Skip to content

Letting the Work Breathe

Being a creative has been both rewarding and draining at the same time. As a multi-faceted individual, I found myself getting bored doing the same task day after day. As a writer, I have my feet in two camps: the traditional “writing every day is the only way to perfect your craft” mindset and the modern “constantly thinking about writing is just as good as doing it” attitude.  Storytelling has been one of my creative loves, but it has been daunting from time to time.

keep-calm-i-am-taking-a-break-1

 

After spending two months trying to squeeze out my first act, I needed a break from my screenplay. As I mentioned before, working on my first act had been a struggle for me as I worked backward to create this well-rounded setup for my established second act.  From the moment spring quarter ended, I had set my sight on fleshing out my work for thesis in the Fall. I struggled to push myself as a screenwriter while I constantly went back and forth over the decisions I was making as a writer. As a Black man trying to write a musical dramedy centered around a group of Black women, I questioned whether I was the right vessel for this work. I wanted female characters that were nuanced, well-rounded, relatable, and realistic in relaying an important message in a world of #MeToo and #TimesUp. It was mentally taxing on me both as a writer and a person. I was striving for perfection but draining my creative tank at the same time. Writing the last words of act one was both satisfying and tiring as I let go of my work. It needed to breathe. I needed to breathe. The break has allowed me to think of new ways to approach my screenplay when it comes to my revisions and rewrites.

fiction

While on my thesis break, I decided to focus on a previous short story I had written as well as some personal and client-based visual work. Not focusing on my screenplay allowed my creative tank to refill in a serious way. As I mentioned last week, Getting critiques from other writing students and some writer friends has become the next step. I’ve looked forward to the input from my professors and other writers in the Fall. My thesis journey will have its ups and downs as I strive to create my calling card as an aspiring writer.


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my Master’s thesis.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Working the Setup

The key to any decent screenplay is creating a good setup in the first act. As an aspiring screenwriter, the first act is my way of setting up tone, relationships, and plot so that everything comes to a head in the second act. All the drama and conflict is planted in the first act. But this is exceptionally hard since a good portion of my second act was already in motion.

Screenwriting-master

 

In a previous post, I alluded to the fact that working backward can be a little hard especially when trying to make a smooth transition from the first to the second. The past month or so has been an exercise in world building and character development. It has been a struggle to push myself as a screenwriter to create something different while thinking about my various influences. Added stress comes from the fact that I’m a Black man trying to write a musical dramedy centered around a group of Black women. I want to be nuanced and well-rounded while still being relatable and realistic to the story I’m trying to tell. I’ve written for female characters before, but this seems to weight heavier as I craft this piece with full awareness. I want to a female-centric screenplay where males are secondary to the main story. In crafting this screenplay, researching the issue of Black women in the music industry and watching a variety of biopics and musicals have helped me to flesh out the story. Hopefully, getting some more input from women of color and musicians will smooth out my screenplay once I get into my second act.

ObamaSweat

 

Having finished my first act this week, I’m going to let it sit for a bit before I end up doing revisions. My next step is to get a critique from my fellow Scaddies and some writer friends before Fall quarter begins. By getting a head start on my thesis, my independent study will be more fruitful as I look forward to the input from my professors and other writers as I inch closer to finishing my Master’s degree. My thesis journey is more about creating something tangible and realistic than working on a writing assignment.


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my Master’s thesis.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Writing and Editing in the Key of Self-Awareness

Being self-aware can be both a gift and a curse. On one end, it keeps me humble and respectful as an artist and writer. I know there are better writers, but they aren’t telling my story. On the other end, I’m ALWAYS in my head when it comes to the creative process. I doubt myself at every turn, even to the point where the blinking cursor and I end up having a staring contest. This along with slow and measured in my writing has allowed me to become my own worst critic.

