WRITING: The Semester of Joy and Pain

The new semester of classes began this week, and for the first time since I started my program, I’m looking at a writing-intensive thirteen weeks…

I’m in Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts program, and its focus is so scattered that I’ve barely had a chance to focus on my writing career. It’s set up brilliantly, in that it sets you up to enter the industry at almost any entry point, from editing to production to writing to sound editing, and I deeply appreciate that. At the same time, though, I entered the program as a writer, and that’s where my skills and passion lie. So, to have semester after semester with barely a script in sight was difficult, especially as I’d have to write scripts on the side to fuel the fire.

The most scriptwriting I’ve gotten to do in a semester was last year, when I had a sole screenwriting course, Comedic Writing. I enjoyed it, and got the chance to write a Community spec episode I’m pretty proud of. Other than that, though, it’s been a lot of production and theoretical courses. Now, I’ve got six classes, all of which have a writing-centric creative main project at their centre: two essays, an advertising campaign, and three scripts. Three! After the one I got in a previous semester, three is exciting.

And scary.

That’s over a hundred pages of script in about three months. Not impossible, asI’ve done roughly the same in about a month, but still incredibly intimidating – especially when it all mujst be top-notch work. For one class, I’m penning a spec episode of Archer, probably the most difficult comedy (in terms of joke-per-page ratio) currently on-air to tackle. For another, a pilot that’s not exactly typical in format and intimidating in tone and gravitas. And finally, another one will likely either be comedic and without a simple formula, or noir, a style I adore but am not too terribly versed in writing.

I’m not afraid, but it is a bit intimidating. That said, I’m very excited for this all to unfold. Once this semester is over, I’ll have a veritable portfolio of work ready for job seeking, a year before graduation! Plus, the pure fun of writing, which is its own reward. Wish me luck!

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