After 6 weeks and 24 articles, my time at Moviepilot University (otherwise known as MPU) is over. So, how do I feel after graduation?
The answer is that I feel pretty good! To explain why I should probably back up a bit, and explain what MPU is.
Fistly, no, it's nothing to do with that University beginning with "M"! I first came across Moviepilot via my friend and fellow creator Kat Morris. She had participated in the MPU programme previously and recommended it. I had seen the articles she wrote for the course and they were brilliant. Unfortunately, I had missed the deadline for applying on that occasion, but there would be another intake of writers later in the year.
I thought long and hard about applying. After all I had only submitted my first article in the August of this year. It was a hastily written paean to Netflix's Bojack Horseman, that I scribbled into a notepad late at night and hammered into something resembling coherency at my laptop the next morning. It didn't garner a lot of views - at the time of writing it has garnered 160 - but to me that figure was amazing.
I write short stories in my spare time and have written on-and-off for a few different blogs and websites over the years, but I've never written for a site with the reach of Moviepilot. Once upon a time, 160 reads would have been unthinkable for me! There were still more potential readers to reach, and the MPU course gave me the opportunity to hone my writing skills to - hopefully - entertain even more of them.
Despite my relative inexperience on Moviepilot - and knowing there were much better writers than me on the site - I decided to take the plunge and apply. After all, what did I have to lose?
To my amazement, a few days later I received an email confirming my acceptance on to the course, and it wasn't long until I was nervously crafting my very first piece! Thankfully though I had help, as each MPU student is given a personal mentor (in my case, I had 2 as my mentor changed half way through) to provide specific feedback, edits and suggestions on articles as well as general help and guidance. Your mentor will even discuss topic ideas with you if you can't decide what you want to write about.
Each week had an overall theme (though MPU students can write about any topic they want, in any way they want!) that helped us get to grips with what really matters in online writing.
In order to complete the course successfully I had to submit 4 articles per week for 6 weeks, resulting in 24 MPU articles in total. It may not sound like much, 4 articles in 7 days, but combined with a full time it made for some busy - and long - days sometimes! That said I didn't mind. I love writing, and if I wasn't writing for Moviepilot I would be writing just for myself as a hobby anyway.
My mentors, Paul and Eileen, really helped me improve my writing and find my own voice. Feedback was always constructive, never critical, and it gave me the confidence to believe in what was writing. As a result, I wrote some articles that I can genuinely say I'm proud of. Now, I've gone from being amazed by 160 reads on one post, to having over 180,000 reads overrall. I've been able to connect with experienced mentors and fellow creators in Moviepilot's vibrant community. It's been a great experience so far, and even though the MPU has ended, my Moviepilot experience is just beginning.
Shameless Self Promotion Alert!
You can check out the rest of my MPU articles here, including the films I'm excited about for 2016, my take on the rise and fall of The Simpsons and a fiendishly tricky quiz on movie taglines! If you like what you read, follow me on MP, on Twitter @davefox990 or if you're in the mood for a longer read, take a look at the novel I'm serialising online here
If you want to gain experience, improve your writing, build a portfolio and make new friends then join as a creator (if you haven't already) and go here and apply for the next MPU intake! You won't regret it.