Two things happened this fall, that made me further understand who I’m writing for, and what I’m writing exactly.
1. I was talking to my mom about my docket of script ideas I want to tackle in the coming year, and I said, “Basically, none of my protagonists are male or over the age of 30.” Interesting, since my mom is an acclaimed young adult writer who focuses a lot on young women and girls. The legacy lives on!
2. My husband and I were brainstorming the b-story for the next screenplay I’m going to be working on after I finish my current script, and then my television pilot. In doing that, I realize that almost all of the projects I’m most driven to are comedies with dark elements to them: corruption, death, addiction, and unconventional relationships between people.
Both of those epiphanies happened in one week. It’s inspired me to go on an in-depth journey to further understand my audience: females ages 15-30. It’s such a large span while still being an often neglected or misunderstood segment of people. And what’s great is that there are so many different life events within this group: high school, college, first grown-up job, getting married, having children, first love, getting your license, the dreaded quarterlife crisis, your first apartment, all-things-dating, learning about who you are as an individual, and so many other things we all experience. And among all of that, we’re so varied in our lives, beliefs, experiences, and tastes.
One of the serious lessons I learned from my summer at UCLA was that defining your audience is part of defining your personal brand. One of the reasons I’ve become more motivated toward this career switch is that I’m fed up with the kind of programming that’s out there for young women. So, starting this December, I’m going to work on a little extended research in understanding who young women are now, what they want, what they don’t want, what entertains them, and what motivates them. Hopefully out of that, will come some badass awesome material and a better understanding of my own people: people with vaginas, and the men who roll with them.
Two weeks ago, I finished an amazing program, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Professional Program in producing. My 50+ classmates and I were met with a fairly rigorous schedule: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., four nights a week, for 10 weeks. Personally, I didn’t go to film school, unlike quite a few of my classmates. This IS my film school. So I was pretty grateful to learn as much as possible, despite the fact that I was exhausted half the time.
At the end of 10 weeks, my UCLA two-subject notebook is now filled, cover to cover, with notes, lecture quotes, budgets, handouts, lists, diagrams, and reminders. I cannot fully encapsulate the things I learned — – it was a good amount of information — but here are the things that stick out to me, looking back.
Years ago, when I was trying to decide upon what my next move would be after college, I briefly considered getting an MBA in Entrepreneurship or Management. I have to admit, I am incredibly happy that I decided against it. Just like my rationale with film school, I figured there was little point in sinking $100,000 into a degree if it’s not necessary. In fact, after turning down (twice) a chance to earn an MA in Journalism at USC, I told the vice president of human resources at my job last week that the last five years have BEEN my MA program — and I earned money while learning!
Anyway, all that being said, I know that I have a lot to learn about business in general. It does help that I am somewhat entrepreneurial and business-driven. I just don’t like the ickiness of being A Suit. Really, I commend the people who have a punch card at Brooks Brothers and looooooove to talk dividends, but that ain’t me. At least not completely. I find finance, economy, management, leadership, startups, all that stuff to be kind of interesting. But, if I want to be a producer, I have to know things beyond “oh, that’s kind of interesting…”
Wednesday, I handed in the final draft of my Modern Family spec. I’m really happy with it — at least the first two acts. I know Act 3 can use some work, but I’m happy with the fact that it doesn’t need an entire bulldozing — just a sprucing, thanks to my husband, who is a JOKE MACHINE. So now, I’m waiting for my grade on that. I’d be happy with an B, but I’m really hoping for a A.
And then today, I gathered all of my materials for the UCLA summer producer’s program: my (redesigned) resume, an application form, the application fee, transcripts from Oswego and UCLA Extension, and my labor of love, the admissions essay.
How did I do it? Read more…