Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Success: Don't Believe You've Run Out Of Options

I went to a David Freeman workshop this weekend.  It's called Beyond Structure, and my word, it was brilliant.  David is from LA. Just having an American give the course was exciting for me!  

So many script writing courses are solely about structure.  Now I'm a big fan of structure and I believe it's tremendously important.  But, it's not all there is.  In fact, it's just the beginning.

I've longed for somebody who could help me better understand what makes dynamics richer.  David did for me.  He made the point that great writers do this stuff intuitively, but not everybody is that kind of writer.

Some have to have a more analytical approach and be conscious of what others do intuitively. The course has given me fantastic, practical tools to create depth and to check up on myself.  Is what I've written the best it can be?

It's made a huge difference to how much I can appreicate good movies too, and now I'm more aware of what makes a great writer.  So I'm pretty excited.  This isn't about a formula.  You still have to be original and work hard.  The course just shows you where and how to work effectively.

When I heard about it I knew I had to do it.  I couldn't afford to though.  Crisis!  So I asked the organisers if I could do some work in exchange for paying.  They said sure, find a certain amount of sponsorship for others and we'll give you a place.

I attacked that task with much optimism.  I emailed a gazillion people and Cape Town production houses, spoke to the Minister of Arts and Culture, and visited the Cape Film Commission.  I was so sure somebody would offer to sponsor something.

Nada.  Saddened, I reported my failure.  On the eve of the course I got a phone call "do you still want to attend?"  They gave me a place because I'd tried!  How about that.

So many people say success and opportunity are just about luck, but I don't believe it.  I know it's true that some people are born into supportive environments.  But if you aren't, I think what opens doors is when you don't accept the idea that you've run out of options.  And when you open your heart and do your best.