BWW Blog: Kelvin Douglas on Taking Esurient Screenwriting Intensive With Cameron J. Ross
Cameron J. Ross recently revisited his hometown roots to give local screenwriters his personal narrative on what it takes to be a successful screenwriter and producer. And I was one of the chosen few afforded this great opportunity.
We began January 15th at the Montrose Counseling Center and the anticipation of something great started at the door. Cameron greeted me as I walked in and immediately put me on the spot by asking me to share a little bit about myself. This instantly instilled in me the importance of being able to talk about yourself to people in the industry. The opportunity to sell yourself is all a part of the all-important pitch, he told us. Make sure that you are very creative and passionate regarding your work. If you haven't bought into your own product, how can you sell it to industry professionals?
By the time our class reached our second and third session, it was time for the gut-ugly truth: We had to share a sample of our writing with the class and discuss the dynamics of our writing style with Cameron. This was the most nerve wrecking for me because this was the first time I experienced being on the "chopping block," so to speak. I mean, to have to listen to your work being read aloud in front of an industry professional is very intimidating. And to hear feedback, both constructive and destructive, can brutally tear at the fiber of a screenwriter's soul!
Cameron said to us, "Some things you write will be appealing to industry professionals and some things will be unappealing. But just like searching for that dream job, you can't let a "no" dictate your skills or your dreams. Keep putting yourself out there and sharing your work. And if that fails, write some more."
The take away for me was that I must get used to hearing others' opinions. Everybody has one and many are waiting to share theirs. I hope that these opinions will lead to an epic big-screen opportunity for me so that I too can count myself among the few, the chosen, the proud - the screenwriters. But at the end of the day, if I'm going to call myself a screenwriter, I am going to have to be mentally ready for the judgement that often follows those of us who dare to toy around in this creative arena called writing.
This four-session writing intensive was just what I needed. It gave me a source outside of myself -- which I learned is very necessary when it comes to writing -- refueled my creative fire, and confirmed that I do have a gift for this. So thanks, Cameron. The inspiration and hope that you so selflessly shared was the best gift for me.
Esurient Arts brings Cameron J. Ross back to Houston on July 22 and 23. In the meantime, the company offers an 8-week Directing Intensive starting March 19 and a playwriting workshop on April 22. For information, please visit esurientarts.com/workshops.