As I’m working on my screenplay, I’m listening to the language of The West Wing and the Hamilton soundtrack. The rhythm and beat of the words, and the power of that language, are inspiring. Not a single word or line is wasted. They all matter. It’s writing we should all aspire to as writers and seek out as audience members.
What do you watch and listen to when you want to be inspired to write dialogue?
I wrote my first TV pilot script this month—an adaptation of my young adult novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. I’ve entered it in a few screenwriting competitions. One of those allowed the option to pay a bit more to get personalized feedback on the script. I jumped at the chance to get feedback from experts in the industry. Feedback is such a gift and so important, especially since I’m just learning how to write for this medium.
I just got the feedback and it’s 3 full pages of insights and suggestions on how to make the script stronger, specifically for TV. Immensely helpful! It scored 7.6/10 which I think is pretty good for my first TV script. I did a little dance, tossed up some sincere wishes of gratitude, and am now getting back to editing and refining.
Yesterday I clicked submit on my TV pilot script for my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Thanks to the encouragement of my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I sent it off to see if Emerson might have a TV life. I loved the structure and editing process of writing for TV, and am excited about all the possibilities for stories told in this medium, especially for streamers like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Here’s to dreams, written and made.
Inspired by the masterful adaptation of Good Omens on Amazon Prime (have your watched yet?!), the Masterclass with Shonda Rhimes, and encouraging tweets from my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I’m adapting my Emerson Page novel into a TV script. Given its visual nature and dialogue, I’m already halfway there! Thanks to so many of you who have loved Emerson’s story and supported my writing. It means a lot to me and this adaptation is for you! I’m about 30 pages into the 50 page pilot. I’ll finish all the editing this week and then submit it to a the screenwriting competition in L.A. that John Bucher told me about. SMH that this ideas was here all along. I never thought about it for TV until seeing Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens work. He made me realize books for TV can work!
As a gift to myself to spur inspiration, I signed up for Masterclass’s All-Access Pass. I’m obsessed. Masterclass is basically Netflix for online learning. Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors, teaches a class on storytelling class and it’s wonderful. I’m about half-way through and I’ve already learned so much that is immediately helping me as a writer and author.
Given my new job for a film production company, I’m so excited to take the film and TV classes with:
Other classes on my “I need to take this” list:
What I can’t believe is that for just $180, I get all of these incredible classes and more for a year. Each class also comes with a downloadable PDF workbook and there is a mini-forum and office hours where you can post your comments and ask questions. Plus there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s no risk to try it out.
And I’ve got some good news for you! When I bought my 1-year All-Access Pass, they offered me a link to share with others to give you $30 off an All-Access Pass. So you can get all of this for $150 for a year. Just follow this link, and check it out for yourself: https://share.masterclass.com/x/5d9sN3
My expectations for Day 1 of my new job were insanely high & they were exceeded in every way. See the hearts in my eyes?! All the side hustling & creative struggle for all these years were absolutely worth it. And I’m so grateful. I’ll find a way to pay forward this joy. Thank you to all of you who have been on this ride with me. Your constant support means more to me than I have words to express.
I’m absolutely THRILLED to share that I’ve been offered & accepted a new job as a Development Manager at a TV & film production company in New York City to develop, produce, and write. I’m over-the-moon excited about this new adventure and dream job. I’m literally pinching myself to make sure this is really happening! A year ago I never would have believed this was even a possibility. It’s been a huge lesson for me that if we live our passions and share them, our lives can change in ways we can barely imagine.
“Love, or the lack of it, is the root of everything.” ~Mister Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Fred Rogers was a life-long Republican. He saved PBS by testifying before Congress. He accepted all people. He cared about the arts, education, and feelings. Imagine the world today if he ran the GOP.
If you need me today, I’ll be on Cloud Nine. I’m honored to share that my book received the Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in the young adult adventure genre and the Wind Dancer Films award for film and TV production consideration. Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on and encouraged me along this long and winding road. Your support means everything to me!
Congratulations to all the winners! See the full listing by clicking here.
I binge-watched the entire first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in one weekend. The only times I’ve ever done that are with House of Cards (which also had Rachel Brosnahan) and Gilmore Girls (which was also created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino). Crackling with rich dialogue and shining with heartfelt performances, it’s reminiscent of everything I love about Gilmore Girls. Mrs. Maisel pulled me into a time and a place that I never wanted to leave. I felt the thrill of looking into the long-lost private diaries of a set of characters whom I felt like I’d known forever. It is genius writing.
It’s mostly set on the Upper West Side, my home neighborhood that I deeply love, and it explores the rich landscape of family dynamics, Jewish culture and religion, women’s rights, political activism, racism, socioeconomic disparity, and the coming of age of people, society, and our world. And all of this is framed in the context of what it means to be a comedian, performer, and writer in the gritty Village of New York City in the 1950s.
I found myself rooting for all of the main characters at different points in their journeys. They are all seriously flawed and insanely lovable, champions in their own ways, trying to do the best they can with what they have. Rachel Brosnahan as Midge is certainly our next unsinkable television heroine. Her journey from doting house wife to stage star, complete with her constant note taking and the best wardrobe I could imagine, is one we all want to reach its full potential. Michael Zegen plays Midge’s husband, Joel. In the beginning, I saw him as whiny, needy, and unappreciative. By the end of the season, I completely understood why Midge loved him. And I loved him, too. Tony Shalhoub is the quintessential Jewish father, and is masterfully paired with Marin Hinkle as his alternately reserved and infuriated wife. Alex Borstein rounds out the main cast as Susie, Midge’s scrappy manager. I loved Alex’s characters on Gilmore Girls, and I’m happy to see her stepping into and owning her spotlight in this show.
At the end of the last episode, Midge finally embraces her own identity on stage, Susie acknowledges just how right she was about Midge’s talent, and Joel recognizes his wife’s unstoppable talent. Midge’s parents are still in the dark about their daughter’s budding ambitions. (This secret certainly sets the stage for some explosive moments in Season Two.) And as for me, I was on the edge of my seat wishing the whole thing would never end. Luckily, the show will be filming again in a few short months less than 10 miles from where I live. Let’s hope Amazon gets it to us as fast as Prime shipping.