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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.

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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.

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Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

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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Networking for the Future at the SCAD Career Fair

With graduation coming to a reality, I needed to survey the career landscape for future prospects. To hear about my experience at the SCAD Career Fair, check this week’s vlog.





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Working and Learning at aTVFest





As my graduate journey nears the end, I’ve found myself looking for more insight into the entertainment industry. See and hear what I learned at SCAD-Atlanta’s 2019 aTVFest.

https://youtu.be/gUpui3p-vkE

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Patience (or Lack Thereof) in Thesisland

Creativity requires the virtue of patience when it comes to the full picture. As I inch towards the completion of my thesis, my anxiety and moody temperament has begun to take over my mind and spirit. I’ve felt like my process has come to a standstill. The waiting and wondering have begun to weight on me as a writer.

man arranging his black necktie

 

Living in line editing limbo pushed me to a place I hate going to – self-aware anxiety. This mindset has infiltrated every aspect of my life including my writing. I’ve found myself wanting to start revising and editing my screenplay again, but without some direction, I’m stuck at a standstill. My mental time clock has already begun to countdown as midterms approach. Besides the necessary editing, I’ve begun to worry about finishing my thesis as I asked for help on the music composition. Waiting to the last minute usually isn’t my thing, but after some false starts, I’ve begun formulating some lyric (with some outside help coming soon). Being finished yet feeling unfinished has me feeling like I’m in writing purgatory. Being stuck has sent my mind into a downward spiral of insecurity and self-doubt. But, in the next few weeks, my thesis will be finalized, and all my feelings will subside.

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While I wait on my line edits, I’ve gotten back to classes as usual with a project due next week (yikes!). Working on class assignments has allowed my mind to concentrate on things outside my thesis. My visual output was a little slow as I concentrated on other things (check out my Instagram page). A few things have been brewing on the post-graduate front as I waited for some news on my future (stay tuned to this space). As my thesis deadline approaches, I’ve begun cobbling everything needed for my thesis committee to review. The future as a post-grad has grown closer every day.


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

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Creative Overload

Creativity has been my calling since I used to draw and write on yellow legal pads. Over the break, I channeled my creativity into different avenues. No matter what medium I chose, storytelling has always been at the forefront of my mission and purpose.

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During my time away from this blog, I found myself using my time wisely to grow as a writer. Finishing the first draft of my thesis allowed me to focus on work on a litany of shows ideas. I began to focus on two pet projects – a children’s series and a rewrite of a teen dramedy. Focusing on screenwriting outside of thesis helped me to grow as a screenwriter while putting ideas to paper (or computer screen). I worked on some fiction and nonfiction pieces I had been toying with for some time. They allowed me to tweak and restructure what was and wasn’t working. I needed another writing outlet besides this blog. Writing has become an extension of my overactive imagination as I combine reality and fantasy with my words.

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Besides writing, I’ve been working on my visual output as I stepped up my Instagram game. I managed to work on some character designs along with some concept ideas for future potential projects. I went through an awkward time with my social media marketing as I gained followers while feeling anxious about my online presence. All this creativity has helped me to grow my presence on social media along with my website.

I allowed myself to rest a little bit as Christmas and New Year’s rolled around. I needed some creative and personal space as school begins in a week. While my thesis journey nears its end, I find myself feeling both joy and anxiety.


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Feedback and Rewrites

After taking a break, editing, revising and rewriting became second nature in the writing process. As an aspiring screenwriter, the writing process became more about clarifying and streamlining my screenplay. Getting outside critique allowed me to see my screenplay with new eyes.

