A Little Shameless Self-Promotion

AllAboutMeBunnyHappy Wednesday!

I’m breaking from the norm because it’s technically my Saturday and I’m feeling a little lazy after a hard week, and because I received my final rejection from this year’s round of submissions, ((sigh)) so I’m moping, just a bit.

I was going to post a Writing Prompt, but nothing quite struck me today, so instead, I thought I’d do a little self-promotion and hopefully find new ways to connect with all of you and find interesting new sites, creative resources, etc.  I’m also hoping it will make me seek more things out in order to be useful and resourceful myself.

The following is a list of social media sites and the like and how I currently use them.  I’m open to suggestions on how to utilize them better or any others you would like to recommend.

I use Facebook as a means of sharing quotes (y’all know how I love me a quote) and any helpful writing tips, submission deadlines, or other writing related info I come across.

I started out using Twitter as a means of connecting with other screenwriters and people in the industry, but at the moment, I really use it to just geek out. I share Dragon Age and other gaming related topics of interest, Captain America, Doctor Who, Star Wars, etc. and the occasional screenwriting tidbit.

By now I’m sure you’re all aware of my Pinterest fixation.  I currently have 34 boards (and counting) that include everything from writing to cosplay to castles to fandoms and so much more.

For screenwriters and industry people, Stage 32 is an organization for networking, promotion, and employment I’m a part of, although I haven’t utilized it to its fullest.

I recently joined Wattpad, but am unsure of how I want to utilize it so far.  I was thinking about uploading my fanfic(s) and maybe my flash fiction pieces to get a little feedback…are any of you using this site?  Do you have any tips?  Do you like it?

I’m planning on updating my YouTube channel to offer more/better playlists you can write to, so stay tuned for that.

If you decide to connect with me on any of these, please send me a message that you’re a fellow blogger, and I’ll be sure to follow you as well!

Wishing you all the best in your endeavors!

Advertisements

Blogging 101: Day One – Introduction

BlogUHi everyone!

I’ve decided to take part in the WordPress Blogging University course, Blogging 101.  When I started my blog over a year ago, I had a faint idea of a plan, but for those of you who have been following me for some time now, you’ve heard me say a time or two that I really had no idea what I was doing.  I like the idea of continuing my education, and challenging myself to complete as many of the tasks as I can to see if I can grow my blog and kick my writing butt back into shape, so here we are.  This is in addition to finalizing my first screenplay for the submission season that is upon us.  I’m always more productive when I have more on my plate, so maybe this is exactly what I need…of course, it’s 10:30 pm and I’m just getting to it, so let’s see how it goes.

Day One: Introduce yourself

Well, here’s a little more about me, you know, in case you didn’t learn enough on my birthday.  🙂 Oddly, it was one of my more popular posts, so for my new friends, you can read it here.

I’m a screenwriter who chose to start a blog as a way of documenting my progress toward my goal of becoming a professional in the hopes that it would help other writers.  I was also unemployed at the time, and thought it would be a great way to set some perimeters for my daily routine.  I also have a terrible memory, hence the name of my blog, so I figured it would be the best way to maintain a “diary” on a regular basis.

I want to help writers, in part because I don’t remember having a lot of support when I chose this path either, but I have found that this is a great space to share my other passions, interests, and obsessions (Hello, Dragon Age.  I’m looking at you!) as well.  I like to share inspirational quotes, which I try to do on Mondays, interesting images as Writing Prompts on Wednesdays, and then a variety of other writing factoids, my own writings and those from others inspired by the Prompts, and anything else that piques my interest the rest of the week.  I was better about staying on track until The Sis and I moved in September and I got a day job writing.  Not as exciting as I had hoped, but that’s a story for another day.

I don’t tend to get too personal or controversial here because that’s not what this space was designed for.  I didn’t want this to be a platform or a soapbox.  I just wanted to create a welcoming space, something I could be proud of, meet other like-minded, creative individuals, and hopefully encourage at least one person along the way.

I suppose that’s a good start.

