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Growing and Moving

As an artist, the act of art is all about shifting and growing as one continues to evolve. This year has proven to me that growth and change are necessary when it comes to purpose and dedication.

As a writer, I’ve noticed more and more that my writing needs a purposeful end goal. As evident by some of my recent posts, something has awakened in me when it comes to raising awareness. I feel my job as an artist is to spotlight both the good and bad of the world through storytelling. Writing those pieces on microaggression fulfilled me in a way that I only feel when writing my screenplays. I have to admit only a few news pieces have made me feel that way in recent months. This realization has created somewhat of a crossroads for me.

I highlighted in a past post about the current situation I’m dealing with a current contract job. That job has tested me not only as a writer but as a loyal employee. I took a break to reassess some things, but I feel I may be coming to the end of the road for me. But I’ll reveal my decision at a later date.

I know as an artist my evolution is an ongoing process that will never end. I once heard at a conference that creatives face a career shift every ten years. I’m actually in the midst of mine right now.

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In regards to purpose, I’ve taken a mini-break from my screenwriting as I contemplate the direction of going forward with some of my work. Writing Losing Valarie has been a roller coaster as I constantly go back and forth about the direction of the story. Lately, I’ve been mulling over some ways to make it more current and update given its target audience. With technology playing a big role in the plot, I’ve tossed around some ideas about my teenage characters and its usage.

The hangup for my other series Brothas has been incorporating the parents more into the story while drawing from my real life. As my parents (more specifically my mother) were an integral part of my childhood, I feel incorporating a good moral base and relatable stories are essential.

As I continue to rewrite and restructure both shows, I’m still reaching out for more feedback on my scripts.

Soon, I’ll be hopping back into my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready for feedback. With that said, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

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I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

The final countdown to the start of school has begun. The set-up for my Fall courses is pretty much set as next Monday inches closer and closer. Despite looking forward to teaching on campus, I’m preparing to teach my students online. From my perspective, I feel the school year will be vastly different from last year. COVID-19 has thrown the educational system for a loop just like every other industry.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Working on the Back – The Re-do

So last week turned out to be more writing-focused than anything so here is a repost of last week’s blog. I’m still working and striving to create the environment for my characters.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working on the Back

Working on my personal and professional creativity has been an amazing outlet for my mental health.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project is leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Planning and Working Towards the Future

Beginning of the journey to employment

As evident by the images above, I put my future career first and decided to participate in SCAD’s Out to Launch.

It was definitely an out-of-body experience for me as I has step out of my introvert mindset and put on my extrovert mask. All those years of retail customer service paid off in a major way. I was able to network and connect with companies I would have never thought (along with a company or two I had looked up online). Keeping contact with some individuals from the event has started building some relationships as my career goes into full swing.

I did learn that having a printed materials on-hand was a great idea, and LinkedIn is your best friend when business cards are non-existent.

Besides all the great things, there were a few things that could have been a little better. Being a time-conscience person, the dis-concern for people’s time was a somewhat off-putting. But considering the institution I mentioned beforehand, it’s really no surprise.

Then, there was the lack of space for the participants. All that preparation – business cards, resumes, portfolios, etc – had to be crammed into this plastic bin. Any overflow had to be placed in a small gray box (mind you that came in hand as the event commenced). From undergrad, I can remember each participant getting their own booth where they could spread out. But given the space and location we had, that would have been impossible to accomplish.

Speaking of the location, I feel the layout didn’t work for what the school was trying to accomplish. Having the split between different floors and the placement of the classrooms made for a flow problem. Being in a back corner room doesn’t exactly entice prospective employers to visit your station. I felt a little shafted as some employers I wanted to see never came to my floor (despite asking for some help from the staff).

Ulterior motives was another problem I felt undermined the purpose of a reverse career fair. I don’t let certain companies and organizations come in trying to mine for prospective employees for their low-wage jobs.

Other than those gripes, I found the event to be very rewarding (along with tiresome and mind-numbing at times). Hopefully, this event has pushed my career in the right direction.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

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Words of Wisdom with Gabby Rivera

Last week was a great week as a writer. SCAD-Atlanta hosted novelist and Marvel Comics writer Gabby Rivera for a keynote presentation on pushing against adversity in the entertainment industry.

