Tag: Gotham Writers Workshop

Looking Back at 2014

I wasn’t going to do one of these posts — I’m bad at putting retrospectives into words, writing about feelings, forgetting to include something, and all of that — but other blogs I follow are and I should probably acknowledge that 2014 was certainly better than 2013 in many ways (despite my feelings about how the end of this year is going). So here’s a super last minute look back at 2014.
In January of this year, I started interning at the Gotham Writers Workshop. I took TV writing and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing classes, a one day workshop on Children’s Book Writing, and surrounded myself with writers as a way to constantly inspire myself to write. It’s somewhat worked, lol, but the lack of discipline is still there. To more writing in 2015! Also early in the year, my work with TVOvermind gave me the opportunity to interview Penny Johnson Jerald, Seamus Dever, and Juliana Dever of the show Castle. I was, of course, very nervous, but I had a lot of fun breaking out of my comfort zone.
Around spring, I got to go to a dear friends wedding, got hired by a temp agency into my current long-term assignment, and got approved for my NYCC Press Pass for Black Girl Nerds! In September, I went to the Paley Fest Previews and got to watch 10 fall pilots before they aired. It was a great way to bring new content to this blog and I got to recommend (or warn away from) new shows for my friends and whoever reads this blog. It was a good year for lots of diverse faces on television. Let’s hope this year’s successes bring even more stories from people of color to both the small and bog screens.
Comic-Con was in October, which was amazing. The week before, I’d gone to the Black Girl Nerds NYC Live Podcast event, where I met a few other black girl nerds like myself. We had a great time and I made some new friends. This helped the following week, during NYCC, when I got to hang out with at least one of them while online for a panel. I saw some panels, bought some art from black artists, and took lots of cosplay photos. My live reporting skills have some ways to go, but I am ready for more learning experiences like that one.
Stemming from one of my purchases at Comic-Con, I was asked by Jamie of BGN to co-host a podcast with her and graphic novel author Eric Dean Seaton, because I’d bought his book trilogy at NYCC, I was nervous for my first podcast, but I also really enjoyed getting to do something new like that. I’d never thought about podcasting before and hadn’t listened to too many, but it was a great opportunity that I am glad I did. It’s already leading to more opportunities — be on the look out for at least two additional podcasts co-hosted by me in January!
Also in November, Keith from The Nerds of Color emailed me and asked me to join their website. I was ecstatic! Someone cold-called me and read my stuff and wanted me to write for them! It felt really good and the people over at The Nerds of Color and cool and nerdy and a lot of us are on the same wavelength. It also gave me a place to get out all of my Arrow and The Flash feels — outside of the comment section of fellow my fellow blogger over at Just About Write. I wrote a lot of Flash and Arrow stuff and even participated in a video podcast after the Flash/Arrow crossover.
In the fall, I also rebranded my blog. Formerly titled ConStar Studies TV, I decided I wanted to sound more active about what I want to do on this blog — and that’s write. I want to write for and about TV, so I changed the name and bought a URL: constarwrites.tv. I paid extra for the .tv but I kind of love it. I hope to do more writing in 2015. Smarter (more efficiently written) episode reviews, I gotta work on those pilot ideas I have, I need a new show to spec (my Parks spec is unfinished and no longer useable, Scandal’s pace is too fast for me right now, every time I get a good idea, it’s done in some alternative fashion on the show. =/). But I’m feeling good about 2015 writing wise. I think it will be a good year for learning and growing and getting better at this writing thing. Feeling less self-conscious, doing new things, experimenting, finishing something?, sending something out?, it’s a whole new world of possibility for growth and change and discovery. I’m excited for 2015.
To complete my look back at 2014, here are some of my favorite posts on this blog this year:

If you have ideas on how to make this blog better, want to yell at me gently inspire me to write more, or just want to chat TV or diversity, tweet me!
Happy new year!

