Hitting the Ground Running

And we’re (I’m) back! To your Not-So-Regular-Wish-They-Were-Regular-I’m-Trying Scheduling!

Ah, my final fall semester before I graduate has officially kicked off. And none of my teachers are wasting any time to assign major projects. 

I’m hitting the ground running trying extra hard to keep the stress levels low. I should be planning out next three-four months to stay organized with these major projects this weekend. Meanwhile, also being assigned small side projects. Like the screenplay below that my Intermediate Screenwriting class was assigned. This one is basically assigned as a warm-up before writing a different major project. 

 

A few influences that sprung up in my writing:

  • a Raven, from this beautifully animated film based on Edgar Allan Poe tales I saw on Netflix a couple weeks ago titled, Extraordinary Tales. Each story was created with a different style of animation and they’re incredible. It also includes narration by Guillermo del Toro and Bela Lugosi!
  • On a completely different type of viewing, BoJack Horseman which was a weird show for me to watch. It took me until the second season to really get into it. And not gonna lie, sometimes I would watch just to get to the end credits so I can sing along to GroupLove.
  • My car broke down on me last week so the scene where he groans at his car was me still being annoyed about the inconvenience. Even though it could have been worse and I just needed to chill out. 
  • Karma and thinking about past lives and being angsty wondering why bad things are always happening literally at all times. But again I just need to chill out and think of the few good things that may still be happening around me, who knows. 

 

About the characters

  • Dweezle Smith
    • Dweezle’s name was made up in class after the teacher asked for an uncommon first name and the most common last name. Kind of funny how after we shared our stories to each other, it was noticeable how we all sort of came up with the same sort of character.  Just based on what his name is. Which proves my own theory that your name definitely makes up your character, mannerisms, looks, etcetera.
    • Dweezle is pretty rude, nerdy, and has more plant friends than human friends. He’s tall and lanky and has thick, clear eye glass frames. 
  • Ledge
    • Is half raven and half man. He’s also tall and thin. He wears a penguin tux that sort of makes him look like a super hero.
    • He was a Dweezle when he was younger/in one of his past lives. He was assigned to help out people like Dweezle by this council who wants society to be well-rounded and have good karma. To be allowed another life you have to correct your current life mistakes, otherwise the council will end your lives completely or assign you to immortality like Ledge.
    • The council turned Ledge into a Raven because Ledge tried to commit suicide (see last scene for *some insight/clues) by jumping off a building. So now he lives forever as a bird and helps others to well-round themselves.
  • Fern has more to come, her character still needs to be fleshed out. But I think quite a bit can come from her later.

This Future Lives law was created with good intentions, but like all things, not everything can be entirely good or bad. There’s always this grey area where laws will be created thinking it’ll help people, but really they become unrealistic and immoral themselves. 

This is still a rough-rough draft and I’m thinking of a new title, but otherwise here it is, Dweezle Smith.

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Thanks for reading! See ya in a bit!

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Inspiring Must-Read Film Related Books

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A whole post dedicated to these books is here and much deserved. Going through these two gems was a breeze and absolutely enjoyable, all while being educational.

Your Screenplay Sucks! by William M. Akers
A quick and witty read that will give you that extra push to keep writing. William Akers makes screenwriting seem less daunting and more doable. His advice is easy to keep up with, his tips simple enough to remember, and his writing keeps you interested and alert. Personally this is my favorite type of writing. Writing that seems like the author themselves is speaking directly to you. Nonchalant and encouraging. The book is super simple to follow. It’s formatted in list form, like a check list, full of  great examples. Akers will remind you of the simplest tips to keep yourself in check so you’re chances aren’t ruined by easy-fix mistakes. If you’re interested in screenwriting and plan on sending your scripts out to production companies, I highly recommend this one and Akers’, a Lifetime Member of the Writers Guild of America, advice to help you clean up your script.

