Thursday, October 20, 2005

getting caught up

so you're probably thinking, where the hell is terminalmfa?

(this question presupposes that anyone actually reads my blog, but indulge me a bit).

well, i was busy with the film, and then last week i was out of town at a 'creative symposium' -- a terrific invitation-only event, where i was challenged creatively and really re-energized. and i made some great contacts for the future.

so i'm in the office. my email is down and i'm waiting on the I.T. folks to come by and fix it. i don't have any appointments. so i might as well blog.

i am about a week behind on deciding on textbooks for next semester. i only have two classes (yay!) and only one of them has a text. but i could not decide on it. well, i finally did, late yesterday afternoon, and got that turned in. but it made me wonder why the hell we have to decide on texts in october!? ok, large university, lots of faculty, lots of book orders, it takes time to process it all. i get that. what i don't get is that, in at least one of my classes each semester since i've been here, books were not yet on the shelves when classes started. so i dragged my feet a little this semester. obviously the bookstore isn't ina rush to place my orders anyway. and we're not talking back-ordered books. in my screenwriting class this semester, i used three scripts published in shooting script format from newmarket press. you can find these in barnes & noble and other good bookstores. so why can't our bookstore get them in on time? only the shadow knows...

anyway, so my tenure review meeting for this year got moved up to next month. actually, it was always next month, but my dept. chair thought it would be in january and told me that. so i spent one day this week prepping my tenure credentials notebook. since i had to create the thing ex nihilo last year, it was already pretty much 'there' and just needed updating. it surprised me that i was able to finish it in an afternoon. there are a couple of pieces still to be added/rewritten (hey, that's what i should be working on right now!). but in general, it's pretty much done and waiting only on some letters from current and former students and colleagues that i want to include. you know, a bunch of people singing my praises. yee ha.

the biggest thing on my mind to date is that, in the aftermath of my experience at that symposium, i'm really not sure what i want to write next. i was all set to begin a page-one rewrite of a fairly high-concept script i wrote a couple of years ago -- something where i didn't execute it that well and knew i could make it a LOT better. then two things happened: (1) someone i met at the symposium was pitching the exact same concept as a sitcom to a network this week. and i heard his pitch, and it was MUCh better than my script. and (2) i felt really challenged by the symposium to think about what i want to do with my work -- what i want to accomplish. i have always wanted my work to have a 'significance' and i don't want to get stuck in high concept world or silly comedy land. the film i shot this summer is an out-and-out comedy, but it does TRY to have a social significance. i wonder if it will come across, though. and i think comedy is easier for me (though hard to execute) because it keeps me from trying to think seriously about some issues.

anyway, that's what's been going on.

5 Comments:

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous chuck said...

When it comes to book ordeing, I think the October due date is a bit overstated, but probably necessary since academics tend to procrastinate.

Because I didn't get the job here until late in the game, I didn't order books until two weeks before classes started and everything was on the shelves in time.

You mention the issue of "significance" and oppose it to "high-concpet," which I find interesting. Guess I'm wondering why your high-concept idea couldn't have some social significance....

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

you're absolutely right that a high concept CAN have some sort of significance. i'm not sure *I* can accomplish that (that's what i was saying).

and of course, most high concept films DON'T have any significance. i mean, you can say that Jurassic Park is about man meddling with nature, but ultimately it's really just about cool dinosaurs and making money. IMO, of course.

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Chuck said...

You're right, of course; most high concpet film are designed to promote amusement park rides or t-shirts or soft drinks.....

But I'm thinking of something like Primer, which is, in some ways, a high-concept film, although it was made for $8,000. In a sense, my final chapter is about rescuing "high concept" from the studios (lots of good indie time-travel films in recent years, including Primer, Happy Accidents and, in a slightly less autonomous way, Donnie Darko and The Jacket).

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

yes, primer is a good example. high concept idea executed in low-concept fashion. certainly my ideas tend to evolve the same way.

btw, how's life at catholic u.?

 
At 9:51 AM, Anonymous chuck said...

Missed your comment until now, but I'm enjoying CUA. I might email you about some specifics later that I can't really talk about here....

I *love* DC, and I'm enjoying the mentoring opportunities available at a smaller liberal arts college.

 

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