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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Finding Inspiration in Animation

Animation inspires me in so many ways. This week’s video focuses on my time at SCAD AnimationFest. Enjoy the new vlog!

 


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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.


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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!


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