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October 05, 2007

Rundown of my classes

For those of you who are interested, I think I've finalized my classes, so I'll let you know what they are...

Mondays are my killer day. Seriously. I'm in class from 12 noon until 11 PM straight. It's really difficult physically – I can't get anywhere close enough between classes to get any food (lesson learned last Monday, I'm packing something from now on), it's hard emotionally (I hate getting home to find everyone asleep and not really seeing them all day), it's hard intellectually (difficult to pay attention for THAT long, and actually pretty stressful too because every professor goes over their time limit and then you have to make the decision between offending the one who is teaching now by leaving or the one who will be teaching next by come in late.) Being new to all these professors, I hate the idea of giving any of them the impressions that I don't care.

Monday starts with an hour long seminar on Screenwriting. It's a requirement of the program, and one thing that is actually disappointing about it... it's a huge class filled with undergrads who aren't in the film program. It's pretty general. The upside is it's taught by Richard Walter, the co-chair of the program, and a magnetic, wise legend in Screenwriting. So it's cool. I had thought it was going to be just the MFA students though... 12-12.50

Then I have an Introduction to Animation class. I'm actually one of the few non-animation majors in this class. At UCLA, Screenwriting is only the second most successful program at getting grads placed in "the biz." The best? Their animation program. Almost all of these people will be working at Pixar, or Disney, or Dreamworks, or something like that.... So yes, I'm a little out of my league, as the class is actually drawing cartoons by pencil, but I love learning how to do it. And it's a prerequisite for a "Writing for Feature Animation Class" that I really want to take. So here I am, draw 24 pictures per second of animation (or 12 pictures, depending on how I want the motion to go). I actually really love drawing, and this gives me the requirement to sharpen the pencil and draw often. The final project is a 15 second animated short that they actually shoot on film using the animation crane. Very cool. 1-3.50.

Then I have my "main writing" workshop, taught by successful screenwriter Paul Castro. He's very encouraging and very inspirational, which is excellent. There are 8 of us in the class, and it's an excellent mix. And you can tell Paul's going to try to break us down so we write emotionally, which is vitally important for screenplays... his first in class writing assignment was to write about the thing we're most ashamed of in our lives. It was heavy and intense, because we all had tor read what we wrote out loud. In this class we're supposed to write the first 30 pages of a screenplay (it seems that they ease you into the writing process here). I'm going to go ahead and try to finish it, because if I don't I might never actually finish this story and that would be a shame. 4-6.50

Then Monday finishes off with a course where I had to sign a NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT because Industry Bigwigs come and share their secrets weekly. Or something like that! it's a class about the business of television and filmmaking, preparing you for developing a strategy to survive outside of film school. It's very packed, and I have to sit on the floor for 4 hours.... which is actually difficult. 7-11.

On Tuesday, nothing. Time to catch up on writing, etc.

On Wednesday, an animation lab where I work in this weeks assignment. 1-3.50.

On Thursday, a discussion section for my 130A, screenwriting fundamentals. I'm actually going to try to write a different screenplay in this one, to get a headstart on the next quarter's screenplay, so I'll have two screenplays finished by the end of my first 2 quarters. Not sure if this will work. 11-11.50. Then another animation lab, 1-3.50. Then...

I get to take a class on three dimensional story telling and theme park design taught by the Chief Creative Executive on Disney's Imagineering Team, Bruce Vaughn. It's really really excellent. Another class where I had to sign a NDA, and they are very serious. Someone spilled some details after the first class and it nearly shut the whole class down. For you Disney fans out there like me, you'll understand just how cool this is... Legendary Imagineer Marty Skylar will be a featured guest for a class, along with other vital parts of that team. If you impress enough to stand out in this large (150 people I think) class, you're invited to enroll in a follow-up class which is just 35 people, and where you're expected to put together a whole Imagineer-style project just as if you're an imagineer and pitch it to actual Disney Execs. Pretty cool. That's from 4-7.

And that's my week. Throw in some pick up basketball at the Wooden Center, some impromptu lunches with classmates, and some required movie viewing, and that's the first quarter of my MFA in Screenwriting.

Posted by jason on October 5, 2007 02:29 PM


sounds pretty crazy and really interesting. hope everything goes well for you with all the classes so you can come back to the east coast soon.

Posted by: Jack on October 7, 2007 02:04 PM

that sounds intense, but amazing

Posted by: bsweber on October 7, 2007 08:49 PM

Sounds pretty awesome.

So can you tell all of us here what is the thing that you are most ashamed of? We will all sign a NDA if we need to.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on October 8, 2007 09:50 AM

So cool! You are learning so much amazing stuff--I am so happy for you, Jase! And now we can finally tell the Rose's that you really do know an Imagineer!

Posted by: jessica on October 8, 2007 11:03 AM

YES! 5-0
just barely

Posted by: Anonymous on October 9, 2007 12:56 AM

Is this like the cowboys blog or something?

Posted by: Anonymous on October 9, 2007 12:19 PM

I second the desire to know what you are most ashamed of -- if you shared it with a class of strangers you should share it with your close friends from thelookmachine.com

Posted by: Anonymous on October 9, 2007 12:59 PM

Well, see... the thing is that it was the first thing that popped into my mind, and then while I was trying to think of something more "mature' to be ashamed of, the instructor said, "Even if it's really embarrassing... I know you're trying to avoid the first thing you thought of, but don't, that's the one I want you to write about."

So I wrote about... oh man, out of time right now. I'll touch on it later.

Posted by: jason on October 9, 2007 01:02 PM

so jason is going to "touch" on his most embearassing moment? uh...and this should be a copwboys blog! how fun!

Posted by: josh on October 15, 2007 03:00 PM

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