Mastery Journal: Episodic & Serial Writing Reflection

Great Quotes for Kids About Writing and Storytelling - InspireMyKids

I created a Web Series and Pilot this past month. I can’t believe that I’m heading into my sixth class at Full Sail University.  I’m halfway through my creative writing journey.  I came up with the idea while in church. I wanted to write an action-comedy series based on a church. Most of us always wished we could write for TV and now I have two written webisodes and a beat sheet for the third.  The following is my experience in creating a web series.

Writing a web series and pilot webisode this month meshes well with my goals as a writer. In building a well-rounded portfolio, having a webisode overview, two scripts, and a beat sheet, helps bring diversity to my portfolio.  This displays that I know and have experience with the specific formatting guidelines of television. This opens up opportunities to work on a writing staff of television shows.

This is different from my other writing experiences. I’m used to writing prose novels and I wrote one comic book script. Coming up with the television bible or overview is similar to how I approach new novels and projects. The difference I’ve seen is the formatting. In television writing, we must have the script broken into and labeled by acts 1, 2, and 3, along with a cold opening/teaser page. You only get a limited number of pages to tell a story, so being concise is key.

I could see myself doing this for a living. I would have to write a few more spec scripts in different genres like romance, horror, etc. In addition, finding an agent will still be beneficial. Networking will also be beneficial in trying to land a staff writing position. Writing every day to get better is paramount in making my portfolio stand out.

The chance to create a new web series was a fun experience. The feedback I received made me feel I could pursue this as another career option as a screenwriter. I learned to create a series bible and the nuances of a television script. This course made me a better writer and my confidence continues to grow.

Film Review: Wreck-it Ralph

Amazon.com: Wreck-It Ralph and Ralph Breaks the Internet Duopack ...

Who is the protagonist? The protagonist is Ralph.

What is the protagonist’s character flaw? His character flaw is being unhappy. This is because he is the antagonist of FIx-it Felix, a video game.  He doesn’t get medals, the citizens treat him badly, and he sleeps outside in bricks. All of this has made him a jaded character who wants to be more than a bad guy. 

What is the character’s physical goal? At first, it seems he just wants to fit in and be invited. Ralph has a confrontation with Gene. This results in Ralph choosing to go get a medal to prove he isn’t a bad guy.

What is the character’s emotional goal? Ralph’s emotional goal is to be happy. He feels that having a medal will allow him to achieve that goal. 

Who is the antagonist for the protagonist? The antagonist for Ralph is Turbo. Turbo was another character who became unhappy with his role. Turbo caused his game to become unplugged by attempting to go into another game.  He succeeded in becoming The Candy King of the Sugar Rush game and will do anything to keep his appearance and past secret. When Ralph befriends Vanellope, he becomes an obstacle for Turbo/Candy King. 

Who is the reflection character for the protagonist? Vanellope serves as the reflection character for Ralph. At first, they don’t seem to have anything in common. Ralph watches he other racers mistreat Vanellope. This is an emotional moment of his character. When he goes to stop the racers, it is because he is mistreated by the people in his own game. The two agree to help each other and during the process, Ralph learns that she sleeps in a dump like him.  This makes their connection stronger because of their outcast status.

Who, if anyone, is the romantic interest for the protagonist? There is no romantic interest for Ralph. 

What is the A-Story? [This is the main storyline of the hero which is to win, stop, escape, or retrieve something against a specific nemesis.  The goal must be something that can be seen on-screen. It is not an emotional goal.] The main story is about Ralph retrieving a medal. This goal is what moves the narrative forward and everything that happens revolves around getting the medal.

What is the B-Story? [This is a supporting story to the A-Story that may initially seem separate from the A-Story plotline.] The B-story is about learning to be happy with himself. This is brought up in the beginning by Zangief and the other villains. Ralph doesn’t understand this and continues to be unhappy. After his confrontation with Gene, he feels he needs the medal to be happy and to gain positive attention from the others. 

What happens in stage I, which presents the ordinary world of the story: In Ralph’s ordinary world he is the bad guy. He wrecks the buildings that Felix can fix.  When Felix “wins” Ralph is thrown off the roof and into the mud. He is also forced to sleep outside by a stump and uses bricks for covers. He is also physically different from the other citizens. He is big, with overgrown arms and fist.   

What is the inciting incident of the plot? The inciting incident occurs during the anniversary party of their game. Ralph awkwardly manipulates his way in. The other citizens, afraid, belittle and ignore him. He tries to put his figurine on top with Felix. Trying to make everyone understand that he isn’t a bad guy. The others refuse to see him as anything but a bad guy. The voice of the citizens, Gene, keeps antagonizing Ralph, causing Ralph to boast that he will find a medal that is better than any medal Felix has. Gene retorts that “bad guys don’t get medals.” Ralph leaves, mad and determined to get a medal. 

