Screenwriting is the best job in the world. This August I've just been reminded of that even more forcefully: this August I facilitated a screenwriting course at the Skyros Writers Lab.
It was a small group and they all had very different backgrounds. Some with professional writing experience, some with none, but they came united by their desire to experiment and work with the form.
And work they did.
Was I a harsh taskmaster? I don't think so, but I did gently encourage them to make the most of their writing time.
We had three hour sessions in the morning, full of creativity experiments, the occasional lecture, writing exercises, and quite a lot of fun.
For the rest of the day went off to let their imaginations run riot in the (entirely voluntary!) exercises I gave them.
It says a lot that, despite them being on holiday on a beautiful island, in the middle of a beautiful summer, and then having SO many other distractions (you know, the wide sandy beach and the aquamarine Aegean Sea, Skyros town itself, curling up the side of the hill in a labyrinth of white painted cottages and tiny cobbled alleys, brilliant evening sessions from the ever inventive Ilene Sawka, let alone the ever wonderful long lunches and leisurely suppers on the shady terrace) each participant returned every morning with more and more terrific work.
The nine muses did their bit too, clearly taking a bus en masse down from Mt Helicon. Every single participant found their voice; every single participant wrote some electrifyingly good (and often very funny) material.
What's more, it wasn't uncommon to reconvene in the morning and hear a participant tell the story for a fully imagined feature film that had somehow arrived fully formed overnight.
Eleven days later and each participant came away with an inside take on the screenwriting business, a massive tool-chest of writing techniques, and the knowledge that, if they chose to, they could each write a great script in their own style.
Let alone the wonderful experience of making friends and bonding with a wide group of friendly people in an almost magically beautiful location. Not at all bad for a holiday in the sun.
For your chance to book a Skyros writing holiday call the office on +44 (0) 1983 865566, or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that many of the courses are already full, so book soon to guarantee a space. http://www.skyros.com/writers_lab.htm