Georgie Wright (Scriptwriting, 2021)
If you're looking for a golden ticket...this course probably isn't it. But it will help you remember that all you can do is keep coming back to the page.
Georgie writes: 'You don't need a course to teach you to write. You can scribble poetry on a napkin in the back of a badly lit cafe, write letters to a stranger living in Argentina, pen erotic fanfiction about a Greek philosopher and post it on the internet.
'But when you're in bed slouched over a laptop screen, conjuring up stories and people and back pain, it can be hard to take yourself seriously. At least it is for me. To stifle the feeling that putting your brain on paper is an overindulgence the world can do without, especially when there's bills to pay and chores to put off and so many good writers already.
'And while one answer might be to sit at your desk and put shoes on, another is to surround yourself with people who have a similar desire to lurk in their imagination.
'That's one thing that stands out from my year IIML. Whether you're new, experienced, old, young, writing gothic horror or fantasies about flying goats, you’ve all committed to putting in a year to treat your work, and each other's work, seriously. To sit in a little room overlooking the windy city and talk about words. To remember that making up stories is a valid craft, and you're allowed to do it too.
'When I say "take seriously" I don't mean everyone's a haughty pseudointellectual that goes quiet when you say something dumb. You still have to laugh with others and at yourself. And I'm sure it depends on who else you're in the room with, and I can only speak from my experience, but my classmates were kind and supportive and fun. I will forever be grateful to our convenor Ken Duncum, who would meet my melodramatic emails about walking through a forest fire blindfolded with patience, wisdom and humour.
'And while having ten people pick over your writing occasionally makes you want to stick a fork in your ears, it will also help you get over yourself. It can be healthy to have people that aren't your parents read your work in progress, and learning what advice to listen to and what to ignore is a very useful skill.
'The course is also a year. That is a rare, lengthy chunk of time. I cut my writing teeth working overseas in digital media, which was brilliant at teaching me to write quicker and better and punchier, to churn out content and never look at it again. It was not so good at teaching me to keep coming back to the same thing.
'This year forces you to do that. To return to a story, even when you're bored and think it's trash and want to light a match to the whole thing. You have to swallow the detest and squint at the words, see what is working and change what it is not, again and again. It is a special form of torture. One matched only by pride when you put down that fat stack of bound papers at the hand-in party, knowing you've torn yourself apart and got there anyway.
'Then you're back in the real world and there's still bills to be paid and chores to put off and so many good writers already. Nobody wants to pay millions of dollars to a newbie screenwriter to realise their grad school movie (though if you do, hi). If you're looking for a golden ticket that catapults you to meetings with Hollywood execs whose teeth are too white, this course probably isn't it. But it will help you remember that all you can do is keep coming back to the page. That the fulfilment, as annoyingly cliché as it is, is in the process. And that sometimes you'll find a room where people will take your little stories seriously, and that you can too.'
Bio: Georgie Wright is a writer from Wellington. Formerly based in London, her work has appeared in publications including i-D, The Face, Forever Magazine, Vice and Ensemble. Georgie completed the Masters in Scriptwriting in 2021 and won the David Carson-Parker Embassy Prize for her feature film script. She's currently developing a number of writing projects, focusing on short fiction and film scripts.
'Admin' (Forever Magazine, 2023)