Normally I review horror stories, and this actually qualifies. It is ‘The Screenwriting Workshop’ and it was created by one of my students in the now defunct Milton Park screenwriting class (gotta love when ‘new management’ comes in and cans everyone whilst also single handedly bending the community over for more money). It is a quick short that addresses a few issues. If I had to logline this something like, ‘It’s a story about a guy who has hit artistically/career rock bottom and his struggle with himself and getting back into the industry.’ conversely it is also a ‘story about a woman who is trying to learn screenwriting but has to confront stereotypes and sexual assault that is rampant in the industry.’
Without any further ado, I bring you Jean-Pierre Huot’s film, ‘The Screenwriting Workshop’.
Every once in a while I get into contact with a new voice in the writing community. It is a magical time for me when I can discover someone new and see how the world looks through their prose. One of the new writers recently came to me through a course I teach at University of the People. He has a strong voice and I think one of the better views of the Nigerian region that can be found. If you want something honest and thought provoking, then you need to check out Johnson-Ehidonye Patrick Sopuruchukwu Bernard.
One particular story of note is his analysis of youth crime in Nigeria. If you want to see history (and events) told from a perspective of someone who has to live in and is defined by the culture, then this is an interesting piece. Not only can we see the issue from the inside out, but we can see the author wrestle with the socialization of culture whilst exploring it from the inside.
‘Duck Boy’. Yes, good ol’ ‘Duck Boy’. I do get a few questions on ‘Duck Boy’. Mostly the questions are along the lines of ‘Does your mom know what you write?’ and the simple, most direct answer to that is ‘hell no.’
Should writers write for an audience that includes their parents? Maybe, but I don’t. I write for probably the really weird voices in my head. What goes on in my head that produces the love story that is ‘Duck Boy’? I think gremlins. Lots of them. All fondling each other and screaming out ‘We will not go until the Marshmallow Man takes us!’
It seems that a lot of my author friends have touching stories on how they come up with the theme for their shorts. I just see things and think, ‘Jesus, that looks like something the Pope would get flogged for!’ It is usually those moments that I capture in my mind. The ‘What If’ moments. ‘What If’ that can of adult toys you saw in that work room so long ago had to be really shared openly? ‘What If’ you needed the money that bad…just how far would you go to make a dollar?
I am not really a flash fiction writer. I once joked that it took me longer than 2k just to get the person to the car door. Trying to focus on flash fiction (and to do so for a foreign magazine) was a great exercise for me. I have taught flash fiction techniques to students learning how to write abstracts. In abstracts, much like flash fiction, every word counts. I think Twitter, when used properly, can help focus that part of the brain. Norm MacDonald is a great example of that with his book club. Slight Warning: Don’t rock Norm’s boat because you’ll go from him following you to this:
I’ll tease out a small sample, but if you want the full story you’ll have to look around Pure Slush or even Google Books. If you want the printed version, then Amazon.ca/com/uk/wherever will have something for you.
Oh, and Norm…I’m sorry for that iconography comment.