As I walked up the stairs of the Student Union in Storrie Street on Tuesday, I was a worried man. So far as I could work out, very few people had registered for my talk on “Chic Murray-Anatomy Of A Creative Project”. I shouldn’t have worried. The place was jam packed, and the session was a pleasure to take part in.  A lively, interested  audience ensured a healthy level of two way discussion , and as usual, I ended up with a fistful of cards and more contacts and ideas for Creative Initiatives both within the UWS and outside. En passant, I want to give  a special vote of thanks to all my students who turned up for the talk, and then went on the the Pitching Session in the Library. The place was a hive of creativity, and seemed to make all the hard work that had gone into setting up the Creative Choices Festival worthwhile.

And it seems it is already paying off. Regular readers of my Blog will know that I am specifically interested in Cross Programatical Synergies within the Teaching in the Creative Industries.What does this entail? At heart, it’s an approach to teaching which seeks to mirror the reality of the outside world. Within the Creative Industries, creating a complex Cultural Artifact like a film requires the work of a whole team of specialists, Writers, Script Editors, Designers, Actors, Directors, Producers, Technicians, Editors and so on. So why do so many Programmes, Modules and Assessments  require students to carry out tasks in which they have no  wish to specialise? The simple answer is a lack of resources, and insufficient Cross Programmatical co ordination. That is why Writers may find themselves holding booms, Actors struggle to master the Intricacies of Final Cut Pro, and Musicians find themselves having to write Scripts for Music Videos.

How much better would it be if we  were able to train Writers to Write Scripts, which were assessed and then handed over to Actors who wanted to act, who  were then assessed and   filmed by Filmmakers, edited by Editors, Produced by Producers and so on. The Learning Experience would be richer  and deeper, and more importantly, students would be better  prepared for their eventual release into the world of the Creative Industries. I am working on ways to create just such a learing experience at our Ayr Campus, and had a discussion with our Dean and members of the Quality Assurance staff on Thursday when we were given the green light to move forward on it.

Far more immediate and exciting is the development that as  a direct result of attending  my talk on Chic Murray, a group of students and graduates  who specialise in Animation and CGI have approached me to see if I can get my Scriptwriting  students to create viable 20 to 60 minute scripts capable of being transformed into animated shorts and features. The process is at an early stage, but it is very exciting and just the sort of thing that events like the Creative Choices Festival should be enouraging. So well done to all who came to the talk, and who knows, Chic Murray might well have succeeded in starting up a Creative Project from his vantage point in the Elysian Fields. Here’s to you Chic, and here’s to Cross-Programmatical Synergies. They speak of little else in Greenock.