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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.


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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.


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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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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!


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Writing and Editing in the Key of Self-Awareness

Being self-aware can be both a gift and a curse. On one end, it keeps me humble and respectful as an artist and writer. I know there are better writers, but they aren’t telling my story. On the other end, I’m ALWAYS in my head when it comes to the creative process. I doubt myself at every turn, even to the point where the blinking cursor and I end up having a staring contest. This along with slow and measured in my writing has allowed me to become my own worst critic.

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This is even more true with my thesis. I find myself going back and forth between forcing myself to type out some words and flooding the pages without a concept of time. I second guess myself as I try to make my first act flow into my second without sacrificing my well thought-out plan. Am I setting the scene correctly? Is the mood for the scene right? Are my characters too different? Or not different enough? Does the dialogue come off authentic? Or too slang-heavy? Is the screenplay more show than tell? Are the dialogue and action balancing out? Do I have too many characters? Or not enough? This struggle has been plaguing me since I decided to make screenwriting my career choice. It can be tiring and overwhelming at times especially with my anxiety issues. But the task is of my own making so I have to be up for the challenge.

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My self-awareness has played into my ability to edit in addition to writing. For me, I edit my work as I go along. I feel it helps me to create a better piece. I’ve noticed over the past week or so that I think of different ways to improve upon my previous scenes and dialogue. Some scenes have worked out for the better as I fleshed them out and added one or two. The dialogue is definitely getting sharper and snapper as I write for these characters more and more. There’s nothing like dripping sarcastic or dramatic wordplay to get my writing muscles going. I hope to harness my self-awareness more in that way in the coming weeks and months. My thesis journey is going to be a great yet scary ride for me (and my anxiety).


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 Backwards

Writing can be a daunting task, especially with a self-imposed deadline. I’ve found myself over the past month being a little gun shy when it comes to writing my thesis. I’m excited about writing my first film script in some time. But a nagging feeling seems to come from time to time as I try working back to create a full screenplay from a one-act play. The task seems more like a boulder than a pebble when it comes to self-starting. Every day has been a struggle as I muster up the strength to write. Something I’ve never had a problem with before as my love of knowledge and words has always been my driving force. After letting my mind rest for a week after Spring quarter, the early writing sessions have been a struggle after months of school, work, and my internship draining my creative tank. The guilt is overwhelming as I begin questioning my choices and motives as a writer. Writing this screenplay has been a battle as I try to create within a program that champions writing novels, journalism, and short story collections over screenwriting. I have something to prove, and I have to remain steadfast if this is going to work.

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Over the past week or so, I’ve found my stride by letting go of my preconceived ideas and allowing my scenes and characters talk to me. I find that’s the best way for me to get my first act going.  Trying to create a first act that flows with an already established second act can be a beast. On the daily, I am having constant mental battles over what is the best approach or how events in the first act are going to change parts of my second act. I feel my second act is filled with strong points that still need some finessing, but the first act has to set-up the later events. That’s the gift and curse of taking existing material and creating something new from it. But I guess it’ll all work out in the end as I will have my second finished screenplay before graduation.

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On the plus side, I did find out this week my independent study got approved. This will be my opportunity to finish my screenplay under deadlines similar to working screenwriters. It will definitely be an experience. I can’t wait.


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

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

Allow Me to Re-introduce Myself

Hello followers,

I Know its been awhile since my last post, but I need some time to get my head right after a very demanding few months. Like any artist, I needed a moment to recharge my creative battery. Now, I’m ready to start blogging again.

Excuse me for a moment, for any new to my website, I am Adreon Patterson – writer, artist, and animator. I currently attend SCAD-Atlanta where I am working on my thesis in the MFA Writing program. My thesis will focus on creating a screenplay on the Black female experience in music. I worked as a freelance animator for many years creating content for various entities – big and small – before making the transition to writing.

As I previously stated, I am working on my Master’s thesis. I plan on showcasing the struggles and triumphs of creating a screenplay while juggling the realities of adulthood. I want this experience to highlight the need for more writers of color (WOCs) to create the content they want to see on the big and small screen. This is why I decided to call my latest blog…

Screenwriting While Black

I hope this blog will be just as entertaining and informative as my previous blogs. I can’t wait to share this space with you all.

BTW, if you’re a newbie, check out my previous blogs here and here. They might be of some interest to you.

Rewriting Your Screenplay

After all the revising and editing, something might be gnawing at your mind and spirit – does this screenplay work for my vision. This thought can pop into your head after reshaping and editing your screenplay. In today’s blog, I’ll on rewriting your spec script to match your true vision.

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Rewriting can be a daunting task when you try to rework what you’ve spent months even years working on your passion project. This allows you to escape the creative box you’ve painted yourself into. It’s important to have your work for whatever occasion arises.

During the revising and editing process of my screenplay, I found that the format and structure I used in my screenplay wasn’t working for me or my vision. I was trying to make a half-hour dramedy to an hour-long drama. It lacked the intensity and hilarity I originally envisioned for my first project. I needed to reclaim my original premise and characters I planned all those years ago.

Now, as I begin to think about my concept, reshaping my script is going to affect every aspect of my overall package. When the time is right I will be prepared.n-screenplay-628x314

 

The goal of rewriting your work is to help prepare you for the endgame – optioning your idea for film, television or the web. Just remember to keep your eyes on the prize.

In reading this post, I hope you will feel better about the rewriting process. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

As I end my run with The Screenwriting Forum, it has been a pleasure writing this blog. The amount of information and advice I shared in this experience helped me to grow as much as it did my readers. I loved the community that has formed from this blog. And I hope to continue this positive and encouraging environment as I moved on to my new blog.

Come back within the next few days for my new venture.

Submitting Your Screenplay

After registering your screenplay, the next task is to submit your screenplay to different outlets.  In today’s blog, I’ll speak on how and where to submit your work.

Submissions are instrumental in getting your work acknowledged by the entertainment industry.  It’s important to let people outside of your family and friends see and read your screenplay.

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Remember to register with the WGA East, WGA West or international here to register your script. Don’t forget about your logline and treatment because most of contests and competitions will want them before seeing your script.

For any screenwriter worth their weight, entering your screenplay into various contests and competitions is a must. It signifies your script is ready to be seen by individuals in the industry. Getting veterans to see your script is key to making gains into the industry.

Here are some fellowships, contests, and competitions for you to consider:

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Big Break Screenwriting Contest

CAPE New Writers Fellowship

The CBS Writers Mentoring Program

Disney│ABC Writing Program

Film Independent Episodic Lab

Film Independent Project Involve

Film Independent Screen Writers Lab

FOX Writers Lab

Nickelodeon Writing Program

NBC Writers on the Verge

ScreenCraft’s Screenwriting Fellowship

Sundance Episodic Story Lab

Sundance Feature Film Program

Sundance YouTube New Voices Lab

Tribeca All Access

Universal Writers Program

Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop

With my own screenplays, I have submitted my work to various contests and competitions. It’s too early to tell what feedback I’ll get, but the fact that I submitted is a great start.

As I rewrite my spec script, I keep the idea of submitting to different outlets in the back of my mind. Now, my rewrite will be representative of my true vision as a creative. So submitting to contests and competitions will be more rewarding.

