[A]s a humour writer (among other things like features and book reviews for any pay a publication can spare) I sometimes feel a little out of place in this Green Screen Lab, being mentored by people whose names I’ve only read in credit sequences in films, while I’ve mostly written jokes for TV and comic books.
But I felt I needed to be here, badly, despite being the only non-filmmaker (yet, at least) in this group of writer-directors and film festival veterans. But the reason I applied was not to get my break into films – it was to work on the craft of storytelling. Being someone who always gets ideas on stories, and constantly thinks of using the new and interesting things I see and hear everyday into my work, and working with other storytellers I could perhaps get to know more about the ‘how’ of making an idea or a plot into a concrete story, that engages a viewer or reader.
Watching the talented group of people work here, together in a space where they can focus on just one thing alone, I can see how it is certainly one way to improve on your work. They bounce their ideas off people who are more than just viewers, they work with more experienced writers who can tell them what kind of problems a younger writer might be facing, work in a close mentor-mentee situation, which is brilliant for something like screenwriting and storytelling in general, that could perhaps not be taught in a more structured environment.
In the four days that I’ve been here, what I have seen is that a writer’s journey is more than just a calculation of ‘peaks’ and breaking things into acts – in fact, in many cases, it contains none of those. A story well told must come from a true place – a sincere place in someone where they relate something they know it deep within themselves. Your story could be a slapstick sex comedy, a political drama, or even a ‘Green’ children’s film – but without it coming from a sincere place within oneself, anything would seem plastic. Or that’s what I feel anyway.