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Working Out the Kinks in the First Act

Writing has always been a discipline that allows the artist to re-shape their vision at any point with no regrets. Screenwriting became an art form for me as I constantly went back and forth about my chosen profession. I’ve enjoyed pondering new ideas and approaches when it comes to scenes, characters, and dialogue. I’ve loved being able to take a story and create turns and twists with each word.

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After taking a breather from my thesis, it was back to business as usual as I began to revise my screenplay. Proofreading has always been a tedious process for me as I spend hours scanning over every phrase and word.  I read over every line and description trying to find grammar and spelling errors. But that’s only part of the story as I read every piece of dialogue trying to perfect my script. I revised and rewrote any and every line as an act of sharpening and defining my characters in a better light. My characters’ words have aided in creating the personality and thoughts I need for this screenplay. Looking over the scenes allowed my creative nonfiction skills come into play as I allowed the city of Atlanta and the places to be its own character in each scene.

During the revising and editing process of my screenplay, I found that some scenes and dialogue weren’t working for me or my vision. I began the process of adding and taking away scenes to flesh out my screenplay. Streamlining my dialogue goes in hand with this as I tried making my script more show than tell. I wanted my first act to be at least halfway there when I start independent study this Fall.

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After my thesis break, I continued my visual work while focusing on my writing. Creating visual content allowed my creative writing to be more fulfilling. While I missed some big opportunities this week, I found myself opening to other opportunities I never saw coming. I’ve begun looking forward to the input from my professors and other writers within the next few weeks. My thesis journey has become more and more realistic as I make screenwriting my calling card.


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

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

Letting the Work Breathe

Being a creative has been both rewarding and draining at the same time. As a multi-faceted individual, I found myself getting bored doing the same task day after day. As a writer, I have my feet in two camps: the traditional “writing every day is the only way to perfect your craft” mindset and the modern “constantly thinking about writing is just as good as doing it” attitude.  Storytelling has been one of my creative loves, but it has been daunting from time to time.

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After spending two months trying to squeeze out my first act, I needed a break from my screenplay. As I mentioned before, working on my first act had been a struggle for me as I worked backward to create this well-rounded setup for my established second act.  From the moment spring quarter ended, I had set my sight on fleshing out my work for thesis in the Fall. I struggled to push myself as a screenwriter while I constantly went back and forth over the decisions I was making as a writer. As a Black man trying to write a musical dramedy centered around a group of Black women, I questioned whether I was the right vessel for this work. I wanted female characters that were nuanced, well-rounded, relatable, and realistic in relaying an important message in a world of #MeToo and #TimesUp. It was mentally taxing on me both as a writer and a person. I was striving for perfection but draining my creative tank at the same time. Writing the last words of act one was both satisfying and tiring as I let go of my work. It needed to breathe. I needed to breathe. The break has allowed me to think of new ways to approach my screenplay when it comes to my revisions and rewrites.

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While on my thesis break, I decided to focus on a previous short story I had written as well as some personal and client-based visual work. Not focusing on my screenplay allowed my creative tank to refill in a serious way. As I mentioned last week, Getting critiques from other writing students and some writer friends has become the next step. I’ve looked forward to the input from my professors and other writers in the Fall. My thesis journey will have its ups and downs as I strive to create my calling card as an aspiring writer.


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

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

Working the Setup

The key to any decent screenplay is creating a good setup in the first act. As an aspiring screenwriter, the first act is my way of setting up tone, relationships, and plot so that everything comes to a head in the second act. All the drama and conflict is planted in the first act. But this is exceptionally hard since a good portion of my second act was already in motion.

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In a previous post, I alluded to the fact that working backward can be a little hard especially when trying to make a smooth transition from the first to the second. The past month or so has been an exercise in world building and character development. It has been a struggle to push myself as a screenwriter to create something different while thinking about my various influences. Added stress comes from the fact that I’m a Black man trying to write a musical dramedy centered around a group of Black women. I want to be nuanced and well-rounded while still being relatable and realistic to the story I’m trying to tell. I’ve written for female characters before, but this seems to weight heavier as I craft this piece with full awareness. I want to a female-centric screenplay where males are secondary to the main story. In crafting this screenplay, researching the issue of Black women in the music industry and watching a variety of biopics and musicals have helped me to flesh out the story. Hopefully, getting some more input from women of color and musicians will smooth out my screenplay once I get into my second act.

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Having finished my first act this week, I’m going to let it sit for a bit before I end up doing revisions. My next step is to get a critique from my fellow Scaddies and some writer friends before Fall quarter begins. By getting a head start on my thesis, my independent study will be more fruitful as I look forward to the input from my professors and other writers as I inch closer to finishing my Master’s degree. My thesis journey is more about creating 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.

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

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