4 And a Half Reasons Not To Take a Copywriting Course

Last week, I wrote about copywriting training and courses being for everyone, not just for those who want to be a copywriter. This week, I’d like to give you some reasons NOT to take a copywriting course.

1. The person giving the course or seminar is not a copywriter

This might surprise you, but some of the people giving courses on web copywriting are not, and have never been, a professional copywriter employed by other copywriters for their skills. Nope. They might be good marketers and sales people. Heck, they might be decent people. But, you’re paying good money for your search copywriting course, so get to know something about the person who is going to teach the ways of the SEO copywriter.

Copywriters offering to teach you and have been in their industry (be it advertising, digital, direct) bring not just the material itself (which, frankly, you can find in a book) but a wealth of experience, lots of client experience, and a plethora of tried-and-true copywriting techniques that actually work for different and varied businesses.

2. It’s too good to be true

You found a great looking copywriting course that you can take at home and it’s almost totally free! Sorta. I think…Well, maybe.

Good luck with your money, sport.

Even in copywriting, the old adage I used in this reason not to go to a copywriting course holds true. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t believe their masterful hype. Check out the details, phone them up, get a solid outline of what you’re going to learn, and please, make sure you read reason 1 above.

3. There is no support – email, live or otherwise

When you are paying good money for a copywriting course, whether it is distance learning by books, DVD, online video tutorials, a legitimate course program will offer some kind of support for you. A live course obviously has some form of support built in.

Copywriting isn’t like maths. There isn’t always a right answer to your conundrum, so having a way of getting specific help to whatever your question is will make your experience much better.

4. You can’t see any examples of their work

Who are their clients? Can you see any work they have done? If all you can find are the examples you see on their advertising for the course, that’s not enough. Have the confidence that the person who is going to teach you can actually write well enough to get and keep happy clients. If they can’t produce any samples or actual people you can talk to, don’t bother signing up.

And now for the half…

The cost is too high for your budget

I almost didn’t include this reason simply because I think there’s no price too high for a good education and training. However, I’m not blind to the reality of life. I’ve been there myself, and I would not feel comfortable suggesting you break the bank to get take a course. There are plenty of options out there that fit many budgets: day courses, half-days, weekends, online training and so on. For businesses on a budget, find out if your trainer will travel to you and train your content providers at your location and for a fixed rate, rather than per head.

There you have them. Got any to add yourself? Or have you been on a copywriting course that you wish you hadn’t?

Why Writers Should Take Acting Classes

It’s no wonder that some of the greatest writers began their careers as actors.

The art of writing and acting have always been profoundly intertwined. All of the greatest writers have had an instinctual understanding of the actors craft, the ability to create a character, to play with and against text, and to shape a journey over the course of a play or movie.

And every great actor has an instinctive understanding of a writer’s craft as well: the ability to cultivate a compelling arc for a character, by exploring the dramatic structure and the conscious and unconscious desires that lie underneath the text.

Dramatic writing could not exist without acting. And acting could not exist without dramatic writing. Yet strangely, these interrelated fields are often taught as if they were separate disciplines, with actors receiving little training in writing, and writers receiving even less training in acting.

As any of you who have taken my classes know, for precisely this reason I’ve always integrated acting concepts into my writing classes.

I believe writers should learn how an actor approaches a play or screenplay, and even have the experience of physically inhabiting a character, giving them perspective that will forever change the way they see both writing and acting.

For instance, what is character from an actor’s perspective? And how can that help you as a writer?

As writers, we are often seduced by “characteristics” when we try to create character. But these characteristics do not make a character Why? As any trained actor will tell you, the reason for this is simple. Characters are not adjectives. Characters are verbs. And these verbs begin with a want.

When a any actor worth his or her salt looks at a screenplay, that’s the question they’re asking – and that is what the screenwriter should be asking as well. Because once you know what your character wants, you know who that character is.. The want affects the way characters speak, act, dress, choose, love, hate lie, cheat, whatever. It is the unique way that they do these things that distinguish these people from anyone else in the world, that make individual characters.

Let your character pursue the want on the page, and all the other aspects of his or her personality will reveal themselves to you. And when you crack that shell open, you’ll have all kinds of deliciousness to enjoy.

This is just one example of how writers can use an actor’s approach to think about their characters to not only help them discover the qualities that differentiate a character, but also point toward the structural moments to which the plot must build.

For this and many other reasons, I’m offering a brand new class, which will allow you to experience screenwriting from the other side of the page. Whether you’ve always dreamed of being on the stage or screen, or simply want to deepen your own writing by understanding the actor’s craft, you need to take this class:

TEXT TO BODY & BODY TO TEXT: An Acting Class With A Writing Twist

Under the guidance of acclaimed director and teacher Isabel Milenski, you will discover how to knock down the walls between you and your characters through the magic of performance. You’ll not only learn how an actor approaches a play or screenplay, you’ll have the experience of physically inhabiting a character, taking with you a new perspective that will forever change the way you see both writing and acting.

So, whether you’ve always dreamed of being on the stage or screen, or simply want to deepen your own writing by understanding the actor’s craft, you’ve got to take this class!

No experience is required. Only a desire to explore and create.