Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Grad School, Take Two

So, packet number one's off. I'm officially on my way to completing the first semester requirements. It wasn't that difficult, really. The hardest part is that I have found that I miss the camaraderie of the residency. But some of that has continued. A couple people and I have stayed in constant communication via e-mail as we write and procrastinate from writing.

What is a packet you non-Goddard-ites may wonder....

Basically our semester is broken into six segments. Segment one is the Residency Requirement. Nine days on campus. Great food (kudos to the chef and his staff!), excellent workshops (the professors are top notch!), and fun times with fellow classmates (let's not reveal just how much fun we had...yet!).

The next five parts are broken down by the five packets we mail off to our advisor every three weeks. Up to forty pages is sent off for critique, analysis, grading, and review. My first packet consisted of the following:

- A five-page Process Letter in which I spent the first four pages talking about the process I went through in studying and writing over the course of my first three weeks at home. I also brought up questions that I have about where I am going in my creative work; things I am seeking specific feed-back on from my advisor. The last page I used as a simple table of contents. I'm guessing it was unnecessary, but it made me feel better to include it. I'm anal about these things; what can I say?

- Two two-page Annotations. These are short critical papers analyzing a detailed item that I picked up on close-read of a novel and of a poem.

- One five-page critical paper. I was pretty critical of the lack of depth Neil Simon used in his female version of "The Odd Couple" play. Sorry, Mr. Simon. No disrespect meant. I simply needed a thesis, and I decided to explore the use of humor not as a method for dealing with the underlying pain, but of skirting the real issues. I think I proved my point. Perhaps someone else may have chosen to prove the opposite.

- One one-page plot line sketch that I used as a teaching tool in my Advanced Screenwriting Class that I am teaching at the University of New Hampshire as part of my teaching requirement.

- And twenty-five pages of Creative Work. Most of those pages are character breakdowns for my protagonist, antagonist, pivotal character, and for two minor pivotal characters in my new feature-length screenplay that I am writing for the program.

While it's off, I have begun working on Packet # 2 requirements. I began my scene cards for my screenplay today. I will type those up into outline fashion (script outline, not academic outline) for submission. I have also started an annotation on the movie "Gypsy" (the original movie from 1962 with Natalie Wood and Karl Malden, not the Bette Midler TV re-make). And, of course, I am still teaching.

And while I am blogging it may have occurred to folks that I am procrastinating from my other duties. In particular, I have about forty more pages of grading ahead of me--as my Advanced Screenwriting students begin their feature length scripts with me in another week or so....

Thanks for stopping in. And, hey, if you think of one, please leave a joke for me. I hardly come up for air these days, and when I do, I find I most need a good laugh. And no, it does not have to mask underlying pain; but if it does, let's simply skirt the issue rather than deal with it.


I just had to add this one little tid bit: I recently found Metallica's "Garage Inc." and am soooo excited to be loading the songs on my laptop now. I have been looking for this album forever. One of these days I'm going to have to dig out that free iPod that came with my iBook and load this stuff onto it. I wish I understood technology better. Okay, that's enough procrastination for one day....


Kyle said...

Hey Dana,

I'm thinking about the MFA program for next fall. These updates about the program are fantastic. I sent them to a couple of friends who are thinking about Goddard too. Please keep 'em up! It gives us a bit more insight into what seems like an incredible program.


Dana said...

Thanks, Kyle,

Should you or anyone who stops by here have a question about the program, please post it. I'll try my best to give you an answer, or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Hope to see you in Plainfield this June!