I’m by nature quite a non-emotive person. As in, if given a choice to express myself or not to, I would unashamedly go for the latter. Right now I’m breaking this ludicrous rule of mine because I feel I owed Chris Jones an immense gratitude for the absolutely amazing stuff that he and his team has put up for us – the Screenwriters’ Talent Campus 2.0.
For those who are wondering what the heck Talent Campus is, it’s basically an exciting group carefully cherrypicked by Chris and his team to participate in an intensive screenwriting course held over the period of two months. The group comprises a motley crew of talented individuals from diverse ages, experiences and backgrounds, which is a clear testimony that virtually anyone can be in this group – it all really depends on taking that very first step. That very first courageous step of believing that ‘I CAN do it’. And that is what I did when I first saw the application callout for Talent Campus 2.0.
Mind you, I was quite a greenhorn screenwriter when I first joined the group. I come from a theatre background and I only recently made the transition to screenwriting a few months ago. I never thought I would be selected in the first place but Chris apparently saw something in me that I never knew existed. He believes that there’s a Wonder Woman hidden in all of us and that someday we can all be who we aspire to be. But the path ahead is arduous, we all know that. That’s why being in a group like Talent Campus is gold dust. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be part of a group that understands what it’s like to be a writer. I will forever cherish those precious bonds that I’ve forged during the two months because these are the very people who you will go to during your ups and downs. As what Chris says, when one person in the group is elevated, the whole group elevates together. And I’m damn sure someday we might even levitate.
Okay, puns aside. I’m very grateful to Chris and his fabulous team because they have been so professional, giving and simply amazing human beings. In a mere three months, I have met so many wonderful people and industry experts, pitched to Hollywood executives, spoken to (just to name a few) Charles Dance, Peter Lliff, Jim Uhls, William Nicholson, had a Table Read with professional actors, an amazing mentor Ludo Smolski who has been so encouraging and relentless in his offer to help, and so much more. I’ve learned invaluable skills and tricks of the trade from field experts which would have probably taken me years to discover on my own. I have literally gone from Screenwriting101 to I-don’t-know 505? In short, I feel so much more focused and clear of the path to take right now. On hindsight, I can’t imagine what I’ll be doing now should I not have done Talent Campus.
As any serious writer would know, the journey of writing is a challenging one. This is my journey so far. I’m sure everyone has their own unique journey. But what I do know now is that to walk this journey alone is almost an uphill task. That is why if you’re considering whether to take part in Talent Campus 3.0 next year, don’t. Just DO it, because that’s my personal motto right now.
Bio: John Y. L. Tan is an English Literature graduate with a MA in theatre and performance. He has won a few short film awards in Singapore and has recently been selected for the 2016 London SWF Talent Campus. He is currently writing a drama-thriller feature which he has vowed to get it out by end of this year.