trouble.] Then back to Glasgow on Wednesday for a five-hour brainstorming session on a fascinating project that's still under wraps for now.

Thursday and Friday is week one of trimester two on the creative writing MA course. I'm leading two modules this term, one of which focuses on writing genre fiction. Phil Parker argues there are only four genres in cinema - horror [which must include a supernatural or non-human element], thriller, romance and personal drama. He calls everything else a sub-genre.

Apparently science fiction and fantasy aren't film genres, according to Parker - they're just settings for the four main genres. Ditto the western. I guess that makes the space western genre a complete nonsense, if you buy Parker's theorems. Me, I'm not so convinced - but the course in Glasgow couldn't have been more timely. Now it's time to apply what I learned. Onwards!


Neil said...

"I guess that makes the space western genre a complete nonsense, if you buy Parker's theorems." - tell that to Joss Whedon!

Interesting though. At first glance, it seems Parker's rule is right. Each other genre is just a setting for one of the main four? Possibly.

Glad you had a good week sliding around on all the roads! I have a great creative writing tutor who (imo) is the best at doing the basics of storytelling. I learnt more from her in 10 minutes than I did with other tutors in a whole semester!

Good luck :)

Adaddinsane said...

I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing projects with Phil (see - first name terms, he calls me "er what was your name?") at SWF this year - um, last year.

I've been saying for years that SF and Fantasy weren't genre but settings - I was so pleased when I discovered that the Great Mr P thought that too.

He doesn't deny the ability to mix settings, so there is no problem.