- September 2004 Issue -
The International Writers Magazine September 27th
Writers' Brilliant Success:
The new academic year will begin in October and we will be welcoming
new students here at Portsmouth. Hopefully a few will interested in writing
for Hacks. Every year I make my final year screenwriting students write
an hour long original TV drama, give it a public performance in character
with a professional cast, then after polishing, try to sell it. Its
a tough call. I doubt there is another course like it in the UK in the
public sector. Well two of my students have agents genuinely interested
in their scripts. It's early days but very satisfying that they have found
news about that later, but I knew, from the way they went about it, stuck
to it and listened to their peers and tutors comments and quickly
adopted their suggestions that they would make it. The mark of a good
TV writer is never to be precious, take a good idea from wherever it comes
from and make it your own. Even if they don't get taken up, they are on
one of our former writers Hazel Marshall
is on a book tour across the UK. She was a regular on Hackwriters
for a year and developed her wonderful children's novel in my writing
classes. It's about Marco Polo's nephew and he wants his own adventures,
despite his young age and seeks out the inventor of a flying machine...
Angels and Flying Machines
is published by Oxford University Press is now being acclaimed
and praised and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
You can buy it here. Hazel deserves every success again a
person who sticks at it, takes on board criticism and strives to
make her work better, always improving and polishing and most importantly
believing in herself.
Three examples of students going beyond academic work.
Buy it here
Most of the time, and I am sure this is the experience of many
academics, we are faced with students who just do the minimum and are
focused on just getting that degree. But occasionally you get that student
who want success badly enough to understand that academic work
particularly in creative programmes such as we run here in Portsmouth
can be a starting point for a real career. In the Creative Arts and Creative
Writing programmes, you can write plays, scripts and novels. All the time
you will be facing critical comment from your peers and tutors. If the
student looks beyond the grade they get, particularly in the final year,
some realise that the grade is almost irrelevant if you have got a good
idea worth developing. We are designing units here where final works can
be sufficiently ambitious in scope that students with dedication can stretch
themselves and aim, not just to please the tutor, but the real world and
the market beyond that. I am more than happy if a student goes out the
door with a completed and polished script, even half a novel, or a new
play that has fellow students excited by it. There really is a demand
for new work and new voices and we want our students to explore and explode
out there in the commercial world.
Of course, not every academic agrees with me. Few actually. Perhaps theyd
rather students were more analytical or just developed more critical skills.
However, it is my belief that students on creative degree courses should
be given this chance to write beyond the limitations of the course and
aim higher. They should be encouraged to learn that striving for success
is essential, their right and the perfect time to do this is when you
are young, bursting full of new ideas and prepared to make mistakes. Mistakes
can be rectified, they can be wonderful learning opportunities. Its
called experimentation. Being at University is the best time to do that.
Afterwards everything you do needs to pay off if you are to pay the rent
with it and that is a pretty tall order. I have seen too many students
with talent gain their degrees and then be pressured to conform, get that
dull job, take on huge mortgages and ten years passes by and they havent
written another word. Of course they would say they are being successful.
Their house has doubled in value, they have a much nicer car than me and
the job pays bonuses; but what happened to the talent? To their creative
ambitions? Its probably a small dark place in their consciousness
that they dare not look at. Yes, I admit, as a teacher I have compromised
too. Its the nature of life. Creativity is a hard world to make
a profit in a society that places more value on real estate agents. This
trend may worsen once students have to pay three grand a year to do the
course on top of rent and food and the massive quantities of booze they
seem to need... but take heart from the USA where students pay a fortune
yet find time to party hard...I'm told.
As students you can aim for the top if you are prepared to work harder
than you ever did before, take it seriously and stand by your work, believe
in it, send it out there, beyond the citadel walls. There is nothing to
lose and a vast world to gain. Not everyone will succeed. Not everyone
deserves to. Some arent even sure they want to, but success is sweetest
tasted young (Im informed).
Now lets see what talent comes through the door this year.
you are looking for a good read my new book Diamonds is available now.
Here's a tip
chose the cheapest delivery option. You can buy it direct from the publisher
Lulu or from Amazon.com.
North - Editor - hackwriters.com
Many thanks to Dominic Robson in SA who put the book together
Diamonds - The Rush of '72
By Sam North
Buy now direct from Lulu.com
terrific piece of storytelling'
- Historical Novel Society Review
January edition - it's here
February edtion -it's here
March edition - it's here
Missed April edition - it's here
May Edition - it's here
Missed June Edition - it's
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