622054-636438308758104405-16x9

This is even more true with my thesis. I find myself going back and forth between forcing myself to type out some words and flooding the pages without a concept of time. I second guess myself as I try to make my first act flow into my second without sacrificing my well thought-out plan. Am I setting the scene correctly? Is the mood for the scene right? Are my characters too different? Or not different enough? Does the dialogue come off authentic? Or too slang-heavy? Is the screenplay more show than tell? Are the dialogue and action balancing out? Do I have too many characters? Or not enough? This struggle has been plaguing me since I decided to make screenwriting my career choice. It can be tiring and overwhelming at times especially with my anxiety issues. But the task is of my own making so I have to be up for the challenge.

quotes-about-self-awareness-215-quotes-973719

My self-awareness has played into my ability to edit in addition to writing. For me, I edit my work as I go along. I feel it helps me to create a better piece. I’ve noticed over the past week or so that I think of different ways to improve upon my previous scenes and dialogue. Some scenes have worked out for the better as I fleshed them out and added one or two. The dialogue is definitely getting sharper and snapper as I write for these characters more and more. There’s nothing like dripping sarcastic or dramatic wordplay to get my writing muscles going. I hope to harness my self-awareness more in that way in the coming weeks and months. My thesis journey is going to be a great yet scary ride for me (and my anxiety).


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my Master’s thesis.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Working Backwards

Writing can be a daunting task, especially with a self-imposed deadline. I’ve found myself over the past month being a little gun shy when it comes to writing my thesis. I’m excited about writing my first film script in some time. But a nagging feeling seems to come from time to time as I try working back to create a full screenplay from a one-act play. The task seems more like a boulder than a pebble when it comes to self-starting. Every day has been a struggle as I muster up the strength to write. Something I’ve never had a problem with before as my love of knowledge and words has always been my driving force. After letting my mind rest for a week after Spring quarter, the early writing sessions have been a struggle after months of school, work, and my internship draining my creative tank. The guilt is overwhelming as I begin questioning my choices and motives as a writer. Writing this screenplay has been a battle as I try to create within a program that champions writing novels, journalism, and short story collections over screenwriting. I have something to prove, and I have to remain steadfast if this is going to work.

6359991693275867841308429358_writers-block

Over the past week or so, I’ve found my stride by letting go of my preconceived ideas and allowing my scenes and characters talk to me. I find that’s the best way for me to get my first act going.  Trying to create a first act that flows with an already established second act can be a beast. On the daily, I am having constant mental battles over what is the best approach or how events in the first act are going to change parts of my second act. I feel my second act is filled with strong points that still need some finessing, but the first act has to set-up the later events. That’s the gift and curse of taking existing material and creating something new from it. But I guess it’ll all work out in the end as I will have my second finished screenplay before graduation.

Image result for clocks going backwards

On the plus side, I did find out this week my independent study got approved. This will be my opportunity to finish my screenplay under deadlines similar to working screenwriters. It will definitely be an experience. I can’t wait.


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my Master’s thesis.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Allow Me to Re-introduce Myself

Hello followers,

I Know its been awhile since my last post, but I need some time to get my head right after a very demanding few months. Like any artist, I needed a moment to recharge my creative battery. Now, I’m ready to start blogging again.

Excuse me for a moment, for any new to my website, I am Adreon Patterson – writer, artist, and animator. I currently attend SCAD-Atlanta where I am working on my thesis in the MFA Writing program. My thesis will focus on creating a screenplay on the Black female experience in music. I worked as a freelance animator for many years creating content for various entities – big and small – before making the transition to writing.

As I previously stated, I am working on my Master’s thesis. I plan on showcasing the struggles and triumphs of creating a screenplay while juggling the realities of adulthood. I want this experience to highlight the need for more writers of color (WOCs) to create the content they want to see on the big and small screen. This is why I decided to call my latest blog…

Screenwriting While Black

I hope this blog will be just as entertaining and informative as my previous blogs. I can’t wait to share this space with you all.

BTW, if you’re a newbie, check out my previous blogs here and here. They might be of some interest to you.

%d bloggers like this: