Being an undeclared freshman, I’ve had a lot of different classes this year that have focused on many different majors and areas of study. These would include intro classes in philosophy, computer sciences, history, communications and theology. With all of these classes, there was one that was unlike the rest.
The screenwriting course offered here on campus teaches student how to write and create screenplays like those used in many of the films, video games and TV shows seen in popular media today. Students also learn how to expand their writing in a more creative way and learn how to tell a story in the format that many Hollywood writers use. In addition to creating movie, television and video game scripts, they also analyze movies and point out different styles of writing and storytelling that are used in them.
I was interested in the screenwriting class because I like to write and have always been interested in the art of storytelling through popular media. This class also interested me because it focused on the unsung hero of movie productions: the writer. In movies you usually hear about the actors or directors, but rarely do you hear about the writer of the script. This was very interesting to me because without a script you have no movie. That is why I was interested in learning more about what these people do and how challenging their job can be.
The course is taught by Dr. Matthew McKeague, who has had experience working professionally in Los Angeles for RB Media, writing for websites such as Guff.com which holds a position in the top 10 websites in mobile traffic, and meme.com, which generates a lot of internet traffic. Dr. McKeague has had a love for writing his whole life, inspired by British comedies like Benny Hill and Monty Python. Dr. McKeague said, “I frequently thank my parents for exposing me to adult comedy far before I should have; it helped warp my brain to the strange way it is now.” Dr. McKeague would also make movies with his friends on the weekends in his seventh grade year of school, writing and shooting skits in his basement. After graduating from high school, Dr. McKeague went to Lock Haven University for his undergrad then went on to receive his Masters from Shippensburg University, then his doctrine from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When it comes to the creative process Dr. McKeague said, “I try to write every day, something creative to let all of those voices out of my head, and to let me hone this skill.” He is currently working on sitcom pilots and a couple comedy screenplays he hopes will be picked up in the future. When asked about what his favorite part of teaching is Dr. McKeague said,“My favorite part of teaching is being able to provide practical wisdom to students through my experience in the business.” He also said another thing he loves about teaching is when he is able to talk to the students and witness them take an interest in the material.
Through the different projects and activities in the class I’ve learned how to be a better writer and storyteller. I got to experience how my hard work paid off through the screenplays that I wrote in the class and being able to look at what I accomplished when the script was finished. I also learned how to work as a team in writing a screenplay with characters created by other students in the class. It was also cool to be able to share my story with my peers and hear their reactions and feedback on my script. Through all these activities and one on one learning moments in this class, I developed writing tools that will help me in my future writing and creative endeavors.