Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor, Cody Smart. Cody is teaching a NEW course, Script Doctoring (Reg# 376067) online (no set class meetings) this Fall. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.
What sparks your creativity?
I think that living life to the fullest and being a keen observer of the human experience and everyone around you is what works best for me. I think that writing comes from personal experiences and from how you see the world. That doesn’t mean only writing about what happens to you, but about the real emotions that come from what you’ve experienced. So I think that’s where I find inspiration—in my own emotions.
What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
I think that treating your writing as a “job” is key. I work and write from home, but I don’t let being home distract me from actually writing. I have set up a schedule I follow just as if I was going to an office. I wake up at a set time, take an hour-long lunch break at noon, and at 6:00pm I close my computer for the day to enjoy family time. I think that consistency helps to inspire me and keep me motivated. Also a to-do list of my work commitments together with working on multiple projects at a time so I can bounce from one to another when I’m stuck helps keep me on track and always writing.
What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
That’s really hard, as there are so many books and movies that I love and that have inspired me. But I can definitely say When Harry Met Sally and Little Miss Sunshine had the biggest impacts in me, as those are the types of movies I’d love to write one day, with great banter and unique characters that resonate with audiences.
What’s your favorite quote about writing?
This might be a long one, but this quote from Kurt Vonnegut has always spoken to me: “Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I really admire the writing of Amy Sherman-Palladino and Aaron Sorkin. The way they’ve managed to master banter in dialogue impresses me to my very core and really speaks to me as both a writer/script analyst and a viewer.
What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
I’m a Bruin, so teaching at my alma mater, and one of the best writing programs in the world, is a dream come true for me. I believe that the Writers’ Program is a great tool for any aspiring writer to develop their craft and meet other writers. Screenwriting and Filmmaking are collaborative mediums. We need each other in order to create. So I’m excited about inspiring and guiding the new generations of writers, and I hope we all learn from each other.
What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I hope students get to go deep into the analysis of scripts, and discover that writing can be done in different ways. I always thought I would focus just on writing my own projects, but during an internship I fell in love with script development, and followed that path to become a script consultant and doctor. I hope students learn how to be more critical of their own scripts to perfect them, as well as opening their eyes to helping others perfect their scripts and take them to the next level.
Thank you to Cody for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!