Game of Thrones: Best Episode Ever

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Photo source: Fanpop.com

As an avid Game of Thrones fan, I was strongly looking forward to last week’s episode. I couldn’t wait to see “The Battle of the Bastards,” which I was assuming would culminate with the demise of Ramsay Bolton. I was pleased that the episode did not disappoint at all, and actually went beyond my expectations.

Foremost, the tension was never stronger in an episode of Game of Thrones. From the Rickon chase, to the Bolton army closing in on and trampling Jon Snow, to Sansa and Littlefinger coming to save the day, the entire episode had me on the edge of my seat, completely invested into what was to come next.

The episode also was critical to the character arcs and stories of Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, two of the most important characters in the show. The two helped redeem their fallen family and bring justice to The North, after all of the trouble they’ve both been through. It was satisfying to see Jon, who was abandoned by his family and killed by his own friends, finally get a victory. It was even more satisfying to see Sansa, who was tortured by Ramsay, finally bring him down.

This episode reminded me of why I fell in love with Thrones in the first place. It’s always a rough show to watch, as my favorite characters meet untimely deaths (R.I.P. Hodor), but episodes like this make watching the show worth it. “Battle of the Bastards” was truly the series at its best: intense, shocking, and powerful storytelling with great character development.

 

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Finding The Writer Who Inspires You

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Photo source: IMDB.com

I’ve recently found that I’ve been lacking inspiration for writing. The past few weeks, I’ve been reading a book about The Brat Pack films, which mostly focuses on the works of John Hughes. The recent chapter, however, focused on the work of renowned screenwriter Cameron Crowe. Crowe, most famous for writing the teen classics Fast Times at Ridgemont High (which happens to be one of my favorite films of all-time) and Say Anything, said this about writing:

“My dream, was always to be a guy who wrote about his generation as he got older, and captured what was going on, so that if you looked at the movies all together you would see a life journey. You would see a big picture of what it’s like to grow up, and grow old, in America.”

This quote stuck with me, as Crowe’s intentions were eerily similar to what I am trying to accomplish now. Most of my writing focuses on life in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when I grew up. What I’ve really enjoyed about my writing is that it takes me back to those days that I am very fond of. Crowe’s quote reminded me of why I want to write.

This serves as a lesson to all writers who are struggling with finding inspiration and questioning whether they want to pursue writing as a career.  I encourage them to look at some of their favorite writers, and look into their values and reasons for writing. They may see a mirror in these values and sources of inspiration.

After learning about the reasons why Crowe decided to write, I realize that all it takes is passion about work and to know why you want to write. After all, Crowe started out as an unknown, far away from becoming an established writer, just like me. His work became successful, and since mine is similar in intention, I have a chance to become a writer as well.

Thanks To The Throwbacks

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Photo source: JustJaredJr.com

I’ve noticed a trend over the past few months, or you could say “years,” in the increase of 90’s and 2000’s programming re-runs returning to television. Like the rest of my generation, I’ve enjoyed being able to re-watch the television shows I grew up with.

The past few weeks, I’ve been watching re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Nick at Nite. To be honest, I would be watching it right now if I wasn’t in the middle of this post. I still laugh at the jokes, and enjoy the same stories that I’ve already seen before. The show looks dated, but reminds me of the 90’s, when I was born and raised. It has a nice, simple, nostalgic feel to it that makes me feel at home.

The throwbacks haven’t stopped with Fresh Prince. Freeform has full seasons of Disney Channel throwbacks like Kim Possible and That’s So Raven. These were some of my favorite shows growing up, and watching them has been like seeing an old friend. Just last weekend, the internet exploded with joy when Disney Channel aired all of its Original Movies. My sister texted me with joy that she could re-watch The Even Stevens Movie.

I believe that these throwbacks have really clicked with my generation, the generation that is starting/graduating college and entering the adult world, because the world has changed so much since we were little. Gone are the simple days of the 90’s and 2000’s, which are reflected in Fresh Prince and That’s So Raven. The digital age has ushered in a new society that is much more fast-paced, stressful and technology reliant. Watching these shows have reminded me of the time I grew up, when being a normal girl with a Limited Too style attire who hung out with her friends after school without texting 24/7 was the norm (and yes, I still admire Lizzie McGuire).

Writing is 100% Inspiration

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thelifestring.blogspot.com

I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve been working on the same comedic television show script for about three weeks now. I just finished Act One, and am a little lost as to where to go with Act Two. I’ve discovered the root of my writer’s block and it’s one simple concept: inspiration.

I have a few quotes from writers above my desk where I write. The ones that stand out to me are: “The secret is not to give up hope” (George Lucas) and “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” (Walt Disney). They both are saying one simple idea: hard work and faith in your work is what is most important.

Throughout these past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to write because I haven’t felt too much emotional connection to my story. My needs and desires to tell the story haven’t been too strong, so I’ve been stuck in a writer’s block. I like the story, but not enough to spend most of my time thinking about how to fix it.

I remember three summers ago, when I cranked out my 100-page feature script at a personal record pace, by finishing the first draft in one week. When I wasn’t working, I spent almost all day working on the script. I was deeply attached to the story, the world and the characters. The script turned out to be my senior thesis, and the work that I am still most proud of, to this day.

So I hope that all writers, including myself, can answer these two questions (which are also taped above my desk): Why do I want to tell this story? and What is my emotional connection to this piece? Once I answer these questions, I am sure I can get out of my writer’s block, and resurrect my dreams of becoming a screenwriter.