A Brief Update on How My Scandal Spec is Going

A Brief Update on How My Scandal Spec if Going

later:
Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.58.59 AM
Ok. It’s not nearly as bad as that (there’s a vague idea of a plot and characters are interacting blah blah blah), but it’s somewhere in the vicinity. Every time I think I have a handle on my outline, I write to a later scene and everything before comes into question.
Recently I heard the quote that “The first draft is just you telling the story to yourself,” so, in addition to the mentors and teachers telling me to continue to write forward, I’m at the moment resisting every urge to scrap everything I’ve done and just make notes of things that will need to change. That’s the hardest part for me, resisting the urge to start over, but I’m gonna try to just vomit draft this plot and then go back… We’ll see how it goes!

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Children's Book Writing One Day Intensive

I took a Children’s Book Writing class at Gotham Writers Workshop, where I am an intern this term, and wrote about my experience! It was fun and inspiring, and if I ever get this writing thing off the ground, I could definitely see myself writing a children’s book (young reader/chapter books or maybe YA. Somewhere around the Harry Potter/Hunger Games reading age I suppose). Check out my post and show some support for our still developing intern blog over at Gotham.
 

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Adventures in Speccing – Scandal

This year, I’m taking my love of TV and desire to write for it a step further. I am currently an intern at the Gotham Writers Workshop here in New York and we get to take a free writing class. I decided, of course, to take their TV Writing class–10 weeks of learning how to write TV. So far, many of the basics have been covered (for students who had no idea what a script looked like/was formatted like, had never written a script before), but I’m sure I’ll learn some new things that I haven’t learned from extensive reading and googling about how to write for TV.
As you may know, when learning about TV writing, you start off by writing a spec script–a script based on an existing TV show– because 1. you’ll need to be in the habit of writing someone else’s story, you don’t all start off with pilots like Shonda Rhimes and 2. because it’s better to learn and mess up on someone else’s work than on your own creative baby. (This does not apply to real babies. It might often be worse to mess up someone else’s kid when you’re babysitting, so this is a very situational piece of advice.)
If you’ve read this blog before, you may be able to guess that I chose Scandal as the show I would spec. It’s a complicated show, but it’s kind of perfect in terms of the factors that decide what kind of specs you should write. They should be 1. Shows that you know and like well, 2. shows past season 1 but not too aged, 3. shows in the genre you’d want to write in. So I’m attempting a Scandal spec. Yikes!
The first rough thing about Scandal, in comparison maybe to other shows, is how many characters there are. Scandal has 10 main characters this season (as in listed in the main credits every week) and several important recurring characters (like Liv’s dad, whose been in every episode this season, yet isn’t a main character). So one of our first assignments was to create character sheets for each other characters.  It was so much work because of how many characters there are and how little, in some instances, we’ve gotten about them. Displaying IMG_20140201_012858.jpg
Right now, I’m working on my first 7 pages or so. But in order to figure out what happens in those 7 pages, I wanted to have a better idea of what was happening in the rest of the episode. So I turned to Dan Harmon‘s plot circles, because I think they’re a great structural way to look at episodes and plots. Here’s a link. Then, when googling, someone turned Harmon’s circle into a wave, which really helped me visualize the story and act breaks and rises and falls in momentum.
Here’s a picture of what I’ve got so far.
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It’s nice to be able to visualize when act breaks should happen and what should happen in them. Basically, “breaking the story.” It’s tough, but it’s also kinda fun and is further cementing the idea that this is what I would want to do in life. Hopefully my first 7 pages aren’t terrible, according to the instructor. (But if he thinks so, I’ll just ask my fellow Gladiators, you might be able to help me make it even better. My instructor certainly doesn’t watch Scandal.)
Now I just gotta continue breaking the story, adding points to the subplots and think of ways to Olivia more active. Most of my ideas so far have her reacting to other characters, which is fine for their storylines, but she needs to have more agency in the plot, because she’s the main character. So hopefully I can think of more for her to do.
I’ll try to keep you updated! Any ideas, let me know! (Just remember that ideas are not copyrightable, so I wouldn’t get in trouble for stealing them and making boatloads of money off of them. ;-))

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