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The goal of submitting your work is to help prepare you for the endgame – optioning your idea for film, television or the web. Like last week, keep your eyes on the prize.

Hopefully, reading this post will submission process less anxiety-filled. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week for a surprise.

Registering Your Screenplay

After reshaping your story bible, the next task is to register your screenplay and all its assets. Registration is key in creating a viable property in your screenwriting future. In today’s blog, I’ll speak on how important registration is.

Registration is instrumental in solidifying your finished script as an intellectual property for your creative gain. This comes into play when submitting your screenplay to contests or optioning for a film/television deal. It’s important to have ownership of your work for whatever occasion arises.

With that said, let’s talk about how to register your screenplay.

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For any screenwriter worth their weight, the Writers Guild is the destination for copyright and trademark of your work. It signifies that you have an intellectual property worthy of being something one day. You have to have your own back as a creative when it comes to your script.

Here are the links to the WGA East and WGA West for my U.S. readers. For my international readers, here is another link to find what guild you can register with.

 

 

With my own screenplay, procrastination and perfectionism set me back awhile as I tried shaping and molding my work into what I wanted it to be. Registering my screenplay happens to be the biggest hurdle I had as a screenwriter, but eventually, my confidence in my writing leads to a certificate from the WGA.

As I rewrite my spec script, the thought of re-registering my script has come to mind. Now, my rewrite and reshaped story bible will be representative of my true vision. When the time is right I will be prepared.

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The goal of registering your work is to help prepare you for the endgame – optioning your idea for film, television or the web. Like last week, keep your eyes on the prize.

In reading this post, I hope you will have a better understanding of what ownership means to any screenwriter with a dream and some decent words. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week as I speak on preparing your screenplay for submissions.

Packaging Your Screenplay Part 2 – Revising and Shaping Your Bible

Once the logline and treatment have been revamped, you can focus other aspects. Any screenwriter with a vision will want one for when their big moment finally arrives. But once the revising and editing process has slowed down, revisiting the bible is a must. In today’s blog, I’ll tackle a screenwriter’s best friend – the series/film bible.

If loglines and treatments are the mission statement and slogan for your vision, then the story bible is the handbook of your well-crafted vision. It’s the foundation of your screenwriting. Your bible sets the tone for your story will be for the next 90 minutes or 5 seasons.

For me, my story bible has shifted quite a bit since I first wrote my pilot. The same premise has remained in tack, but episode orders, plotlines and more have changed as my needs for the overall story have. Remember to always keep your premise even as your story shifts from time to time.

With that said, let’s explore how to repurpose your story bible.

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Retooling a story bible can be a daunting yet rewarding task as you want the bible to be in sync with your pilot. With that in mind, a series/film bible is described as:

a reference document used by screenwriters for information on a television series’/film’s characters, settings, and other elements that keep the content consistent throughout its course.

With loglines and treatments are short and concise, a story bible tends to vary in length depending on what stage in the process you’re at.

There are two schools of thought in television and film about story bibles. As mentioned by Screencraft, there are more traditionalists like screenwriting master Jacob Kruger who puts it as:

What they’re really asking is proof that you know what you’re doing, and that your series pilot not only has a fabulous premise and collection of castable characters we’d want to spend our time binge-watching, but also has the kind of engine required to run for at least five years.

He feels many producers and studios still have the mentality of world-building as king. He suggests the tried-and-true structure listed below:

  • A series logline (including all the elements from your original pitch).
  • Short character bios for each character detailing who he or she is along with their wants, and what they will do to get it.
  • A short overview paragraph describing the story arc of the first season.
  • Summaries of each first-season episode, including a title and a nutshell description for each episode by restating the characters’ wants and needs and the rising conflicts.
  • A short summary of seasons two through five (with short being the keyword; leave the producers and executives wanting more).

On the opposite end, there is producer/script editor Lucy V. Hay who feels the traditional method can be boring and long. Hay champions brevity as she states, “Knowing this helps you focus your vision and your pitch to the right network.” She suggests this four to five-page format:

  • A one-page pitch
  • One page of character profiles for all characters
  • Short synopses of all episodes following the pilot
  • A page or so detailing the format (who the returning characters are, intended channel, intended slot, and so on)

 

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Courtesy of Bang2Write

I have to admit I fall more into the traditionalist lane as I craft TV scripts with a series being the goal. I love the idea of world-building and giving background to every aspect of my script. While it is a challenge, I love having the vision to be fully planned out before someone sees my hard work.

The revising and editing process can make it hard to stare at your meticulously planned bible and say “I need to start over.” That moment can be a heartbreak for any writer especially your average screenwriter. It means you have to go back to the drawing board and go through the shaping and plotting all over again.  But it’s okay because you have shifted your vision, and your story bible needs to reflect that. You can still keep the bones while you lay on the flesh.

I’m going through the process as I write this blog. After rethinking my spec script, I figured out some of my issues are related to the bible I create. Now, I am reconstructing what my episodes and modifying my series trajectory.

When redoing your bible, you have to keep your screenplay in mind. It has to reflect what the themes, characters, plot, settings, and etc. are now rather than the previous revision(s). As I have gone through the revising process, I have found myself looking back at the story bible every time to see if it still captures the premise of my script. Now as I make some changes to it, I have to let the past go as I reshape my vision to its true form.

 

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The goal with this writing staples is to help shape and mold your vision to what your endgame is going to be – optioning your idea for film, television or the web. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Hopefully, reading this post will relieve your anxiety about tackling your series/film bible. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week for registering your screenplay and preparing it for submission.

Packaging Your Screenplay Part 1 – Revising a Treatment and Logline

Once free from the creativity drainer known as writer’s block, the preparation for shopping and optioning your screenplay will commence. Even before writing your screenplay, two key elements are needed – a logline and treatment. But once the revising and editing process has slowed down, revisiting the logline and treatment is a must. In today’s blog, I’ll dive into redoing your logline and treatment for your big moment.

Loglines and treatments are like the mission statement and slogan for your vision. They set the blueprint for what your story will become once you begin writing/typing your script. Even though your story might change course here and there, your logline and treatment are there to keep you from veering too far off course.

For me, my logline and treatment have remained the same since I first wrote my pilot. Of course, there have been some minor tweaks along the way, but pretty much the same premise has remained in tack. Remember to always keep your premise in mind when redoing your logline and treatment.

With that said, let’s explore how to repurpose your logline and treatment.

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Logline

Retooling a logline can be both amazing and challenging. As the definition states,  a logline is

a brief (usually one-sentence) summary of a television program, film, or book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.

Being short and concise is the key to crafting a great logline. So once you’ve come up with one, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

The revising and editing process can make it hard to look at your well-crafted logline and think “this doesn’t speak to the story I have now.” That moment can be a heartbreak for any writer especially your average screenwriter. It means you have to go back to the drawing board and go through the brainstorming process all over again.  But it’s okay as now you understand your plot and characters better. Writing the new one will be a little easier.