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The break caused me to refocus my writing efforts when it came to my screenplay. Over the past few days, I drew upon outside critique to keep me in line when it came to the story. Streamlining my actions became an important part of my rewrite as I tried synthesizing my words for better interpretation. In case of future readings, I wanted the readers or actors have more room for artistic expression. In the notes I received, some scenes needed reworking so the dialogue and characters could flow better through the story. I had to watch out for some repetitiveness with phrasing and wording. I found myself combing through every word trying to make the reading experience easier. It made me have to think out of the box in contrast to my “everything on the page” approach during the first draft. Expanding some scenes and condensing others fell in line with streamlining the script for a better story.  In working on the story structure, I found myself working on the dialogue. I felt some of the dialogue was a little stale and needed to be refined. Some dialogue was added. Some were synthesized for a more natural feel. Others were expanded for better character development. I did receive some positive notes about the unique perspective and great character development I displayed.  As more feedback begins to come back in, I’ll be able to rework and revise the screenplay even more as I continue on with my winter break.

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I went on a creative hopping spree this week as I bounced between screenwriting, branding and visual output. I began to focus on some character and graphic design throughout the week. I began thinking about what my project for Black History Month next year. Working on other writing projects has crossed my mind over the past few days. Posting on social media and my website have begun to slow down as I focused on creating actual work.

As my winter break goes full swing, I can breathe a little as my thesis class is around the corner. I still have some loose ends to tie up before the quarter starts, but my thesis journey begins to draw to a close. For the first time in a while, I’m not 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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Relief and Excitement of the Quarter’s End

Something I’ve been dreading yet anticipating finally came to fruition – the end of Fall quarter.   As a creative, this quarter was very important as I juggled school, work and personal life for the past few months. All that work has led to a much-needed break.

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As I spoke on in my last post, exhaustion and anxiety took over my psyche towards the end. This Winter break has been a long-awaited pause in my creative process (even if it’s just a week). Everyone needs that time to recharge, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, I need to focus on my mental and emotional sanity for a bit. Trying to be creative and preparing for the holidays has always been a struggle for me. I’ve found myself getting anxious and bored after only a few days as my work begins calling my name. As I’ve mentioned before, being creative every day can be draining without a break. Writing, drawing, animating, and designing has been great for my profile and brand marketing, but this break is much deserved. Writing my thesis has been a test of my abilities as an artist and writer. Doubt and anxiety filled my head on occasion about my thesis, but I managed to create something tangible and thoughtful. Working and reworking each act afforded me the creative freedom I needed thanks to my professor. Developing the setting and characters pushed me to create something I’m proud of (even if it still needs some work). My creative break will allow me to gain a fresh perspective on my screenplay. I’m looking forward to all the creative things I will do once the break is over.

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While screenwriting has been my main focus, other creative outlets have fought for my time. I tried my best to do Inktober with only one full piece produced. Creating design and art pieces was put on the back burner as writing took most of my focus. The pieces I did manage to crank out were test runs for new techniques with mixed results. I still enjoyed creating them. Freelance work slowed down as my school work and my regular 9-to-5 job took the forefront. But the offers I did field were questionable at best. I decided that my art life would be put on hold for my writer life. But hopefully, this break will allow me to find a balance between writing and creating art.

I look forward to continuing my thesis journey over Winter break and into 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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Fighting Exhaustion with Creativity

Focusing on creativity has been a balancing act as of late as I juggled many balls in the air. Everyday life has become a little overwhelming as screenwriting took the forefront.  This made for an interesting week of triumphs and struggles.

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Being the end of the quarter, exhaustion began to set in. I found myself having to deal with outside issues while trying to express myself creatively. Going to work and school seemed to drain me of whatever energy I had for my writing and visual work. But I did find time to create in some capacity. I worked on my screenplay trying to flesh out the third act. Due to some other event, I had to create and edit the act in a matter of two days. The pressure made me push myself as a writer while trying to create a cohesive work for Independent Study. I tested ut some scenarios that may or may not work, but I needed to get all the ideas and stories out of my head onto the page. I still didn’t get to the place I wanted since I need to rework the ending to fit the overall story more. I felt like I failed myself in not completing the task ahead. I later thought about my break time is a great time to work on and finesse the third act even more. This, along with revising and editing my first and second acts, has become the main focus of my Winter break.

