I’ve discovered a lot of new TV Shows this year since I’ve been taking a TV Writing class, and the key to writing for TV is watching it. So excited about my discoveries because these shows are amazing!
1-Younger (TV Land)
The creators of Sex and The City have done it again with this show Younger. What I love about this show is that it takes place in Brooklyn (and Manhattan), so everything feels familiar, but it’s mocking millennials and everything we stand for, which I think is kind of humorous and pathetic at the same time. The main character Liza, pretends to be 26-years old (even though she’s in her 40’s), just to land a job at a publishing firm after her divorce. Her efforts to conceal her identity is both suspenseful and funny at the same time.
2-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
I’ve never laughed so hard after watching a series since Martin and that’s saying a lot. This show created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock chronicles the life of Kimmy Schmidt, a woman that was kidnapped by a man when she was a teenager and was rescued by a swat team after being locked up in a bunker for years. Now, as a 30-something year old, she’s forced to reintegrate into life in New York City. It may seem weird, but it’s laugh-out-loud funny.
3-You’re The Worst (FXX)
I am so happy I discovered this show, You’re The Worst. Another show that makes me laugh so hard I gasp for air. Jimmy and Gretchen are two cynical and borderline terrible people who meet at a wedding and fall for each other. They decide to have a non-conventional, non-mushy relationship but what they find out is when it comes to matters of the heart, they can’t stay evil forever. This show is HILARIOUS.
I think having a Vision Board party in January set the tone for an amazing year. I still get comments from my friends saying their vision boards helped them check off goals on their list that they probably wouldn’t have done without the help of their boards reminding them. My board is still something that empowers me when I look at it. I am encouraged to remain strong-willed and grounded.
That glitch fare on Christmas day last year allowed me to go to Dubai for only $200. What a blessing that was. Dubai’s desert was probably my favorite part. That vast landscape of beautiful sand and horizon is something that will forever be embedded in my heart.
I wore my natural hair to work for the first time and it felt awesome! Some people might be surprised that it took four years for me to wear my natural hair to work but getting the courage to do so was a journey in itself.
I started my natural journey in 2011, and it has been a very long four years since then. Sometimes, I can’t believe it’s been that long. My hair journey is complicated. To give you the short version of the story, I big chopped when I was about to graduate from Penn State, wore wigs for 2-years and then during the summer of 2013 I got so sick of wearing a wig every day, I decided to wear my natural hair on the weekends (baby steps).
This fall, I finally listened to the voice in my head that told me I should give TV Writing a try. I’ve always heard the voice but didn’t think I was capable of actually writing my own show. The TV Writing omens came to me a few times in my life, some of which I list below:
I’ve watched TV all my life, why wouldn’t I want to know the mechanics of writing an actual show?
I’ll never forget when my sister (she might not remember this) told me that a 23-year old Lena Dunham created the hit show on HBO called Girls. She was only a few years older than me; I was so intrigued by her accomplishment.
Reserved. I was challenged one day by one of the hosts who didn’t understand how we could have a talk show without a script. Well unbeknownst to me at the time, I thought on talk shows you just talked freely. Didn’t the script make it scripted? What I would soon learn is everything including talk shows have scripts.
My friend Stephen sent me his script to read that he co-wrote with a friend from college. Tribeca Film Festival was very interested in the script as well. He probably doesn’t know but after reading his script, I wanted to write my own. His bravery and talent inspired me.
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF), this year made me realize I can write for TV. I honestly went to the film festival blindly and had no intention of scriptwriting but I left feeling inspired by the stories of Mara Brock Akil and the writers of Empire. I knew I needed to start my own TV writing journey, so I did.
While at ABFF, I kept hearing people talking about Spec Scripts. Spec Scripts? What the heck was that? I googled it and learned that a spec script was something you need to break into the industry. It’s a script that allows you to speculate what might happen on a TV show that’s currently running. Mara Brock Akil mentioned if you want to write, you have to go to LA. So two weeks later, I packed my bags up and went to LA. I told my friend to drop me off at a place where I could write and she dropped me off at a cute writing cafe in NOHO called Republic of Pie
I wrote in LA, but I did not write my Spec Script. I wrote ideas for a script but I didn’t have the slightest idea how to write a script. I put my TV Writing dreams on the back burner for the rest of the summer.
Around October, I was going through a lot of changes at work and in life. So I took a break from social media and from watching TV just to clear my head a bit. I was literally in my room sitting in silence, reading my bible when something told me to google Script Writing Classes. Gotham was one of the first options that came up on the list, but they seemed a bit pricey, so I continued looking. What I ended up finding out was Gotham was the best bet, the other options were either too expensive or not as extensive as Gotham, so I went with them. I decided to invest in my future and let me tell you, it felt awesome! But I didn’t purchase my seat in the class just yet. I was still going back and forth about the price. I would have to take out of my savings to do this class, was it worth it? I asked God to give me confirmation that I was making the right decision and sure enough he did.
The next day at work, my cell phone, which has a picture of me at Runyon Canyon in LA, with my exercising clothes on was sitting on my desk. Now you know how tight and provocative exercising clothes tend to be, but on top of that my pose was very…i’ll leave the picture below so you can see for yourself. My boss passed by my desk and picked up my phone to see the picture, I grabbed the phone before he was able to see too much, mortified at the prospects of him seeing me in that light, he made light of the situation by saying “What were you doing…yoga?” and walked away. I wanted to crawl under a rock. Why does these awkward moments always have to happen to me? It’s really unbelievable how weird my life is. At that moment I knew my wildly awkward life experiences could serve as inspiration for a character I could create. That was all the confirmation I needed. Three minutes later I dug into my savings account and signed up for my first TV Writing course.
