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My Journey as a Screenwriter

Shifting Gears

I’ve been all over the place lately. I’ve been questioning my projects and what contests I should enter. Should I even enter contests this year? Are my scripts strong enough to even place? Do I really want to write that TV spec this year? With all these questions I keep coming back to one main goal.

I just want to focus on my writing and making it stronger.

I want to spend the rest of the year immersing myself in research, reading scripts, watching movies/TV shows and writing/rewriting my scripts. I will seek out feedback down the road for certain scripts and I will still submit my script to the Finish Line Script Competition for feedback at the end of the month.

What’s caused me to shift gears?

I’m just tired of throwing things at the wall to see what will stick. There are so many screenwriting contests out there and thousands of people applying. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the money to keep applying to these contests in hopes of making it to the quarterfinals or the second round and not going any further. It’s especially frustrating for someone who doesn’t live in the LA area. There are those few success stories where people from outside of LA have gotten their work recognized or gained representation, but it feels like you’re not taken seriously if you don’t live there already, especially if you want to be a TV writer.

So, I’ve come to the decision that I will be moving to the LA area. It won’t be tomorrow and it won’t be next year. It probably won’t be able to happen until my daughter goes off to college. And no, my daughter is not a newborn. She’ll be eighteen in six years. I know that six years seems like a long time away, but time has been flying by watching my daughter grow up. Six years is nothing.

So, unless I win the lottery or a writing opportunity takes me to LA sooner rather than later, I’m going to start saving up to make that big move in six years. I do hope to make a couple of trips out there between now and then, but I see this time frame as an opportunity to get my scripts in the best shape possible. I started this blog to document my journey as a screenwriter. Most people hear about writers selling scripts or getting repped and they think it was an overnight success story. Most of these writers have been writing for years and putting in the hard work to get to that point.

This is MY JOURNEY as a screenwriter. I’m only five years in and it may take six years or more for something to happen! I hope it takes a shorter time frame for me to “break-in,” but I’ve always been aware that this could be a long journey to get to the next point in my career. Once you “break-in” you have to work ten times harder to stay in! No matter what happens in my life I will always be a writer and it is something that I will pursue for the rest of my life. I DON’T HAVE A PLAN B!  This is it people! I’m making it happen!

 

March Deadlines and More!

I was able to submit my TV pilot to the HBO program! So excited to be done with that and ready to move on to the next deadline. My next contest deadline is for the Finish Line Script Competition. I’m giving myself until the end of this month to submit my next draft. Their next deadline isn’t until April 28th, but I want to give myself enough time to receive their notes, take it all in and rewrite it before the final deadline.

I’m in the process of figuring out what new TV spec I’m going to write since I decided to not write Insecure or Divorce. I love both of these shows, but I went over the TV fellowship guidelines and most of them do state the show needs/prefer to be in its second season. I know WB has that rule and ABC/Disney prefers it, but I’m not sure about the others and I really don’t want to write multiple specs for each fellowship. So now I have the task of finding a show that I would love to write, which means watching some shows that I haven’t gotten around to yet and they need to be at least in their second season. The only show that I’m obsessed with other than the two above is The Walking Dead and I’ve already written two TV specs for that one and it’s way to old of a show to spec now.

I’ll be working on my Story Broads Script Magazine article this month and developing my latest TV pilot. In addition to all of this, I’ll be researching two new projects, a limited series and a feature film that are outside of the box for me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

 

Deadlines, Self-Doubt and Getting Back into the Game

The HBO Fellowship is about to go down (opens March 1st and closes March 4th) and self-doubt is making its reoccurring appearance. I don’t doubt my idea, but I’m pretty confident the script is not in the best possible shape it could be in. Plus, I’m doubting my resume and feel like completely throwing it away and starting from scratch with my bio instead. I really want everything I submit to stand out in some way. When it comes to the bio I want to give the facts about my life, but I want it to showcase my voice since I don’t have any industry credits to showcase.

This competition is going to be fierce and I really don’t want to overthink it anymore. I may try to go outside of the box when it comes to rewriting my bio and answering the essay questions. How? I have no idea at this moment, but the competition opens tomorrow and the essay questions will be revealed. In the meantime, I’m going to stay up late tonight to tackle my new bio and tighten up my script. My hopes are not high, but I love how this competition is getting me back into the groove of writing with a deadline.

Oh, how I’ve missed you sweet deadline.

HBO Fellowship Deadline Approaching

I have deadlines and I’ve been procrastinating. I hate that I procrastinate. I really need to get my script in top shape for the HBO Fellowship opening  up on the first of March, but yet I continue to watch movies, TV shows, read books and do research. I know that all those things are a great way to spend my time, but not when I have a deadline.

