#PodByKy Epi 10 “The Golden Age”

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On today’s podcast I talk to Kayla Brooks about The Golden Age of TV and in our lives. Kayla is a friend of mine from my TV Writing class. She’s one of those people that you know will be a future Show Runner in a few years, kind of like a next generation Shonda Rhimes. At the onset of my most recent quarter life crisis, I explained to her how I was feeling and she totally got it. We start the podcast by addressing the ups and downs of life in our twenties. We move on to talk about how amazing it was to watch our stories in the 90s on television and try to solve the mystery of why our stories have sort of been erased from Hollywood (except the ones that address slavery). The key is to be the change you want to see in the world which is what Kayla and I plan to do.

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Website: Thekaylabrooks.com

Instagram/Twitter: @kay_lasoul

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UndergroundWGN is #Winning

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“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others…one ever feels his twoness-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warrings ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torun asunder. ” – W.E.B Dubois

UndergroundWGN is Emmy worthy and I can’t wait to see how successful it becomes. Underground follows Noah, a slave on a plantation, who seeks freedom through the Underground Railroad. He realizes, that his goal may only be possible if he assembles a group of his fellow slaves to accompany him.Of course the show gets way more complicated than that, but that’s the general concept.

Double Consciousness

 Double consciousness or shifting among the characters is extremely prevalent, which is one of the reasons I watch the show religiously. I am intrigued by the writers use of this idea coined by W.E.B Dubois way back in 1903 in his book The Soul of Black Folks. Double Consciousness, is basically in layman terms the two faces black people put on in America. We have to be black, and we have to be American. We have to act one way among white people and another way when we are comfortable enough being our true selves. Essentially we have to shift to survive.

Spoiler Alert

Each of the characters in this show shift or have two-faces. You think you know who they really are at their core, but each week, something new is exposed and another layer is added to them. Right now, we know that Noah played by Aldis Hodge has a limp because he doesn’t want the plantation owners to know that he is a threat to them. We know that Rosalee played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell  is a contented house-slave, who is ready to run away by any means. We also know that August Pullman played by Christopher Meloni is a white slave catcher who pretends to be for black people but will turn them in for a cash reward instantly. There’s a lot of shifting going on as a means of survival and I am here for it all.

Why you should watch

If I can compare this show to anything else, I would say it’s like a Scandal, set in slavery times. The writers are superb. They keep me engaged and wanting more and although this is sensitive material, they find a balance and create some highs and lows in the episodes so you’re not emotionally drained by the conclusion. Sometimes I find myself so drawn into the story lines, I have dreams about it later on.

I know why people might want to avoid a show like this; who wants to be constantly reminded about slavery every  week? I thought the same thing initially, but these characters are humanized in this show, even though the actual system of slavery  dehumanize them. They have feelings, and dreams just like anyone else, which is the underlying theme.Also, we have to support these shows so it can open doors for more shows to educate and acknowledge our rich stories.  I am hooked and you should be to.Underground comes on every Wednesday at 10PM (EST) on WGN which is on Channel 82 if you have Cablevision. WGN is a relatively new network so don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it before. Since the show has so many twist and turns every Wednesday the cast does a twitter chat #UndergroundWGN which is awesome because you need someone to watch this show with just so you can say “Did you see that?”

You can catch up on this series by clicking the link and watching it online. Trust me, you will thank me later.

http://www.wgnamerica.com/series/underground

15 Of My Favorite Things In 2015

TV Shows

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 a 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 border line 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.

Books

I actually have been reading a lot this year. Here are a few of the books I’ve read this fall. I am sure you will also enjoy the little treat I have for you under my review of The Alchemist. Continue reading “15 Of My Favorite Things In 2015”

New Beginnings

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 accomplishments.
  • 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 script writing 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.

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While at ABFF, I kept hearing people talking about Spec Scripts. Spec Sripts? 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

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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 litrally 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? Its 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.

 

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This was the picture from Runyon Canyon that was on my phone . I never thought about how  awkward it would be if someone from my very corporate job saw me like this…yikes!

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 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 discovering my purpose each day.

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Finishing up my first draft Spec Script

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