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It was definitely a struggle to work on my screenplay as physical and mental tiredness began to set in. I didn’t realize how overwhelmed and exhausted I was until I began writing an article and my screenplay. Usually, I could shake this feeling off, but my mind and body couldn’t overcome it. I may appear robotic sometimes to the outside world, but my humanity shows through at times like this. I struggled to meet my mental goals causing my anxiety to skyrocket to the point of shutting down mentally and emotionally. It’s my way of preserving my sanity (might not be the best way but it works for now). My creative output helped me through this period. Hopefully, things will be better as my school break is just around the corner.

As I focused on my screenplay, last week’s Independent Study session served as a turning point by getting some much-needed feedback from my professor. It helped my process as I still waited for feedback from various readers (at this point, I hope to hear from them before the next quarter). Listening to the students speak on their portfolios and presentation was a great exercise in giving feedback as an educator. Once again, a presentation of mine incited a lively conversation on ethics in advertising. My visual work took a back seat to my writing but picked back up later on (check out my Instagram for more on that). Freelance work has been in my rearview as I focused on other work.  Even though I thought about doing Nanowrimo,  I found my time economized by other needs and wants. The two screenplays I started on are definitely getting tackled over the break. As the quarter winds down, I finally assembled my committee for my thesis next quarter (Yay! I’m almost at the finish line). My thesis journey has become more of a reality.


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

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Beyond Just the Art

I took my animation inspiration even farther this week by attending ASIFA South’s 2nd Annual Animation Festival and Conference. Enjoy the peek into the world of animation.


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Fighting the Box of Conformity and Doubt

Following the book while forging your own way can become a test of skill and determination. Being an aspiring screenwriter has given me the ability to try my hand at many genres and stories with abandon. Reworking, editing and revising has become second nature at this point in my process. This process has challenged me in ways I never thought I could be as a writer.

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As I’ve chronicled in previous posts, working on this screenplay has been a journey, to say the least. Creating a screenplay based on a foreign world to me – the music industry – has pushed me out of my comfort zone. My forte has always been animation aimed across different demographics. Writing this live-action film has been a challenge as I constantly remind myself to balance my usage of dialogue and action. The characterization and dialogue in the script have been a gift and a curse as I wanted to allow for creative license. I wanted to show a female-centric screenplay where every character – female and male – was multi-dimensional with their own experiences. Focusing on Black women’s plight in the music industry has made me question my reliability as a storyteller as I spoke of an experience I knew nothing about. But I was compelled by my research for my one-act play to expand this work and create something subtle yet realistic. I wanted to portray four Black women who were going through life with similar yet different circumstances from the average woman. I managed to take what I’ve absorbed from years of being an audiophile with my own twist. I wanted to follow the traits of the greats while trying to avoid the traps of many musical dramas and biopics. Breaking out of the box of film and television cliches has been hard as I delved further into my writing. Having dialogue and actions that speak to both the Black Millennial experience has been a major point for me in writing this screenplay. It has to speak to the present without being dated years from now. Hopefully, getting some more input from various sources will lead to a big breakthrough in my screenwriting process.

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After I worked on my screenplay, Independent Study was fruitful as I received some much-needed feedback from my professor. Helping the students with their portfolios and presentation was fulfilling as I felt a connection as an educator rather than just another student. Feedback has slowly begun to trickle back in from a few readers. My visual work took shape with better results than I had forecast (check out my Instagram for more on that). Freelance work was quite slow this week (just a sign that I need to grind harder). I received some news that might be game changers (stay tuned to this space). I’ve already planned on doing Nanowrimo but writing two screenplays rather than a novel. As independent study winds down, I’ve begun to gather my committee for my thesis next quarter. So far, my thesis journey has begun to fall in place.


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

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

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