What Do You Call a Beginning That Happens in the Middle?

Posted on 16/11/2011 by

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So I had this absurd little short story that stood in direct opposition to my character instincts, but nonetheless made me giggle. Which was fine. I’m pro things-that-make-me-giggle. But I didn’t have any intention of doing anything with it — other than snicker about it a bit and show it to Kitty (who laughed — in the nice way, so that was good). But some time after that I was doing this scriptwriting class at university, and the lecturer (the inimitable John Rapsey) asked us to pitch ideas for a TV series.

I had this SF thing that I was itching to write — I had it all planned out — but you can’t go into a pitch with just one idea. That kind of thing only leads to getting shot down and frowny faces and pointed remarks about the television industry and realism in the education process. So I glanced at this story I had lying around, smashed that dream I’d had into the side of it, scribbled all over it in mental crayon and gave him that.

It was a joke. The idea was that he’d look at it, laugh, and pick the other one. But he didn’t. He liked it. (Which maybe shows good judgement on his part, but at the time I thought he was a bit mental. Cause, you know, I was grumpy. I wanted to write the SF one.)

But the universe and I have never quite seen eye to eye on the subject of my plans. So I wrote the joke. And John kept putting High Distinctions on everything I gave him. And then he basically bullied me into doing this extra research course where I could keep working on it, leaned on the Dean to let me do it when I wasn’t really supposed to, and volunteered to be my supervisor.

This is a re-enactment from memory. For a number of thoroughly ridiculous reasons I was already, by special dispensation, doing the entire stream of scriptwriting classes backwards. So towards the end of semester, when he was talking about the various directions you could go from there, John had a tendency to use me as a reference point or get me to give a student perspective on what the rest of the classes were like. This was at the end of what for most of them was their first scriptwriting class and should have been my last.
John: If you’re interested in doing more scriptwriting after this class you can take the feature film-writing course. Which is lots of fun. Isn’t it, Kandace?
Me: Nods supportively.
John: Or you could try your hand at television script writing, which is a slightly different discipline, but equally fascinating. Isn’t it, Kandace?
Me: Nods supportively.
John: And then, if you’re really keen, you can go on and do an Independent Research Project, which allows you to explore your newfound talents. (pointedly) Can’t you, Kandace?
Me: Startled, hesitant nod. (Later) Except I’ve already done an IRP in a different field, and you can only do one.
John: (with devious grin) Unless you have special permission from the Dean.
Me: Oh. Well, neat.

So I kept writing it. And  then I had this thing. This chunk of a TV series, which originally went by the extremely intelligent working title Heroes. Yes, I know. What can I say? By the time I graduated it was called What Heroes Are Made Of which is… It ends in of. Seriously. Titles: I am bad at them.

Anyway. The TV series was all melodrama and drunk dragons and drug-dealing dwarves and getting drunk and… rubber ducks, actually. No, I am not making any of this up. Except, of course, the part where I made all of it up for credit. Sometimes I miss undergrad.