Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alum returns to teach screenwriting class

Jessica Hagendorn
Advertising/Marketing Director

No ‘ing’ words or introductions allowed. This is just one rule students learned in a special screenwriting course recently offered at ECC. The classes were taught by Mat Elfring, who also taught a special class on comic books this time last year. Elfring noted the common student’s ignorance to screenwriting practices.

“Most people just know creative writing, novel writing, poetry,” said Elfring.

Originally a short story writer himself, Elfring was encouraged to pursue writing scripts by ECC English instructor Rachel Tecza when he was a student. Now he holds a degree in it as well as in critical film analysis.

The course was spread out over three sessions that covered the basics of screen writing and the industry. The first class focused on pre-writing, the second was about formatting and the last was about revising and selling a script.

“Here’s what a bad script looks like,” Elfring said as the last class started. “It’s one of mine.” Then he let the four students pick his work apart, exercising what they’d already learned.

“I wouldn’t mind it [the course] being a regular class,” student Jake Pauling said. Pauling is also taking a fiction writing class this semester.

Becky Teets, another student in the class, agreed.

“I think he has a lot of good information, more than he can share in three nights, unfortunately,” Teets said.

It is uncertain whether or not the course will be brought back next year, although Elfring is looking into the possibility of creating a critiquing group, not unlike the Creative Writing Club, specifically for script writers.

However, according to Elfring, writing a script and getting it made into a movie are two completely different things. In his opinion, the chances are near zero.

“You have to be amazing at what you do, and have a second job,” Elfring said.

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