Best wishes, my friends!  And Happy Writing!

#Sellout

TweetHashtagI’ve joined Twitter.

I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, in part because I have no idea what I’m doing.  When I informed my Facebook friends, one of them immediately responded with #sellout.  I replied, #haha.

So why do it then?  I’ve read how useful a tool it can be, especially for writers.  It’s a direct link to people in positions to offer advice, among other possibilities, and a way to build an audience.  So it was time to jump on the bandwagon.  My first tweet was, “Yes, I have succumbed.”

I’ve added the feed to my blog, and I give you fair warning it may be a little blank for a while until I get the hang of it.  I’ll share any useful insight I learn about this along the way as well, as I’m sure to be on a huge learning curve for a while I can imagine.  And I give you this promise – I will do my best to never use the following hashtags: blessed, selfie, nofilter, ROFL, YOLO, or any other annoying tag I’ve seen flung about.

I’m open to any advice, tips, or people of interest to follow if you’d like to share.  Facebook, Twitter, and self-promoting, oh my!

Have a great weekend everyone!

A Screenwriter No-No

I had to share this.  And just to forewarn you, it’s painful.  One of the first rules of etiquette in this industry (or any), don’t abuse your contacts.  This should almost go without saying.  I understand the excitement that goes along with finding someone who can help you with your career (I’ve talked about this before), but this is not how to go about it.  If this writer had done any research on how to network, how to maintain relationships, and how to take any amount of criticism, this may have been someone he could have contacted again in the future, but now he’ll be lucky if he’s not blackballed from the entire industry.  It’s a small world and people talk.  All I can say is wow.

Enjoy!

Why producers will not read your script – shocking case study from one exec.

Have a great week everyone!

What It Means To Network

EmoticonsShakingHands

Depending on where you are on your career path, networking may be something you have yet to encounter, and may need a little help in understanding.  Networking is a social device that serves a business purpose.  Regardless of your anxiety at putting yourself into large (or small) social gatherings, mingling with strangers, and having to “talk shop”, networking is something all creatives will have to undertake at some point, if they want their careers to progress forward.  The goal of any networking opportunity is to build a contact list of potential/hopeful business associates, people who can help you advance your career, perhaps become a mentor, someone you might be able to work on a project with, and in turn, those you might be able to help with your portfolio of work, or when you move up your ladder.

Hiddles(serioussuit)And depending on where you live, like L.A., every new relationship could be a potential networking opportunity.  If you’ve ever heard the phrase “six degrees of separation” (there’s a game involving Kevin Bacon), it’s the idea that all people in the world can be connected through just six people, and this has never proven more true than in Los Angeles.  Let me give you a little example of one of my “six degrees”.  Let’s say I want to connect with dreamy Tom Hiddleston.  (You know what that means…picture time!)  My sister knows an attorney who represents a man who’s father worked on The Avengers.  Only four people stand between us.  Then Hiddles to the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch – five.  Actually three, if I take another route.  And back to Hiddles would still be four. You get the idea.  So let’s put this into a business perspective.  Any executive, producer, publisher, what-have-you is only a few people away, if you can figure out the path.  So every time I meet someone new, I put on my best face, pull out the best conversation skills I have (both speaking and listening), talk about my work and theirs, and then give them my card (and hopefully receive one in return).  This is how you start building your rolodex (yes, that’s an old school term) or contact list.Benedict(B&W)

It is after this initial meeting that you must take the next important step, the “follow up”.  Depending on how your conversation advanced, you may need to send a sample of your work, you may just want to say “it was nice meeting you”, if other information was exchanged, a “thank you” might be in order.  The point of the follow up is to keep you fresh in their mind.  Now this is something to bear in mind – don’t abuse the connection.  This new contact you made could be in a wonderful position to help your career, but you don’t want to turn them off by bombarding them with calls or emails.  Tread lightly.  Allow them ample time to reply, taking into consideration their busy daily lives.  It’s easy to become overeager when faced with the prospects of advancement, when those six degrees have been narrowed down to two or one, but business is business.  Treat each new contact with respect, honesty, and professionalism, so that your reputation grows as someone people want to know and work with.

