Around this time last week I wrote about a 2,500 word film theory essay that I was expected to write and produce, with today as deadline. Well, I'm pleased to say that progress was made and I got the thing ready in time - even though it meant I had to book the weekend off work (ironically, as a 'holiday' - it was anything but!) to get it completed.
Oh deary God, I've never felt such excruiating pain whilst attempting to write anything in my whole life, and it's my own fault really. The essay demanding a good level of research to be conducted (mine was on the theory of genre) and I just didn't produce the goods, meaning that I had very little insight into the subject matter, which they resulted in me not knowing what to write.
The later I left it, the more anxious I got. Thursday slipped me by and I had written was the first passage, the introduction, and that was barely 500 words. Then Friday, and it really hit home just how ill prepared I was, and how bad that was going to make my work in the end. That depressed me a lot, knowing that I didn't have it in me to carry on, and I'm man enough to admit that at one point the thought of quitting my university course altogether was a very real suggestion.
I just didn't feel vindictated enough being there. I'm not as atune to certain elements of the course as others are. Take editing, which I'm currently sitting every Wednesday, there's certain classmates in there who wiz through their work, and not only that what they do is brilliant. And I'm sat in the corner, with 30 minutes left to go, still assembling my clips in order, having not even started the editing process yet. Sitting there in my bedroom, unable to write through lack of knowledge, it just kinda brought everything home.
And I felt like I didn't deserve or want to be on my course anymore.
Thinking that made me more anxious and petrified than ever, which I decided probably wasn't the best conditions to write a script or essay under, so I decided that I'd take Saturday off entirely from the writing process (a risky trick that then left me with only Sunday and Monday morning to complete the work) to 'clear my head' and regain my sanity, and it worked, sorta.
I spent the day with my Dad and Step-Mum, and it was the most ordinary, boring Saturday ever - which makes it sound like the exact opposite of what you'd want your Saturday to be, but to me it was an extraordinary blessing. I can't remember the last time I had a Saturday off of work, or spent the whole day with my Dad. It felt so good to be able to do that, and so right. Just like old times - in the life before Vue Cinema, when I was growing up or even the period of time during college when Saturdays meant I got to see her, the girlfriend. Just for one Saturday I had the freedom of being able to do whatever I wanted back, and it felt great*.
(Funny story actually; I used Saturday night to clean out my room at Dad's house. I'm barely in it anymore, and so this was the first opportunity I'd got to clean the place up in like a year, or maybe eighteen months. Thing is, my room is in the loft and there are no windows - so the dust I unsettled stayed with me, and I had some allergic reaction or something. My eyes swelled and went blood red! Was quite painful, but hilariously funny!)
Coming back to the bastard essay n Sunday and I don't know if my day holiday worked or if I just suddenly got a sense of urgency, but the writing just started pouring out of me. Suddenly theories that made no sense whatsoever to me the day before were clear to me, and conjoined with other relative theories in my mind. I was a-go!
Still, I was foolish. I went to bed at 2am Monday morning with the essay incomplete, and didn't wake until 10am. The deadline was just 2 hours away, and I had another 1000 words to write - and knowing that I'd miss the deadline anyway, and rewarding myself for the work done so far, I slowed my pace and started messing around on the internet - writing the odd paragraph here or there, whenever I felt like it.
I had class at 6pm that night and knew I'd have to set off at least an hour and half before, which gave me until 4:30pm to complete my work, read over it and then edit out any mistakes. To say I managed the feat by a whisker would be an understatement. I barely managed it, but that didn't matter - what did was the fact I had managed it at all, especially after my weekend of fear, loathing and anxiety. I overcame them all, and defeated my doubts.
The essay is, in my opinion, highly flawed and I have no idea what sort of mark to expect from it, but I'm quitely confident that I'll at least pass. The real accomplishment at the end of the day isn't the grade or the half arsed research I did, but my survival through it all, because I didn't just quit like my inner-demons told me to. I took the hard path instead, and stuck by it, and in the end that paid off - I overcame the bastard essay and all its evils.
I have one more film theory essay to complete, before three and a half years of film theory study draws to an end. From next semester I'm focused on just television theory and its production.
Until that final bastard essay then, I guess!
Oh, and that 15 page script due in tomorrow...
*Reminder to one's self, I must have Saturdays like this more often...