So far, I’ve put a lot of emphasis on my artistic side on this site. Yet writing has a big place too, to the point that I have a hard time determining which of the two, visual art and writing, is more important to me. Both are equally important; two inseparable twins
I’m also a cinephile, especially fond of animation; since childhood, I dream of writing for film or series. Moreover, I took a full formation in 3D animation when Pixar released the movie “Bug’s Life”.
Later, I heard about this school, INIS (l’Institut National de l’Image et du Son) (website in French only) which gives screenwriting courses, here in Montreal. The cost was beyond my means. I started a family, I was busy with my daughters’ early childhood. In the meantime, I read books on the basics of screenwriting, the “rules” of formatting (which are very important in the business), I took MasterClasses and followed tutorials on “how to set up a film or TV project”.
The project I had in hand when I started this adventure was too complex to be the one to start with. Let’s call it “The Mammoth Project” for now. So I started a simpler project, a new idea, a different world… But old ideas grafted themselves to this new project, which quickly became too big too. Let’s call it “The Chimera Project”. Again, too complex for a first project.
Yeah… I’m swimming in an overflow of ideas. The advice is always to start small, short and simple. Not capable it seemed… Or at least « I have to learn to synthesize », as my traditional drawing teacher wisely said. Advice that applies to all areas of my life (sigh).
Anyway, last summer, I set out again to find the simplest idea possible, to make an animated series and limited to a dozen episodes. I started with the idea of a “cat project” size… My goal was to develop a draft of a project (or a “bible”, as they say in the TV show jargon) and to meet the admission requirements for the INIS. I worked on it all winter, and this spring. And of course, the project got more complex… but I managed to narrow it down to, say, “The Horse Project” (let’s make this its code name, until I can tell more about it) 😉
Then, INIS opened its registrations for the year 2021-2022, after a year of confinement and pandemic. I had managed to keep up with my schedule. Entrance fees are still high and places are very limited (classes of 8-9 students), but my daughters girls are older now and we can manage the finances too. I prepared the materials as professionally as possible and threw the bottle into the sea.
Then I got an invitation for the second step, an interview with the jury. I had the stage fright! I had no idea what kind of questions would be asked, so I didn’t know how to prepare myself, other than to relax. The interview went well, but it was pointed out that my project is very ambitious for a Quebec production (I’m not surprised for a second). It was also mentioned that since the pandemic is not quite over, the places are even more limited, 6 students for the scriptwriting courses (a mix between the “feature film” and “TV series” profile).
Well, I got it! My project passed the test, even though it presented challenges for both the school and me.
It was suggested that I change my profile to “feature film”, for several logistical reasons of production and teaching, and for the project I proposed. This will be a good time to learn to synthesize my ideas! It was also suggested that, when I get out of school, to consider writing in English, to aim outside of Quebec… since Quebec productions probably won’t be able to finance such a project.
Yeah, I know my projects are overwhelming; maybe I’m right to feel so small in front of their magnitude and to be so afraid of them! But I’ve got this!
A feature film is a big project so it’s normal to be afraid. But it can be exciting and fulfilling.
And yes, you got this!
Thank you Élis!