Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Philip Hoover! Philip is teaching a section of One-Hour TV I (Reg# 391148) this Spring. Philip is teaching in our Remote online format on Mondays starting April 3. He sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and his upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
I get a lot of inspiration from documentary films, especially ones that are character driven. The same goes for observing people from my own life. I find that studying real people, whether on screen or in reality, helps capture something specific about a human being, and so much about good writing is about specificity. Once you cling onto that, you can then use it to write fictional characters with seemingly real internal and external lives.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
When I can’t find the energy or time to sit down and write, I tend to spend some time thinking about story/character. It’s like daydreaming, I guess. It can be something as simple as a piece of dialogue, or an image I have in my mind’s eye. Thinking about writing is also a form of writing I believe.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
It’s very difficult to narrow it down to one film or book, but some of my favorite recent films are Triangle of Sadness and Aftersun. I recently read The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, about a female creative writing professor who inherits her friend’s enormous Great Dane after he passes away. What she was able to do with such a simple premise was pretty remarkable. And the writing is beautiful.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?
I think Bong Joon Ho said, “The quality of your writing will be directly related to your understanding of human behavior.”

Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I’ve heard that Stephen King writes 6 pages a day. 6 good pages. That’s pretty enviable, if you ask me.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
UCLA is the foremost institution for studying film and TV in the best film and TV city in the world. All of the instructors have plenty of real world experience and the students take their courses seriously. I’m honored and excited to be a part of that community. Plus I could talk about film and TV all day, and here I get to do it for work.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
It’s important as a writer to feel like you’re developing your voice, and to have something tangible to show for this effort. If my students walk away with anything from my course, for me, it would be having established some more confidence in their voice as a writer, and having something on paper that they can be proud of. Finishing a draft and having a sense of pride in it is so important for writers!

Thank you to Philip for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!

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