When redoing your logline, you have to keep your screenplay in mind. It has to inhibit the plot and characters as they are now not from the previous revision(s). Just remember to keep the setting, characters, inciting incident, conflict, and goals in mind. As I have gone through the revising process, I have found myself looking back at the logline every time to see if it still captures the premise of my script. Every revision causes a tweak to the logline in some form or fashion. Keep calm and go with the flow.

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Treatment

Long before the first word of your screenplay is typed or written, your treatment plots out how your story will come together and take shape. Treatment follows its definition to a tee:

a piece of prose, typically the step between scene cards and the first draft of a screenplay, longer and more detailed than an outline that reads like a short story, but describes the events as they happen in the present tense.

The treatment allows you to write your screenplay without worrying or over thinking every little detail. Trust me that’s a godsend for a type A personality like me and my racing thoughts. It provides structure while allowing for wiggle room where needed.

The revising and editing process can throw your well thought-out treatment for a loop. It feels like your world is coming to an end as you go back to start tweaking dialogue and rearranging scenes to best fit the story in its new form.  But it’s okay as now you understand that all the moving parts are now working in tangent with each other. Writing the new one will be an undertaking but so worth it.

Like your logline, retooling your treatment make you refer to your revised screenplay. It has to follow the story’s new course instead of the previous one. As I’ve gone through the revising process, I found myself tweaking the treatment as I rewrote and edited my script. The same vision I had, in the beginning, did not reflect the current state of my screenplay. Every revision trickles down to the treatment in some way. Just remember to keep your vision in tack.

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The goal with these two writing staples is to help shape and mold your vision to what your endgame is going to be – optioning your idea for film, television or the web. Keep your eyes on the promised land.

Hopefully, reading this post will aid you in rethinking and revising your treatment and logline. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week for more on deconstructing and reconstructing your film/series bible.

Writer’s Block Part 2 – Finding Relief

After dealing with the symptoms and causes of writer’s block, writing a screenplay can be a stressful situation so why add this foe of all writers into the mix. In today’s blog, I’ll dive into some resolutions to help deal with this plague.

Dealing with writer’s block can be a major stressor to any screenwriter. Sometimes, all you need is a changeup or some personal time to get back into the creative flow. When I was writing my pilot, I found myself staring at a blank computer screen for moments at a time. I would back away from the screen and watch some Korean variety shows to get back in the fold.

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In that spirit, I’ll give you some tips on breaking out of your writer’s block.

Research

If you find yourself questioning some of your writing decisions (characters, settings, actions), research can a huge aid in breaking through writer’s block. Looking up culture aspects of a character’s background or real places for your fictional world can great in pushing through and developing your screenplay. During the writing process for my pilot, I spent half of my time reading books and looking up pages and forums online to get a better breadth of my characters’ various backgrounds.

Change of scenery

Any writer who’s been handcuffed to their computer or notebook all day will tell you that changing your environment will open up your creative world. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking a walk outside. You can go grocery shopping, meeting friends for lunch, seeing the afternoon matinee, etc. Any chance to be out and about in the world is a great opportunity to get inspiration. My favorite thing to do is going to a shopping center or grocery store and observe people as I run my errands.

Reading outside of your medium

Screenwriting is amazing, but sometimes, you can get into a little rut with the format as your creative well begins to run dry. Reading outside of your screenwriting territory is crucial in keeping the creativity flowing. Find a nice book. magazine, or blog site to get some inspiration for your characters, plots, settings, etc. My usual reading selection goes between historical fiction, mystery, graphic novels, and memoirs. I can always find inspiration in those mediums.

Tap into other creative outlets

Besides reading outside of the medium, you use other creative outlets to inform your script and its world. Being an artist allows you to be a multifaceted individual so embrace it. Anyone who is thinking about or in the thick of screenwriting usually has a background in some other forms of writing. But there’s also other forms of art that can get those creative juice going. Before becoming an aspiring screenwriter, I got my Bachelor’s degree in animation along with having a background in every aspect of the fine arts.

Try other activities

A piece of advice is not all your activities have to be creative-focused. Sometimes, you have to let your mind go blank and enjoy some mindless fun. After a day of writing, you need to unwind in some way. Video games, film, television, etc. Just embrace it all. I spend my free time going between video gaming, listening to music or catching up on my favorite TV series and podcasts online.

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When there seems to be no relief for writer’s block, a breakthrough happens, and the words begin to flow from your fingertips to the computer screen or notebook.

Hopefully, reading this post will help in getting out of the fog known as writer’s block. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week for more on creating the full screenwriting experience.

 

 

Writer’s Block Part 1 – Symptoms and Causes of Creative Restriction

After speaking on the importance of scenes and actions in crafting a screenplay, I’ll speak on a writer’s worst enemy – the dreaded writer’s block. Today’s blog will focus on the symptoms and causes of this creative plague. Writer’s block can lead to a depressive state in your writing process.

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According to the website Mental Health Daily,

The phenomenon was first documented in 1947 by Edmund Bergler, a psychoanalyst… Anyone can end up with writer’s block, even talented writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald have been noted to struggle with this condition. The condition was researched throughout the 1970s and 1980s and specifically focused on the process and post-process theories of composition.

Like any form of writing, screenwriting is no exception as mental blocks can come at the most inopportune moments. When I originally wrote my pilot, I was writing the last two acts for my screenwriting class when I decided to push myself due to outside obligations. I couldn’t concentrate as my mind raced at top speed.  In short, I ended writing those acts at 2 AM after a crazy concert. My creative juices were flowing, and I had to capture them before sleep and fatigue settled in.

In that spirit, I’ll break down some of the warning signs and causes of writer’s block.

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Symptoms

Brain fog – This dreaded cohort of writer’s block always appears when you in the midst of creating your latest masterpiece. You feel like your brain is working against you as your concentration and productivity slow down to a screeching halt amongst a cloudy atmosphere. It can lead to a major delay in your writing process.

Lack of focus – As either an offset of brain fog or a casualty of distraction, focusing on a story can be a daunting task as outside forces seem to constantly vie for your attention. A wandering mind can take your attention away from your passion for writing.

Lack of inspiration – Have you ever been in the midst of or starting to writing your screenplay, and found yourself not feeling or lacking direction in your work? Of course, we all have. Sometimes, you find yourself writing something that just doesn’t speak to your soul and heart. That can be a major dilemma, especially when dealing with a tight deadline.

Frustration – Another writer’s block cohort popping up when writing shouldn’t a stress but a labor of love. Often times this comes up when you need to write but can’t put words to pen or computer screen. You end up in this negative cycle of doubt and creative restriction.

Causes

Over analyzing and over thinking – As a creative, your work becomes a child of your writing process, but sometimes, a writer’s worst enemies – self-doubt and fear – can creep up and cause you to rethink everything you’ve written. You begin comparing your screenplay to that of your peers or industry veterans and scrutinizing every single word you have on the page or screen.

Anxiety – Again, a writer’s worst enemies – self-doubt and fear – can lead to some very intense moments as you begin looking over your work. Breathing gets shallow, mind races and heart palpitations set in as this silent foe begins overwhelming all your senses and body. You feel completely out-of-control and unable to write.

Emotional fatigue – Life outside of writing can be draining – physically, mentally and emotionally – leading to a lack of creativity and mental blocks. The latter comes when your words lack the emotional fortitude your character needs. The lack of connection and a slow mental process can leave you filling unfulfilled and unmotivated.

