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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.


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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Reworking the Setup

After a decent first act has been created and read over, the revising and reworking process began to take shape. Writing the first act was the beginning of my thesis journey as I headed into the Fall quarter. With every word and action on the page, I must go back through my writing with a fine tooth comb.

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For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about my first act and all the things I want to do with it. As I stated in my vlog last week, my screenplay has begun to take on a new direction as I switched from theatrical film to the pilot film for a potential series. After speaking with my professor this week, I decided to focus on more character development and direction. I wanted the strong female leads to be nuanced and well-rounded individuals with real personalities that any person (male or female) can see a little of themselves in one of them. In order to show them as fully realized humans, I decided to include more of their environment, clothing, activities, and songs to inform the audience. Researching the current television and reading other musical scripts has helped me in taking the next step in my thesis journey. I realized what worked and didn’t within the genre and what conversations were missing on the music business. Equaling the playing field for the leads has become my mission as the scenes are allowed to breathe. Hopefully, as more feedback comes in from others, I will be able to retool and revise the first act as I get ready for the second one.

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Waiting on critiques from others has become a little nerve-wracking as I set mental benchmarks for my writing timetable. Independent study and teaching internship have begun to take shape as I inch closer to Master thesis. I made it through my first exercise as a teaching assistant (cue the steamers). I did some client work that I’m still on the fence about when it comes to payment. The visual work was scaled back this week while work and school took over my life. So far, my thesis journey is turning more into 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.

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Back to Business

Instead of my usual written post, I decided to do a video about what this quarter has in store for me. Enjoy the first of many videos to come!


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

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Balancing Creative Energy and Real-World Expectations

As I stated in a previous blog, being a creative has been both rewarding and draining at the same time. I found myself walking the delicate tightrope of work-life balance many freelancers face every day. My “average Joe” and creative selves went back-and-forth like two small children for my time and attention.  This has made for an interesting test for my creative journey.

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This week has been interesting as I found my creative outlets being sacrificed for extra money and long work hours. My usual writing time was co-opted so my rent and bills could be paid. While the idea of earning more money was great at the moment, I was disgusted with myself for having to put my screenwriting (and creativity period!) on hold for a paycheck. The ideas I contemplated and pondered over seemed to fade away the more customers I entertained at my job. I fought work fatigue and energy-drained laziness to feed my creativity by conjuring up some words on the computer screen. But it wasn’t the same as before as the words lacked my usual meaning and thoughtfulness. I wanted to write so bad, but my unfocused mind just couldn’t come together to create a coherent story (or even a sentence). I decided to let my mind rest from the writing life as I poured myself into other outlets (still lacking the same energy tho). Hopefully, this won’t be the beginning of a downturn in my creative output.

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The creative hopping of last week gave way to a lull. I was barely able to finish the creative piece I started last week (shame on me). My social media and online presence continued to grow as my creative footprint gained even more attention.

As my summer morphs into fall (thank God), I look forward to unveiling my progress this quarter. I already have some ideas floating around my head for my creative future. I have to admit for the first time in a while I’m in a great space creatively!


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

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Finding New Inspiration and Motivation

Inspiration and motivation became the foundation of many creative’s careers. As a multi-faceted individual, my creativity became a cycle of work inspiring and motivating each other – both written and visual. My storytelling began with this cycle and hopefully continues as I pursue a multi-faceted career.

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This week, I allowed myself to go back and forth on my writing journey. I went between my two loves – fiction and screenwriting. The two genres fed each other as I wrote like a speed demon to finish them. My fiction writing mixed technicality and fully-realized stories and characters while my screenplay maintained the format and structure with a story-like appeal. I wanted to my work to display as much as personality and imagination when people are finally able to see it. I’ve loved my work influencing each other and in turn influencing my progression as a writer. Since finishing my first act, I’ve been on fire with my writing.

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I kept up the same creative hopping from last week as I switched between screenwriting, fiction writing, and visual output. I fleshed out my children’s series a little more and started a fiction piece. I finished my visual piece from last week while moving on to the next project. My presence on social media and online continued to grow as this blog and my work continued to gain attention.

As my summer draws to a close, I look forward to unveiling my progress to my professors. I still have some loose ends to tie up before the quarter starts, but my thesis journey is taking a new turn. 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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Recharging and Creating With Writing

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.

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This week, I found myself juggling multiple ideas at once with mixed results. Since finishing my first act, I found myself turning towards fiction writing more. I found channeling my writing energy into another outlet fed my ideas as a screenwriter. Even in fiction writing, I wrote every line and description as if I was creating a screenplay. Where screenwriting is so technical and formulaic at times, writing fiction allowed me to open my mind and just let the words flow out of me. I felt fiction captured more of the personality and imagination my screenwriting can lack from time to time. But I’ve seen some of its influence in my latest effort. I’ve thought about applying some more of this perspective into my first act. I’ve been on fire lately with my writing.

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Since mentioning my latest project last week, I’ve been creative hopping as I switch between screenwriting, fiction writing, and visual output. I took some time to work on my children’s series along with some fiction pieces that had been flowing around in my head. I decided to dedicate some of my time to expanding a project I did earlier this year (at a snail’s pace but this making progress). All this creativity has helped me to grow my presence on social media along with my website.

I’ve allowed myself to rest a little bit as summer break draws to a close. The interest in my work has surprised me as my social media continues to grow. This could only help me transition into my future goals. I still have some loose ends to tie up with school before it starts. My thesis journey has become more of a reality as the school year approaches.


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

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Caught Between Two Screenplays

Screenwriting has become a means of letting creatives channel their innermost thoughts and ideas to life. As a multi-tasker who deplores routine, scriptwriting became the best choice for a writing career. My animation background has allowed me to visualize the scenes and characters as I craft them through words. Merging visual representation with written words became second nature to me as I thought of all the possible script ideas.

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This week, I was faced with something I haven’t dealt with in a while – nothing to do. Since finishing my first act, I found myself pondering my next move before Fall quarter began. I thought about pushing forward with my second act (but then my independent study would be fruitless), and I still need some feedback on my first act. I’d hit a crossroads as I finished revising and rewriting some of my first act earlier than I expected. I knew there was more work to be done, but I needed an unbiased set of eyes to know how well my work is being translated. I thought about working on some pieces I had started a while back. But I was in screenwriting mode and wanted to try my hand at writing another idea I’ve been playing with over the past year or so. I felt a little guilty about starting a new project as if I was cheating on my steady girlfriend with a fun-loving side chick. At the same time, I felt being a free-spirited creative afforded me the advantage of hopping from one project to another. I needed another project to channel all my writing mojo at that moment.

 

Being a Black man writing a screenplay about Black women in a white patriarchal world could be daunting and otherworldly at times. My new project was the total opposite as I began writing a potential children’s series that’s been bubbling for years. This screenplay focused on two brothers and their daily misadventures in their backyard (think of Little Bill and The Backyardigans had a love child). Creating this new effort has sprung open the door to creating more original ideas. My ideas need to be fully formed and ready when my big moment arrives.

I’ve spent the past few days creating whatever my heart desired. I hadn’t done that is a while (it was quite refreshing). Opportunities presented themselves in ways that surprised me. These could be the right direction for me and my future. I still have some loose ends to tie up with school before it starts. My thesis journey has become more and more realistic as my break begins to wind down.


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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