Phil Gyford


Monday 19 September 2005

PreviousIndexNext Back to school

You know those times when your hopefully rock-solid text editor crashes and loses the piece you’d spent half an hour typing? Yeah. Yeah. It was just here, on the screen in front of my eyes. I saw it. How come those words don’t exist any more? Deep breath.

Start of a new academic year. Exciting. Blah. Not typing all that again. Here’s the schedule for this term:

6.00pm - 7.40pm: Foundation course, Movement class.
7.55pm - 9.35pm: Foundation course, Voice class.

4.15pm - 5.45pm: “Find Your Voice” (singing for tuneless people).
6.25pm - 9.45pm: Foundation course, Acting class.

10.30am - 1.30pm: Introduction to Stanislavski

I’ll hopefully be fitting four or so days’ work around that lot each week, and getting annoyed about my tenuous social life becoming even more vapourous.

Last Saturday I went to the induction for the year-long Foundation course, during which everyone from the four concurrent courses met, possibly for the only time, and were told some guidelines. From memory:

  • Don’t be late to class.
  • Don’t miss a class.
  • We really mean those two.
  • This is a serious commitment you’re making.
  • But six hours a week can’t be as deep as a real drama school.
  • Work as a group, but don’t form cliques.
  • Be careful about falling in love; working with people so closely can get emotional.
  • Don’t be late or miss a class. Really.

No doubt I’ve missed some. This was the “Right here is where you start paying. With sweat.” speech, only less scary and more British. We then got a quick chance to split into our four groups and meet the twenty or so people we’d be spending 62 evenings with over the next nine months. But there’ll be more of that getting to know people on Tuesday.


I've said before, rather too many times, that in the pre-silicon days authors were able to create personal legends about the loss of manuscripts: absent-minded maids toss them onto the fire; the only copy is left on a train or in a taxi, never to be seen again; and so on. These days, such dramatic loss is trivial. I don't know a single writer who hasn't lost a very substantial amount of work to the vagiaries of the interfaces between silicon, aluminium and operating system -- in my case the worst being two months' work on a novel and a completed game manuscript, gone to a combination of a failed back-up and a copy of WinZip that someone (not me) had configured not to archive subdirectories. And when they go, they go so utterly. One day there will be a solution (on-the-fly keystroke-by-keystroke backups made to a server in a secure location hundreds of miles away, perhaps). Until then, autosave and backup, and don't shirk it.

Posted by James James Wallis on 20 September 2005, 1:59 pm | Link

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