 


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Looking Towards the Future

Time has flown by as my time at SCAD draws to a close.  Working on my craft consistently has paid off as I continue working on expressing my artistic self. All that work led to a much-needed break from this blog, but I’m back… for now.

accuracy alarm clock analogue business

I needed time to recharge with so many big events coming around the corner. Being creative while life continued to move forward was a struggle for me. I’ve found myself getting anxious as graduation and Out to Launch drew closer and closer every day. As I’ve mentioned before, being creative every day was draining me. Some of my planned activities had to be placed on hold as time and energy needed to be placed elsewhere. Gearing up for Out to Launch caused me to put my spec script on the backburner (for the moment, at least). I found myself uninspired to create a work that wasn’t original. Plus, giving myself a month to write it ALONE wasn’t my best idea. As hard as that decision was, I needed to ram up my output for the fair. I’ve worked on improving my portfolio, resume, etc. (BTW, this website as well) as I prepare for post-grad life. I’m looking forward to the pay off this work is going to earn me.

Even though screenwriting was on hold, writing continued on in other forms. I wrote my final (?) article for The Connector. I’m actually proud of this piece as it’s my first interview. It was nice interviewing an alum and finding out so much about a person making their mark on the animation industry. Be on the lookout for that soon.

working in a group

I tried my best to participate in Black Artpril,  but I only produced one piece (check out my Instagram). Much of my design and artwork was focused on Out to Launch. The new work on this site has been a reflection of that. With my physical portfolios on the way, Out to Launch will be my moment to shine. Hopefully, my journey will finally begin as a writer from this upcoming experience.

Putting my writer life on hold for my art life has been a nice break for me after finishing my thesis. But hopefully, post-graduate life will give me time to find a balance between writing and creating art.

backlit beach christian dawn

I look forward to working on my craft to build the future I want.


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The Creative Grind

As the countdown to graduation begins, getting all my ducks in a row has been my mission. I have so many physical and mental deadlines that need to be met before June 1st. Being on my creative grind has been my focus as I prepare for post-grad life.

person uses pen on book

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In terms of writing, I’ve planned and plotted my new moves for entering my future career. With so many skill sets to draw from, I constantly found myself needing and wanting to create a screenplay that changes my life (if not now, definitely within the next year or so). Upcoming writing fellowship deadlines have pushed me to create a spec script worthy of a spot in a fellowship. The only hiccup has been actually writing it. I did give myself some mental time after my last quarter to give myself some breathing room. Four years of assignments, deadlines, and internships had left me a little bewildered by the whole grad school experience. Visiting family and regrouping were definitely what my mind needed. So far, the past two weeks have been a test of resilience as I prepared to write my first solo spec script. Having the strength and energy to write after long workdays has been a struggle for me. This along with writing for an already existing IP has been a challenge for my creative spirit. But after some time, I’ve finally begun writing the script. Hopefully, the month-long completion has allowed me to complete it by the May 1st due date.

Along with screenwriting, I’ve begun writing for The Connector again and thinking of potential pieces to write for some websites and blogs. Writing for The Connector will be the easier of the two as I cover SCAD’s GamingFest and conduct an interview (look out for those over the next few weeks). Writing a possible thinkpiece and publishing more on Medium will be challenging as I find time to write and revise. Medium has gained my attention as I continue to explore my options for publication. I’ve thought about submitting to a writing contest or two to find homes for some cherished pieces. I’ve even played around with a potential idea for NaNoWriMo (might lead to a full project by the end of the year). Writing for some digital publications has become a huge goal for me (the goal is to have two to three pieces published by year’s end). Having all these goals will definitely keep me busy for the next few months.

white printer paper

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Writing became my calling, but my heart laid with visual art and design. I spent the better part of the past few weeks working on character and background design for my portfolio. Expanding my visual portfolio has become a big deal for me in my quest to enter the animation industry. Designing for my original characters has allowed me to re-think previous work and create some new material. With Out 2 Launch around the corner, a fire has been lit under me to put my original ideas to paper (or screen). With some much creativity, I’m hoping to catch some eyeballs next month.

With all that said, I hope all the work pays off in the end. I can see the light (even though it flickers from time to time).


Continue to watch this space for more posts!

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The End?

