Thursday, June 4, 2015

Check out my 3-Part Series on Rediscovering My Voice in Paris over at Bold As Love Magazine: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (Coming Soon).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What's New

I'm still working on my craft and putting my work out there. Check out my latest work, The Guardians, at Midnight Breakfast.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I've Been Busy

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. I’ve been busy working on my craft, getting an MFA, and putting my work out into the world. One of my pieces was published at HotHouse Magazine. Check it out - Back In The Day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Trodden Path

Okay, so now there’s a new, old debate stirring up about whether or not one should outline before setting out to write the next great “masterpiece to trump all masterpieces”. Seems we’re still in search of that Sorcerer’s Stone, that magic bullet which will skyrocket us to the top of the sludge pile. Good luck with that.

Just for the record - though I doubt anyone’s actually keeping score - I do outline. However, my outlines are a hodgepodge guru-workshop-magic-bullet-what-the-heck-is-this-mess thingy. I’ve taken so many classes, courses and workshops; read carloads of books; even eaten one or two tasty gurus hoping to, of course, fully absorb their powers, that I have created a Frankenstein writing process that changes as quickly as this wacky weather we’ve been having lately here on the East Coast. To put it simply, I do what works best for me.

Now, I know what you’re going to ask. “How do you know it’s working, huh? Have you sold anything, secured an agent or had a meeting with the great and powerful Ozes (respectfully, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Lasseter)?” Well, no, but I’ve written quite a few “Fade Outs” and “The Ends”, and let me tell you, that’s half the journey - now, if only the Ozes would return my calls.

Somewhere along the road, I once read, or overheard or might have eavesdropped, something about learning the rules and then throwing them out. When I first heard this, I went completely bonkers trying to follow step by step every rule about screenwriting - and writing in general - that I could get my hands on. Well…, you know what? That’s not completely true. You see, the very first script I wrote, I read a few articles and got my hands on Movie Magic Screenwriter software (product placement - though no royalty checks coming my way) and, voila, history was made - a really crappy script, that I dared query a few producers and agents on (you silly, silly, girl). I then read a few more articles, got my hand on Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible (more product placement, but still no royalty checks) and joined and, where I devoured script after script while providing notes to would-be-Aaron Sorkins and Quentin Tarrentinos. Voila, script number two, more ill-fated queries, and should-have-seen-that-coming rejections, but I didn’t stop there. I’m a glutton for punishment. Script number three was born and, to the joy of my loved ones, who were worried strike number three might cause me to go a bit postal, the script was a finalist in a contest where it was given a live reading with real actors, unlike the voices that kept playing in my head long after I put the pen down. It also went on to place in a few more contests, as well as garner one or two requests by producers who - with no big surprise here - went on to make movies written by writers way more skilled at the craft than myself.

And that’s when I turned to a llllllll of the experts. All 7,999,999 and 1/2 - someone in the naked city is still wearing a sock. I was determined to be “the best, of the best, of the best… with honors”. Sure, I improved - my scripts looked more like real scripts. My structure was getting better with every fade out, but the more I relied on experts, the less I listened to myself, and who amongst us doesn’t like listening to themselves? Nine years I’ve spent trudging the world for this magical elixir that will turn my pages into something that will not only make agents, producers and publishers rue the day they said “hell, no” to me, but, once released to the world, will bring about the cure for the incurable, all the answers to the universe and, of course, world peace. While I have yet to get my hands on this elixir, I do, however, know where it resides. Yup, you guessed it, Shonda Rhimes has it. No, that’s not true; it’s locked up somewhere in between my head and heart. But I’m pretty darn close to getting it and learning how to use its powers, thanks to the often times confusing, contradicting, and sometimes condescending aid of my 7,999,999 and 1/2 Jedi Masters - who should really work on getting Yoda to remove his sock because I do believe a disturbing force in my writing is he.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

To Thine Own Self

In a sea of voices crying out to be heard, whose do you hone in on when you find yourself drowning in the mounting waves of a story or an idea? There are hundreds of books, gurus, classes and courses out there to guide you in the best direction. But, best for whom? What story are you trying to tell, and why must you tell it?

Sure, you need to know how to build a house before you actually set about building one. A weak foundation will only lead to valuable (and costly) time spent repairing and correcting the basic, yet required, structure of the house before you can actually move on to the fun part of making said house a warm and inviting home. And it's the making of the home that we originally set out to do. Yes, this is a pretty long metaphor and, with the whole Real Estate and Home Lending crisis, it might not actually be the best for painting a picture. But I do hope you get the point.