What is the turning point #1 choice the protagonist makes regarding the inciting incident? The turning point is when Ralph goes to Tappers to find information on where to go to get a medal. He is rejected by the barkeeper. He runs into Markowski, who is from Hero’s Duty, a first-person shooter game. He infiltrates the game as Markowski. This symbolizes Ralph leaving his ordinary world into an unordinary world.

What is the new situation for the protagonist to deal with in stage 2? His new situation occurs when he realizes new games are violent. After surviving the bug-fight, he goes to retrieve the medal. In the process, he accidentally frees a cy-bug that attacks him. They land in a jet and take off arriving in Candy Rush. He ends up losing his medal to Vanellope and spends the rest of the act trying to get it back from her. 

What is the turning point #2 choice the protagonist makes regarding the new situation of stage 2? The second turning point is when he finds out she has to win a race to get his medal back, he chooses to help her in building a new kart. 

What happens in stage 3 that challenges the protagonist even more deeply than in stage 2? Ralph wants to help Vanellope but feels he is only good at wrecking stuff. He ends up helping build a new kart for Vanellope. Then he learns that she doesn’t know how to drive.

What is the turning point #3 choice the protagonist makes that deeply commits the protagonist to the goal?  He makes a commitment to her by helping her learn to drive. They grow closer and learn together.

What happens in stage 4 that complicates the plot and raises the stakes? Turbo/Candy King finds them and gives Ralph his medal back on the condition Ralph stops Vanellope.

What is the turning point #4 choice that leads to a major setback? What is the setback?   Ralph tries to convince Vanellope not to race. He has what he wants, but he feels bad about lying to Vanellope.

What is the final push that occurs in stage 5 of the plot? Ralph chooses to destroy the kart, but in the process, Vanellope discovers Ralph betrayed her. She calls him a bad guy. Ralph returns to his game, but there is no celebration, even with his medal. He looks at Candy Rush and learns that Vanellope is a main character for the game.

What is the turning point #5 choice that shows the protagonist overcoming the protagonist’s character flaw that leads to the climax of the plot?  Realizing that she is supposed to be part of the main roster for Sugar Rush. He also realizes that his medal didn’t change his life like he thought it would.  He decides to find Vanellope and help her win to take her rightful place in the game. During the climax, Turbo is revealed and Ralph sacrifices himself to save Vanellope and the Sugar Rush game. 

What is the aftermath of the climax? Vanellope learns to control her glitches and saves Ralph as Turbo and the other cy-bus are destroyed. Vanellope is revealed to be the princess of Sugar Rush and Ralph is treated better by the citizens of his game.  He helps build homes that act as bonus levels for other homeless characters in his game. 

How has this analysis helped your understanding of screenplay structure?   This analysis helped me have a better visual of how to tell a story. 

What insights into structure, inner and outer motivations, and/or theme do you see now, that you may not have noticed in the past?  Please be detailed. All of Ralph’s actions all come from his inner motivation which is driving the outer motivation. He chases Vanellope because she had his medal, the item he thinks will change his life for the better. He befriends her because they are both mistreated and by helping her he will be able to get the medal back. When he gets the medal, he is more than willing to leave Vanellpe. His inner journey connects with the theme which is stated by other villainous characters. Labels don’t define you. His whole journey is learning that he isn’t a bad guy and that he doesn’t’ need a medal to prove it. 

Rebranding for 2020

I hope you are doing terrific!

Well, back in January I started a platform challenge. I didn’t fail, but I didn’t succeed. Mainly because of my graduate studies. Now that I’m focusing on making a screenwriting career, I thought about what can I do to rebrand myself. What are my goals? How do I start? Full Sail has given me a framework to work in with creative writing. I’m already adapting one of my novels into comic book script and working on my first feature film script, Oreo.  There is still a part of me that wants to pursue being a cartoonist and of course, there is the graphic design degree that I want to utilize.

I decided to become a production assistant, which is an entry-level position in the film and television fields. My background in videography, clerical, and graphic design fits well as I build my marketing and creative writing skills.

So, yeah, I’m rebranding and that means a new platform challenge! Yes, I”m always learning and eager to put new skills into motion and now that my writing portfolio is growing and will continue to grow, it’s about time to let the world know that I’m a screenwriter….one who has knowledge on graphic design, animation, comic books, and videography.

With the rebranding means changes. I love my logo, I think it’s very high concept, but a little too much. I will be making a more elegant logo with the same features. Simplicity is often the best answer. This week, I will start writing reviews on books, film, video games, and film as I posted a week ago. I’m still trying to figure out how to post about my “in-progress” scripts.

The rebranding series will be called, “Becoming a Screenwriter.” You will be able to find it on my marketing page.

 

 

Mastery Journal: Character Revelations

Premise: Fear creates doubt.

