I spent the day teaching. That was fun.
I ran a small workshop as part of Telefilm's "Feature It!" program, where writers sent in pitches for a 1.2M thriller to be shot in Quebec. The jury picked five projects (one writing team, so six writers). Today I yammered on for a bit about the Hook, and the Elements of Story, and Pitching Your Story. Then I had everyone pitch their story. Then we critiqued it and offered solutions.
That's fun. It's like a writing room, but for features. And we had an audience of 15-20 other people.
I like working on other people's stories. I like coming up with fixes. On one project, we all agreed that it might be stronger to change the movie from the crazy hero's story to his girlfriend's story. Sometimes a simple change like that makes everything better. On another, I proposed merging antagonists. On another, we proposed a slew of different endings. On some, we just identified places where we weren't buying the story.
I like teaching, but I find I run out of things to teach after about a day. I don't know how you keep talking about stuff, honestly. I can tell you the three most important things I know about storytelling in half an hour. After that, it's just a matter of doing it. I can critique an indidivual story till the cows come home, and even draw morals from it; but if I had to rely on imparting information one-way, I think I could plow through my whole book in a day. It's all about applying the process after that.
I guess that's because story telling is a live beast, and if you start micromanaging it, it dies.
Tomorrow we're headed down to New York, and Friday I'll see whether they'll let me borrow one of their picket signs.