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!

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GisHWheS 2015

The first week of the month was the crazy, creative/inventive, do-gooding time known as the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen aka GisHWheS.  The Sis and I participated again, our third year, although due to a maddening work schedule, I had very little hand in doing much this year.  My only contribution was an item that required we make an evening gown out of construction paper, and a minor role towards the completion of a couple other items.  The rest was all The Sis.

LeiaBreadonPlateShe did an amazing job of making Princess Leia out of bread, an Italian landmark out of food on a pizza, a kale hat, Hoover Dam out of cake, a Winter Soldier arm for our cosplay, and my personal favorite, a dog of mass destruction which we based on an episode of Doctor Who, entitled A Town Called Mercy, and a few other things like doing an impression of June Cleaver vacuuming the lawn, making a video called Tai Chi Breakfast, and writing a Yelp review for the hunt.Loki Cyborg Gunslinger

If you’re interested in finding your creative side and discovering how far you can push yourself in a week to go out side your comfort zone and do things you thought impossible, visit the website to learn how you can become a part of the madness.  The teams consist of 15 people, but if you don’t have 14 friends who are willing to be as crazy as you are, you will be matched with a team, or you can create one with those you do know, and by the end of the registration period, the empty slots will be filled with those other abnosome people around the world who want to be a part of it.

It’s a great time that is really hard to explain.  Here’s my Yelp review for a little insight. 😉 I wrote it with about 15 mins to spare.

GisHWhes RevIEwYou don’t need to wait for this one time of year to be creative or do nice things for others, but you’ll find yourself more inspired to continue to do such for quite sometime afterward.  The event sort of changes your perspective and you’ll make great friends with people you may never meet, but find you have a lot in common with.  You’ll look at mundane objects differently, wondering if you should save them for next year’s hunt, just in case.  You’ll consider buying a stormtrooper costume, want to learn how to sew, and begin stockpiling random information that may prove useful in the future.  Seriously, so much fun and so exhausting.

As next year’s hunt starts registration, I’ll send out the word again, and maybe, we can work together!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tell the Universe What You Want

LokiSaysIShouldBeWritingWriters are by far the hardest-on-themselves group of people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, myself included.  We expect so much out of ourselves, especially in regards to our work.  Not only do we struggle to create (and are we ever truly happy?), we also criticize ourselves for not writing enough, we suffer from a plethora of fears; rejection, the blank page, another rewrite, completion, even success, and then we must endure at least a hundred plus other steps in order to succeed as professional writers.  There are dozens of avenues to explore, and we try them all in the hopes of finding the right one.  And people wonder why we’re “special”…or have the audacity to think it’s easy and that everyone can do it, or that all we do is daydream…these and other ideas like them fall into the realm of “writer’s pet peeves”.

So back to the topic at hand, the recent opportunity I was thinking about and mentioned on Monday – volunteering at the Los Angeles Film Festival by Film Independent.  They also put on the Independent Spirit Awards, so I thought it might be a great way to meet people and network, but when you’re a volunteer, you’re not really allowed to do that.  And then a few things popped up and made it a near impossibility to work the event at all, so I’m striking it off the list and moving forward…but to where?  I was discovering quickly that this year was going to pass me by without any real progress.  That was a devastating realization.

I believe that when you voice your desires aloud, that’s when things start happening.  Obviously we still have to work at it, but making the bold declaration, writing down our goals, and putting them out into the universe help to solidify them in our mind.  They aren’t just these dreams we have, but fully realized goals we can move forward to achieve.  What I needed was a new plan.  Great.  Something else to divert my attention from writing.

So the following night when I was talking to my sister’s boss and she asked what she could do to help me with my career, I told her.  I put it out there.  She and her husband both work with and know lots of people that could help me (including some of the biggest names that would pretty much make me pee my pants if I found myself in the same room with them), but in my mind I had drawn a line.  They are my sister’s bosses and therefore should almost be off limits, that is, unless they offer.  Growing up, we were instilled with this idea of doing things on our own, not relying on others, and making our own way (which I clearly can not do as a screenwriter).  Call it pride or stubbornness or stupidity (which is what my sister’s boss called it), but I got a very quick lesson in asking those who are capable and willing for help.  Bottom line is I’m meeting with them in the next few weeks in order to advance my career.

So I will now voice my desires; my next goal – have my portfolio ready when I meet with those who have offered me help.  Oh, gracious universe, please be kind and let the words flow from my mind to my fingertips without much stumbling.  Please allow my mind to grasp all the elements I need in order to finalize my rewrite…*fingers crossed.  A little forewarning, I may be a little absent as a result, because I have quite a bit of work ahead of me.