Moviemakers’ Master Class: Private Lessons From the World’s Foremost Directors by Laurent Tirard
Another quick and completely interesting read. Laurent Tirard went straight to some of today’s most influential directors and asked them a series of direct questions that leads you into the minds of how each director works. These questions follow an almost structured layout. Tirard asks each director (listed on the left side of the book’s front cover) what influences and inspires their craft. Then we learn how each director works. From how the directors works on set like their own rituals, to what they have learned along the way of their career, and some techniques they would never use on their work. This is such an amazing book because although Tirard interviewed quite a few directors in this 215 page book, you can still feel this connection with each reading. You are really able to learn first hand from these directors whether you take their advice or not.

I went through each copy so fast. They’re both one of those books you can pick up to re-read to refresh your memory every so often. Each book is encouraging and inspiring. I absolutely recommend  them to anyone interested in filmmaking.

My Summer To Watch List

During the school year I don’t allow myself much time to sit and watch a movie, tv show, or series. If I sit down and watch something I only end up feeling like I should be doing homework or studying.

People tell me to watch while I’m studying or getting ready in the morning, but that’s not really an option for me. I wish I could do that! Because when I watch something I have to be doing nothing else but watching. So my schedule during the school year gets in the way of me sitting still for too long and it leads me to compile this list of films and shows to catch up on come summer (and winter) break.

So, since my summer break officially starts this Friday, and I won’t be taking summer classes for once (queue the party poppers!!) I now have a bit more time to catch up on as much as I can, because wow this list has gotten a little out of hand. I decided to share a quick hand full of the titles in my To Watch section. All coming from Neflix and Hulu, too.

Let’s start with Hulu

legion.pngLegion
I actually don’t know much about Legion, but I’ve seen episode clips here and there and the editing effects, visuals, and audio seem insane! In a good way. I’m really excited for this one.

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The Handmaid’s Tale
All I’ve heard are good things so far. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1998 novel, this series is meant to also be a satire.

 

Now to Netflix

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The Get Down (season two)
The first season was too good. From the cool clothes the characters wore to the music and the story itself. You’re just left rooting for all the characters to do well.

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La Nina
I’m interested in this series because I’m hoping it includes some truth regarding the character being an ex-guerrilla. Maybe they’ll include some history even if it’s been modified for tv.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000
And just to have a laugh, I’m excited to watch MST3000. Which honestly will probably only get me to add more movies to my To Watch list.

 

More titles worth mentioning:

  • Top of the Lake (Hulu)
  • Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (Netflix)
  • Girlhood (Netflix)
  • Cable Girls (Netflix)
  • The Discovery (Netflix)
  • The People v OJ Simpson (Netflix)
  • Crazy Head (Netflix)
  • 13th (Netflix)
  • Amores Perros (Netflix)
  • Woman in Gold (Netflix)
  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (Netflix)

And these are only off my Hulu and Netflix lists.. Yeah I’ve got a bit to catch up on.

Week Of: May 1st Inspiration

In this Week Of post I’m including artists who seem to be art themselves. As well as elements from movies, new and old, that I’ve recently viewed.

  • Natalia LaFourcade’s latest album, Musas. An honestly beautiful album.
    • Here’s a video Musas, El Documental on the making of the album with Los Macorinos.
    • And the music video for Tu Si Sabes Quererme.
    • Actually, just going to go ahead and add that all her music videos are beautiful and she’s an overall inspiring human.
  • Rihanna’s 2017 Met Gala entire look – outfit and her makeup.
    • Have a 360 degrees look at the outfit on Who What Where’s page. I can only imagine how incredible she looked (/looks always) in person.rihanna-met-gala-2017-223012-1493686692965-image.640x0c.jpg
  • Casting JonBenet, a Netflix Original. For its unique way of retelling a true story.
  • The look of 1970’s films like The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) that naturally have that grainy look to them.

Art Wander (2015)

 

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Two years ago I put together a television idea, a tv bible, completely inspired by Frida Kahlo and her home, La Casa Azul. Located in Mexico City, the home she and Diego Rivera lived in that was later turned into a museum.

Art Wander is a four part mini-series that follows Samara and two of her friends, Ingrid and Frances. Samara is an art student receiving harsh critiques from her professor. To dig deep to find her style of work, she and her friends visit the home of Frida Kahlo, Austria to see Gustav Klimt’s work in person, and France to visit the home of Claude Monet to gather inspiration first hand.