Protagonist’s Inner Journey: Jennifer goes from fearful to excited

Protagonist’s Goals: Jennifer wants to learn to swim

Antagonist’s Goal: Troy wants  to impress everyone

Antagonist’s Opportunity for change: Troy has the opportunity to go from unsympathetic to helpful

 

Jennifer Overview:

Jennifer is The Mediator type in the Enneagram personality test. She is instinctual by nature due to helping raise her younger siblings. Her father pushed her into athletics from an early age, so she always values and feels the most comfortable as part of a team. To that end, she avoids disappointing others, especially those close to her. She hardly does anything for herself.

Strengths: Although this is a weakness, it is also one of her strengths. She is able to help end conflicts between others. She is able to sense how others “tick” and get them on the same page without being part of the conflict itself.  She is also very dedicated to her athletic pursuits. She was a star player in soccer, basketball, and softball. She is very observant of behaviors which allows her to avoid most conflicts. Her observation skills gives her instinctual skills to know how to communicate with others on a personal level, despite avoiding conflict.

Weaknesses: Jennifer has a hard time saying no to others. Even when she doesn’t want to help. She feels guilty about not helping others and when she gives in, she becomes angry at herself. She has a hard time saying no to her parents, especially her father. She is also adverse to conflicts, preferring to stay in her lane. She handles conflict poorly and won’t stand up for herself. She won’t participate in arguments, but will voice her opinions individually if she feels strongly about the subject.

Fears: Jennifer almost drown in a pool when her father fell asleep. She has been scared of drowning ever since and avoids the pool, beach, even water parks. This fear is irrational to her dad, who keeps pressuring her to conquer her fears as she has missed family events.

Occupation: Jennifer works as a guidance counselor where she gets to help others. She also coaches middle school girls soccer and basketball. She is well received at work and has won Support staff of the year, twice.Some of the middle school children use her to get out of class, but generally they respect and lover her. She has put students before herself for their protection.

Family: Jennifer is loved by her siblings and parents. Her siblings go to her for support, but want her to stand up for herself against their dad. Her dad is dying from lung cancer after being a marathon runner his whole life. He loves her and only pushed her because he didn’t know he would have sons. Her brothers did not go into sports which has cause them and their older sister to become rebellious. Their dad sees Jennifer as the most respectful one and she ends up keeping both sides from falling too far in their arguments. Her mother loves her and Jennifer picked up most of her mothers traits growing up.

Love: Jennifer has had a bad dating record, abusive boyfriends, lazy boyfriends, and has decided to take a break. She knew most of them would be bad, but hoped she could changed them because her dad changed from a womanizer to family man when her younger sister was born.  She is attracted to all races and doesn’t believe in dating just her race. She does want her lover to be a catholic.

Closing: Jennifer is struggling with her fathers cancer, trying to to stand up for herself, and not looking for love until she deals with both issues.

 

 

 

Character Creation and Development: Week One

I hope you are all doing Terrific today!

Well, I’m a little late posting this, but I started my third course in my graduate program a week ago. Character Creation and Development is centered on creating characters that are engaging and drive the story.  One of the goals at the end of the course is to have a short film screenplay. The Full Sail film department is having an open submission, so our professor would like us to submit our screenplay.

The strategy used to build characters is focused on-premise. In other mediums, the premise is similar to the theme. However, in this course, we will be diving deeper to prove the premise is correct and the driving force behind what and why the protagonist and antagonist do what they do.

We read several articles on writing premises. We also watched a sci-fi short film to give us a better idea of what to focus on when writing our own, no matter the genre. It is important to note that a short film is different from a feature film. We have to focus on the story, no subplots, no additional characters, only a few locations. The screenplay will only be 8 pages in length.

Another goal of this course is workshopping. We will be reading each others premises and scripts over the next few weeks. This is to get us to feel as if we are in the writing room of television studios, film, etc.  I see value in this, as it gives us the chance to become better editors and learn how to work with other writers.

Our assignment was to create a character dossier on a protagonist and antagonist from one of three premises we created during the week. I decided on a phone conversation between a couple who see time differently. After critiques, my premise and character motivations have changed.

I’m very excited about this course and can’t wait to finish my first film screenplay. Thank you for following me on this adventure.

Be Terrific!

My First 100 in a Class!!!

cropped-cropped-174381_8833067_6311046_n.jpgFor those of you who don’t know, I’m in graduate school. I’m pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. I finished my second class, Art of Visual Storytelling, with a 100! Now, I know most of you will say it’s a writing class, scoring a 100 should be easy. The class is more than writing, its about formatting, developing themes, using props, etc. This is my first 100 in a course since Basic Skills Math in 9th grade (and I’m not sure if that was a 100, to be honest.) I scored A+ grades in high school, college, community college, but this is my first time in many years where I earned a perfect score. Pretty exciting especially since I earned 95 in my first graduate course, Mastery.

I know I shouldn’t be sharing, but I felt like I should because I didn’t think I could do graduate school. So, for me, this is a huge accomplishment.