Sophie Kinsella is a nice lady.
She was asked by Lily Sheehan whether she’d studied writing and replied (that’s the nice bit) that she’d done a screenwriting course with Robert McKee.
Robert McKee is the god of screenwriting courses. He’s Mr Three Acts and when I did my screenwriting course (extremely useful – if you’re thinking about doing a course, do a screenwriting one – see below) my tutor was VERY VERY anti-McKee and spent most of the time pointing out where he was wrong.
But it doesn’t really matter, because what screenwriting courses teach you is how to pace a story, introduce a character, start a scene and a whole bunch of other stuff you’ll find invaluable, regardless of whether you do it in Three Acts or ten.
Some other reasons I like screenwriting courses:
- You’re surrounded by cool people in black who want to be screenwriters
- You get to read screenplays, which makes you feel (for five minutes) like you’re actually in the movie industry
- You get to watch movies as homework. Yay!
- Suddenly you’re a movie expert and you can talk for hours, quite intelligently, about films, and not be boring your audience (of fellow screenwriters) stupid
- It’s cheaper than a major creative writing course
- It’s shorter than a major creative writing course
- If at the end of it you haven’t written a seminal novel, that’s OK, because it wasn’t the point. And if you haven’t written a screenplay either, that’s OK too, because that wasn’t the point either, remember?
- It is just possible that someone else on the course is VERY RICH and is studying to be a movie producer. A friend of mine’s VERY RICH husband did exactly this. OK, he was taken, but he was there