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Monday, 5 April - link

Everything I need to know about grad school I learned from Walter E. Kurtz

There's a point in the Apocalypse Now voice over where Willard is talking about Kurtz, the mystery man at the end of the river, how Kurtz gave up rank and respect in order to keep learning and challenging himself.

I last quoted that passage on this page when I was writing about going toobin' in the Ozarks. Because that was dangerous and painful and seemed stupid to me. But you must continue to challenge yourself, I figured. I ended up with bad rope burns and wrenched limbs.

This morning that passage came to me as I scraped some salty cheese on toasted bread. I had just finished a third revision of my CV, my life summation at greater length than a resume. I was compiling this survey of my work for an application to grad school, specifically the Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. I'm looking over all I've done, and I think to myself for just a moment - wait! I have so much of my own momentum, don't I? I'm making things, collaborating with people. Why would I submit to someone else's notion of content creation? Required classes that may be redundant? Structured activities like training wheels? Tied to a place and a program for three years?

Because the point of the program is to learn to make things. To practice craft, not writing, no, but the craft of media creation, content in the modern sense. Not so much academic analyses, papers, but screenplays, short films, interactive media. Because I'd be surrounded by smart working minds, with access to tools and ideas.

I talked to Ryan, he expects me to thrive in that academic setting.
Howard said something along these lines: if you're going to be a writer, sit down and write a book. But if I'm unable to focus that way, then going to grad school could be good discipline.
GK said right on. No, I wouldn't be learning about writing per se, but I would be studying narrative and storytelling.
Mom and Colin both said it sounds like a good fit and a great opportunity.
Abbe pointed out that this kind of training, an MFA, is perfect if I expect I might to teach later in life.
Larry said the only concern might be that I might be just about too old. But that's not much of a reason not to do anything; he rather cheerily suggested that grand school would be grand.
The I Ching says Hsu/Waiting (Nourishment): "Waiting. If you are sincere, You have light and success. Perseverance brings good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water."
Most of my friends and family agree I have a somewhat academic leaning. I'm just remembering that I designed and taught a class and workshops while I was in college. That all makes sense. I like to teach, and learn. So I'm applying to head back into the academy, officially.

Posted on 5 April 2004 : 13:14 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.