A quick look inside the life of a writer. Let me know in the comments below what I left off and what you do as a writer!
Hey everyone! It’s that time of the year when I like to stop for a moment, recap and catch everyone up on the exciting blog entries I’ve posted over the last 4 months. Ranging from When To Get An Agent to When To Leave Your Agent to What Is A Win to me dropping off my feature film script to James Franco’s production company, let’s take a stroll down memory lane from oldest blog entry to the newest:
Happy Birthday! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-iN
Taking It To The Next Level: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jx
A Big Win With James Franco: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jR
What Is A Win? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-mS
The Revolution Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-os
When To Get An Agent Or Manager: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-6T
Happy 15th Anniversary! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-qq
Happy Labor Day Weekend! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rq
Self-Tape Audition Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rA
The Showrunner In Me: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-sx
Do You Celebrate? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-uj
A New Journey Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-wo
The Power Of The Human Spirit: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-x6
Quick Tip: Callbacks https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xn
Pre-Production Begins! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xx
When To Leave Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-y5
Hey everyone! I’m excited to announce that pre-production has begun on a new film that I wrote and will star in. On September 30th, I posted a blog entry titled “A New Journey Begins” (http://wp.me/p8uI5M-wo) in which I wrote about outlining my new film in 32 minutes. Shortly after, I wrote the first draft of the script in 1 hour and 25 minutes. I was thrilled to see a finished product before my eyes. I was thrilled to see this outline transform into a script!
Now, the pre-production phase begins. The excitement and nervousness. Yes, nervousness. I still get nervous before embarking on a new project that I’ve originated and that I will be leading. But that nervousness is channelled into excitement and action. To be on go! I’m putting another product out into the world and I can’t wait!
I’ve created a pre-production plan. I’ve registered my script. I’ve reached out to an actor friend of mine to pitch my film and email the script. He loved the script and is in. I’ve reached out to a DP and cinematographer I’ve worked with before to shoot my film. I’ve begun identifying and writing down potential crew members I’d love to work with again. I’m looking at a shoot date and location. I’ve begun downloading pictures from Google Images to inform the art direction and the storyboards. I’ve created a list of production equipment we’ll need for the shoot. I’ve already come up with a concept for wardrobe and how I want my co-star to physically look. I’m excited to start rehearsing with my co-star and making any tweaks to the script during our rehearsal process.
Hiring a producing team to help me execute certain things like securing the perfect location to filling out SAG paperwork.
I already know how I want to edit the film. I see how the whole film plays out in my head.
And many other things that are involved in the pre-production process!
I’m excited to create another project and see how much further I can take this one in terms of the writing, the storytelling, the acting and the technical aspects. My aim is to always get better with each project. I can’t wait to bring this project out into the world as another example of my work and voice as an artist.
As artists, we need to continually be in creative motion. We need to be involved in a handful of projects at any given moment so that we stay on path and remain artistically fulfilled. In other words, if one project doesn’t work out or doesn’t quite take off, then you have these other projects you’re working on. Conversely, if one project takes off and then that chapter finally comes to an end, then you have other projects to jump into. Let’s say you’re in a series and then it goes on hiatus for the summer. Cool. Now get back into class and put up some new scenes or shoot a short film over the summer based upon that script you wrote while you were shooting your series. Staying in creative motion is a cool, built-in defense mechanism. An artistic shield that keeps you moving forward from one project to the next.
I say all this because a few days ago, I outlined my next film script in 32 minutes! I am a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror and my script will pay homage to these great shows. I am so excited and proud of myself because as soon as the idea flashed across my mind, I jumped on it and didn’t question it. I didn’t throw away my idea because it was too big or too crazy or too this or too that. If you remember, my first blog entry of 2017 was a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”:
To believe our own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,–and our first thought, is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
I detected that gleam of light that flashed across my mind and jumped on the opportunity to outline my script. In 32 minutes. That is the power of following your genius. I can’t wait to write the script and shoot it in the near future. I’m clear that I am the protagonist in this. The focus of the story. And I want to go the other way in the casting of my co-star. And my instinct is right about how I want to cast my co-star and present this casting as the paragon of what I’m looking at in my story.
Creation is definitely tied to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary definition of “Imagination”:
We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful, than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature.
And I’m excited to get to work!
Until next time, keep Chasing The George!
P.S. I outlined my script in 32 minutes and it took me 32 minutes to write this blog entry! How synchronistic is that?!
The only reason why I want to be a showrunner is because I love telling people what to do.
LBH (Let’s Be Honest)
According to Google, a showrunner, in the most basic terms, “is the person who has overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program.”
I want to lead and run my own TV shows.
ICYMI, In Case You Missed It, no one is going to create my career for me but me.
Showrunner: Ryan Murphy, Gloria C. Kellet, Mike Royce, Tanya Saracho, etc.
However, I want to be in front of the camera as well. I want to see my face up on that screen in addition to developing and writing the stories I’m interested in telling. I want to see my face on billboards and magazine covers. I didn’t have anyone that looked like me or sounded like me when I was growing up. THIS IS VITAL TO ME that I represent up there as well. I BELONG.
OTOH, On The Other Hand, when I was growing up, I wanted to be Madonna. As an adult, I still do. Hell, when I come back in the next lifetime, I want to be Madonna.
BTT, Back To Topic!!
DGMW, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I want to be me too. I love being me. And it feels so good each time I infiltrate mainstream public consciousness with my work, my voice, my sensibilities, my art.
So maybe it’s more like Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Issa Rae, etc. They are behind the camera as showrunners and in front of the camera as the stars.
But damn, I love movies too. AAMOF, As A Matter Of Fact, movies are my first love. I originally came to Los Angeles to be in movies. I love movies and I love being in them.
