When I first came to Scotland, I said all I wanted was to see just one big snow and be able to run through the pure white countryside. It’s now been snowing for three days. I take it back.
Today was the first day of real classes for me. To my surprise, my Advanced Film class is taught at the Scottish Screen Academy just down the block. It’s kind of like a giant television studio, and their facilities put ours back home at VCU to shame. It’s incredible. They have two separate editing rooms, one just for FCP-dedicated equipment, and one just for Avid.
I totally love my professor, Paul Gray. This man knows what film is about. In preparation for our first assignment we spent the day watching clips that have to do with the location and environment as a central part of the narrative. He played clips from some of my favorites, including Ghost World, Badlands, Taxi Driver, Buena Vista Social Club, City of God, and Paris, Je T’aime. More than that, he introduced me to works I wasn’t even remotely familiar with but am extremely eager to watch.
I also really like my classmates. Most of them are Scottish, and I’m definitely the only American. It brings fresh perspective to them and myself, for sure. I’ve been elected to write the screenplay for our feature, and I’ve spent the evening watching some of my favorite movies to draw inspiration for themes I want to cover. A lot of the other students seemed really eager to work with me, so that’s encouraging. I hope I can live up to their standards because making films over here is no joke, I’m realizing.
To be honest, I’m feeling a little homesick and broken-hearted. I’m not sure why. I know this is the adventure of a lifetime and that I will come back a different person. Maybe that’s the scary part. I’m scared of what I’ll lose of myself in the process, and unsure of what it is I’ll find along the way. Will I like who I become? Will I change at all? Am I good enough to even be here doing this? Those aren’t even the biggest questions I have.
I really want to develop my protagonist as someone who is a reflection of myself, in many ways. I’ve set some parameters for myself and my writing, and now I have to learn to abide by them. It’s fun, actually. I don’t know that I’ve ever worked on creating a character that has this much depth before. We’ll see in a few months, once the actual product is finished I suppose.
I start a class on deconstructing narrative tomorrow, which I’m really excited about because there are going to be workshops on a variety of topics I want to cover in my own work. There’s a workshop being offered on specific screenwriting formats, which is what I desperately need right now. It can’t come soon enough.
For now, I need to run and find my center. I’m feeling a little off of it at the moment. Wednesday is my day off, and I’m going to experiment with immersing myself in a role and an environment that is both familiar and foreign to me so I can write from the experience.
Wish me luck.