So go on, tell the universe what it is you want.  Good Luck!

*And by now you should know, if I can, I will include a picture of either Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch.  So you’ll always have that to look forward to. 😉

What I Learned At My Last Networking Event

TVblueLast week I attended a networking event with a manager/producer guest speaker who said outright that screenwriters should focus on television.  The television market is where it’s at, which is obvious with all the new original programming options at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, among others.  Movie attendance is down, so the studios are mainly looking for projects with a built in audience.  Hence all the superhero movies, remakes, and those based on novels.

I wept a little inside.  My screenplay, the one I’ve been struggling to rewrite, the one I wanted to use as my calling card, I could see was about to fall into the realm of obsolete.  The advice given was to create two original pilots.  Gracious.  The one area I’ve been struggling in, and now I needed to create two different shows?!  I barely had a viable concept for one.  And what was worse, I had to write them.  I couldn’t just have a fleshed out idea that I could pitch.  There’s that pang in my chest again, even knowing what I do now, writing this out causes a twinge of anxiety, again.  I left the event a little deflated but thankful for some honest advice from someone active in the film community.  As writers, isolated, no matter how much we read or discover about the business, until we’re on the inside, we don’t know what’s really going on.

When I got home, I started looking through my half-baked ideas, and the gravity of the situation started to sink in.  I have been working on my portfolio, trying to get all my ducks in a row, and I thought I only needed ONE tv pilot or web series idea, not a whole script.  I started to bounce around some ideas, and thought I had come up with a couple of fairly solid ones, until my sister enlightened me.  My fifth screenplay, Projection, influenced by the likes of La Femme Nikita, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alias, could definitely work as a tv show.  And the bonus, it would only need a little reworking as I had already written about 50 pgs.  I know the characters, I know where I want the story to go (at least for a season or two), and who wouldn’t like to watch a female spy with special powers kick ass?!

One down.

So there you go, fellow screenwriters.  A little advice from the field.  I started following a few writers, a screenwriting career coach, and the editor of Script Magazine on Twitter, so I’ll hopefully have some more solid advice to share in the near future.

Happy Sunday!

#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!

The Value Of A Writing Community

EmoticonsShakingHandsI always thought it would be good to have writer friends, but as writing is a (mostly) solitary pursuit, and as we tend to be introverts, finding other writers, especially those whose opinions I could trust, seemed like a fruitless and futile pursuit.  This is not meant to be a slight, by any means, but a testament to my own shortcomings of maintaining relationships (even with those I already consider my friends).  So trying to find new ones with specific traits, well, felt like it might be a challenge.

I have many acquaintances – those people you meet through work who become your Facebook friends even long after you’ve changed jobs, who you’ve never seen again, probably never will, and might not even recognize years later…you know the ones, we all have ’em.

But, building a circle, that’s a different type of beast to tame.  When I was living in Arizona, I was fortunate enough to meet a unique person, a fellow geek, who included me and my sister in his circle.  It was one of those inspired moments, when you realize you’ve met a kindred spirit.  Unfortunately, we moved away.  His wife and I maintain our friendship via Facebook through our mutual love of all things Whedon, Cumberbatch, and other geek related passions.  So that’s good for me when I want to geek out, which is all the time, but they aren’t writers.

Making “real” friends gets a bit more difficult with age.  For those of you too young to have learned this yet, you will.  It’s a sad truth.  By the time we’re a certain age, we have the friends we’re probably going to have the rest of our lives, and making new ones, regardless of similar tastes and interests is time consuming, and takes effort.  By this stage in our lives, we don’t like to waste time and effort.  So I was finding it difficult wanting to pursue new relationships regardless of its value.

When we moved to Los Angeles, where we really knew no one, I made a whole new group of acquaintances, none of whom were writers, which I sort of found surprising, as this is the land of “aspirings”, so I was at a loss.  Where were they hiding?  As I continued forward with my writing, and very often struggling, I realized I didn’t have many life lines.  Only other writers can understand the daily struggles, the process, the moments of enlightenment, and offer one another insight or a life jacket.  So I had to make writer friends.

As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I joined a few writer’s groups via Meetup, and after some time, finally did make a couple of writer friends; one of which helped me yesterday brainstorm some ideas for the rewrite.  Then, the biggest light bulb went on.  As I’ve continued my blog, and begun to learn the value of such a world, I’ve realized that I have an entire community of writers at my fingertips.  As we reach out, comment, and build relationships here, we are building our own circle.

So I would like to offer my blog as a part of the circle I’d like to create.  Fellow writers, let’s help one another succeed.  If you have questions, would like to offer advice, please feel free to do so here.

Wishing you all the best!

xx, Rach

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!

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!

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!