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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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Working Towards the Finish Line

The finish line for my completed work came with a mixed bag of emotions. With all the pieces falling into place, my mind has been filled with endless possibilities for my future. The creative light has begun to shine brightly in the tunnel of self-doubt.

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Having not stared at my screenplay for a month has been a gift and a curse. I’ve relaxed on having to smooth out and revise my work, but revisiting it so close to my thesis deadline has made me a little anxious. Hearing feedback from my professor has allowed me to move forward in my process. At this point, most of my writing has begun to focus line editing with some action streamlining and dialogue tweaking at the same time.  In the notes I received, some character interaction needed to expand upon in terms of dialogue. Some of the dialogue seemed out of character so some more context is needed. The dialogue has come off a little date in places so I’ve begun to tackle that. The action has improved as I made it easier to read and understand even though some still needs to synthesized just a little more. Besides the feedback, I’ve begun creating music for my screenplay with some outside help from more musically inclined writers. Hopefully, within the next week, I’ll have a finished screenplay. I did receive some positive notes about the unique perspective and great character development I displayed.  Sending it to a thesis committee member or two for some more feedback. In the future, an actual table reading would be the best way to hear my words as a screenwriter.

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As my thesis has begun to come together, I found time to get started on some other things. I continued working on my visual project for Black History Month, which kicks off Feb. 1. Along with that project, I plan on doing some more character designs for my potential shows. Working on other writing projects has crossed my mind over the past few days as I complete my thesis. On the branding side, advertising on social media has begun helping my awareness grow. On the job front, prospects seem fruitful as I continue to job search while prepping to the Career Fair next month and Out to Launch in May.

As my time at SCAD winds down, I feel a sense of anxiety and excitement as my thesis defense draws closer. My post-graduate life is staring me right in the face. For the first time in a while, I’m a little 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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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.

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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.


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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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Back in the Groove after a Mental Break

While screenwriting is a great outlet, other forms of writing and creativity can help to replenish the think tank. As a multi-faceted individual, I thought about other ways to channel my creativity. Whether visual or written, storytelling became a part of DNA as I gained perspective from every single thing I created.

This week, I found myself in a creative lull. Since finishing my first draft, I found myself trying to enjoy my life for once. I channeled my creative energy into preparing for Thanksgiving cooking. Baking and cooking is another creative outlet I love pouring my all into when I get the chance. All the hard work paid off as my family and I had a great Thanksgiving (despite the mess we had to clean up). I did take some time to work on my logo (check out the site). I applied for some freelance jobs (waiting for post-Thanksgiving replies) while working at my regular nine-to-five. Spending time with friends was another far-off concept I got to participate in. I enjoyed my personal time for the first time in a while. This break was much-needed and deserved.

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After a nice break, I got into rewriting and editing my screenplay. I’ve found the act refreshing after so much thought and time poured into the original draft. Along with my own revisions, I’m finally getting feedback on it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to incorporate some ideas into my script. I’ll speak on the subject more next week.

I’ve allowed myself to rest a little bit as winter break goes into full swing. Finding a work-life balance will definitely be a goal over the break. The light is shining brightly as I  signed up for my thesis class. My thesis journey seems to wind down with this final step in the process.


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

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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.

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Progression Through Words and Actions

Screenwriting became a progression as the words and actions shifted and molded to the story. With any experience, the growing pains became necessary in building a great work. Revising and reworking on my screenplay allowed me to rectify the world ruling my imagination.

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Over the past week, I’ve been on my thesis screenplay as midterms came and went. Last week, my professor and I discussed focusing on story structure to iron out some of my ideas. I wanted my scenes to feel more realized and less complicated. This required me to do some major rewriting in the first and second acts. Some scenes are reworking, others were moved around and some were axed completely. It broke my heart to do it, but it had to be done for the sake of my stories and characters. All this led to some new dynamics I had never thought about while allowing the story to take shape. Equaling the playing field amongst the leads has gotten better as the dialogue and actions speak more to the people I want them to be. Some supporting and minor characters play bigger roles than I expected. 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. The progression has begun to take shape, and I’m enjoying it.  As more feedback begins to come back in, I will be able to rework and revise the screenplay even more as my independent study winds down. The next few weeks will be crunch time for my writing process.