Today was a mixed bag of emotions as the end of my graduate journey begins. All the preparation, writing and time had led to this moment. This was the moment of truth for me and my future as a screenwriter.

depositphotos_53832633-stock-photo-business-vision-inspiration-motivation-progress

Today was a bittersweet moment as I defended my thesis this morning.  I was a bundle of nerves as I approached Ivy Hall. The faculty decided to try a different format by having all the thesis candidates speak. All I had to say was “Thank You” because the pressure was of me completely. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the room in the same spot in our thesis journey.  I was in a unique situation as I was defending my thesis screenplay with a pitch for broadcasting. My nervousness gave way as I went into full brand mode trying to sell my pilot to “television executives.” I gave my thesis the full pitch treatment as I spoke on the setting, the story, and characters. I felt like I sold the pilot to my intended audience. Soon, I was done to great relief. I was able to relax and hear what my fellow grad students had been working on. I was excited to hear the processes each student had gone through to craft their thesis. After a while, the Q-and-A session began as we answered a variety of questions from the committee. There was one question that threw me for a loop as I was asked to do an elevator pitch for my thesis. I believe in the old adage “If you’re always ready, you ain’t got to get ready.” I surprised myself by being able to spit off my logline in a record forty-two seconds. In the end, everyone gave a sigh of relief as the spotlight was off us. It was bittersweet as I took some pictures in front of Ivy Hall for the last time.

 

After my thesis defense was done, I found time to get started on some other things. I began working on my short film for film class. Along with this project, I started putting myself out there by emailing some production companies for shadowing purposes. I’ve kept in contact with some companies I met from Career Fair and had some great interactions. I had a great conversation with TV writer Cindy Bertram (courtesy of my professor). It led to what might be a great mentorship post-grad. Working on other writing projects has crossed my mind over the past few days as I decide my next move. I’ve begun planning the next few months before graduation as my future draws closer. Being active on social media has extended my reach through my blog and visual posts. I’ve definitely been gaining in interest and feedback.  On the job front, prospects seem fruitful as I continue to network moving forward to Out to Launch in May.

man arranging his black necktie

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As post-grad life stares back at me, I feel a sense of relief and nervousness with my future so close. For the first time in a while, I’m both excited and afraid of what’s around the corner.


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

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Halfway to the Finish Line

I was finally able to part my lips and say – I’M DONE WITH MY THESIS!  This quarter has been a race towards the finish line as I pulled off the hat trick of work-life balance for the past few months. All that work has led to this pivotal life-changing point.

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I was finally able to let out a ‘woash’ after finish the first pass of my thesis. The entire process has been a learning experience in what hard work and determination can do for your future. From my review last May to Independent Study to emailing my thesis committee, I have grown not only as a writer but as a person. I was able to challenge naysayers who tried talking me out of pursuing my passion. Those people motivated me to break the mold and challenge the status quo. I had to follow my love for screenwriting while working within the academic system. I thanked God for the people – professionally, academically and personally – who pushed me to keep going when I doubted myself. I thought about changing course a few times before I decided to stick to my guns. I stumbled and bumbled a few times, but that needed to happen so I could grow as a screenwriter. Shaping, shifting, refining, revising, editing, crafting… these words were not only words but mantras for my thesis as the seasons and I changed. My perfectionism and stubbornness wouldn’t let me fail not without a fight, at least.

Turning in my thesis – formatted-perfectly and lengthy – allowed my mental pressures to subside, for a while anyway. I still have some feedback to hear from my committee before my thesis defense in March. Between my actual thesis and supplemental material, that might be awhile. But while I wait on them, my thesis will remain locked away for now. I’m looking forward to all the creative things I can do now that this part of the journey is done.

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While thesis and graduation have been my main focus, other creative outlets have fought for my time. I ‘ve begun celebrating Black History Month by participating in #BAMuary on Instagram. I’ve done some pieces here and there, but nothing like this current project. Like my writing, doing this challenge has been a way to celebrate my culture. I’ve even though about redoing one or two similar pieces now that I have a better grip on my technique. Job hunting and freelance work have gone through the usual ebbs and flows as I work my regular 9-to-5 job. But there are some things brewing for the future. Balancing between writing and visual art has been a little easier this time around compared to last year. On the social media front, I’ve begun seeing some traction as I employed a better marketing strategy for my pages.

I look forward to continuing my thesis journey and finishing my final quarter as a graduate student.


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

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Getting Inspired at the Greenville Museum of Art

Being creative has its demands, sometimes, you need some inspiration. See what happened on my birthday trip to South Carolina did for me.

https://youtu.be/qeEFQF_xzb8

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

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