Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor William Badgley! William is teaching a NEW course, Writing for Documentary (Reg# 392623) this Summer in person at UCLA. He sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and his upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
In terms of creativity, I hold pretty strongly to the Thomas Edison quote about genius being one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration. I abide by this principle in terms of creativity. It’s hard to say where the ideas originate from, but once they are there, I work very hard on them. I wake up early, then work all day, every day, that sort of thing. I believe pretty strongly that art is more defined by work ethic than by talent. I have seen many people far more talented than myself do a lot less, so I just try to wake up every day and work as hard as I can.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
I’m also a big believer in process and story arc, so in that way I’m very much a “build it and they will come” style writer, to borrow from the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams haha. I believe that if you design a story arc consisting of self-contained sections that you accomplish a bunch of different things at once. The first is that you make all the tasks smaller, right? So instead of trying to write one entire project all at once, you are writing a series of smaller connective pieces. And if you understand how the story works as a whole, you understand, at least in theory, the function that each smaller piece must accomplish. This strategy also means that you can write sections out of order, which I have found incredibly helpful over the years. It has been my experience that trying to write a large piece from front to back can end up being a bit of a fool’s errand, at least for me. I find it easier to jump around a bit and then fill in the missing bits or just drop them out altogether. So, story arc and process, those are my largest weapons when going into battle.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
Being a self-described “words guy”, my love for film’s is pretty much determined by the script, so top two films (scripts) would be Platoon and Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). Favorite book would have to be Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller.

 What’s your favorite quote about writing?
So this is a bit off script, but my favorite quote about the creation of art is from The Bible, and is actually about faith: Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That’s what I think art is and so that’s what I try to do everyday, work towards making those unseen, hoped for things, clearly evident to all.

Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I would like to be able to write like Henry Miller, that would be nice haha.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
For me, that’s a two parter. I love the process, I love the art of the craft itself, ergo I love to talk about it and rarely do you get much occasion to do so, so that’s the first part.  The second part is that, as I have loved the journey myself, I love seeing others go on that same journey, everything laid out before them, it is really exciting.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
What I hope for each student is that the exploration of the craft brings them closer to becoming the person they were already becoming, that they are able to use writing to get there faster and arrive with more clarity. I hope it gives their journey shape.

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

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