Lack of motivation – Once in the thick of emotional fatigue, your determination and ambition seem to drift to the wayside as lethargy and low mental fortitude set in. Being unmotivated can the biggest mountain to climb as when it comes to writing a screenplay. An already daunting task can become almost impossible.

Stress – This negative force can be a major hindrance in the writing process. Sometimes, stress can go beyond the thinking process and impede on complex cognitive functions like writing a screenplay. Outside forces like daily life, family problems or relationships can render the idea of screenwriting as more of an overwhelming task than a creative outlet.

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Even though the condition has been studied, it has become a controversial subject as many individuals, including writers, have begun to question the validity of writer’s block in recent years. I’ll just say that writing no matter the medium can be a huge undertaking especially in a short amount of time, but I’ll leave that debate up to you – the audience.

In reading this post, I hope you won’t feel alone in the battle against writer’s block. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week to read about some cures for writer’s block.

 

Scenes and Actions Part 2 – Creating Characters Through Actions

After speaking on the importance and difference in settings and scenes in crafting a screenplay, I’ll speak on the importance of creating your characters through actions. A character’s actions are essential in setting the tone and pace of a script.

A plot or story cannot move forward without the use of action. Each and every action a character makes helps in obtaining the end goal – a resolution. In some cases, a series of actions can leave the resolution open-ended for the audience to draw their own conclusions. In writing my pilot script, I found myself creating a serialized resolution where a strategic move on social media by my main character carried over to the next episode in the series. This allowed me to give my series a serialized focus not many animated series tend to explore.

A friendly tip from me to you is to create a loose outline of actions will happen in a scene. And I do mean loose outline as sometimes an action might seem okay in the initial stage, but doesn’t work when it comes to plotting out your screenplay.

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Actions are all about being visual and timely. With most screenplays taking place in real time, you have to remember that the present tense is your best friend. It will help you keep straight what is going on in your character’s world. Throughout writing my screenplay, I had to keep in mind I was not writing a novel but a project that is meant for the small or big screen. Along with timeliness, action carries the plot visually as your characters exist on a realistic plane (real or fictional). In writing my screenplay, I found myself using various words to illustrate an action like walking – trotting, speeding, creeping. In one scene, I had to write about two characters walking down the hallway in their own ways to show more personality.

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Remember actions have their own levels within the script. Some are big and dynamic while others are nuance and subtle.  This keeps the screenplay from feeling monotone and uninspiring when someone reads the final product. Throughout my screenplays, I use a character’s actions to play in the relationship and dynamic with others. My main character tends to be affectionate and warm with her best friend while she tends to become timid and nonconfrontational when noticing or interacting with her nemesis.

When creating a character’s actions, you need to think about how they speak to the character’s personality and relationships.

In reading this post, I hope you will be able to craft actions that not only influence your characters but your story as well. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week to read about coping and understanding the creativity stopper – writer’s block.

Scenes and Actions Part 1 – Scenes and Settings

After speaking on the topic of dialogue, I’ll be tackling the topic of scenes and actions when it comes to creating dynamic and exciting situations for any character.

In this post, I’ll talk about the relationship between scenes and settings when it comes to creating a character’s world. While one might think these concepts are one in the same, a scene involves a series of actions perpetuated by a character(s). A setting deals with the environment where many conflicts and scenes take place within the character’s world. Both are essential in the art of world building as the characters need them to create a visual presentation through words. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a great example of this as her use of descriptions and adjectives helped in creating the world millions of fans witnessed on the big screen.

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Creating and envisioning settings are instrumental in creating dynamics between characters along with their dialogue. I think about the old adage “the setting is another character” when it comes to perfecting your screenplay. It must be visually descriptive and vibrant just like the characters. I’ll use my script as an example. I need the cultural shock aspect as my main character is being introduced to a new environment. I describe everything from the pink and white decor in her bedroom to the white walls and blue lockers within her new high school to give the reader a sense of what is going on within this realistic fictional world. For me, the world is just as much a part of the story as the characters moving the plot forward.

A tip I use is creating a series or film bible for your script that way you already have the settings and descriptions in place for reference. As I revise and edit my script, I constantly refer to mine when making sure a setting is true to the vision I have.

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A scene from Life of Pi recreated by Morgan Spence

Once the settings are in place, creating scenes are a bit easier. Each scene must carry the plot forward in some way (big or small). When thinking of a scene, you must ask yourself some questions: is this important to the story? Does it move the plot? Does the rapport and actions within the scene come off as natural to the character(s)? If your scene doesn’t answer any of these questions, you might need to lose the scene. I’ve had the experience in my process as an introduction scene between my main character and her neighbor read fine in the initial writing, but once I revisited it, it didn’t make sense in the overall story. I tried changing dialogue and moving it around, but in the end, I ended up rewriting the whole scene. It was the best thing I could have done for the plot.

To save on wasted space, I would suggest creating an outline of how you want your script to flow. This way you can have your scenes laid out for you to refer back to when needed.

Hopefully, this post will aid you in creating the best settings and scenes for your characters to play in. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week to read about creating actions to enhance the reader’s experience and your characters when reading your script.

Dialogue Part 2 – Vernacular and Purpose

In continuing with the dialogue theme, I’ll be focusing this post on vernacular and purpose when it comes to creating a unique character within your real or fictional world.

 

While voice and personality set the foundation for a character, it’s the use of vernacular and purpose that can set one character apart from another. Using these two techniques set the blueprint for their dialogue. Like voice and personality, these two work in tangent to a build a character of their language and outlook, especially when there are multiple characters involved.

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Using vernacular can influence the dialogue of character(s). Whether a Southern American, German transplant or U.K. diplomat, vernacular is something as a writer you might want to think of when trying to create a multi-cultural cast. But vernacular can be a tricky beast as you don’t want the dialogue to be stiff, forced or even worse stereotypical.  Take my pilot for a spec script as an example. I took a Southern American girl and dropped her in our neighbor of the North, Canada. It features a cast of teenagers from various ethnic backgrounds so my duty as a writer is to mix some Southern terms from my main character while injecting some Canadian phrases in a natural manner. For me, I use vernacular sparingly as not to create caricatures rather than characters. That’s a little tip from me to you.

Another tip on vernacular is to make sure to examine some terminology through books and websites specializing in certain cultures and nationalities along with consulting people of those backgrounds for more authenticity.

purpose

Vernacular is important, but finding purpose in a character’s words is pivotal in displaying a character’s personality. There has to be meaning and intent when creating lines of dialogue or the words will fall flat. Every line in every scene needs to move the plot in some way, but if it doesn’t, a pen or the backspace button is your best friend. Always think about what the character’s mission is in that moment when writing dialogue.

 

Another trick is keeping your character’s personality and background in mind when using these techniques.

In reading this post, hopefully, you will be able to present your character(s) in a whole new light. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week to read about building a world for your characters through scenes and actions.

