Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

New Project!

I’m super excited to announce that I was asked to be a contributor to a new entertainment site! It’s pop culture but since I skate harder along the indie track, I suggested an indie channel and that’s where I’ll be writing for! I’m so excited to participate in something like this because I’ve always wondered how those sites work.

My first event that I’ll be writing about is the show at Rickshaw Stop featuring Seeking Empire, Beta State, New Diplomat and The Bruises. Better yet, I scored an interview with all four bands! I can’t wait for that as it will be my first interview ever, at least in the creative aspect. Eventually, I want to attend more events & do more interviews to get those the recognition they deserve.

Just out of curiosity, I wrote down all the projects I’m involved in to see how many there were and currently, I’m up to nine. I’m surprised my head hasn’t exploded due to pressure & stress. Honestly, I’m enjoying each & every project and they all make me happy so perhaps that is the key to my multitasking. I just have to love it. Just imagine if I was getting paid for these projects! Yikes! That would be even better! Like I said before, think positive, and positive things will come your way. I love my life.

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To Write Or Not To Rewrite

I’m getting nervous for Wordy Word tomorrow…which is weird because it’s not like it’s a real show or anything. It’s just that I really should be completing my 3rd draft when in fact, I’m already on the 5th or 6th draft because every time I go through my monologue, I change things. And every time I start to read it, I start getting choked up over it. When did I become so emo? Maybe I’ll try to get it on video or something so that I can see myself. I might even upload it here to keep as record.

At what point do you stop rewriting your draft? Does it ever become perfect? Will I ever be completely satisfied with it? Probably not. My take on things is that there is always room for improvement, which is why I have no problem acceptiing criticism. I just can’t tell when I need to stop changing things and when I need to rewrite my draft. I guess that’s why Wordy Word is so good for the artistic soul. It will be good to get feedback from the audience. As great as it is to get criticism from the crowd, I’m not sure when I will stop criticising myself.

The Importance of Creative Archives

For people who like to dabble in a little bit of everything within the creative world (like me), there seems to be a catch-22 for every area of interest. For example, if you want to become an artist, you have to submit art that looks promising. but to create art that looks promising, you have to learn in school. Yeah, I guess you have to use your imagination and find resources besides school, which brings me to my point of discussion.

There was a minute in my life that I considered acting as a career, a verrrry shorrrt minute. I took acting workshops and participated in short plays but that nervous feeling right before I’m about to go onstage gets on my nerves. So I thought being on film would be easier. Now, I’m not so sure of that. I helped a friend in a short film she made for a film class and that experience was fun but at the same time, I couldn’t tell if I did a good job or not. Plus, I was very green at the time with acting and now that I look back at it, I was probably really terrible with my lame facial expressions. However, that fueled me to want to improve.

I recently met a young lady who was interested in voice acting for a living but she was having hard time finding gigs for it as it was something that’s really hard to get into. I believe her, I mean, there’s got to be so much competition out there. Of course I told her that my favorite actor is a voice actor so I understood why she wanted to go into it but she wasn’t sure where to go from there. She thought maybe she has the wrong agent who keeps giving her commercial gigs that she didn’t want to do.

I was on Twitter the other night and Jason Marsden, a very talented onscreen and voiceover actor, was talking about a voiceover audition he went to so I asked him how to get into the business. He said “1st step into VO acting? Learn how to act.” He said to then “make a reel first. 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, tight, lots of diversity.” It was nice to get advice from a professional and I really appreciated him replying; makes me believe there are still down-to-earth celebs out there without egos, which I do not stroke. Celebrities are just people & fans have to understand that. Meeting NKOTB has really conditioned me, I guess. You rock Jason, thank you. When he said that, I was immediately reverted back to my past goals and achievements in acting.

