Judith Cowley (Scriptwriting, 2014)

I learnt a huge array of skills, and discipline... We had to write three drafts of our scripts. That was invaluable.

Judith writes: 'I'm still not sure what I expected when I sat on that first day in the Master's scriptwriting course at the IIML in 2014. I was just excited to have already made a commitment to write a TV or film script over eight months.

'But I got so much more out of the course than that. I learnt a huge array of skills, and discipline, and learnt how to separate myself when class members and my tutor critiqued my writing.

'Now I see myself as a scriptwriter foremost, so find paid work around my writing. I just want to write. Actually that's not always true. I procrastinate and divert myself often, especially when it comes to a rewrite. Ah rewriting! That is one of the scariest and hardest tasks with any writing but that is what I learnt to do on the IIML course. We had to write three drafts of our scripts. That was invaluable.

'I directed the filming of my short film script, "Walk a Mile" (which I wrote while on the IIML course) in 2018. Our film has screened at twenty seven festivals around the world, including here in Aotearoa, with the last screening in Berlin in October 2022. It won Best Script at Show me Shorts, 2019, Best Film at Melbourne Shorts (2020) and Best International Drama at NYC Downtown Short Film Festival in New York. "Walk a Mile" has also been selected to screen on the NZ Film website.

'As of October 2022, I have two other short film scripts ready to produce. One of them, "Shearing" is currently in pre-production. And I have just started reworking my second feature film script, "Beryl".

'Also I've become hooked on plays. The fourth draft of my play Polly's Dad is about to go through a rehearsed reading process.

'I just keep writing. I see myself as an apprentice: everything I write will be my teacher and I will gain more skills as time goes on. I shiver now as I remember that falling-in-love feeling I had with writing! And I still love it, all of it.'