Dialogue Part 1 – Personality and Voice

As mentioned last week, creating good dialogue is an essential element in setting the tone for your character(s).  I’ll go more in-depth on the subject by focusing on the personality and voice.

dialogue_t658

Voice and personality are key in molding a character into the vision you have in your head. They inform you of what a character will or won’t say in conversation (character-to-character or inner dialogue). These two work in tangent to create an individual of distinction, especially when there are multiple characters involved.

Personality is the first concept that should come to mind when creating dialogue for the character(s). Whether a sadistic control freak, a depressed creative or a paranoid introvert, the dialogue must fit the personality. As a writer, it is your job to know your character(s) inside and outside when crafting dialogue. You don’t want a character with a sunny disposition speaking on some issue like a death in a negative manner. That language wouldn’t fit who the character is.

Along with personality, a character’s voice helps in shaping the dialogue in your script. Tone, language and phrasing can inform a character’s dialogue and their interaction with other characters (major and minor). Voice can be a tricky area if you don’t have a handle on a character’s personality. You don’t want someone whose language is peppered with clever, dry humor to have a line where bathroom humor shows up. It could come off as either not understanding your character or a jarring moment that takes the reader out of the script.

listen

Like in last week’s post, a trick you can use in developing personalities and voices by creating character bios to help keep yourself straight when writing for multiple characters. These pieces of the puzzle can inform what the dialogue on the page.

 

 

Hopefully, this post helps you in formulating dialogue through characters’ personalities and voices. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week for more on creating the dialogue for your character(s) through phrasing and vernacular.

Character Development Part 2 – Dialogue and Actions

After looking at developing a character’s personality and character traits, I’ll be focusing on the importance of dialogue and action in shaping how your characters are perceived.

Every line of dialogue and action in your script should be tailor-made for the character you are writing. When writing for a character, remember to ask yourself these question: would he/she say those words? or Does that action go inline with their personality?

A trick I always use is thinking of the character and their voice when writing the script. A bonus for you would be to create character bios to help keep yourself straight when writing for multiple characters. Sometimes, things can get a little confusing, and those pieces of the puzzle can be a big help in the process.

Dialogue influences action and vice versa. Dialogue is the way a character expresses themselves either verbally or internally (for my inter-dialogue heads). It dictates the audience’s perception of a character – good or bad, nice or naughty, sardonic or good-natured. A character’s words are their calling card. Action, on the other hand, allows the character to express themselves with a sense of physicality. Your character can be a master manipulator, prankster, klutz, athlete, artist, etc. based on their actions.

Both are forms of expression that inform each other in a way that is realistic to human behavior. An action can set a character’s words into motion as a response to another character or a movement. Dialogue sets precedence for any action as a response to another character’s words or lack thereof.  Keep this in mind when writing and rewriting your screenplay.

A book I often refer to when writing dialogue and action:

Image result for writing the tv drama series

Writing the TV Drama Series by Pamela Douglas

 

Hopefully, this post helps you in formulating your actions and lines of dialogue for your script. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week as I go more in-depth about creating the best dialogue for your character(s).

My Life as a Paste Intern – Week 18

This week was a sad one as my time with Paste Magazine came to a close. I found myself covering least news but writing better content as I wanted my last week as an intern to count. Seating in my usual black desk chair typing away on my bronze-colored laptop was both rewarding and heartbreaking as I knew my time with the magazine was about to meet its end. Writing the last article was a poignant moment as I didn’t want it to end. My fellow interns and I have ended on a good note by exchanging numbers and social media to keep in touch. The end of my internship hit me on Friday as I packed up my belongings for the last time and left the Paste office one last time. It was a little anti-climatic as the Shaky Knees Festival stole some of the thunder from my last day.

This week, I reflect on my time with Paste. When I first applied for the internship, self-doubt, lack of preparedness and my questionable writing ability made me think writing for a well-known publication was out of the question. But when I got the call in December to interview for the internship, I was more than surprised – I was flabbergasted that my work was good enough to meet with the news editor. After the meeting, I still felt unsure so in usual pessimistic fashion, I psych myself out of the position. Getting the call back for the internship was one of my best days as a graduate student. But little did I know that I was in for one hell of a ride. Between my regular job, school and personal issues, the internship became both a safe haven and a source of tension as I tried to plan out my time so nothing ever felt neglected. Some days I  successfully kept all the balls in the air, and other days not so much. I had my ups and downs dealing with the internship as I went through the growing pains of writing professionally. In the end, I learned a lot of lessons (both easy and hard) when it comes to being a better writer. Through all the tribulations and triumphs, I am very grateful for the opportunity to write for such an amazing publication. Hopefully, my Paste internship was just the beginning of my journey as a published writer.

Weekly Roundup – Week 18

Here’s my final set of articles with Paste Magazine:

Kacey Musgraves Gets Fed Up With Her Beau in “Space Cowboy” Video

Parquet Courts Take on “Mardi Gras Beads” in New Video, Add More Tour Dates

Watch Five Eliza Hamiltons Set “First Burn” on Fire in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Latest Hamildrop

Hulu Renews The Handmaid’s Tale, Announces Three New Shows

Dirty Projectors Announce New Album Lamp Lit Prose, Release Peppy New Single “Break-Thru”

Random House Imprint to Publish Children’s Books Based on Nintendo Characters and Worlds

R+R=Now Blend Genres in Debut Single “Change of Tone”

Well, my time with Paste Magazine coming to a close, it has been a great ride for me learning the ins and outs of writing for a magazine. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading my content as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Character Development Part 1 – Traits and Personalities

 

Now, that we’re past feedback and the preliminary editing, I can get into the real matters at hand like dialogue, action. setting and this week’s topic – character development.

The key to any good script is creating great characters. These beings you write on the page help to bring your stories and ideas to life. Each character on the page is a part of you (whether consciously or subconsciously) when you begin writing or revising – fiction, non-fiction or equal parts – your screenplay.

This book can a major help in developing your characters:
Image result for the writer's journey

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writer (3rd Edition) by Christopher Vogler

Let’s get into the business of personalities and personal traits. When writing a script, you must make sure that each character has their own distinct personality. Whether it’s an alpha (male or female), a sidekick or an antagonist, one-dimensionality is not accepted. Even villains have feelings and thoughts that make them complex. The best way to achieve this is by creating personality quirks that set them apart from other characters. A nervous tic. A personal secret. Anything that makes them stand out from the pack.

Here are the archetypes Vogler mentions in The Writer’s Journey:

Hero

The hero is the audience’s personal tour guide on the adventure that is the story. It’s critical that the audience can relate to them because they experience the story through their eyes. During the journey, the hero will leave the world they are familiar with and enter a new one. This new world will be so different that whatever skills the hero used previously will no longer be sufficient. Together, the hero and the audience will master the rules of the new world, and save the day.

Mentor

The hero has to learn how to survive in the new world incredibly fast, so the mentor appears to give them a fighting chance. This mentor will describe how the new world operates, and instruct the hero about the innate abilities they possess while gifting the hero with equipment.

Ally

The hero will have some great challenges ahead; too great for one person to face them alone.  The journey could get a little dull without another character to interact with.

Herald

The herald appears near the beginning to announce the need for change in the hero’s life. They are the catalyst that sets the whole adventure in motion.  Occasionally they single the hero out, picking them for a journey they wouldn’t otherwise take.