The class was amazing. I am so impressed with everything that I learned and all the advice I received. I also learned how to write a Spec Script (finally) and handed in my first draft last week. I felt so accomplished. The class gave me amazing feedback and now I have to make the script better and resubmit it. The work doesn’t end at the end of the class. It will probably take me a year to create a portfolio for TV Writing but I am excited. I juggled this class while juggling many changes at work. I followed my heart, not knowing where it would lead me but I am happy it’s led me in the right direction. I feel peace when I’m at my TV Writing class. I feel like I have an outlet to be me, and I am surrounded by other people just like me. I truly believe the moral of this story is to follow your passions. Discover what you love. I know this may or may not be my career path, but I don’t care, I am content in knowing that I’ve learned a new craft and fell in love with it. I thank Mara Brock Akil for giving me that inspiration at ABFF. I thank Shonda Rhimes for running Thursdays on ABC and paving the way for up and coming writers like myself. I thank God for having his hand on my life and leading me to discover my purpose each day.
For the first time in a long time, I feel good about the direction God is leading my life in terms of my career. To be honest, I’ve fought it for a long time and for the most part kept what I do a bit private, for the obvious reasons of professionalism, but what I am about to share needs to be written down, not only to help myself understand God’s plan but also to help and inspire others. Right now, with a new year looming, I am reflecting on the growth I’ve made in my life and I am happy with it. This year has not been easy. It was filled with a lot of changes, some that I feared initially, but I am so excited for what’s to come, more so than previous years. The title of this post is called “Why I jumped off the Career Assembly Line.” I picked up a book recently, at Urban Outfitters (they have an eclectic book collection), and read a passage that talked about Assembly Lines in terms of your career.
Assembly lines, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a process by which things are progressively made in parts or work stations that add on to a sequence until the final assembly is produced. It reminds me of the car company, Ford, which built their cars using the assembly line in the early 1900s. One station was in charge of putting the wheels on the car, the next station was in charge of placing the doors on the car, and so on and so on until finally, the car was complete. But the idea here is that the process is monotonous, ongoing, and straightforward. No change can happen or else the car won’t be identical to the others. The same can be said for my life (career-wise), until I decided I didn’t want to be on the assembly line anymore.
The first time I made a drastic choice in my career, and decided I would jump off of the assembly line, commenced while I was in college. I started school as a journalism major and by my sophomore year switched to pursue a pre-law/political science degree. It was a huge decision, one that I still question, although I know why I did it. Journalism was my passion. I love to write; I can’t shake that trait about me, it’s a God-given gift but my family wanted me to pursue a more stable career, so they told me, I should become a lawyer. I listened to them. I wanted to please them and so I did just that. I spent the rest of my college career, writing legal briefs, studying constitutional law in the library, and constantly on Lexis Nexis researching. As intriguing as the legal system was, I knew it was not for me. I didn’t get excited; I got anxiety. Literal anxiety. Now, as I reflect, I think it was a mix of knowing I was doing something unaligned with my purpose and being stressed by the course load.
My turning point came around the time when I started looking to pursue law school. I started visiting legal college advisors for some advice and direction on my decision to go to Law School. One said, “Law school is for people who’s really passionate about the law, why do you want to go to law school?” I gave a politically correct answer to save face, but deep down in my soul, I knew I was being fake. I wasn’t passionate about going to law school or the legal system, I was just trying to please the ones I loved most. One time I was asked this same question by another legal college advisor and I told her I wanted to help women as a lawyer. She followed up by saying “You do know you can help women without going to law school right? Besides, what do you do now to help women? Your resume shows you haven’t done anything since last year, while you were still in college.” She called me out and she was right. That day on the train ride home, I was excited that this woman had the balls to call me on my bluff because I knew, my life would change. I could do many great things in my career without going to law school, but how would I break the news to my family?
Like many women, when I meet a guy that I actually like, I allow my mind to create a whirlwind of thoughts for what our perfect relationship would look like. Some might call these thoughts fantasies, which is completely normal and healthy. We all have them, don’t we? Well, according to Psychology Today:
“Fantasies are not frivolous. They can be entertaining, distracting, frightening, even arousing, but they also allow for creativity and help us plan for the future. As long as we don’t mistake fantasies for reality…”
As long as we don’t mistake fantasies for reality. As women, it’s pretty hard to meet someone we are really into and not have some sort of expectation for the future. That’s like telling someone, let’s go to Disney World but don’t expect to go on the rides. In saying this, I want to touch on this idea of fantasies and the false hope that it brings about; I am encouraged to tie this in with my series on soul ties. As with all of my soul ties post, I am about to get real, I am going to expose some of my vulnerabilities and you all might think I am completely insane, but that’s okay.
Side Note: I am a Pisces, and even though I am not into that astrology stuff anymore, Pisces tend to be dreamers, we want the happy endings, we believe in the good of all people. When I think of us, I can imagine that we would be content skipping through a big field of sunflowers, catching butterflies and enjoying the fresh air and sunlight. So please don’t judge me. Like for real, what I am about to say sounds even crazy to me.