Education / Self taught : Challenge 24

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self taughtLast night I logged onto the #scriptchat conversation on twitter and asked the same question to the panel which were @Bang2write and @Julie_Gray. As I anticipated they didn’t favour one over the other, it is entirely a personal choice.

I’m an advocate of education – just as well as I work in a university. Having undertaken many courses over the years to build up my qualifications for work and also as a personal goal. I’m a firm believer that it’s important to have qualifications, but just as important to have relevant experience, skills and knowledge.

I was a late starter when I undertook my degree. It was something that niggled me throughout my twenties as there were many jobs in the public sector that looked like something I could do, but the person specification always requested “educated to degree level”. Early 2005 I did a magazine journalism course, which followed by me signing up for a degree at the Open University.

After I graduated in 2009 I had a burning ambition to then study for a masters, but I was adamant that it would be in something that I felt passionate about. Scriptwriting ticked both those boxes, so I was ecstatic to be offered a place on the course.

Now I am at the end of the postgraduate diploma part of the course, I must admit that although I could have just bought a lot of books about scriptwriting, and if it works for people then that will save them a heap of cash. However, for me attending a class every week, listening to lectures, masterclasses and then receiving feedback from my peers has been invaluable.

I have experienced aspects that I never would have if I was self-taught. The best experience was during my radio drama module where I was present at the drama being recorded in a radio studio with a group of talented performance students. Hearing your words and characters come to life is really valuable. With the medium of radio too, it is easy to spot mistakes that have been made with the script which don’t work in an audible medium.

Being part of a small community of like-minded individuals has kept me motivated during some difficult times over the two years. There are times when you wonder whether you can actually do this, especially when those rejection emails come from the writers room and other script calls. Personally without my class mates I’m not sure I would have got to the end of the course,and I’m hoping that my dissertation will give me the calling card I need. education

I know other writers through twitter who were entirely self-taught, and this goes to show that it is a personal preference. I absorb information if I can hear somebody talk, and for me to take notes. But, it’s also reassuring for any future writers that there are a lot of very good text-books out there that can do the trick as well.

How about yourself? Do you favour education or think that self-taught is just as effective.

This is a post for blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June.

On your marks, get set….Munich

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An unexpected adventure has arisen this summer for myself and my husband. Our boys have been taken on holiday with their grandfather. Not ones for letting a rare opportunity go to waste we decided we needed to make the most of the situation and do something that we can never do with kids around.

So, we decided to have an adventure around Europe for 17 days.

Apart from the odd weekend away, we have never had a holiday together given that we had our first child when we were young. That, and my crippling fear of flying which left us holidaying in Cornwall and Wales each year.

Thanks to an abundance of air miles that I’ve been saving up, we had a plan, a schedule of cities and we were ready for the off.

Day One
The adventure began on the number 19 bus to Manchester Airport. The journey had me concentrating like a mind-reader as I was trying to hold in a much needed pee and boy did that bus go round all of Wythenshawe before it got tot the airport. I was almost singing when we finally disembarked and got into the airport terminal.

A short flight to London Heathrow where we changed to our connecting flight to Munich. This was made entertaining by being part of a group of passengers sat in front of the tv screen watching Mo Farrah going for gold in the 5000 metre race.

We didn’t see the finish as we got the final call for boarding.

Once in Munich we were treat to a couple of laps of what felt like a journey in a formula one car as our taxi driver- think he was called Franz Schumacher (Michaels brother) dropped us at our hotel. A nice hotel NH Airport-Munchen, a welcome couple of beers and then off to bed we went.

Day Two
The morning started with the husband skidding into the bathroom – a leak in the bathroom made having a shower almost like an obstacle course. However, we got a free shuttle bus ride back to the airport for our troubles.

I had booked us into a very cheap pension which is basically just a no frills room. It was very no frills and was opposite a nice lap dancing establishment which reflected the glow of red lights into our room in the evening.

We spent the day exploring beautiful Munich, taking in the churches, Oktoberfest venue and ended up in a picturesque park in the centre. The park was magical, so different from the parks here in Britain. The major difference being the scattering of middle aged, naked men who were sunbathing in the area. I was a bit shell shocked by the sight – not by naked men, but it was a bit surreal them being within a few metres of children playing football……

After the shock of the naked park, the rest of it was great. Young people surfing in the vibrant, rough area of the river that was running through the park. Mesmerising to watch and certainly nothing like that available to the young people in Wythenshawe – not a whiff of wkd, wacky backy or general anti-social behaviour in sight.

We stayed that night in the city centre in a pension. I couldn’t help but think of Bates Motel that night as I watched the closing Olympic ceremony, thinking that the freaky owner may let himself into our room dressed in his mothers clothes.