Trickster

The trickster adds fun and humor to the story. When times are gloomy or emotionally tense, the trickster gives the audience a welcome break by challenging the status quo. A good trickster offers an outside perspective and opens up important questions as they act as the comic relief to the story or the actions of the other characters.

Shapeshifter

The shapeshifter blurs the line between ally and enemy. Often they begin as an ally, then betray the hero at a critical moment. Other times, their loyalty is in question as they waver back and forth. Regardless, they provide a tantalizing combination of appeal and possible danger by creating interesting relationships among the characters, and by adding tension to scenes filled with allies.

Guardian

The guardian, or threshold guardian, tests the hero before they face great challenges. They can appear at any stage of the story, but they always block an entrance or border of some kind. They were basically saying “Don’t pass go, return back to your nice bubble.” Then the hero must prove their worth through either tricky, intellect or action.

Shadow

Shadows are villains in the story. They exist to create threat and conflict and to give the hero something to struggle against. Like many of the other archetypes, shadows do not have to be characters specifically. It can be any force preventing the hero from obtaining their goal.

archetypes

One note to remember: archetypes are good, stereotypes are not. When writing, you must create characters that are complex beings (human or not) that have real thoughts and feelings. It makes your story more interesting and compelling. There’s no room for one-dimensional tropes.

By writing this post, I hope you are better equipped to take on characters’ personalities and traits. Just remember that story is important, but your characters are what make the story. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week as I speak more about creating a character’s actions and dialogue.

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Feedback Part 2 – Peer and Professional Critiques

After speaking on the benefits of table reads earlier this week, this blog will focus on peer and professional feedback when it comes to your screenplay.

Having family and friends read your work is one thing, but letting your writing peers and screenwriting professionals comb through your words is a different level of anxiety. But you shouldn’t be nervous as getting feedback from other writers can be very rewarding when it comes to tweaking your screenplay.

Writers reading other writers’ work is like iron sharpening iron as they give you a keen insight make your script better. They can tell you what works, what needs work or what doesn’t work at all. It is very helpful in terms of hearing what your words may or may not be implying from another writer’s perspective. This only leads to more fine-tuning of the best characters or scenes and trimming the word fat for a better, more polished screenplay.

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As you think about pursuing peer and professional feedback, I’ll give you some places that have helped me on my screenwriting journey. Here are a few Facebook and LinkedIn pages:

Screenwriting Magazine

Organization of Black Screenwriters

Screenwriting Blogs, Interviews, and Advice

SCREENWRITER NETWORKING

Secrets of Screenwriting Group

Screenwriting

Writers’ Guild of America Discussion Group

Along with group pages, there are quite a few websites that can aid you in perfecting your screenplay. Here are a few:

The Black List

LA Screenwriter

Reddit Screenwriting

Screencraft

Screenwriter 911

Writer So Fluid

These are just a few of the resources you can use on your screenwriting journey.

 

By reading this post, I hope you feel a little bit better about your peers and industry professionals looking over your work. Now, you just need to find a safe place to let your words be free. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week as I talk about character development in a screenplay.

My Life as a Paste Intern: Week 17

This week, my time at Paste Magazine was a nice reprieve from last week’s epic misstep. Like most weeks, the news started off at a trickle before it started picking up. I found myself finding amazing stories to write at a feverish pace as I wanted to my second to last week as an intern count. Seating in my usual black desk chair typing away on my bronze-colored laptop was the best time I had writing in a while. By the end of the week, I found my stride as I turned a slow news day into a rewarding one through my politic piece for the website. My fellow interns and I have built a nice comradery as we went out for lunch. Hopefully, we can repeat that again as next Friday is our last day. The end of my internship hit me on Friday as my fellow interns and I had to fill out paperwork plus the evaluation I sent my news editor.

This week, I felt something I haven’t in a while when it comes to my writing – self-confidence. Every writer struggles with self-confidence especially when it comes to having others read your work. As someone who only wrote when prompted or needed to, my confidence as a writer has always been on the lower end of the gauge. But every once in a while, there is a moment where you felt like your voice and message are reaching the masses. This week, I felt my confidence grow within me as a few of my articles were quite popular with the Paste crowd.  After months with Paste, I finally got the hint that knowing your audience is a key to success for any writer (but writing a blog and working on a website are two different things). I felt like I finally found my niche as a writer when it comes music news reporting. Creating content about something you love is a major plus for an audiophile like myself. Hopefully, as my tenure with Paste comes to a close, I will ride this wave of self-confidence into the rest of my work.

Weekly Roundup: Week 17

Here is some of my latest work with Paste Magazine:

Watch The Heartbreakers Perform for the First Time Since Tom Petty’s Death

Garbage Announce U.S. Tour Dates Celebrating Version 2.0‘s 20th Anniversary

Apple Music Releases Trailer for Patti Smith Doc Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band

Jam City Announces New Mobile Franchise, Wild Things: Animal Adventure

Fleetwood Mac Announce First Tour With New Members, Address Lindsey Buckingham’s Departure

Life is Beautiful Festival Announces 2018 Lineup: Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, The Weeknd, Travis Scott Set to Headline

Underground‘s Jurnee Smollett-Bell Returns to HBO With Lead Role in Lovecraft Country

ABBA Recording New Music for the First Time in 35 Years

Watch Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer“Emotion Picture”

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, Russian Lawyer Trump Jr. Met With, Admits to Being Russian Informant

Come back next week for my final Weekly Roundup with Paste.

Feedback Part 1 – Table Reads

For any screenwriter, getting feedback on your screenplay is pivotal to creating your best work. There are many sources of feedback for screenwriters. With this post, I’ll be focusing on table reads, or read-throughs, and their importance to the editing and revising process.

After completing your first screenplay and sitting with it for a minute or two, you’ll want to get instant feedback. This is where traditional read-throughs come into play. Read-throughs are an excellent source of feedback when it comes to fine-tuning any aspect of your script. Seeing and typing words on the screen is very different from hearing your words read aloud.

readThrough

 

The vibe of a read-through is best summed up in its definition:

an initial rehearsal of a play at which actors read their parts from scripts.

You don’t necessarily need professional actors to make your words come to life. But you will need willing participants to read your script. Family members. Friends. Classmates. Co-workers. Anybody will do when it comes to bringing your dialogue to life. You might want to let your readers look over the script to give them a chance to pick which characters they want to voice. Outside of the speaking parts, there is the issue of narration. You need someone to give your characters’ actions pizzazz as the screenplay takes shape.

With characters and narration set, there is the issue of the venue. Big or small. Well-lit or dim. Living room, kitchen table or bedroom. The place for the script reading doesn’t matter as long as everyone is comfortable and understand what the goal of the read-through is. All you really need is the right creative atmosphere to produce a fruitful reading.

Once everything is set, the hard part begins – hearing your words read aloud for others to hear. It can be scary but don’t worry because it’s all a part of the process. Having others read your words allows you to hear what dialogue doesn’t sound correct or feels off for a certain character. What directions or actions are more tell than show in the script? Is too much dialogue and not enough action, or vice versa? Is the plot moving forward or stagnant? Is the climax strong enough? These are some of the questions that might arise as you hear your words outside your mind and computer screen. That’s okay because this is another step in perfecting your screenplay. You might be in your feelings as you hear feedback from others. That just means you have a real passion for what you’re writing, but don’t let keep you from hearing good constructive criticism.

mosaic_youth_theatre__v2_

 

Hopefully, this post has introduced you to your new best friend – the table read. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back later this week as I speak on another source of feedback – critiques.

