Creativity is a blend of inspiration and perspiration – a marriage of innate creativity with mastery of craft, discipline, and plain old hard work. Students Professor Ross Brown’s in FTV 328 got a taste of this in class on Thursday. After outlining the basics of story structure and walking the students through examples of the story development process from his career as a successful Tv writer/producer/showrunner (The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life, Who’s the Boss? Step By Step) Prof. Brown guided the students through the following exercise:”Let’s develop a story for Modern Family based on the following premise: Cameron wants to give Lily and extravagant birthday party but Mitchell resists accusing Cameron of trying to make up for his own childhood by going over the top for Lily.”
The students lit up and immediately fired a barrage of questions: “What motivated Cameron to do this?” “Did one of Lily’s friends have a huge party and now he feels competitive?” “Exactly how does Cameron go overboard? Ponies? Clowns?” “How is the rest of the family involved in the story?” “What’s the climax and resolution of the story? Does the party go wrong in Cameron’s eyes but turn out to be a huge hit with the kids because they just play in the mud?”
Prof. Brown smiled at the students, proud. “All these questions you’re posing…well, that’s creativity. That’s writing. Ask a million questions about what might happen, try out different answers, pick the most comedic or dramatic ones and run with it.”
Not a bad way to spend a Thursday in class.