Monday, January 28, 2008

The Dynamic Duo...and apparently sometimes Trio (but never the Fantastic Four)

This weekend, Jul and I attended a one day class on writing teams through UCLA Extension. Not only was it taught by a writing team (the guys behind this), they also brought in a panel of teams (or really 1.5 teams, since it was three other guys--responsible for this and this, among other things) to discuss how they work together and have navigated the business in their careers so far.

(An amusing-to-me sidenote: Jul and I recognized two of the guys from the picket lines...though her story was better, since one of them actually gave her his jacket at Mutant Enemy Day. Yes, Hollywood really is that small of a town.)

More than anything it was just useful as a kind of therapy for Jul and I. Hearing that other teams go through the exact same things as us, that they have similar problems and joys...it was validating and cathartic. And hearing that most of them had screaming matches on an almost daily basis made us feel a lot better about our small and infrequent spats.

We also learned a few surprising (and *cough* crazy *cough*) things--like the fact that threesome writing teams actually exist, and some teams don't divide money or labor evenly--and a few practical writing tidbits--like the idea of having both writing partners create a version of the same scene at the same time. In this way you'll not only get to see if you're on the same page (most likely you won't be, not exactly) but also probably find new ideas for the scene that you otherwise wouldn't have. Very, very interesting, especially on a pilot or feature spec where you're building the characters, setting and tone from scratch.

Overall, probably the best single-day class or learning event I've been to, and if you're considering the possibility of forming a team with someone, I recommend it even more. Much of the stuff about picking your writing partner that wasn't useful for Jul and I would have been invaluable if we were still looking. Perhaps the best thing I can say is: the class was free to us through Extension, but it's one of the few one-day things I've been to that felt like it would have been worth the money. Look for it next quarter if you're interested.

In other class news, while we're still slightly indecisive (more me than Jul), it looks like we're going to be outlining specs of Pushing Daisies and Chuck, respectively. More on that later...possibly a lot more.

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