Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Finding Me

My first day of classes this semester was decent. The screenwriting class is about story and pitching, not actually writing them. I think that's a good thing, since I need to ease myself into this whole writing in public thing. Writing on Livejournal is easy. It doesn't have a lot of risk associated with it. It's anonymous, and even if it weren't on your end you don't know the other people involved and thus are not invested in their opinions of you. There's also the fact that, for the most part, people on livejournal tend to be either supportive or silent. Sure there are trolls who amuse themselves with pathetic attempts to arouse the ire of other people, but this is about as meaningful as when "crazy subway guy" calls you a moron and a motherfucker right before he goes back to arguing with the empty seat next to him.

It's a little different when a professor gets all up in your fizase. As someone who is being paid a large amount of money to educate you, you generally weight their opinions higher than those of random strangers. If you don't, why are you in the class? Likewise having your name and face attached to something forces you to take ownership of it in a way that having merely an interent handle attached does not.

Getting back to the class I'm actually taking, it seems fairly interesting. The professor is a no-nonsense type who curses and encourages students to be politically incorrect. I got on his good side right away by running over to grab the key to the television cabinet from ACIS after he forgot to, and then figuring out how to work the VCR after he had said we were going to have to go to a different room. The guy said he rarely gives out As, and that if he does give an A it means that you are ready right now to work in the screenwriting world as at the very least a reader. Of course that's now a strong motivation for me to try to get an A, which one assumes is at least part of his intention by making the statement. It's funny, while I was sitting there I thought for a second that attending this class was risking my hard-won GPA. Then I realized how stupid that idea was. I am not trying to be a banker or a lawyer where my primary concern is getting into a good grad school so I can grab some of the better internship opportunities. If I get a C and learn a fuckload that's better than coasting through a moderately interesting course with an A.

The Kubrick course is more of a mixed bag. The subject matter looks interesting and the professor seems...okay. The main problem was that all the films were horrible 16th generation VHS crap. They weren't great films to begin with, but they were made worse by the HORRIBLE picture quality. By the end of the class my eyes hurt like hell. Kubrick made some real crap when he was just starting out. There were two newsreel style documentaries and a propaganda film for the seafarer's union. That would have been a great one if they had just called them Seamen instead of Seafarers. "It's rare to see such a large gathering of Seamen." "There's no red tape so the Seamen get out in five minutes or less." Etc...

There was also one fiction film, Fear and Desire I think it was called. It sucked big time. The script was so horrible that I could have written it. The acting was pretty shoddy for the most part, descending to truly pathetic depths at times. Let's just say that if you ever wanted to see someone act like they were in a Laurel and Hardy film during a 'dramatic' sequence you should find this film post-haste. Kubrick hated it and that hatred was justifiable. The sad thing is that the actual STORY that it was trying to depict is one that has some promise and could be a very good film if well done. The execution was horribly botched. This is the sort of film people SHOULD be re-making, not King Kong. Why re-do classics that they got right the first time?

The good news is that Scott is in both of the classes and Frank is in the Kubrick one, meaning that I actually know people, which is generally nice. They are also both relatively laid back guys, not the sorts who would be prone to look down on someone for doing the whole postbat thing straight out of college. Of course those are the sorts of people who I should be spending time with anyway.

I have to give my mother some credit for starting to accept my current tragectory. She's offered to try and help me get an internship with a filmmaker friend of hers, which is her way of showing approval, offering work. That's cool, I guess. The truth is I would love an internship. I want to learn more and it would be a good piece of experience for my resume

I worry about my age sometimes. Most filmmakers started either younger or right at my age, even making features. That means I need to get off my ass and do something worthwhile. I keep thinking it'll be years, but that might not be the case. Things can happen faster than I think they can, and often do. I just need confidence. Confidence that I can prove myself outside the realm of Academia.

On my way home on the subway last night I saw a series of advertisements of the school of visual arts. It ironically plain for a school of visual arts, the basic message being 'stop making excuses, start following your artistic impulses.'

This had two effects of me. First it reminded me of the fact that I am pursuing my dream of art at the moment. Usually when I see those things I turn away, cognitive dissonance and all that jazz. This time I just looked at it and thought about my screenwriting class.

Second it reminded me that there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people trying to make a living off of art, and only 10 or 20 thousand full-time artists that our society can support financially, at least under our current system of concentrating most of the wealth at the top. Maybe my numbers are off, I have no way of really gaging them and it depends if you believe that someone who wants to paint who is stuck doing packaging design for an advertising company is a 'supported artist' but the point remains.

What makes me special enough to be among the anointed? I don't know. Maybe I'm not special enough. It's worrysome but there's nothing I can do about it except to try my damndest.

I have a good deal of work to do this semester and I intend to do a higher percentage of the reading than normal because this is where the real work of my life is supposed to begin. These aren't just classes I'm taking to graduate, this is me trying to find myself.

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