These characters are college students on a budget, so they cut corners here and there on this trip, leading to some bumps along the way.

How I imagined it to look would be one stunning shot after another. I also imagined it streaming on PBS (because it would also be educational) and Netflix.

I’m sure Art Wander won’t be my only project inspired by Frida.

 

 

In Retrograde

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Lately I’ve been most drawn to soft pinks, iridescent/holographic accents, and conversations that are soft and slow.

In Retrograde is coming together much slower than I would like, but it’s really starting to emulate these quiet features. It’s quite literally the softest presence existing in my frantic life at the moment. So far anyway. I’m actually planning on including supernatural elements into the storyline, but we’ll see where I go from there.

Although I haven’t had much time to write, that’s not the only thing getting in the way of this project. One thing that took me the longest to get comfortable with screenwriting was the difference between screenwriting and the usual writing you’d read out of a novel.

When I’m screenwriting I’m afraid I’m writing too much, so when I cut back I feel like a robot has taken over, only making mechanically stiff moves.

The “only write what the audience will be able to see” rule is controlling too much of my writing. Because then I read other screenplays that have been made into amazing films disregarding this rule with extra detail here and there, adding to the feel of the piece which is important. So I’m a little confused as to how much is too much detail, and how too little detail will suck the life out of my screenplays.

I’m hoping this screenwriting class I’m taking in the fall will help me sort this out.

 

Unsupervised (2015)

Meanwhile I’m still working on the crystal + astrology inspired screen-scene, I’ve decided to post a piece of the first ever short I wrote.

Unsupervised (2015) is loosely based on true events. I took my older sister and myself out of the story, but the characters are inspired by my cousins and grandmother. This short is what it felt like when I was growing up and spending most summers at my aunt’s house. My mom would drop us off around six a.m. so our grandma could watch us, but that only meant we were able to do whatever we wanted and (mostly) get away with it.

I wrote this short for a class, now while I’m not saying it’s amazing, it was pretty nice of my teacher to say they could definitely see it being made into a short film. I’d say because of how simple and low-maintenance the scenes and characters are presented. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it.

So here’s a page and some of Unsupervised.

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Week Of: Feb. 20th Inspiration

What I’ve been thinking about most this past week, and for a while now actually, has been something that is not immediately in view. Something that we can’t see with our own eyes, but something we can feel. And it’s definitely always around. Energies that is.

  • Vibrations
    • Those energies from someone that may then reach, touch, affect, and/or go through another.
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    • One day I’ll get my aura read. It just seems like a fun thing most people would like to do on a whim.
  • Crystals
    • I have a collection of crystals that I picked out when I was a kid. I had no idea that people used them for the stone’s specific reason, but I chose one of each at the store near this camp site my family visited every summer. And since I found the little bag I kept them in for years, I’ve finally laid them out so they could, I guess, breathe? I even bought a stick of sage to cleanse them regularly of the energies they may have collected. Although I’m not entirely sure what each one of them does, I do carry my rose quartz crystal around with me at times. It may be a placebo effect working on me, but I really do think it’s doing something.
  • Astrology charts
    • I’m definitely one of those people who are into astrology. Even though I pretend like I’m not all the time. It’s just not only about knowing your sun sign, there’s way more to it. I don’t believe in it dictating my life (i.e. career, relationships), but it’s a sort of fun guide to help you become self-aware of your actions and how you can change and mature for the better.

Keep an eye out for my next screenplay scene because I plan on expanding a bit more on these energies and why I think this placebo effect is working for me. I don’t have a complete idea yet (because I haven’t had a real moment to sit and think+relax) but it may end up being more personal than I’d like – says a real life crab.

Week of: Jan30th Inspiration

Every week or two I plan on posting a list of things I’ve found inspiring. These things are most likely to show up in my writing, so here’s an insight of what may pop up *hint, hint* in my upcoming piece. 

Vampires

Current events

Separation

Red, the color

Shadows

Chicago homes (architecture) 

It Follows 2015 (Dir. David Robert Mitchell) cinematography by Mike Gioulakis

Now, back to work on this scene.

Stay tuned!