This week, I’m focusing on the line between being a follower and a leader.
I spent most of this week working on a spec script for screenwriting competitions. I’ve made some progress while feeling so behind as I worked to write the spec. While I’ve found the exercise to be motivating, in the same breath, I’ve been wanting to strike out on my own to get my content out there. I’ve contemplated many times, but it wasn’t until some family members told me I may be better to do my own thing rather than wait on the entertainment industry to come calling. I think my biggest fear has been failing without a safety net or having my work torn to pieces by internet trolls. But in the age of cancel culture, insta-fame, and disposable media, I feel now is the prefect time to take a risk.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, I feel many independent contractors like myself as going to be more vital once people start getting use to the new “normal.” We’ll all have to make some adjustments, but the end goal will be worth it. I know if I keep grinding and practicing my craft my time will come. Just like last week, I feel like my time will come in my late 30s to early 40s like a lot of my favorite entertainers. Especially being black, it seems the industry never wants to give creators of color their time until they feel they’re “worthy” of their time and money. But also seeing creatives like Issa Rae and Donald Glover making content on their own terms has inspired me to start taking a risk with my own content.
While I battle between independence and the industry waiting game, I’m still pursuing more freelance work as I have a couple offers I’m considering. The ongoing pandemic has made the freelance landscape a little shaky, but I feel more and more working-from-home will become the new “norm” for businesses. I feel things will be on the up and up after everything is said and done.
As summer break continues on, I find myself trying to be a better professor as take an online course, which I’m actually taking seriously. Right now, the course is going well. Hopefully, taking this course will help me to better understand creating online courses for my student next Fall.
I’m back this week with more insight into what’s been going on.
Last week, I didn’t do much writing outside of my freelance work. But this week, I’ve decided to write a spec script for some upcoming screenwriting contests. I would usually look for someone to give coverage, but with deadlines coming so soon, I’ll just have to take my chances. Eventually, I plan to put my original work on sites like the Blacklist to see what I need to work on. Hopefully, before the end of the year, I’ll be able to start looking for an agent to help me get out there. But that might be a while with COVID-19 still raging on. I know if I keep grinding and practicing my craft my time will come. Plus, some of my favorite actors, producers, and writers didn’t hit their stride until their late 30s to early 40s. As I said in the previous blog, it’s all about the marathon, not the sprint.
I’m still pursuing more freelance work as I find my niche in journalism and content creation. With some jobs on hold and others disappearing, it has been a scary few weeks as the gig economy faces new and unprecedented changes due to the ongoing pandemic. I’m hoping things will begin to pick up as everyone tries to return to normal (or a new normal). I feel something(s) are coming upon the horizon.
As summer break continues, I find myself trying to be a better professor for my students come next Fall. I decided to take an online course, which I’m actually taking seriously. I know next month I’ll have to get my butt in gear as classes startup in August. I have so many ideas I just hope I have time for them all.
Becoming your own boss can be a double-edged sword for anyone wanting to enter the freelance world. Creating your brand and business can be both rewarding and draining all at the same. Growing into the boss I want to be is a growing experience.
Mixing passion with business has become a way of life for me. Even though, I still need a 9-to-5, working on my own accord is becoming a huge part of my life. I can make my own schedule and working within my skill set. But there’s a quite bit of hard work, time and effort I put running my own brand and business. Working for CBR and a fashion brand is a way for me to build my portfolio while fueling my passion.
Journalism and content writing will hopefully help in paying the bills. Writing for someone else helps to me to be of service. It is always my mission to create something that pushes an entity or company forward. With CBR, I get to let my inter-nerd show through writing about all things related to comic books and media. I’ve felt that way since writing for Paste. My other gig has’t taken shape yet so I would be able to talk about until the brand’s relaunch in a few weeks.
Writing is my outlet for expressing myself. The topics I speak on in all my work are things I are accustomed to speaking on. While I’m fulfilled in my work, I hope to find time for my own personal work. Finding that time is on me, but for now, I have to be in work mode for a bit.
While visual art is my first love, writing has become my calling. And wherever the Lord sees fit to use it is where I will go.
Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.
When reality clashes with passion, it can lead to a crossroad for any creative. Post-grad life has proved to be a little more chaotic than I initially thought. With that said, I’m reclaiming my writing time back now!
Since my last post, life has had its share of ups and downs. On the positive end, I moved up the corporate ladder just a little (even though the position is not in my field). Getting use to the new facility as well as the new schedule has required an adjustment period I didn’t see lasting this long. All I know is that the new job will require some better time management for my creative activities. Another reason for my hiatus had to do with a family health crisis. While my family member is okay, it took some time to help them readjust to their new life with doctor’s visits, medication, etc. Since that phase is winding down, I can now concentrate more on my writing for the rest of the year (hopefully).
This space will definitely be more active as I continue to grow as a writer. I have so many things I want to accomplish before the end of this year. While some things are a guarded secret, I can say I will be participating in Nanowrimo this year. The project I want to work on is the expansion of an original piece I did a year or two ago. It’ll be a form of therapy for me while being a love letter to my hometown. But continue to watch this space for more on my future projects.
After two turbulent months , I’ve finally got creative mojo back, and I am not going to let this go to waste.
Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my future!
I’m a fan of the old adage “when one chapter closes, another one opens.” Since graduating, my deferment in adulting has come to an end as real life has begun to set in.
Gone is Screenwriting While Black, and #WritingWhileBlack is its newest form. Limiting my writing to one form had been difficult for me with my last blog. My main focus will still be screenwriting, but my fiction and nonfiction writing will be showcased as well. This blog will allow me to speak more on all forms of writing.
With my last few entries of my past blog being visual, this blog will be a mix of written and visual as I share not only my process but my experiences. As a creative, I plan on sharing my tips and thoughts for writing, progress on personal projects, short pieces, and my life as a full-time content creator and adult.
Next week’s post will deal more with the progress of the various rewrites I have been tackling. So come back and take this new journey with me!
And as always, don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.
As my time at SCAD draws to an end, I found some time to take in my passion – animation. Watching others’ work only drives my need to write for the medium even more. Check out the images and video below for more on that night.
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.
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.
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).
Yesterday was mixed with dread and excitement as my graduate journey officially came to an end. All the preparation, writing and time had led to this moment. As a creative, the past few years had been a juggling act of school, work, and personal life. My ability and push to be a screenwriter was tested and nurtured during my time at SCAD.
Yesterday was a bittersweet moment as I finished my last class as a graduate student. I found myself wanting to suspend time like Zach Morris. I wanted this moment to last as I knew the world of adulting was waiting for me. Mind you, I’ve been doing a tightrope walk between work and personal life since the beginning of my graduate career. This was my last hoorah before the 9-to-5 life and job searching really took over for the next few months. But I can let out a sigh of relief as I laid out a post-graduate plan for the next few months. My creativity will know no bounds as I will focus on writing (across various platforms) and improving on and creating more visual design and art. I plan for my portfolio to be robust by the end of summer. This along with May’s Out 2 Launch and writing fellowship deadlines has stoked my creative fire. Part of that fire is shadowing around the area in order to foster my career as a designer and writer.
Seeing my fellow SCAD alum on social media living their best creative lives has made me feel better about post-grad life. Instagram posts, blogs, Patreons, and book previews gave me the push to pursue my creative life no matter what. I definitely plan to step up my online game before my commencement in June.
With post-grad life being a reality, I feel a sense of relief and nervousness. I still have some benchmarks to hit before graduation, but my future is definitely looking brighter day by day.
In spite of my thesis journey ending, I will continue posting here as well as on other platforms. So stay tuned!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.