[The Graduate]: Take It From The Top and Start From The Bottom

No, I’m not talking about the film – sorry to disappoint – but I am inclined to feel like Benjamin Braddock every now and then. Where am I going? What do I do now? Where will I take myself after completing a great milestone? I am stuck at the crossroads…

by Marie Setiawan

Let me introduce myself – I am an aspiring writer wanting to make her way into the industry and make stories come to life, whether they are others’ or my own. There is something about creating life through the words you sculpt into a story – the characters, the plot, the journey they embark on, and the obstacles they must face. It’s an intricate craft – one that I need to hone my skills into before I can take a step through a producer’s door. If at any point in time such a thing turns into reality, you’ll be the first to know here. But for now, these are early times.

After graduating from film school, things have crawled to a slower pace over the past month or two. Perhaps maybe too slow for my liking. I had gotten used to the film school regimen that structure in my untimely schedule has been thrown out the window. It’s difficult to know what to do with myself nowadays. Frankly it’s been an extended holiday, but my mind needs constant stimulation or else creativity would grow stagnant and stale. I’m sure most writers have “one of those days” where nothing comes to you, where you stare at your computer screen (or your empty notebook page, whichever your method may be) for what feels like an eternity and nothing springs out at you. Call it a lack of inspiration, but I’ve learned that it’s also a lack of discipline.

I had initially set a goal (or a number of goals) to achieve within a six month period – which is now less than six months at this rate – but it’s given me an objective to strive towards, much like how one’s protagonist chases after their dreams relentlessly. I’ve felt unsure at times as to where I’m going to take myself from here. After all, I am fairly new to this strange world that is the film industry. So I’m caught at a crossroads of sorts – the inevitable next step after graduation: “What now?”

I know how you feel Benjamin…

For any aspiring screenwriter, it all comes down to utilising time to your advantage (though I’m one to talk). We can easily come up with excuses to postpone any goals we want to achieve just for another day. It could be a lack of inspiration or the sense that all you’ll write would be meaningless trite at the end of the day. Honestly, I’ve caught myself doing other things to avoid writing in general – even washing the dishes was a productive substitute. My time has been spent reorganising all of my things – a few script ideas and a film treatment in the works – all of it a part of my plans to complete within six months (now less). Regardless, it’s good to get your mind away from it all once in a while, but only enough for another fresh start on your work. Procrastination is creativity’s double-edged sword – not the enemy.

Now it’s 2013… it’s all about starting from rock bottom after having a taste of what it’s like to be on top of things. Now that film school is over for me, I’m now trying the waters. I apologise for such a late post, (one that I’m writing in the wee hours of the morning), but I had been keeping it off for your average number of reasons: “I’ve been busy.” “I haven’t had time to sit down.” “I wasn’t inspired.” When really, all I needed was to jot down my initial thoughts. It’s all about completing one step at a time instead of having to constantly focus on the super objective, which for anyone would be a significant weight on their shoulders (much like how New Year Resolutions don’t always work out).

From here on, it’s one foot in front of the other. Let’s see what the next month will bring.

– Marie

MarieMarie Setiawan is a film graduate from the International Film School Sydney, as well as a UNSW Alumni with a BA degree in Media and Communications with Honours. Writing is her passion, but she also enjoys many things on the side such as reading, watching films, and indulging herself in social media whenever she can. She is interested in the future of storytelling and how it is constantly changing in our tech-rich world, where narrative can be transformed into any medium.

Photo Credits: The Graduate (1967)

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