Thursday, April 14, 2005


Got my tickets!!!! Had a little scare because the tickets didn't go on sale until 10:20 (Wassup, ticketmaster?). But I'm set.

Got ripped a new a-hole in class last night for my awesome script. For about an hour. Fun fun fun. Turns out the teacher hates comics and sci-fi. Greaaaat. Luckily 4 of my classmates got it and loved it. It's called a niche market, people. That's what I wanted.


TA said...


I've enjoyed reading your blog. The book sounds like it's very intriguing and a great release. Congrats on the success.

Sorry to hear you've had some negative experiences at ucla. Ripped a new one! Ouch! I do think it's important for both sides of events to be presented, esepecially when some things aren't presented exactly as they're said. I, the professor you mention:-), am on the record as saying "I'm not a fan of science fiction written by students because those scripts are almost always about machines and intergalactic war." I didn't say I "hate sci-fi" nor do I have any opinion about comics (other than I like STRAY BULLETTS). In fact, I'm on the record as mentioning two of my favorites films, which I'd say are sci-fi (ALIEN and GATTACA).

Yes, you got a harsh critique. I think, as I told you in class, it's more important to get honest criticism rather than a blanket "gee, sounds good." It'd be much easier for me to just say, "gee, sounds good." But, I care enough about my students to carefully consider what they're presenting and comment on it accordingly.

I think blogs are a great thing. And yours is full of insightful, entertaining stuff. But I also think you should consider what you're saying before you write it. Or, at least, if you're going to mention people, give all sides of the story.

I look forward to reading more from you. Not only on the blog, but in our class!

As Lew Hunter loves to say...

Write on!

TA said...

Wait, I mispoke!...I did say something about people who read comics and go to the Comicon (i think that's what it's called in San Diego), but I'm fairly certain hate wasn't the word used. If so, I apologize. But, I didn't say I hate comics:-)...

Kid Sis said...

Hi Ta,

I value you as a person and as a teacher. My blog was not meant as a personal attack, which appears to be how you feel, and for that I am sorry. I can certainly relate. I assure you I mean that sincerely. If you don't read that in what follows, it is the medium, not the message, and I hope we can clear anything up in person.

I wrote about the bad taste in my mouth after class. I did not say you ripped me a new a-hole or mention you by name. I said I was ripped a new a-hole in class, which I was (still not pooping straight), and which was the perception shared by many students who came up to me afterwards to apologize for not sticking up for me. I'm sure anyone who has taken a roundtable writing class can relate.

As you said to our class, I demonstrated the ability to take harsh criticism, not only from you who has admittedly never seen an X-Files episode (for anyone else still reading this, my script topic is the X-Philes fans and creators), but from a green student who did not do the homework assignment and dominated our classroom time rewriting everyone else's scripts.

During my critique, I wrote down everything said to me, and thanked all for the perspectives. You condoned my critique behaviour in class, and I was very pleased with my behaviour and your acknowledgement of it. I felt that was a good exercise for the future, and that I had grown since last fall. Of course, it's not human nature to focus on what was good. I'm sure you've come out of some studio meetings and told your friends more of the bad parts than the good.

However professional an image I mustered at the time, it is my perception that some opinions in the room did not come across professionally or appropriately. I needed to vent about my feelings and my disappointment that that could have been tempered by any number of people in the room, including myself. If we're going to have a productive quarter, there are boundaries that are should be established by us as a group so that we feel comfortable in the room.

You may have to explain in person to me why to watch what I say on my blog, because I don't savvy. It's a blog. I think people get that, and if they don't, that seems silly to me. But I'd like to hear why you think otherwise. You probably have some very good reasons I haven't experienced. If anything I'm more paranoid that my first masters degree in media was from a socialist university. Talk about McCarthism repercussions :)

I stand behind what I have written all year. If you're still worried about how you were quoted about comics and scifi, I am happy to discuss what I heard you say and mean in the appropriate environment, which I don't feel this is. Honestly, if I said it here I fear I'd upset you into a he said/she said thingie, which is not my intention. This blog is really just about me. As a full time, stressed out caretaker, it's the only thing in my life that gets to be about ME. The way it relates to you in my mind is what I said in class: had I known your genre preferences I would have chosen to write the preteen movie for this quarter to get your valuable feedback on that. I am dispappointed that I chose the wrong genre, and am still considering starting over with that preteen script. People have biases because they're human. My only goal is to get the most valuable feedback for my money that I can from a professional in the industry.

I don't need to shove my writing down anyone's throat, which is kind of how I feel now about my niche script. The niche people loooove it, and I don't want to explain or defend it to everyone else. I'm comfortable with a Kaufman/Whedon audience. It's actually my goal for that script. But of course I can also write something for the masses.

I can understand your concern about me discussing my negative experiences at UCLA, but I've also discussed the positive (including some very flattering things about you by name), so that is more telling all sides of stories than most UCLA students have the balls to do (other than David A, god bless ya. And hang in there!).

When I began this blog, I said I am brutally honest about everything in my life. That is the quality Hal has told me he admires in my writing, and I don't want to change that. There is nothing I have said here that I will not say to ANYONE'S face, should they care to listen.

Because UCLA is my alma mater, I have a responsibility to call its performance as I and others see it, just as citizens in this country who love it should be shouting their opinions from the rooftops and not be afraid that they are going to be blacklisted or punished for speaking their minds.

There are students who would delete their entire blog now for fear of who this will now be shown to at UCLA and how they are going to retaliate. It is that fear that keeps the program from growing from truthful commentary about what students are actually experiencing (along with laziness from the title "Best in the Country", which many Trojans take umbrage at). I have no doubt that the administration would be shocked at how many students/customers are upset about the program because an open dialogue has not been fostered. The reality is that in the professional program we are peers and customers who aren't speaking up because of the implied ramifications of watching what we think/say/write about a Hollywood institution that is perceived as having the power to make or break us. That's very sad, because UCLA actually relies on its students' success to continue making it a relevant program to future students. Everybody teaching or being taught loses when that success rate isn't maximized.

When you've been through the hell I have been through and taste what is important in life, you don't let fear or smallness run you. I'll be damned if I'll be silent. I am a powerful, highly educated, experienced customer with much to offer the program. It's not my loss if the program doesn't want it.

See you in class next week. I'm very pleased you are looking forward to reading more of my writing. As I've said on this site, I am excited about having you as my professor, and as I stated in class, I value your opinion. I hope in time you will value mine, and also be open to some harsh criticism. Could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


PPS Thanks for the kind words about Mom's Cancer. My brother's book is changing people's lives, which is great inspiration for all writers. Couldn't be prouder.