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Inspiration in the Life of John Singleton

As a screenwriter and creator, I’ve studied the greats by emulating them while trying to put my own spin on narrative storytelling. There has never been a drought for finding inspiration in film and television. There have been a myriad of writers, producers, and filmmakers who’ve influenced me in some shape or form. But a pivotal figure in my life since childhood has been the recently deceased John Singleton. I’ve watched everything from Boyz in the Hood to Poetic Justice to Baby Boy (certified hood classics). So I felt compelled to attend a celebration of Singleton’s life at SCADShow.

Planning and Working Towards the Future

Beginning of the journey to employment

As evident by the images above, I put my future career first and decided to participate in SCAD’s Out to Launch.

It was definitely an out-of-body experience for me as I has step out of my introvert mindset and put on my extrovert mask. All those years of retail customer service paid off in a major way. I was able to network and connect with companies I would have never thought (along with a company or two I had looked up online). Keeping contact with some individuals from the event has started building some relationships as my career goes into full swing.

I did learn that having a printed materials on-hand was a great idea, and LinkedIn is your best friend when business cards are non-existent.

Besides all the great things, there were a few things that could have been a little better. Being a time-conscience person, the dis-concern for people’s time was a somewhat off-putting. But considering the institution I mentioned beforehand, it’s really no surprise.

Then, there was the lack of space for the participants. All that preparation – business cards, resumes, portfolios, etc – had to be crammed into this plastic bin. Any overflow had to be placed in a small gray box (mind you that came in hand as the event commenced). From undergrad, I can remember each participant getting their own booth where they could spread out. But given the space and location we had, that would have been impossible to accomplish.

Speaking of the location, I feel the layout didn’t work for what the school was trying to accomplish. Having the split between different floors and the placement of the classrooms made for a flow problem. Being in a back corner room doesn’t exactly entice prospective employers to visit your station. I felt a little shafted as some employers I wanted to see never came to my floor (despite asking for some help from the staff).

Ulterior motives was another problem I felt undermined the purpose of a reverse career fair. I don’t let certain companies and organizations come in trying to mine for prospective employees for their low-wage jobs.

Other than those gripes, I found the event to be very rewarding (along with tiresome and mind-numbing at times). Hopefully, this event has pushed my career in the right direction.


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Words of Wisdom with Gabby Rivera

Last week was a great week as a writer. SCAD-Atlanta hosted novelist and Marvel Comics writer Gabby Rivera for a keynote presentation on pushing against adversity in the entertainment industry.

 


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Bittersweet Outlook

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.

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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.

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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!

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The End?

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.

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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.

man arranging his black necktie

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

As post-grad life stares back at me, I feel a sense of relief and nervousness with my future so close. For the first time in a while, I’m both excited and 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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Networking for the Future at the SCAD Career Fair

With graduation coming to a reality, I needed to survey the career landscape for future prospects. To hear about my experience at the SCAD Career Fair, check this week’s vlog.





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Working and Learning at aTVFest





As my graduate journey nears the end, I’ve found myself looking for more insight into the entertainment industry. See and hear what I learned at SCAD-Atlanta’s 2019 aTVFest.

https://youtu.be/gUpui3p-vkE

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

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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.

Photo by Soumen Maity on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

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.


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Getting Inspired at the Greenville Museum of Art

Being creative has its demands, sometimes, you need some inspiration. See what happened on my birthday trip to South Carolina did for me.

https://youtu.be/qeEFQF_xzb8

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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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Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

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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