Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Is this thing on?

So, I had my TV class last night. It's good, it gets my brain working, even at 7 PM. Trying to think of clever plot points is very difficult when you close in on 10 PM, but my instructor's insistence on juice and cookies does help us get through the midway point in the class and down the home stretch.

There are 20 people in the class, so it can get exhausting listening to everyone pitch their stories and the rest of the class dissecting it, trying to find what will make the story really intriguing or at least workable. Fortunately, we'll be splitting into discussion groups in the next week or two so I'll only have to focus on maybe four or five other stories instead of 20.

But, it was weird last night. I felt like I was talking to myself a lot. When I was in the UCLA Professional Program last year, it was not only commonplace, but required that you get involved in other people's projects, help throw out suggestions and ideas. Most of the people in the room last night have either written very little or no scripts at all, and as I threw out ideas to people about their stories or posed dilemmas or questions about what they had pitched, I felt the silence in the room as if people were thinking "who is this FREAK who thinks she has all these wonderful ideas? How DARE she criticize my story or suggest something completely off base from my idea?" I'm certainly not trying to best someone's ideas, but the whole point of these classes is that you throw out an idea, and maybe someone builds on your suggestion or finds another way to take it, which is even better. You WANT someone to come up with a better idea than you did. Still, I couldn't help feeling I had a huge target on my chest and I should really just shut up.

Am I wrong to try to help people? Am I being too pushy? I just don't know.


Moses Griffin said...

Nice Blog, found it via... somewhere. It's all a confusing web of intricate links by midnight...

Based on what you wrote, naw, you're not being pushy. For me, it has always come down to trust. I don't have to trust you with my life, that would be silly, but I do have to trust that you somehow care about me and my ideas.

If the class just started then people may still be feelin' each other out. If you're a good person, with a good heart then they'll start taking to your suggestions, probably start tossing out their own.

I'd be happy to have you in my class. I could use someone throwing ideas, suggestions and thoughts at me at the moment.

Steve Johnson said...

"Workshop" style classes can be horrible. I gave up on talking in them very early in my college career, and that served me well.

TA said...

Hey Shawna:

Happy to see you alive and well and still doin' "The Thing." Love the title of your blog. Keep on it, girl!

Andrew Ironwood said...

Every writing workshop class *I've* ever been involved with (and I even TA'd a couple), the whole idea was to offer suggestions, alternative approaches, etc. -- so no, I don't think you were wrong; maybe you've just got a lot of soft-shelled egos about (so try to tread lightly...)