The Ins and Outs |#3

One problem I’ve begun to have with the film industry is the temporality of the trade. The moment something becomes normal, it is relegated to the past and you’re onto your next project. Your coworkers become your ex-coworkers and your habits adjust to unemployment. No one tells you how difficult it is to have stability in this industry without having an administrative or office job. As an intern, that instability is amplified by the fact that you’re only an employee for the summer.

 

I’ve developed a lot of great relationships with my coworkers over the past few months and they’ve helped me learn a lot, both about the city and about the film industry. I’m almost sad to see the end coming near for the loss of these friendships will be tough. I’ve even been able to work closely with both of the executive producers and have found a mentor in one of them. From watching him direct to hearing his insights on the development process and producing. I think his ability to answer questions without condescending and his willingness to involve us directly in each project has made him a great person to learn from. I find his leadership on set to be very effective and his ability to be both friendly and maintain his authority to be very endearing. I really appreciate how accessible he is and the opportunity to learn from him over this summer.

 

As I’ve worked on a few projects now, I’ve found myself liking the aspects of directing and writing. For one of the projects, a livestream with some professional athletes, I had the task of writing some variations in the skeleton script for the host. Since we had three different interviews, this meant we needed three versions of the same script for each separate show. Seeing my words being read on a teleprompter to over a million viewers was extremely rewarding. It was cathartic to hear my script out loud and see the relationship between the audience, the camera, and the subject. Who knew successfully writing something that would sound normal and be an efficient way to segue between two topics was could be so much fun.

 

This experience taught me a lot about screenwriting and how important it is to be meticulous in your wording but not to waste time overthinking each line. I was given this project about an hour and a half before I was supposed to leave. I sat there for about twenty minutes trying to figure out what exactly I was supposed to be writing until my boss passed by and offered a suggestion about how to approach the scripts. I mulled over what he said and tried to brainstorm the next eighteen lines. Twenty minutes became an hour and my boss approached me with “Are you still working on it? You should be finished by now. You’re overthinking it.” Now I was anxious, I sped up my pace and delivered the last few line in about twenty minutes. I left about an hour after I was supposed to, but it was finished and now it was his to make some edits.

 

The next morning I check my email to find a message from him that says “Good job. Here’s some edits. We’ll work on it more tomorrow. Etc. Etc.” I scrolled through the document to find  a few of my lines untouched and my longer lines replaced by more nuanced versions. His edits had the confidence and maturity that comes with years of practice. It made me want to strive for that effortless flow and save myself that agony of brainstorming for an hour to come up with rough, awkward lines. I hope to continue working as a writer for the rest of my life and hope to take what I’ve learned this summer and apply it to my writing over the next year. I feel quite inspired by the city and my summer experience and have a lot I need to get on paper.

 

One thought on “The Ins and Outs |#3

  • August 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm
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    Matthew, the connections you have made this summer sound so valuable. Especially the person who has become your mentor. The thing is, your relationship doesn’t have to end here. It’s ok to ask your mentor and anyone else you’ve formed a bond with if you can stay in touch. Given that you hope to someday go into this field, having these connections will be critical when you look for a job.

    That is SO COOL that you wrote a script that was read on television!!! It sounds like that was a really rewarding experience, not to mention just a great bragging right.

    Writing without agonizing over your work as you do it is SO HARD. That definitely is a skill it sounds like you’re working on and doing a great job with. Even though you agonized for a while, you did end up writing most of it very quickly, and it sounds like your boss really liked it. One thing that I find it helpful to remind myself is that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time you write it. There is so much value in getting other people’s opinions, or even just putting it down and coming back later, in order to refine your work. For example, it sounds like your boss had some really valuable insights on how to improve your script. Just because it wasn’t perfect the first time doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a great job. In fact, being able to constantly improve is a really important skill!

    Maggie

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