John August Blog: Skipping Drama Class

So there’s this one blog I read quite frequently, by John August the writer of Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, and the writer and director of upcoming “indy” hit, The Nines starring Ryan Reynolds.

One of his more recent blogs was a response to a comment made by a 16 year old girl named Veronica, who is pretty darned lost in her course right now. Here’s an excerpt from her letter:

    I’m 16 and have wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking since 8th grade. I’m sure you’re not too old to remember what it was like to be 16 years old and trying your best to not ruin your own life forever. (I really don’t want to be a receptionist.)And here I am. Terrified that I might be making all the wrong moves. Should I have taken drama and bitten my tongue every time that insane teacher opened her mouth? Should I be doing more after school type programs? And, of course, should I go to film school?

John’s response contains this parcel of information:

    You’re sixteen. Go out and experience life. As interesting things happen, write them down. If something other than screenwriting appeals to you at some point, pursue it with full abandon and no regrets. You’re at an age when you don’t need to be making any firm decisions, or beating yourself up about missed opportunities. A bad high school drama class is a bullet dodged, in my opinion.

Of course there’s more to their conversation, and you should definitely check it out.

I also wrote a response in the comments, and since its my own writing I’ll post my thoughts right here for anyone in the biz at my level or around it to read. Tell me your thoughts on the subject in a comment though, and maybe I’ll post yours on the main page, with a link to your site as well!
I can really sympathize with this girl.

I am a 20 year old communications major who is just now on his second year of digital film making, learning studio work, been out in the field etc. I started the work on my own and learned it on my own.

Film making consumes my life.

That’s a problem because it means I learn less about life and more about film making. The strength of that is that I can look at everyday situations and talk about them as film, but it also makes a weakness in the communication to some people- I don’t think in linear conversation, I think in movie angle vision, always trying to throw people off.

My point is it wasn’t until last summer where I literally just dicked around in my car, had no money, met with a bunch of younger people (and same aged and older) who were just sitting around, doing and selling drugs, fighting each other and trying to cause problems in the most white-bread area ever, that I learned where my Voice comes from.

You need to find your voice. I pray that you get out of the movie-watching business and start life watching.