My previous post was on positivity, and I believe that works in conjunction with networking.  Even if you don’t feel it when you’re surrounded by strangers in a new environment, staying positive and being friendly is infectious.  People are drawn to good vibes, and even if it’s a temporary façade, do your best to maintain it in public and who knows who you’ll meet.  I try to keep this in mind every time I leave the house, in particular, because I recently met one of my neighbors who is also a director and we’re meeting for coffee next week.  Who knows where the connection will lead, but if I want my career to go to the next level, I have to be open to the possibilities.

I hope this was helpful, and as always, I wish you all the best of luck!

Welcome to LA

HollywoodSignI drove all over this city this weekend and found myself in awe, again.  It is vast and interesting.  Remembering how I had wanted to give a little advice to my fellow writers about this town, here are a few things to know if you are planning on moving here, are new to the city, or even if you’re just planning a visit:

1) It’s expensive to live here.  Seriously.  Housing, gas prices, state tax, the added recycling fee on all your beverages, movie tickets, and depending on where you live there are toll roads, just to name a few.  It’s odd that after some time the novelty of this wears off and just becomes part of your daily life.  $2,000 for an apartment just doesn’t sound that crazy anymore…that’s the crazy part.

2) The weather really is fantastic all year round.  It’s Nov. 11 and it was 70 degrees.

3) The traffic is truly awful.  When you hear people complain about it, they are not just idly and without merit shooting off.  Most people plan there whole day around what roads and freeways they’ll have to take.  GPS has never been more effective in helping us poor sods find alternate routes to make a 15 mile journey less than an hour and half anywhere after 3pm.  FYI, if you live or are just going over the hill (Van Nuys, Encino, Studio City area) there are really only two or three streets you can take.  And everyone else is taking them too. Side note, the 405 freeway is always under construction.  Beware.AboveLA

4) Parking fees.  You will quickly learn there is very little free parking.  I recently had to pay $4 to park at the hospital when I was only there 30 mins.  Really.  There are meters everywhere and those prices vary depending on which city you’re in.  Also, there are usually 3-4 parking  permissible signs on every post that are designed to confuse you; you can’t park on Tuesdays between 10-12, 1-hr parking only until 4, and permit parking only after 6…this is a bad example, but you get the gist.  Also, remember to ask anytime you go anywhere if the company/restaurant/theater “validates”.  Memorize this.  It’s extremely important and beneficial.

5) Parking tickets.  Without fail, you will receive at least 2-3 within the first six months.  There is this thing called “street sweeping” that evidently happens every week, one side one day, the other side the next, and you must be aware of this anywhere and everywhere you go.  If you don’t move your car within the first few seconds after the appointed time, you’re probably getting a ticket.  If you park on a hill and do not turn your wheels, if it’s specified, you’re getting a ticket.  Use your bluetooth or you’re getting a ticket.

6) You MUST know how to parallel park.  If you’re not any good at it, get good!  It’s shocking how often you will have to parallel here.  I suggest buying a small car.

Disneyland@Halloween

7) Disneyland.  It’s only a short drive away.

8) Try to find a job before moving here.  The job market is rough.  One trick, find a job where you currently live that has a location or office in LA and try to transfer.

9) Try not to move alone.  The buddy system is important here; someone you can call in a jam and share that astronomical rent with.  This town is big and can leave you lonely.  Besides, everyone’s trying to be an actor or something related to the entertainment industry and we’re notoriously flakey.  It’s good to have back-up and someone who will be flakey with you.

10) A short drive can take you somewhere new for a quick getaway; Malibu, Santa Barbara, Ojai, San Diego, Palm Springs, and Big Bear are all just a little ways away.

