Started my first day of an eight week screewriting course.

It was funny that the only place I could find a screenwriting course in Toronto, being offered right now, was at my old alma mater, U of T.

I went down by subway, hadn’t been downtown for a while and then walked onto the U of T campus.

It’s a really green campus, lots of trees, a little haven just blocks away from downtown, and yet the traffic on Hoskin St. has a muffled quality to it.

Like there’s a perpetual hush, people are learning here.

It was surprising to see so many young people. The girls walking along wearing those leggings that are really just the leotards they wore in medieval times if  you think about it!

It’s cute the way they’d skip up or down the stairs.

I can’t do that any more.

I always get nervous when I’m going to an unfamiliar place. I had figured out where University College was on this 3D map, but I still wondered.

Got to the place just in time.

University College looks like it was built in the early 1800’s. I walked through a gothic arch to get to it and at the top of the arch was a clock that was stuck on 12 o’clock. High noon? Like it was waiting for some kind of duel?

And as I passed under that arch, I savoured that feeling of age, of venerability, and I contrasted it to the lack of respect for old buildings in Saudi Arabia.

I mean, besides the Kaaba and the haram, I guess, every other building that’s even a little old is torn down in the kingdom.

They even tore down the house where the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born!

The Saudis seem to have no respect for history.

And when I went into the building, even the staircase was a mark of crafstmanship. There was a dragon or griffin or some such mythical beast, carved into the bottom of the handrail. It perched there with its mouth open snarling, and I guess the handrail that went up the staircase constituted the rest of its tail.

But it really was a work of functional art.

They don’t make things like that any more.

The screen writing course was in a small room with ancient wooden tables and an incongruous-looking LCD projector in the middle.

We were treated to a seven minute screening of the beginning of the Al Pacino flick Dog Day Afternoon. Never heard of the movie!

But the instructor, Mr. Thom Vernon called it his favourite movie of all time.

He gave us an interesting task. We  had to write down how the scenes we’d just witnessed would have appeared in the screenplay.

It sure makes you look at movies completely differently!

Turns out Mr. Vernon was in a Seinfeld episode and played one of the convicts in the bus in the movie The Fugitive. He was the one that foamed at the mouth and led to the bus crash.

I’ll have to look for him next time I watch the movie.

It sure does put movies in perspective.

Makes you think, “Oh yeah. People actually stage that. Theyre ACTING!”

That’s the power of a good movie I guess.

I heard someone say that when he watched Social Network it was the first time he’d watched a movie where he forgot he was watching a movie.

I do find that when I’m screenwriting, because I’m paying so much attention to the format of the script, it’s not as organic an experience as it is when I’m writing novel prose. I guess I’m so comfortable with novel prose I can get lost in the story.

Hopefully, with practice, that will happen with screenwriting too!