Film Crash Course: Skillshare Class


Last Friday, my company was closed for Good Friday. Thursday night, I set my alarm for 20 luxurious minutes over my normal weekday wake-up. “That sucks, you don’t get a day off,” Matt said.

“I have a day off my day job. Full day on my second full-time job,” I pointed out. Luckily this is the one I get really jazzed and blog about. So here’s a little bit about the extraordinary Good Friday and the project it created.


A few weeks ago, I received an email from a company called Skillshare asking if I’d like to teach a writing course for them. I drew on my favorite topic, pop culture writing, and in a frenzied month of March put together the curriculum and class plan in anticipation of film day.

Skillshare sent Firwood Creative’s film crew out to the Pacific University MFA offices to film about 30 minutes’ worth of class material–a process that took five hours. There’s so much that goes into collecting footage that I never took a second to consider, like capturing the sound, making sure there’s no weird lighting or reflections, and contending with the ten thousand beer trucks that rolled by our impromptu studio. All of those variables outside of any times I ruined a take by veering off a verbal cliff. There’s also strange things that turn out harder than you’d ever think, like typing nonstop garbage into Word for 10 minutes while filming to create B-roll footage.

This is what I learned during the process: filming anything is grueling. Talking about anything that long is exhausting, and so it better damned be something you love. Fortunately I love essays that dig into the hearts and (occasionally dark and rotten) souls of film and television shows, so even though by the end I was tripping over my tongue and practically delirious, I had one of the best days-as-a-writer of my life. I got to go back to my roots and represent Our Beloved Boxer, I got to talk about some of my favorite writers like Arielle Bernstein and Elizabeth Ellen, and I had an excuse to buy a brand-new scholarly looking dress.

And in the end, I got to frolic through the aisles of Powell’s thoughtfully plucking books from the shelves like Belle in Beauty and the Beast for b-roll, so you know. Perks.

Best of all, this is but the beginning of the Pop Culture Skillshare Class! Now that it’s dropped on the site, you can see what the extremely talented editors culled out of this intense day, learn more about pop culture writing, and write your very own example of entertainment excavation. Friends (and blog readers) can sign up for 99 cents, and when you do, you can access not just my class but everything else Skillshare has. Like how to make macarons.

Here’s the special promo link: http://skl.sh/2088uCY

Thanks for your support! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

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