 

Editing and Revising Part 3 – Creating a Clean Copy

While this week’s first entry focused on proofreading, this second part will look at getting a clean copy when editing and revising. Make sure to have your computer screen up and a red marker ready for an exciting ride.

With proofreading out of the way, let’s get to business shall we – actually reading through your script. For any writer, proofreading is a tedious process as you scan over every phrase and word in your writing. Screenwriting can be even more intense as one word or phrase correction can change the direction of a scene or act. Proofreading a screenplay usually goes through three phases to create a decent clean copy.

Phase 1 – the computer screen

All you have to do scroll through the pages at a snail’s pace to spot what misspellings and homophones you might catch. You can agree with your spellchecker or overrule it like a dictator. The choice is yours.

Phase 2 – the printout

Reading a hard copy of my script can an eye-opening moment as you comb through every character. Action. Word. Punctation. You’ll need a red pen and time as you can every page for a minute or two so no mistake is left behind. Make sure to keep tabs on your corrections by leaving a checkmark or X on each page.

Phase 3 – from the hard copy to the screen

At this point, you’ll be looking over the script page by page as you make corrections to your file. Just remember to look over the pages carefully so not to create more errors.

Bonus Phase – streamlining

As a writer, cutting away the excess can be very helpful in fine-tuning your screenplay. Eliminating unnecessary words and phrases can create a balance between dialogue and action and reduce repetition.

 

NoMistakes

By reading this post, you’ll be able to work out the bugs out and fine-tune your script just in case your big moment arrives. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Come back next week for more insight from The Screenwriting Forum.

Editing and Revising Part 2 – Proofreading

Last week, the focus was on preparing for the daunting yet rewarding task of editing and revising. Getting into this somewhat scary process by proofreading is this week’s focus. So get your cursor or pens ready to begin!

proofreading_editing

Proofreading is a writer’s best weapon when it comes to creating a nice clean copy for potential prospects or running into your favorite producer or filmmaker (just kidding about that part – remember to go through the proper channels).

What pesky obstacles or offenders are you trying to spot when proofreading. Here are some common ones:

  • Misspelling – these common mistakes will scream at you from the screen with their antagonizing red lines. Here’s where you search and correct them.
  • Homophones – these pesky annoyances will hide amongst a descriptive action or well-written dialogue until you read through the script. They sound right but look awkward.
  • Punctuations – Sometimes being in the mood as a screenwriter can lead to a question mark being placed where a period is needed. This is an easy fix with a good read through.
  • Capitalization – As you write and format your screenplay, it can tricky trying to keep up with all the proper names. sounds, and directions that need proper capitalization.

Besides the typical mistakes, two majors that can cause any screenwriter to almost have a mental breakdown: omissions and improper formatting.

Omissions are any writer’s worst nightmare (especially for a screenwriter). Missing dialogue. A vanished monologue. A pivotal scene going missing. Snafus like these can be a setback, but with some patience and proper planning, you’ll be able to find your way out of this mind-numbing episode.

Formatting can be another nightmare as scene directions turn into a piece of dialogue or vice versa. Scene headings becoming transitions. Floating dialogue without its proper character to say it. All you have to do is look through, see what needs some attention and correct it in the screenwriting software of your choice.

Before we move on, here are some common homophones you may run across:

  • its vs. it’s
  • they’re vs. there vs. their
  • to vs. too vs. two
  • you’re vs. your
  • affect vs. effect
  • then vs. than
  • led vs. lead

Hopefully, Reading this post has helped you on your journey to working the bugs out in your script. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.

Look out for part 3 of Editing and Revising later on today.

 

Weekly Roundup: Week 16

Here is some of my latest work from Paste Magazine:

Janelle Monae Gets Introspective With New Song “I Like That”

See What Happens When Medical Care and Crime Collide in First Hotel Artemis Trailer

Father John Misty Officially Announces God’s Favorite Customer, Shares Two New Singles

The Station Launches New Mode on PC, Coming to PS4 and Xbox One in Late April

Victoria Mahoney Becomes the Star WarsUniverse’s First Black Female Director

Daily Dose: Yukon Blonde, “Love the Way You Are”

Leon Bridges Might Have Found the One on New Single “Beyond”

Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture Set to Premiere on BET and MTV Next Week

CBS All Access, Morgan Freeman Developing Muhammad Ali Limited Series, 8 Fights

Netflix Acquires Film Rights to Cambria Brockman’s Debut Novel Tell Me Everything

Come back next week for more news and views from Paste.

P.S. Here’s my feature from earlier this week: Before the Panther: 5 Great Films by Black Filmmakers

My Life as a Paste Intern: Week 16

Working at the Paste office this week was a mixed bag for me. The week started off a little slow on Monday as it always does. As the week rolled on, I found my writing output increasing with better results each time. I was proud of myself as I peck away on my HP laptop sitting in my usual spot at the wooden desk. Everything seemed to be going well until I made a major faux – promising a feature without consulting the proper channels. Getting reprimanded for overstepping my bounds was the smallest I had felt in a while. I had it coming, and it was definitely a learning experience.  But all work out as I got another feature out of this crazy situation and ended up with some good feedback on my work. Between this feature and my feature list posted on Monday, I had a great week as a writer.

Again the two-headed monster of self-sabotage and overstepping reared its ugly head this week at the Paste office. Just as I thought my ways were being subdued, I let my ego get in the way and make a huge promise I had no authority over. Being an intern, mistakes are going to happen, but this time, I really made a mess I thought was going to end my tenure with Paste. I haven’t received an angry email in quite some time. My self-doubt and overzealous nature have always been my worst enemies because of my people-pleasing nature. But looking at it with a little perspective, my subconscious has pushed me into some uncomfortable situations. I just let things happen without actively participating in trying to prevent it. I felt like my fears keep holding me back from doing and being my best. But I will conquer this demon as I continue to push all the negativity and darkness to the side for a more fruitful and exciting future. I know with time this will happen.

Editing and Revising Part 1 – The Preparation

So you finished your first screenplay, now what do you do? It’s time to start revising and editing your work. While this might seem like an overwhelming task, there’s no need to worry because The Screenwriting Forum is here to help.

With any piece of writing, a writer needs to prep for the process as it can be long depending on the length of the script.  Here are a few suggestions for the road to revising:

A computer and printer: These two essentials are necessary for your revising journey as they allow you to edit and revise your screenplay through a computer screen and a nice print-out.

Image result for pen and pencils

Writing tools: Pens. Pencils. Markers. Highlighters. Whatever you need to strikethrough, write notes, add in or correct while reading your screenplay.

Writing mood setters: Your favorite pen. A personal trinket. Your favorite snack. Everyone has something that aides them in the writing process.

places

Find a comfortable spot: This all depends on what you need as a writer to concentrate – some need a quiet tucked-away spot while others enjoy the ambiance of a coffee shop. Just find what works for you.