Definitely make sure you understand structure and what it takes to build a safe and secure house (yes, I'm sticking with the metaphor), but don't forget that this is your home and, above all else, it must be a reflection of who you are - your voice. Those of you who have been writing screenplays for a long time have no doubt heard this term thrown around. The voice. Do you have one? Everyone has a voice, even those born without speech. Now, whether you use it or not is a whole other set of questions, the first being - why not? Easier asked than answered and, in fact, you might need a few therapy sessions (no joke) to get to the bottom of that.

However, I do suspect for some writers that they have lost their voice by freely, and in some cases unsuspectingly, turning it over to someone else. When does the advice and opinions of others morph itself into your own thoughts and actions? When do you stop trusting in those instincts and inner voices which have been loyal friends for years and, in some cases, gotten you out of sticky situations before disaster could strike? Does it mean you have to be an island unto yourself? No. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better informed your decisions will be. But remember, you were you, long before what you knew. Those who love you unconditionally do not do so because of your perfections. In fact, it's the imperfections, the flaws, the quirkiness that make us memorable, lovable and, sometimes, forgivable - but, if nothing else, interesting as all hell.

The point I'm trying to get at - yes, take a class, read a book, know the latest guru's method of writing a screenplay or novel in under 30 seconds, but “this above all: to thine own self be true”. Gotta love that Shakespeare dude; he knew a thing or two about writing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thank You For Your Support

Where would we be without love and, most importantly, support in our lives? I could get all intellectual and look up the word support, but, nah, I'm too damn lazy right now and, besides, what if Mr. Webster doesn't “support” the idea I'm trying to convey? So, anyway, let's just run with the hypothesis that we all know the real definition of support.

Okay, okay, I'll define it for you - the person(s) who has got your back. However, beware of said person(s) who is all about shoving knives in the back, or the person(s) too damn busy worrying about their own backs. In other words, these people look to either hold you up, tear you down, or keep you fully entertained (i.e. distracted), while life feeds you crap pie.

Now, if you’re willing to accept my revised, remixed and redistributed definition of support, then how does it apply to creative writing and character development? Is this even an issue? Well, those Oscar people thought it important enough to give a little statue man to the sidekicks, villains, and comic reliefs who help round out the leading man/lady, so why don't you? How much attention are you paying to your supporting characters? Are you just throwing in caricatures and stereotypes to fill up the pages and cover up plot holes?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Don't Care

Kimble: I didn’t kill my wife.

Gerard: I don't care.

One simple line, delivered with pinpoint precision, by Tommy Lee Jones to Harrison Ford's character in The Fugitive. As a writer, I have been trained to make my protagonist, my hero, if not down right lovable, at least redeemable in some “kiss-the-baby-save-the-cat-confess-undying-love-to-the-girl-with-major-self-esteem-issues” way. In a nutshell, we must care about our hero. But there, Tommy Lee stands defiantly as our hero desperately pleads not to have to do a nosedive into the frigid, icy, hypothermia-inducing waters. And, to paraphrase Rhett Butler: Frankly, he doesn't give a shit.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guilt-Free Pleasure

So, I discovered Breakout Kings last season. Tomorrow night, season 2 begins. Yeah! Sure I started watching for the eye candy (Laz Alonso), but then the characters grew on me. Lloyd is one funny dude. If you haven’t caught this show, check it out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Armchair Film School Review - 2/26/12

Hey, my 2 lonely followers, I know it’s been a loooong time. I’ve been away getting an “edumacation”. I don’t know what it is, but I like collecting things, and I guess degrees are as good a hobby as any. But more on that later (another blog). I’ve been to the movies and Netflixing, and have a few films, documentaries and TV shows I want to review. So here it goes…..

Red Tails
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama
Dir: Anthony Hemingway
Length: 125 min
Year: 2012
Summary: The story of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew during World War II.

My 2¢: The critics tore this apart. I was concerned going in, but my fears were quickly put at ease once I settled in to watch this campy, feel-good, little film.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inspiration, Motivation and Perspiration

So, I agreed to read Richard Walter’s new book, Essentials Of Screenwriting. I had hopes of writing a nice, lengthy book review complete with quotes and referenced pages. Well, that all went to hell.
Instead, I found myself knee deep in revision work; of course, thanks to Richard Walter. You see, I only got a few chapters in before that writer-thingy-person inside of me kept banging the crap out of the inside of my head going, “Hey, what are you waiting for, a freaking invitation?” - she’s sassy that way. Anyway, all it took was one line and I was off in La La Land for Writers, otherwise known as inspiration. The line:

Whenever a writer sits down before a blank paper or glowing pixels, they should write down their own personal story.