I’m trying to help complete my profile for PMSTA and Shannon, the website designer, is asking me for footage of my past work. It was then that I realized I don’t really have much on video that I’ve done. If anything is recorded, I’m certainly not aware of it. Shit. So does this mean I can never get it together in the acting world since I have nothing recorded to show for it? The only recorded footage I actually own of myself is my stand up comedy routine that I once did and I can’t use that, it’s not acting! I guess it is still a part of creativity though but still, I’m just a little bit EMBARRASSED by my silly shenanigans! But then again, if I want to be known for comedic material, I guess maybe I should include that routine…I’ll think about it.

Right now, my focus is writing & completing “Not Quite Unrequited”, the screen version. Yesterday, out of nowhere, I was creatively plugged in and I almost finished the whole treatment for the script. Even while I drove to work, my mind was still grinding away. By Sunday night, I will have the first act done and that is my goal. At least with writing, I can archive it.

Wow, this post was just all over the place.

Fears & Truths on Stage

So, I’ve committed to reading my monologue at Bindlestiff Studio’s Wordy Word on March 30th. Wordy Word is a bi-weekly free event that Bindlestiff puts on for artists to try out what they’ve written. It could be anything from a play to a poem to a joke to a song, anything! The audience can give you feedback and tell you what they liked and what they didn’t like so that you can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. I really didn’t want to reveal my piece until the show in October but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get some feedback so that I can figure out what direction I’m going.

So many movies I’ve seen, stories I’ve heard, shows I’ve attended–they usually have some form of a happy ending for either the protagonist, a supporting character, and sometimes maybe even the antagonist. I chose to write a happy ending monologue that was based on a story with a NOT-so-happy ending. But after getting feedback about my piece from Sunday’s 6 hour meeting, I’m thinking I might have to take out exactly what I didn’t want to take out: the happy ending! That would mean tracing along the lines of the goddamn truth.

Robert McKee, the author of “Story,” said that “Story is metaphor for life.” He goes on to say,

Writers of portraiture must realize that facts are neutral. The weakest possible excuse to include anything in a story is: “But it actually happened.” Everything happens; everything imaginable happens. Indeed, the unimaginable happens. But story is not life in actuality. Mere occurrence brings us nowhere near the truth. What happens is fact, not truth. Truth is what we think about what happens.

I guess I need to step far enough away from the character so that it doesn’t stay too close to the truth. Otherwise, it will be difficult to make up the story. It’s hard to bend the truth and keep up with the lies but that’s pretty much what a story is.

And working under pressure doesn’t always produce the best work neither. Not to mention, I’ve got stage fright. I’ve got it bad. I don’t like being the center of attention. It’s scary because you’re afraid you’ll drop a line & forget everything you’ve been working so hard on for the last few months, embarrassing yourself onstage. I get this feeling even when it’s my turn to introduce myself in a class. My heart beats like a ticking time bomb and there’s nothing I can do to calm it down. However, once I get onstage, it’s smooth sailing. My mind switches to committing myself fully into doing my best. I cannot wait to get offstage but while I’m up there, I might as well get comfortable. When it’s over, I’ll realize I was worried for nothing. I admit to having had some alcohol a couple of times before a show to calm myself. Not that I’m not professional, just that I knew I could because it was standup comedy and it would have only added to my set.

All right well, I’ve got 3 weeks to fine tune this baby. I bought myself a voice recorder and placed it in the car because it’s always when I’m driving that I randomly come up with great ideas. I figured it was safer than texting the memo in my phone. Let the creativity begin.

Killing My Baby

I spent 6 hours at a meeting yesterday and we ended up tossing my work in the garbage. It’s fine, I’m not sad about it or anything. It was a backup anyway. We’re going to go with my primary baby. The only hard part was that I wish I knew ahead of time that I was going to end up scrapping it. I spent four days writing up this script adapted from my monologue and to end up having to scrap the whole script was painful.

Four days is a record time for me, considering my last script took me two years to finish. I AM glad, however, that everyone liked the monologue better. The only reason I wrote the stage script was because I wrote the monologue for the photography lookbook we were going to do. Alas, I was given the sad news that the lookbook has been put on hold, and I felt the need to quickly adapt the monologue with dialogue and stage directions since I wasn’t able to envision the monologue as a stage performance just yet, only as light reading.

