Thursday, September 07, 2006 screenwriting after all. oh wait, yes screenwriting. wait...gah!

This is another example of what happens when you don’t at least glance outside the box for half a second because you’re a stinkin’ chicken face.

I’m filling out my registration form for my screenwriting stuff when I notice this whole paragraph thing about tuition reimbursement.

Let me back up a sec. When I was first hired here, I was told that two of my employee benefits are 1) a ridiculously low salary, like way below the private sector, like based on what you make, people may wonder whether you graduated high school…or have a pulse…and 2) tuition reimbursement for up to 8 credits a semester; it’s all on the College. I could write a completely separate post about why I took this job, but we’ll cut to the end, which you already know, which is that I did take the job, and now I’m trying to cash in on my 2) benefit by enrolling in screenwriting classes.

Okay, where was I? Ah yes. I’m filling out my registration form for my screenwriting stuff when I read on the back of said registration form that 25% of tuition is due upon registration, thereafter to be reimbursed at the end of the year. Huh. Never saw that before. HR never ran that bit of info by me previously. Well, how much is 25%? $810.00? Well, nifty. I sat there silent for a few minutes trying to figure out if there was still some way to take the classes even though $810.00 is not even in my savings account right now, I don’t own a credit card, and prostitution totally lost its appeal after undergrad. (Sorry you had to find out this way, Mom.) Nope. No way, no how.

I put the form in the trash and got back to work. Gradually the disappointment of it began its festering, to the point where I finally went online and tried to find one class that might be feasible, instead of a whole 1-year program. I really would like to learn to write well, and if my 2) benefit is really of no benefit at all to me, then that leaves me with just Benefit #1 (see third paragraph), which would make me Grade A Chump for sticking around this place. And that’s a hard reality. So yes, disappointment was indeed setting in.

I found a Wednesday night playwriting class. I bet I could do that. I’ll do that. I call up the department and find out that there are three slots left, and I can register next week for it and pay nothing at all. Hmm….so apparently this is the class HR was talking about when they were telling me about 2) benefit. The other classes didn’t count. Fine. Whatever.

I told myself this change of plan was probably the better option than the screenwriting program. It’s only one night a week, it’s totally free, and the strongest idea for a story I’ve got right now has to be a play and wouldn’t work as a movie anyway. It’s perfect! Probably meant to be.

Or not. I get a call this morning from the screenwriting people asking if I’m still planning to enroll. I tell them no, and I tell them why. And then they tell me that I was reading the wrong information on the registration form. They tell me I was reading the tuition reimbursement plan for other non-College working professionals. If I’m a full time employee of the College I still pay nothing, not even the registration fee. I can take the screenwriting classes after all.

Could all this confusion been avoided if I had picked up the phone and asked for clarification about the tuition reimbursement for College employees? I think we can all agree on a yes for that. Why didn’t I? It’s very simple: if some force outside my sphere of control clamps down and chokes my chance to learn how to write then it must mean that I should not be learning to write, that I have no talent for such things, and I may as well not even try. If my power to choose is taken from me, then the path of least resistance becomes my only option. I can run away from the challenge guilt free. I know...sooooo chicken face.

But, oh no. Instead, all has now been clarified. I can still take the classes for no cost. All I have to do is get the form from HR and be on my way. Get the form from HR…hmm…get the form. I wonder if I get hit by a bus en route to HR? Now that would be a very good sign. Definitely no writing going on then. Cross fingers!!!

Seriously, what should I do? The playwriting class which feels much more manageable, but also more on point? Or do I push it and go for the screenwriting 1-year commitment and hope I come up with a good movie script idea in the next week?
Can you do both, or are you not planning to stick around that long?

I can see the benefits of both (I'm good at that, and thus a useless Libra/INFJ when it comes to decision-making time). Since you already have an idea for a play, the playwriting would be great to let you develop that. However, screenwriting may allow you to branch out more.

And don't doubt that you can write, Miss Mary! You have written some wonderfully touching things and some hysterically funny things right here on this blog. Go for it! Either way you'll be writing and that's good stuff.
Amen and amen. Sounds like you've got the world at your doorstep.
screenwriting... although i'm a little afraid to mention it after last night...

no, no you guys. you're all supposed to say: "just take the playwriting class. less stress, less challenging. it's the right thing to do!"

why am i so afraid of this?!
Because it's new and different. Because you might succeed and your life might become completely different. Sometimes it's downright frightening to succeed because you're used to your life right now, and even if it isn't perfect, you're used to it. It's scary, changing it, even if it's the idea of something better. When I started grad school, I kept saying something similar, but it was well worth it.
Well, now it's been a few days, so my advice would be to reassess the situation. How do you feel about it now that you've had the weekend to think about it? I can hardly tell you which one to choose, but I would lean more toward the year-long program. I'm sure that in a screen writing program you'll also learn enough to help you develop the play that is in your head.
I think it's screenwriting. That was the original plan. Failure is in the non-attempt, not the attempt itself.

It's been an amazing and surprising comfort to get this feedback from you all. Thanks for taking the time!
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