Along with these suggestions, here is a book to reference during the process:
Image result for the hollywood standard

The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style (2nd Edition) by Christopher Riley

Hopefully, now that the preparation is out of the way,  you are now ready to start revising and editing your screenplay. Get ready for a mix of hard work and fun as you take this journey with The Screenwriting Forum.

Come back next week for Part 2 of Editing and Revising. See you then.

My Life as a Paste Intern: Week 15

Writing for Paste Magazine this week was a mixed bag. I found myself sitting in the black chair creating content that I was proud of this week.  I found myself still making the same rookie mistakes I thought I was over.  I got checked by my editor which was a wake-up call for me if I want to pursue freelance writing as a career.  I was proud of myself for churning out some decent content without much trepidation. There’s still no word on my next feature piece yet so come back to this spot when it arrives.

Self-sabotage and professionalism reared their ugly heads this week at the Paste office. To get you up to speed, I have been tackling this two-headed monster since high school. This issue always seems to come up every time I get close to some achievement or earn someone’s praise. I did it when it came to entering art contests and good job opportunities. I seemed to be doing it now as I enter the last stretch of this internship. I recognized what it was when I got called out for my unprofessionalism for an unfulfilled pitch. Just a while earlier, I was praised for doing a great job in a previous article. I felt like I was once again messing up a good thing. Over the years, I have done my best to keep myself from doubting any and every opportunity that comes my way. Being a pessimist hasn’t helped the situation either. I have to get better at pushing all the negativity and darkness to the side for a more fruitful and exciting future. I know with time this will happen.

Weekly Roundup: Week 15

Here’s my latest work with Paste Magazine:

Han Solo and Company Get Down to Business in Action-Packed Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer

Watch The Shins Pay Tribute to Amelia Earhart in Bizarre “Heartworms (Flipped)” Video

The Weeknd Scored the Largest EP Streaming Debut of All Time With My Dear Melancholy

CHVRCHES Go for Pop Euphoria With New Single “Miracle”

Speedy Ortiz Face Sexual Harassment Head on With “Villain” Video

Post Animal Premiere New Single “Tire Eyes” Ahead of Their Impending LP Release

Bad Boys Spinoff TV Series Becomes L.A.’s Finest, Adds Jessica Alba

The Thrilling First Trailer for Underworld Ascendant Has Arrived

Pixar Gives Fans a Sneak Peek at New Short Film Bao

Matt and Kim Get All Nostalgic With “Glad I Tried”

Come back next week for more news and views from Paste!

Welcome!

Hello readers and followers, and welcome to The Screenwriting Forum. Through this platform, I will be sharing all facets of the screenwriting process in an informative and accessible manner. I feel any and everyone who studies screenwriting or a knack for it should have a clear understanding of what goes on after the spec script is done. Not everyone needs to or has to buy every single how-to-write-a-screenplay book under the sun especially in the internet age.

Through this blog, I will speak on a variety of topics related to the editing and revising a screenplay. To make it more relatable, I’ll be using my editing and rewriting process to guide and help other aspiring screenwriters along with novice to the practice.

While my process will be documented, you, the reader, will be encouraged to share your thoughts and opinions and ask questions on any and every post.

poitning finger_participation

 

This is a community, not just an advice blog.

I hope we can grow together on this screenwriting journey.

My Life as a Paste Intern: Week 14

This week, my time at Paste Magazine was a little slow yet fulfilling. With it being spring break in Atlanta and other areas, the news seemed to trickle in this week as people lived their lives. At the beginning of the work, I found myself alone as my fellow interns were absent. Of course, my anxiety was a little high as I felt the pressure to make for the others’ absence. I found myself still making the same rookie mistakes I thought I was over. By the end of the week, I found my stride as the content churned out of me like a leaky water faucet. On top of the content surge, I made a new attempt at having another feature for the website. Keep your eyes posted for the results.

Self-pressure and anxiety were the demons I had to conquer this week at the office. As a writer, I am still not as confident as I want to be, but it deeps more when writing for Paste. Since I was a kid, I suffered from serious self-doubt and low self-esteem when it came to any and everything. Even though it has gone better over time, my craft is still a major concern considering how I am still new to writing. I want to do my best so I place this unneeded pressure on myself to be perfect in every way. That need for perfection has created quite a bit of inner turmoil (typical artist). Perfection has led to a lot of second-guessing, but I am slowly conquering that. But every time my nagging self-doubt starts to get loud, I try to get out of my head and let my heart and words speak for my capabilities.

Weekly Roundup: Week 14

Here are my latest articles in Paste Magazine:

Bush, Stone Temple Pilots and The Cult Set to Co-Headline Summer Tour

Chasm Is Finally Coming to PS4 and PS Vita This Summer

Leon Bridges Becomes an Emotional Guardian Angel in “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” Visual

Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish Go Line for Line in Hilarious First Night SchoolTrailer

Riverdale Star K.J. Apa Replacing Kian Lawley in The Hate U Give

Australian Sensation Hatchie Reveals Fun Visual for New Song “Sugar & Spice”

Ashley Monroe Gets Animated and Serene in “Wild Love” Video

PUBG Corp. Suing Chinese Mobile Gaming Company for Copyright Infringement

Tiffany Haddish, The Mindy Project‘s Xosha Roquemore Developing HBO Comedy Pilot

Sony Pictures Hops on the Reboot Train With Jagged Edge Remake Starring Halle Berry

Come back next week for more news and views from Paste!

My Life as a Paste Intern: Week 13

After a spring break filled with work and more work, the Paste office seemed to be an oasis away from the fast-paced graduate student life.  This week, I found material lit a fire within my writing soul (I’m looking at you, Steven Spielberg). The variety fulfilled me in a way I haven’t felt since my first month at Paste. With my financial woes pressing on my mind, I found solace in being able to shut out my problems and write with a sense of purpose and duty (even if it’s pop culture-related). Dealing with my news editor rather than the managing news editor made me realize how much Scott had groomed me to be a better writer since interning for Paste. The comradery amongst my fellow interns and I seemed off this week as everyone seems to be on opposite schedules with no time to fraternize. Hopefully, next week will be even better than this week.

This week, time management was my biggest enemy. I felt like my writing suffered due to the shortened time periods I had at Paste this week. Usually, I go with the flow, but between class, work, life and this internship I felt out of sorts like my mind and body were in two different time zones. Being absentminded, I always feel like my brain is betraying me. But being back the first week after spring break, I felt extra scatterbrained. My body was at Paste, but my mind was thinking of every assignment and task I needed to accomplish by Sunday. I struggled to try to work in moments of personal time as my calendar was full this week with no breaks (other than going to see the Show of Shows). Even Dad’s birthday seems to be an afterthought as I think of all things due around that time. At this moment, I would like to thank my Google Calendar for always keeping me on point. I have to get more organized this quarter with all the things I have coming up. With that in mind, I can’t let my writing – professional or personal – struggle due to my overly ambitious ways. I want the remaining weeks of this internship to be just as fulfilling as the first ones. I just need to take a breath and schedule everything out. I’ll be just fine (I hope).

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