Hmmmmm, so maybe it’s more like Tyler Perry, Tina Fey, Dan Bucatinsky, etc. They are actors, writers and producers on both the film and television fronts.
Yeah! Actor, writer and producer for film and television.
I want it all!
I want to be in front of the camera and behind the camera. Film and television. Infiltrate the mainstream. Change perceptions. Fuck with perceptions. Challenge perceptions.
DIY, Do It Yourself, because no one else is going to do it for me. Work hard. Build relationships. Make bold moves.
This will be it.
It will happen. I have the talent. I have the intelligence. I have the work ethic. I make things happen. I make a set better. I uplift people. I administer tough love. I am a mensch. I love this explanation of a mensch from Wikipedia: “According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish Maven and author of The Joys of Yiddish, a “mensch” is “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being ‘a real mensch’ is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.” The term is used as a high compliment, implying the rarity and value of that individual’s qualities.”
This will be it.
MMW (Mark My Words)
EOD (End Of Discussion)
LBH, I really want to win some Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars, etc. as that actor, writer and producer just so that I can go to the after parties with my awards in hand and channel Madonna’s dance spirit and outfit below. Riccardo Tisci, Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, John Galliano and Rik Villa will each take turns to dress me.
“Human Revolution” that is! “Human Revolution” is a 22-minute SAG-Aftra dramedy film that I had the honor of executive producing, co-writing and co-starring in last year. This film came to life and was made possible through the collective efforts of the Richard Lawson Studios community. From crew members to actors, many people came through with their love and talent.
My fellow co-producer and I approved the final cut on July 2nd of this year and we’ve just recently entered the next chapter of film festival submissions and seeking distribution!
For myself, my co-producer and our director, our goal with “Human Revolution” was always about the bigger picture. To use this film as a calling card to spotlight what we can do as artists. And we want to do that by submitting our film to targeted/specific film festivals, to seek avenues of distribution and to share it with key influential people on our relationship map.
I’m very excited for this new chapter!
The first film festival Human Revolution was submitted to was the Vassar FilmFest in D.C. on August 4th. Vassar is my alma mater, so I knew I wanted to personally submit there. A few days later, “Human Revolution” was submitted to Slamdance, SXSW, the Atlanta Film Festival and the Taos Shortz Film Festival in New Mexico. Upcoming film festival submissions include: the Sarasota Film Festival, the LA Diversity Film Festival, the Utah Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, TriBeCa, the Bentonville Film Festival, Dances With Films, etc.
I will keep you all updated!
“Human Revolution”: Four strangers who meet at a weekend transformational retreat center discover that the teachings and life lessons they are seeking are actually found in each other.
Left to right: Angela Robinson Witherspoon, Jorge Ortiz (Chasing The George!), Sayaka Miyatani and Robin Karfo
Last Sunday, I mentioned that I was taking a big action for my career on Monday, July 24th. That I was taking an action that would move one of my projects significantly closer towards my goal for it. I also mentioned this was a project I had been diligently working on since November 2014 and I postulated how everything would go on Monday.
The project was my feature film script that I wrote with James Franco in mind to play the villain and I successfully dropped it off to his production company!!! Shortly after I dropped off my script, my management company emailed his production office a PDF copy of my script! And let me say that this wasn’t an unsolicited drop off. This was a result and culmination of all the hard work I’ve done to get to this point. And I am filled with extreme gratitude and pride.
Monday was a lesson and RECONFIRMATION of many things.
#1 Postulates. I saw exactly how the drop off would go. I saw how the conversation would go with the contact person at his production office. I saw it so clearly. Now, on the day of, there were a couple of hilarious twists and turns that were thrown into the mix, but they still led me to the postulate I had. Everything played out how I saw it in my mind. And because I saw it in my mind, I was able to deliver my product successfully in person.
#2 Community. I could not have done this without the support of my teacher, my trusted classmates and friends. Richard Lawson for teaching me what it means to create your own career and to go after it. My classmates for asking me the next question when I would present my script in class and when I would present ideas I had to create exposure for it (e.g. From having a table read to creating an extensive social media campaign) Lindsay Hopper for researching and gathering info the week before. Reed Iacarella for being the best assistant a person could have. You are a great cheerleader!
#3 Research. Knowing what I’m walking into. Knowing who the buyers are. Speaking their language and vibe. When you take the time to do research and be thoughtful about your outflow to someone, it makes a difference. Research creates an honest connection and it was incredibly satisfying to see items that I had already been outflowing to them in their possession.
#4 Always be nice to the gatekeepers! They are the first line of defense: Security guards, receptionists, assistants, etc. We were so nice to the gatekeeper and treated them like a fellow human being, that they quickly became our ally. When we arrived, the person we were looking for wasn’t there yet. We waited. We knocked on the door. We made a phone call. We then decided to go downstairs and because we were so nice to the gatekeeper, they asked us how it went. When we told them that our contact person wasn’t there, they immediately said, “Wait, I just saw them go upstairs. Go back up there!” They wanted us to successfully complete our meeting.
#5 Celebrate. After all was said and done, I celebrated and let it go. I focused on that win. What happens afterwards, happens afterwards. The win was that I delivered my script to James and his staff. My manager also delivered my script to them. That’s the win. I delivered my product. The rest is out of my hands now. I DELIVERED my product and the rest is now out of my hands.
That being said, I WILL finish my social media campaign today (Sunday) just to complete that cycle of action (and so everyone can see all the cool celebrity endorsements I utilized to create visibility for my feature film) And I’ve already begun working on securing an attachment for the female hero and lead of my feature film script.
Onward and forward!