01/21/2004

Getting back in gear

We continue to be cautious in our optimism as Don's quick recovery from his stroke seems more real and dependable day by day.

I had planned to use the downtime of our winter vacation to retool and rethink some things for Hit Those Keys, but for obvious reasons that didn't happen.

I am fairly certain I am going to discontinue offering Basics in it's current form. Even with my tweaking, the number of people who don't finish seems very high. I suspect all independent studies carry that risk, that people will lose interest or quit when it gets challenging, but it doesn't sit well with me.

In the car to get M from swim practice yesterday all of "what shall I offer instead" unfolded before me like a trick highway in a cartoon. Today, that clear vision is playing hide and seek with me and I will need a fairly persistent brainstorm session to tease the details back out where I can see what to do with them.

January 21, 2004 in dramatica | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

09/15/2003

A course by any other name

As I've been developing and refining the materials for the course I've been calling "Dramatica Unbound" I find myself leaning towards a name change.

More and more, "unbound" seems an umbrella for everything I'm doing with the theory and software. As Armando Saldana Mora continues to write his handbook for using the software in screenwriting, debunking the theory's impenetrability as only he can, the Basics course I run seems less necessary. I will continue to add to it and support it, for the sake of all current clients, but, like my longtime correspondent and virtual colleague, I'm finding that it's time to move away from a strict defense of the theory as it was conceived. 'Unbound' has always meant many things: a play on the ethereal nature of online learning in general, a signal that my approach will be "off-book" on some points, and in general highlighting what is always my goal as a writing mentor: to free writers from what keeps them from the work.

As a "theory"--and I know some would dispute that it is a sufficiently academic aggregate of ideas to be called a theory--the cluster of ideas behind the software asks what a story is, why we tell stories, and in a sense, begs the question of why we tell certain stories over and over.

This is a point that has always interested me: why do we like certain stories so much, that we tell them over and over? I don't think it's laziness--though there are lazy artists and producers out there--anyway, this course, the one that will launch mid-October, is about using Dramatica for adaptation or re-telling, which is, in my opinion, where the theory is most practical. My approach will be "off-book", but perhaps more prescribed in its outline than the title "unbound" would suggest. I'm thinking of calling the thing Dramatica Retold.

September 15, 2003 in dramatica | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack