Advice and Inspiration from Greta Gerwig

Ken Miyamoto shares some morsels of inspiration from the brilliant mind of Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of Lady Bird. He shares her insight through a series of interviews with the actress turn writer/director. Here are a few highlights:

  • Writing Words that Don’t Look Like They’ve Been Written
  • Taking the Time to Prepare Yourself
  • Story Structure Is Embedded Within Us All
  • You Have to Take the Leap
  • Don’t Judge and Dismiss Your Own Writing
  • Listen to Your Characters
  • Treat Each Character as If They Could Have Their Own Movie About Them
  • Great Screenplays Should Be Like Poetry

Read the full article here: Screenwriting Advice From LADY BIRD Writer/Director Greta Gerwig

Outlines, Treatments, and Scriptments: What’s the Difference?

Writing requires a tremendous amount of work and that work often happens in phases. If you were to look at the first drafts of Hamilton or Harry Potter, they would look undeniably different from their final products. First, you brainstorm. Then you create outlines about your story, the characters, the plot, and every other detail imaginable. Writers do this several times in several different ways. Then they write the first of many drafts. Ken Miyamoto with ScreenCraft discusses the difference between outlines, treatments, and scriptments and how each of them is important to the story development process.

Read the full article here: Outlines, Treatments, and Scriptments, Oh My!

Common Misconceptions About Hollywood

Ken Miyamoto from ScreenCraft discusses common misconceptions about Hollywood, debunks the myths, and discusses the changes that the industry has experienced.

Read full article here: Top 5 Misconceptions Novice Screenwriters Have About Hollywood

What is Stream of Consciousness Writing?

Sarah Cool shares Overall Adventures insights on a thing called stream of consciousness writing. What it is is simply sitting down with a journal or at a computer and literally writing everything that comes through your head as it comes to you. They explain the benefits of using this technique of writing and how it can help you create the world you want in your head and on paper, but can also help you solve problems in your real world.

Full article and video here: Stream Of Consciousness Writing

Time for New Tests

Right now Hollywood is going through a massive shift in recognizing its lack of diversity both in front of and behind the camera, and efforts are being made to make stories where people of frequently underrepresented demographics such as women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community are represented as strong, human characters and not merely personifications of stereotypes.

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Read the full article here: The Next Bechdel Test

Marvelous Lessons Creatives Can Learn from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Amazon’s new show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been a huge hit this season. The show created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman – Palladino picked up two Golden Globes at the 2018 ceremony: one for Best Musical or Comedy Series and a second for its leading lady, Rachel Brosnahan, for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series. So we weren’t alone, or crazy for that matter, for falling head over heels for this show. Go watch it. It really is marvelous.

I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t watched it yet. But the show is about a woman in 1950s New York who begins pursuing a career in stand up comedy after her picture-perfect life gets turned upside down. I found that Mrs. Maisel’s story has some valuable lessons for anyone trying to pursue their dreams, especially in a creative field.

  1. Sometimes life takes unexpected turns when every plan you ever made falls apart. Sometimes you realize what your dreams are later in life or that you should chase that fantasy you thought was only a pipe dream. Sometimes, your eyes are opened to a gift you never realized you had. It’s okay when that happens. Go for it. Will it be difficult? Yes. Will it be difficult? Yep. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
  2. The fear of failure is a fear worth confronting. Will you experience failures? ABSOLUTELY. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Will you hear the word “No”? Yes. Lots of people, powerful and influential people, will tell you no. Sometimes the material you come up with just doesn’t work. Sometimes you don’t like the material you created. Fear of failure of a very legitimate fear and it can cripple you. But it can also empower and strengthen you. Failure and mistakes are how you learn. You also have to acknowledge the fact that you failed. Think about a diamond. It’s a rock, a hunk of carbon to be exact. It’s made of the same stuff as the graphite in your pencils. (See the connection?) Diamonds are not only one of the most beautiful gems, they are also one of the strongest. But what did that hunk of carbon experience that separates it from the pencil graphite? It’s experienced more heat and more pressure for a longer period of time. So the next time you mess something up, get rejected, totally bomb, or something doesn’t happen in the time frame that you think it should happen, (looking at you fellow 29 and 30 – year olds) Remember that you are a diamond undergoing the necessary heat, pressure, and time and you are one step closer to becoming that drop-dead gorgeous diamond. You will get there. Now go get your pencil graphite and make something 🙂
  3. Plan and prepare. Spontaneity is great, but preparation is greater. A lot of people who are not me are great improvisers. They can come up with material on the fly. It seems that some people have this coveted superpower of the creative gods and others don’t. Some people can whip up Shakespearean levels of perfection in seconds. It’s infuriating. But is it really that spontaneous? Nope. Creatives spend lots of time creating, bombing, and creating some more until their work shines like diamonds. Spontaneity is great. It can make your work feel exciting as your creative energy bursts. But sometimes, like a secretary on a pre-QWERTY typewriter, the gears can jam. You can get stuck and flop on your face, or your butt, or both. You need to plan and prepare your material. It may be difficult to do at first. I struggle with prep work myself. My head refuses to produce anything until the last possible moment. But the more you prepare and organize your thoughts and outline your plans, the more it will benefit your work. This is much easier said than done. Preparation leads to better work. Better work leads to boosted confidence. Boosted confidence leads to more opportunities. Having more opportunities leads to success. This is the “pressure” piece of the diamond-making equation.
  4. Be your truest self and go with your gut. This sounds cliché, but it’s true. Lots of well-intentioned people will give you lots of well-intentioned advice on how to pursue your work. They will give you lots of do’s a don’ts. At the end of the day, the work is yours. You have a unique voice that deserves to be heard. Like the Miles Davis quote goes, “you have to play a lot of other people’s stuff before you start sounding like yourself”. You will have to learn the craft, the business of the craft, and what material already exists as you begin creating your own. Take notes of your life’s experiences. Carry a notebook so you can do so. But by being your truest self, you ultimately become your best self and can carve out your place in the creative world by showcasing your unique perspective. If you study notable people’s careers, you will notice this pattern. This is the “time” piece of the diamond-making equation.
  5. Not everyone will understand what you’re doing. Go for it anyway. Especially if your heart, your head, and your gut are all in the same place. Some people will tear you down, insult you, laugh at you and your ideas, and constantly demand justification as to why you’re pursuing the career you’re pursuing and it often comes from the people closest to you. You will want to quit and, for a period of time, you just might. Please keep going. Keep working. Channel your inner Dory and just keep swimming. Use the things that excite you, make you curious, or make you furious. Those aspects of you are what make your worldview unique and worthy of sharing. One now-famous example is when Lin-Manuel Miranda first introduced his early Hamilton material at a White House event (a poetry slam hosted by the Obamas, I believe). He began with saying something to the effect of “this is about someone who embodies hip-hop: Alexander Hamilton.” The audience literally laughed at him. Just shy of a decade later, he’s gotten the last laugh as that material from the poetry slam has grown into a Broadway smash hit. Excellent proof of what you can accomplish if you just keep working at what you are genuinely passionate about. It will feel like you are the only person in your corner; it’s because you are. You will have to be the only person standing in your corner to prove to others that your corner is worth standing in. This is the “heat” piece of the diamond-making equation.

Contrary to popular belief the creative life is not for the faint of heart. It takes a tremendous amount of work, mistakes, determination, and vulnerability to find your voice and learn how to use it. You are capable of becoming a diamond, but you will have to endure the heat, the pressure, and the time. Keep going and you will get there.

 

 

Story tricks from Spielberg’s BFG

Spielberg is an icon and a legend for good reason. Shanee Edwards with ScreenwritingU Magazine dissects the film to study seven story tricks screenwriters can use when creating children’s films.

Read the full article here: Spielberg gets all Spielbergian on The BFG: 7 great story tricks we learned from the cinematic giant

Hollins Grads at Work: Jared M. Gordon

More Hollins Grads on the move!! Alum Jared Gordon recently released his project Multiple Choice. Here’s what Jared had to say about his the project:

“Multiple Choice is about Helen, an overachiever who, on the day of a final exam, must decide between receiving the test answers or discovering the identity of a secret admirer… There was a lot I wanted to say with this. It ultimately came down to the theme of living life being more important than grades. I wanted to show a compelling reversal from a character who was grade-obsessed to a one who demonstrated a willingness to take risks. I was lucky to work with very talented students and fellow faculty members, and I’m very pleased with how it came out.”

You can see the full film on Vimeo. Congratulations Jared! We are so proud of you!

Now on Vimeo: Multiple Choice by Hollins Grad Jared M. Gordon

The Power of Vulnerability

2017 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow Edson Oda discusses vulnerability and how it can empower you creatively as writer and filmmaker.

Read the full article here: EXPLORING THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY IN SCREENWRITING

Watch: “The Godfather: Solozzo’s Death – Script to Screen Analysis”

Filmmaker Magazine provides and incredible script to screen analysis that uses commentary from an interview with Francis Ford Coppola. It is definitely worth watching.

Full video here: Watch: “The Godfather: Solozzo’s Death – Script to Screen Analysis”