The singular tool that trumps all I have learned in this course is the power of revision.
I admit it.
I do not enjoy editing my own work.
Why exhaust oneself DOUBLY by taking a carefully written piece and calling it inadequate?
I have always trudged through revision grudgingly, but this semester through our consistent group and one-on-one meetings with Professor James, it has occurred to me that as long as one dedicates time and pursues outside opinions on their writing, the revision process is not so laborious. This revision “journey” particularly applies to documentary theatre and film in that their collaboration requires greater amounts of revision and manipulation. The documenterian has hours and scores of information that they have researched and collected for their piece, it is only a matter of condensing accounts, and creating a storyline.
Documentarians struggle with the “revision” or “manipulation” stage when trying to balance the authenticity of the subject’s testimony and their intended storyline, and it is a serious of revision after revision after revision which could seemingly have no end! Luckily, Documentarians, just like college students, learn to let go of one’s work once they have invested enough time and energy, an allow the piece to stand for itself.
My most favorite function of academic writing is peer editing. This isn’t to say that I enjoy having my work be edited, but I highly enjoy editing other student’s work. I believe this comes from my personal background: In my home we speak three languages and as a child my English wasn’t completely grammatically correct, so when my parents would encourage me to read and write to improve my grammar, I would re-iterate what I learned by correcting their English. While correcting a person’s English in conversation is seem as obnoxious, rude, or pretentious–it was a standard habit in my house, where it helped us all improve our grammar. Therefore, in high school, when my friends will ask me to edit their papers, I found it both enjoyable and diverting to scout out grammatical errors.
I enjoy editing papers.
How weird IS that?
This proved extremely useful when in my Essay #2 I was confused with some documentary film definitions such as “cinema verite” and through my peer edits a friend noticed this error and that prompted me to ask the professor during our one-on-one meeting, and ultimately save my paragraph #3 of Essay #2.
My final and probably least favorite stage of essay writing is research. We have done this since the beginning of time–typed “ (essay topic) ” into Google web, and clicked the most relevant link on the first page–often resorting to Wikipedia– walking away with about 5 pages of printouts and a shallow feeling of accomplishment.
Research is EONS more comprehensive than this.
Theatre verbatim revolves around both the visual and the textual, providing our class with two mediums by which we must acknowledge, explore, and analyze throughout the semester. This means two different types of research, two different modes of media, and two different matters that which we inquire. In the duration of writing my two essays, I have not scoured through more video footage, and scripts in my young writing career. However, the hidden advantage of this particular Writing 20 course is the detail in which we can examine these two mediums both as a class, individually, and with the professor one-on one.