Despite the negatives, Los Angeles is an interesting and opportunistic town to take advantage of.  If you enjoy celebrity sightings, you’re never far from one anywhere you go.  If you love the beach, there are miles of it.  The town is extremely pet friendly.  Your fur kids are allowed at most restaurants (with patios) and most stores.  I’ve taken my babies into Bloomys and Saks.  Some of the outdoor malls, like the one in Century City, have water bowls outside most of their stores, offer treats, and have small play/rest areas.  There is plenty to do; restaurants, museums, shows, outdoor concerts, outdoor movies, events in the Hollywood Cemetery, art walks, farmers markets, landmarks (movie & historical), hiking, sightseeing…There’s something for everyone.  And for writers, this is where the proverbial “opportunity knocks”.

My big advice for a hopeful transplant is Be Prepared!  Do your research and have a savings account.  This is just off the top of my head, so if you ever have a question, feel free to send me a message.GriffithObservatory3

Have a great week!

Networking Opportunity: Final Draft Meetup & Screening

FDlogoAs I’ve mentioned a time or two, especially for a screenwriter, networking is a necessity.  If you live in L.A., Final Draft offers monthly mixers, Final Draft Meetup & Screening, at The Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood.  This month it will be on November 11th with writer Wayne Powers and a viewing of his film, The Italian Job.  And it’s Free!

Previously I’ve been unable to attend, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to go this month.  If you decide to mingle, say hi!

Hope everyone’s having a productive week!

Network, Network, Network

As a (currently unemployed) writer, sometimes I go days without speaking to anyone other than my sister and my dogs.  A writer’s life is already fairly solitary and add a few other non-social qualities and you’ve got a creative hermit.  My sister and I moved to Los Angeles together without knowing anyone and I would still say our acquaintances are few and far between.  It’s been a bit of a struggle (I will write another post, or three, on moving and living here for those of you considering it) and meeting people has been difficult…and as an aspiring screenwriter, meeting people is key.  You have to get out, mingle, socialize, network.  So last night I attended an event at the Writers Guild.  It was specifically for animation writers, which I am not, but the guest speaker is a friend, so I went to support.  In the course of the evening I met a few people with shared interests and it felt good to be around others creatively inclined.

AboveLAWhen I used to vacation in LA, I couldn’t imagine living here.  The city is HUGE and I was always a little unsure about the move (because I was a big chicken), but I knew it was something I was going to have to do in order to make my career aspirations a reality because this is where the action is.  For those of you who do live here, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of; free screenings, free seminars, meet and greets, events, etc. through numerous organizations.  For those of you who do not, there are still plenty of avenues at your disposal; states have a film commission where information can be found in regards to film companies and productions shooting in the area which might lead to other opportunities (guest speakers), the website Meetup lists writers groups (genre specific groups available as well) and opportunities to mix and mingle, and some groups, like Women in Film (which is not only for women), have chapters worldwide.  You may also want to look into your university or community college for classes that offer a chance to meet other writers or offer other opportunities like monthly meetings.

My tip of the day (which I must also take to heart): Get out of the house.  Escape those four walls.  Meet people.  Network.  It’s not only good for your writing but your mental well being too.

Have a great weekend!

Network: American Zoetrope

When I set out to maintain a blog, it was part of a professional to do list I had created for myself (1 of 25 items, of which approaching my career more professionally was also on the list, hence the list).  Another item was to find and research useful sites that offered either information, sound advice, networking opportunities, or all of the above.  So yesterday I shared Stage 32.  Today, American Zoetrope.  The site was developed by Francis Ford Coppola and is open not just to screenwriters, but all writers, artists, musicians, actors, directors, etc.

The site offers you the opportunity to have your work read by a wide audience and receive feedback, in return you must do the same for others, but a little heads up, there are deadlines and rules.  In the screenwriting “room” you must read 3 scripts and offer feedback before being allowed to submit your own work, and there is a time limit for how long your work will be available (30 days) on the site and how long you have to read and review others (you receive an additional 10 days to write the review).  I think this is a great service as it allows you to be more objective which in turn might help you in your own writing.  Plus, it’s free!  Also, there’s an annual contest (deadline was in September, I missed it by 2 days…).

I hope you find this useful!

Happy Sunday!