It perturbed me to produce the stage script because I hated every word, every transition, every empty dialogue I had placed any effort into writing. Hmm, now that I think about it, maybe I subconciously sabatoged myself into writing a horrible script, hoping the monologue would have a 100% chance of shining through when being compared side by side. It’s not like it would have been the first time for me to sabatoge myself on purpose.

I remember doing my very first audition. I didn’t want my first performance to be drama, I wanted it to be comedy. However, the part they wanted me to read was drama so I purposely did a horrible job on the drama audition so that I wouldn’t get casted by the director of that piece. Subsequently, they gave me a comedic piece to read and needless to say, I was casted for the comedic piece. Thus, completing my mission of wanting my 1st stage performance to be comedy.

Of course now, I’m down to do any genre. Comedy, drama, horror, whatever. As long as I’m having fun, I will commit myself to doing my job 110%. I’m really excited now to complete this monologue piece now that I’ve gotten some feedback on it from my peers. Stage directions will be the next step in finishing this draft. I’m excited to dive into the actual casting & rehearsing of it. As a matter of fact, ALL the pieces that will be in the show sound amazing. I’m overexcited to get it up and running.

Here are some excerpts from the monologue and the stage script.

Monologue:

      “He is too short.” She would tell me all the reasons why he’s not right for her. I decided not to encourage her to pursue him. Most likely, she already knew the outcome. Instead, she chose to continue living her façade of a perfect life in the eyes of her friends. After a decade of building her pretty world, the walls began to wobble.
      A couple of days ago, I saw a bulk toothpaste box with a hole cut out of it that was facing me while I was showering. My mind became curious. I wondered what it was. I mean, why would anyone carve a hole in a toothpaste box? I picked it up and peered into the hole, only to see my own eyes staring right back at me.

Script:

SARAH
What’s wrong, mom? You seem so sad.

MOM
Oh nothing. It’s just that James
was vomiting blood today. I think
he’s getting sick.

Sarah & Steven glance at each other and grin.

MOM (CONT’D)
Are you sure you don’t want some
food? There’s some more rice still.
I made eggs with barbecued pork.
That’s your favorite, right?

STEVEN
We don’t want any food, mom. We
have to talk to you about
something.

Mom stops washing dishes and turns around. She looks uncomfortable.

MOM
Talk about what?

Steven looks at Sarah, signaling for a response. Sarah remains silent, unable to begin. Steven eagerly responds to mom.

STEVEN
Sarah has something to tell you.

And there it is. Pretty bad. Sometimes, you just have to kill your baby.