I saw a post earlier today from a fellow Story Broad, that inspired me to give time management a try. I’m going to use an app to help me keep track of the amount of time I should focus on one project. I may use thirty minutes to work on one project and fifteen on another. I tend to get pulled in multiple directions when I’m writing, which makes me feel like I’m getting nothing done. It’s crunch time people! I need to try anything and everything to meet this deadline! I will not fail like I did with Sundance.

February Update!

I’m still here! Things have been really busy the last couple of weeks, but rest assure that I’m still working on my writing goals. I wasn’t able to meet the Sundance Episodic Lab deadline this year. I was planning on submitting an entire new pilot instead of revising my previous submission, but there was still a lot that I needed to do and I felt like I would have just been giving them forty dollars to reject me.

So this month I’m focusing on rewriting “The One” For Now, in order to get it ready for the HBO Fellowship. I am NOT missing this deadline!

Also this month, I’ll be focusing on developing my newer scripts and I’m going in another direction with my novel. I’m going to turn it into a play and seek out opportunities to submit it down the road.

Overall, I feel positive about where I’m heading and these next few weeks are going to be more productive than before, so I may only post once a week this month. Hope everyone is doing well and kicking some butt in regards to your 2017 goals!

Blame it on Procrastination

I am proud to say that I have completed my deadlines for the week! I do have a confession to make… I did it all today. Yes, I procrastinated. I’m a writer! It’s what we do!

I do plan on posting my new goals either tomorrow or Tuesday. I will start working on my goals tomorrow, instead of waiting until the last minute. Even though I still accomplished my goals, I’ll probably have to rework some of it since it was a rushed job, but writing is rewriting. There’s always room for improvement.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Series of Deadlines: Part One

I’m the type of writer who needs to work on multiple projects. In the past, I usually just say I want to write a first draft by a certain time frame, but now that I’m allowing myself to really break down my goals and set specific dates, I hope this will let me be more productive.

Here’s my first set of deadlines: 

Insecure TV Spec

  • Loglines for storylines (1/22/17)

New TV Pilot

  • Series logline (1/22/17)

New Feature Film 

  • Outline (2/28/17) #WRAC17

Competition Deadlines: 

Sundance Episodic Lab (2/1/17)

  • Bio (1/22/17)
  • Series Logline (1/22/17)
  • Short Essay Part 1 (1/22/17)

HBOAccess 2017 Writing Fellowship (Opens 3/1/17)

  • “The One” For Now reread pilot/bible and go over previous notes (1/31/17)

Finish Line Script Competition  (Final Deadline 6/13/17)

  • Decide which script to submit for notes (1/22/17)

Fresh Wave Opportunity (2/5/17)

  • Brainstorm and finalize idea to submit (1/22/17)

 

So there you have it! Let the games begin! Wait… No games. Time to be serious. This is real life.

(April sips on her glass of wine. Rolls up her sleeves. Does a neck role. Fingers hit the keyboard. Wait… One more gulp…sip of wine. Inhales. Exhales. Fingers on keyboard again. Faces blank page… Turns on TV. Binge watches Netflix. “Damn you Netflix!” Sips glass of wine. Continues to watch until she passes out on couch.)

 

Series of Deadlines

I’ve decided to give myself multiple deadlines for multiple projects and to make them public. And no, I haven’t been drinking… yet.

I’ll be joining other writers in the Twitterverse by using #WRAC17 (Writer Accountability 2017) so we can hold each other accountable for the deadlines we set and cheer each other on. You can find out more by clicking on this link!  I’ve only decided to register my new feature film project that I’m going to submit to the Nicholl Fellowship next year.

Tonight I’m going to come up with deadlines for my new TV pilot and new TV specs for the TV fellowship season coming up. I found another writers schedule online in regards to getting their TV spec and pilot finished ontime for the fellowships. It would be a challenge to follow his timeline, but I think it’s just what I need to start tackling my deadlines. Plus as a TV writer you need to write quickly, so I’m going to challenge myself.

I’ll be posting my deadlines by this Tuesday. Time to go back to my late night hours.

2017 is Finally Here!

I guess this would be the time when I reflect on the things that I’ve done and the progress that I made in the year 2016, but I’m really just ready to move on and get some shit done.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what my writing schedule will be, plus I need to fit in watching movies  and reading scripts/books. This time of year I usually give you some kind of detailed game plan, but right now all I want to focus on is writing everyday.

I have a goal to write a page a day with my first novel and I’m glad to report that I have completed my daily task. It’s probably something I will never show to another human being, but at least it will get me writing everyday.

Thank you again to everyone who reads my blog and I hope 2017 will be a great year for all of us! Keep pursuing your passions and don’t let anything get in your way!

high-five

 

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