my first script ever – brobot

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here is the first script i wrote, a short, dark comedy called BROBOT. it came in 4th place in the slamdance screenwriting competition. back then, there was no short film script category. mine was the only short in the top 10, with the other 9 being features.

slamdance put together staged readings for the top 10 scripts, and that was the first time i got to see my written work come alive. it was amazing!

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nbc writers on the verge – i’m in!

NBC

at the end of my in person interview, karen told me she and julie ann would make calls on friday (today) to let people know whether they got in or not. instead, i got a call yesterday at 3pm. karen and julie ann congratulated me and told me i was accepted into the program! i’m THRILLED! i’m so grateful for this opportunity, and i look forward to learning as much as i can.

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nbc writers on the verge – finalist!

NBC

i had my phone interview with nbc on wed, and was told i’d probably hear by the end of the week whether or not i made it to the next round. i was trying to lower my hopes and expectations because the odds are i wasn’t going to advance. i saw someone post that about 1600 people submitted, 50 get phone interviews, 20 get in person interviews, and 8 writers get selected. i thought, just being 1 of the 50 writers who made it to the next round is somewhat of an accomplishment. it’s a little bit of validation that lets me know i’m not entirely crazy to be pursuing this dream.

as i was thinking this, the phone rang, and it was nbc. they liked chatting with me and wanted to set up a time for an in person interview! i made it to the next round, and my interview is on 9/17 which is a week and half away.

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interview: Theo Travers, CBS Writers Mentoring Program 2012

Theo and I met through Nickelodeon, which he mentions below, and also through the message board of the Yahoo TV writers group. He recently went through the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, and I’m SO happy he just got staffed! I think today was his first day!

Theo Travers is the newest staff writer on Showtime’s House of Lies.  He moved to Los Angeles four years ago after working as a television news reporter in Memphis.  Coolest moments include interviewing Barack Obama one-on-on and riding with undercover cops on drug and prostitution stings.  Theo’s writing earned him a coveted spot in the CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program earlier this year.  Prior to that, Theo optioned a one-hour pilot, “Thieves of Baghdad,” to Fox after being selected to participate in its Diversity Writer’s Initiative.  Theo also helped create a web series industry showcase for fellow NYU Tisch alum on the west coast.

The CBS Writers Mentoring Program requires a spec and original
material to apply. What did you submit?

I submitted an NCIS: Los Angeles spec and a piece of short crime fiction.  As of late, the program, for legal reasons, will only consider original material that is not a pilot.  I’ve seen some writers get tripped up on the idea that CBS asks for the two samples to also be similar in tone or theme.  Ideally, any writing you’re going out with feels uniquely yours in some ways and, as a result, similar in tone.

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mid year creative review 2012

i like to make lists and track my progress with things.

so far:

  • i participated in a mock writers room class at nickelodeon, where as a group, we wrote an episode of the nick show, big time rush.
  • revised my parks and rec spec and my pilot.
  • applied to cbs, wb, disney, nbc. i also submitted to the austin film festival competition for the first time.

here were my top 3 goals for 2012:

  1. be a working writer, and get staffed on a show.
  2. write at least 2 new scripts, either 2 pilots, or a pilot and a spec.
  3. make a short film or web series.

1. be a working writer, and get staffed on a show.

ha ha. that would be a big no. it’s been 9 months since the nick fellowship ended, and i’m no closer to getting representation or to working as a writer now than i was before i was accepted into the nick writing fellowship. i applied to the fellowships again this year, so we’ll see what happens.

2. write a pilot script

i started my pilot, and i started writers groups to specifically focus on pilots (previous post here). i was hoping i’d have a rough first draft by now, but i’m a bit behind schedule because of the short film i shot (see below). based on some of the early feedback from the group, i ended up changing the structure of my pilot which probably saved me months of rewriting. i’m really glad i started the writers groups! i was able to find some really talented people so the level of feedback has been fantastic, and now i have a bunch of wonderful writer friends that i didn’t have a couple months ago.

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my short film – i’m done shooting!

first of all, the indiegogo campaign for my short film, you will meet a sexy stranger, was a success! i raised $2610, surpassing my original $2500 budget, to supplement my own $1500. i’m extremely grateful to all the people who donated. without their help, i would not have been able to make my movie in the way that i wanted to, and wouldn’t have had certain resources that i really needed.

2 years ago i took part in the duke city shootout, and shot my 10 page short, camera obscura, in 4 days. there were multiple locations, night shots, driving scenes, and visual effects. it was really fun but it was grueling, and it was only possible because as part of the contest, i had a wonderful producer and a whole crew to take care of pre-production. i just showed up to new mexico and everything was pretty much ready to go. for this short, you will meet a sexy stranger, i didn’t have those people helping me,  and so i wanted to do something simple.

it was a 6 page script, 1 location, 3 actors. i wanted to shoot it all in 1 day. i think most features shoot around 2 pages a day, where low budget features and shorts might shoot around 4 pages a day. i figured i could shoot 6 pages because it was 1 location, and mostly dialogue, and i knew my actors were great so they’d deliver consistent performances for each take.

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previz on my short film

i have 1 week left for the indiegogo campaign of my short film! please check it out – http://igg.me/p/103615?a=594484

in between producing duties like schedules, budgets, and contracts, i’ve been squeezing in some director prep. i’m using a program called frameforge which lets me create digital storyboards based on a digital version of my set.

frameforge is better than drawing storyboards because it gives me an accurate representation of what i’ll see using different lenses. it also generates floorplans that are super useful.

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