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This week had me juggling many balls in the air. Independent study was put on pause this week as I worked on my screenplay. Doing my third exercise as a TA  was fruitful as it spurred a lively debate amongst the students. I enjoyed seeing young people express their thoughts and opinions. I’m still waiting for feedback from a few readers. The visual work has begun to come together (check out my Instagram for more on that). As independent study winds down, I’m worried about getting my thesis application together. 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.

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Finding a Groove by Moving Forward

Screenwriting has allowed many to give a voice to the voiceless on the page. Whether theatre, film or television, screenwriting became a cathartic experience as well as a creative release. With any experience, there has to be a transition that allows for progression. Working on my second act allowed me to find voices within my multi-layered world.

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Unlike last week’s writing overload, I found my groove as I begun to take on my second act. Allowing the screenplay to act as a setup has allowed me to explore this foreign yet nearby world  – the music industry. The characterization and dialogue came through me as the intensity of the second act opened up for my characters and the world around them. Human connection and relatability became the focus of writing the second act. Doing some work in the first act allowed for the second act to be more grounded in reality. I allowed influences from various areas – interviews, documentaries, musicals – to sip into the second act but with my own twist. All those years of being a music head really paid off when it came to creating conflict when the time called for it. Adding new characters to play against my leads allowed for some interaction I never saw coming during the initial stages. The second act builds upon the world created in the first act as the music moment become second nature in the writing process. Like last week, my thesis fell more in line with the intent of my original one-act play touched on. I wanted to illustrate that point while expanding into other areas for a more well-rounded story. With my second act done, the next few weeks will be about working to refine what I have and making some new twists.

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For the first time in weeks, I felt less anxious about life. I was able to enjoy some personal time by doing some self-care. Independent study went well this week as my professor and I discussed the new direction. Teaching was a little better as I became more comfortable with the students. Client work slowed down a bit, but there seems to be something around the corner. I sent out my script to be read by a film and television professor (Fingers crossed for a good critique). The visual work was scaled back this week while work and school took over my life. 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.

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Finding a Pace Amongst the Chaos

For writers, having a full workload is seen as a gift and a curse. On one hand, doing what you love can be rewarding artistically (and sometimes, monetarily). On the other hand, it can be a little overwhelming and mentally-taxing when everything is a little off-kilter. For me, this dichotomy played itself out in some many ways.

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The past week has been a trial of will and passion as I was stretched thin by my need to be preoccupied. My screenplay has begun to take on a new direction as I aim for a potential series on TV or streaming than a theatrical release. I decided to take what I have in my first act and expand it. As I had discussed with my professor, the first act needed more room to breathe so I could develop the characters even more. The characterization and dialogue needed to be developed more. Initially, I tried cramming to much action in the first act with very little development for my characters to connect with the audience. Equaling the playing field for the leads was a mission that seems to be going well as I did get a chance to flesh out my four leads. Adding scenes and expanding some supporting ones allowed me to give the environment and lead characters more context. For the first time, I felt my thesis is becoming what I actually wanted. The new take allowed me to do more world building and set up for the future series. As I moved into my second act, I knew moving on would help me to correct and reshape my first act.

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The past few days have been a little chaotic. Covering SCAD AnimationFest was both exciting and daunting as I went from event to event for an upcoming article. Independent study was a little rough as all aspects of my life competed for my attention. I did my second exercise as a teaching assistant which led to some fun ideas and awkward moments. I did client work that I actually got paid for. The visual work was scaled back this week while work and school took over my life. So far, my thesis journey has been battle for my time and passion.


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

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