Last Night

     The club was dark with reddish undertones. Patrons were dressed in cocktail wear. Will had just finished a set. It was a standup comedy show. He sported brown & shiny, shoulder-length pantene hair with a hint of gold highlights, a clean-shaven face, a black & blue plaid shirt, and a pair of blue jeans. He had a pair of tan Timberland boots on that made a clunky noise as he made his strides. He squeezed in between two people to the right of the bar & was trying to get the bartender’s attention. I walked up to his left while he waited for his drink. I smiled from ear to ear.
      “Hi Will, you were really good up there. I’m Ava.” I put out my hand to shake his but his eyes averted mine. He looked down on the floor with a silent pause. I casually lowered my empty hand and backed away, sensing his wariness.
      “Ok well, just wanted you to know.” I forced a smile, disappointed that our one & only encounter was a failure. I took steps to walk away when he spoke.
      “Who are you with? I mean, who do you know?” He looked at me with guarded eyes but he was listening for an answer. Perhaps a validation? I was speechless. I’m not a socialite. I’m certainly not one of those aggressive autograph collectors who go around hounding celebrities for a signature I can sell for a profit online. I searched in my mind to find any celebrity connections I had that could validate myself to let him know I wasn’t some insane fan who could hurt him.
      “I’m a moderator for New Kids on the Block’s forum website!” I blurted. Strike two. Why did I say that? What pertinence does this information have? I’m such an idiot. It would have made better sense if I had just told him who I really was; someone who had admired his work since 1993 and was honored to be in his presence. Perhaps he wasn’t even asking for validation, maybe he was just asking which comedian I specifically came to watch. Him, of course, but his cautious interrogation made me regret coming up to him.
     At that moment, a black man came up to Will and complimented him on his set, distracting his attention. A way out. I attempted my ninja exit. Before I could escape, Will took notice and grabbed my arm to stop me.
     “Wait. What was your name again? Ava?”
     “Yes. Ava. I just wanted to meet you. I love that you make me laugh.” He stood close to me, invading my two feet of personal space but it didn’t bother me; it was comfortable. I wanted to hold his hand, to touch his face, to taste his lips. I wondered how he would hold me if he were my boyfriend. I wondered if he was the type of comedian who acknowledges his girlfriend from the stage, making her feel embarrassed & special at the same time.
     Words now became an awkward barrier between us. I stared at his gentle hazel eyes, waiting for the end of his assessment. I knew he finally approved when I saw the dimples on his cheeks emerge, a smile that could charm even the most wicked of witches. My heart did a blissful little dance.
     Just then, the black man shoved his way past Will, jostling him into me. I swiftly placed my hands to his cheeks & pulled his face towards mine until there was only half an inch between our stares. His arms instinctively wrapped around me, cradling my body with a protective fervour so I wouldn’t fall, but my heart fell anyway. His fingertips rested against the small of my back. His eyes glanced at my lips while the awkwardness faded and I was relieved. I closed my eyes and let his lips touch mine…

Strawberries.

     When my eyes opened, Will was gone. I shut my alarm off and stayed in bed with a lamented smile, struggling to return to my dream.

I have the cheesiest (sub)concious ever.

Becoming A Storyteller

I’ve never done so much reading in my life, not even in high school. At least in high school, I was really only reading one book at a time for English class. Textbooks don’t count since I only had to read lessons, learn from examples, and copy answers from the back of the book. Last night, I plowed through page after page from a book, a literary magazine, 2 scripts, a novel excerpt, and a barrage of emails. In addition to that, I also had to draw 2 items 3 times for my art class. I’m starting to dislike 6B pencils. Found myself sharpening every 15 minutes.

I never realized how much concentration it took for me to really absorb myself into a book. Have you ever read through 40 pages only to walk away from it without having listened to even one sentence? Did your mind wander to all the different chores you still have to do, people you still need to email, projects you have yet to complete or ideas you have to record? I walk away from my readings having mentally completed multiple task lists and planning my week out rather than paying mind to the book in hand. Of course in the end, I have not actually done the tasks I mentally prepared myself to do nor absorbed the material I just spent 3 hours reading so I end up having accomplished zilch.

Things must change. If I’m going to start a side career writing scripts & stories, I’m going to have to give as much as I get. Thank you to my friends who critique my scripts & stories. I promise to give back and actually pay attention to your words too. I’m not bullshitting you neither because this time, I finally have an actual feature length story to tell and I’d really like to get your feedback!

I pitched the synopsis to a friend of mine up to the climax and she was badgering me for the conclusion, which I hadn’t decided yet. Her reaction gave me inspiration to pursue the story and maybe someday sell the script. If I can’t sell it, I will get it produced myself. I have to say, reading “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Writing” by Robert McKee has been extremely helpful, probably the most insightful book on writing that I have ever read. It broke down all the reasons why people love movies, how a good story is told, how to refrain from clichés, etc. Everything you need to learn about how to screenwrite a story is in here! It was published in 1997 so some of the movies they mention are a bit outdated but nonetheless, the material is still relevant to this day.

By the end of May, I hope to have completed at least a first draft of a feature-length screenplay. That is my goal on my writing side right now. I’m very excited to finally begin this chapter of my life.