Fire, Bloodshed, and Parking

It’s not an official faculty meeting, a former dean remarked at a UCLA film department gathering, until someone complains about parking.

For me, having joined the faculty forty years ago, the cost of parking has risen from about ninety bucks a year to about twelve-hundred. That’s a hike of more than a thousand percent.

If that’s not bad enough, faculty are supposed to consider ourselves fortunate for the privilege of attaining any spot at all, at any price, on our largely commuter campus in Westwood.

A major reason for the success of UCLA’s screenwriting program, in my never-humble opinion, is the fact that all of our faculty are experienced, professional writers. None gives up writing for teaching but, instead, integrates one into the other and the other into the one. Instead of presenting a vantage that is purely analytical and intellectual—though we provide that too—all our teachers possess also an insider’s hands-on conversancy with the nuts and bolts of screenwriting art, craft, and business…a working writer’s appreciation for the way screenwriting actually unfolds.

Some of our instructors are superstars; others are working-stiff writers like me. But all of us are Writers Guild of America members with professional screenwriting experience in film/TV and/or digital-media. Among the superstars is, for example, UCLA alumnus Dustin Lance Black, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Milk. Lance, as friends call him, didn’t care how much the University paid him to teach his course. He had only one requirement: that the Department pick up his parking.

>> Continue reading on Script Lab! 

Comments are closed.