Term six at VFS was a happy and inspiring one, even though it was simultaneously sad, since my classmates and I were on the brink of leaving school and going our separate ways.
I took the electives Writing for Games 2–a continuation of the writing for video games course that I took last term–and Documentary/Reality TV, in which I pitched and developed a documentary. My doc idea is one I’ve had for a while, about yoga, and the conflict between the practice’s Eastern origins and the popularization of the practice in the West. The idea came a long way, and I look forward to researching the topic more and eventually hope to make it into a feature documentary. In Writing for Games 2, I pitched and developed an idea for a video game. My game was about solving a mystery, and I had a lot of fun working on that as well. But I think that going forward, I want to write it as a feature screenplay.
Another fun class was Script Genre, which focused on Auteurs (writer/directors that, according to the French “Auteur Theory,” are believed to be authors of their films). I loved this class, taught by the enthusiastic Paul Jensen (love that guy) and I learned about a lot of auteurs. My favorite writer/director that we studied was Sofia Coppola, and I have since watched almost all of her films. She’s definitely going to influence my future work. But of course, there are always more films and filmmakers to discover!
Then there was my feature film workshop with John Meadows, where my classmates and I read and workshopped each other’s final feature projects. It’s always eye-opening to read each other’s work and learn from our successes and failures as a group.
Career Launch was a fun class as well. We learned about different ways to network, meet producers, send out our work, get work in the industry, and most importantly, gain validation for our writing. Deb and Kat, both of the instructors, gave lots of good advice, and had a realistic approach to the industry (it’s hard out there for a screenwriter, folks) while keeping a positive, encouraging outlook. I always felt good after these lectures. Our instructors believed in us. Sometimes that’s all you need.
On August 22, Vancouver Film School’s 44th Writing Class gathered in the school’s Main Theatre for our graduation ceremony. Our instructors shared memories from the year, and handed out merit awards and the more casual Golden Bagel awards. I was one of two recipients of the “Baser Cup,” named after the head of the writing department, Michael Baser. I was honored to win this (even though I’m still not sure what exactly it means) and I will have my name engraved on the trophy alongside several other notable writing graduates and instructors. For years–no, decades–to come, students will sit in Baser’s office, look upon the Baser cup, read my name, and think “Ah, Lauren Barker. She must be important.”
To my fellow 44s, thank you for coming to VFS. Thank you for bringing your ideas and your talent. Thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis. I will always look upon this year fondly, and that is in large part because of you. Don’t be strangers, now.