 

The Importance of a Writing Desk

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Photo source: fustany.com

Occasionally, I will go to a Starbucks or library to write, but most of the time, I write at my desk. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of sitting at a desk for a long time. It normally bores me; however, I’ve found that using my desk at home as a “writing corner” has been very helpful to me.

My desk features a few very important things to me as a writer. The first is a collage of inspirational quotes above my desk. The quotes are from some of my writing idols, namely J.K. Rowling and George Lucas, and my idols in general, such as Beyonce and Michael Jordan. These quotes have been great reminders to me to keep dreaming on, to keep trying, and to continue to write and pursue my dreams to become a writer.

Another feature is pictures and posters from my favorite TV shows and films. I have pictures from my favorite episode of Smallville and a poster from American Pie, one of my favorite films. Seeing these pictures everyday reminds me of the kinds of stories I want to tell through my writing, and they inspire me to want to get the audience to fall in love with my stories, as I fell in love with the aforementioned tales. I believe that all writers should keep memorabilia from their favorite films and television shows, to serve as a source of inspiration.

Finally, my desk includes indicators of my future goals, and where I hope to specifically be in life in the years to come. I hope to work for Viacom Media Networks, at MTV or Nickelodeon (or to work at both). I have a Viacom folder from my time there as an intern, and a Nickelodeon history book. Seeing these things everyday reminds me where I want to work in the future, and to keep working hard and accomplishing the most that I can in the present, so that I can reach my goals.

Therefore, I encourage all writers to keep a desk to use as a writing corner. Inspirational quotes, posters and pictures of television and film favorites, and other entertainment memorabilia are great sources of motivation for the struggling writer.

 

Why All Writers Should Watch Sports

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Source: nflspinzone.com

I grew up in Chicago, which is a major sports town. Although I live in Orange County now, I still follow all of my Chicago teams. I believe that being a big sports fan has greatly helped me as a writer.

So much of sports revolves around the whole David vs. Goliath tale that is central to scripts, and stories in general. I remember when the 2004 New York Yankees were being compared to Darth Vader and “The Evil Empire.” That year featured the greatest comeback in baseball, and possibly sports in general, when the Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series and eventually become World Champions for the first time in over 80 years. I remember the slogan that year for the MLB playoffs was “You Can’t Script October.” You really can’t script sports, which is what makes them so exciting to watch. However, it makes us remember the importance of suspension of disbelief, and how the unpredictable is the most exciting (Game of Thrones is a perfect example of this).

There is so much emotion that comes from watching sports and being an avid fan of a team. I watched the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox from start to finish and fell in love with the team. I still have very fond memories of the season. It was a great story and re-watching the walkoff homeruns from the season still sends shivers down my spine. After all, the goal of writing is to keep the reader, or viewer, on the edge of their seat. Watching sports does that.

We can look to the greatest games, and comebacks, as sports history, for sources of inspiration in writing. Last year’s Super Bowl, in which The Patriots came back from literally seconds away from defeat to win, was one of the most thrilling endings, and battles of all-time in sports. What if we were able to write a scene between a super hero and a super villain that evoked the same emotion and disbelief? The writers of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones already seem to be understanding the significance of suspension of disbelief, and surprising viewers.

Places for Aspiring Screenwriters to Visit

As an aspiring screenwriter, most of my inspiration has resulted from watching films and television shows. Over the years, though, I’ve learned a lot and been inspired from visiting various places in the Los Angeles area. Below are a few that I’ve found to be particularly interesting:

Studio Tours

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Photo source: smartdestinations.com

The Los Angeles area is home to many film and television studios, and most of them offer tours. I’ve toured the Warner Brothers Studio, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Studios (through the Universal Hollywood theme park). Walking on the lot and seeing where where my favorite films have been made provided thrilling experiences for me and inspired me even more to want to write, and one day work at the exciting studios. The studio is the pen-ultimate for an aspiring writer, and one of the most exciting places to visit.

Hollywood Boulevard

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Photo source: galleryhip.com

It may not be the glamorous, extravagant street that the films have often portrayed, but Hollywood Boulevard is the street in the Los Angeles area that has the most centralized Hollywood landmarks and sightings. Given that most of the studios and other film industry based locations are scattered throughout greater Los Angeles, Hollywood boulevard is a refreshing stroll for tourists and film lovers.  In under a mile, one can see important film-centric landmarks, such as The Dolby Theatre, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, The El Capitan Theatre, The Hollywood Museum, and much more. It’s must-see for any film lover and aspiring writer.

Museums

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Photo source: wikipedia.org

Museums that preserve film and television history are a great learning source for aspiring writers. There are several museums scattered throughout greater Los Angeles that offer resources for young writers. To name a few: The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills offers a wealth of information about television history. The Hollywood Museum in Hollywood showcases props from famous Hollywood films.

Historical Theatres

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Photo source: forbes.com

There’s The Aero, The Dolby Theatre, The Egyptian Theatre and The Chinese Theatre, to name a few. These theatres were the birthplace of Hollywood premieres. Even just visiting them and being part of the movie premiere atmosphere is very inspiring and makes a wanna-be writer hope that they can have their own vibrant premiere at a classic, historical Hollywood theatre.

Writer’s Guild Foundation Library

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Photo source: wgfoundation.org

I interned here for over six months, and very much enjoyed the atmosphere. It is one of the few places in Los Angeles that focuses specifically on screenwriting. Hundreds of quality screenplays find residence here, and it is the perfect place for a writer hoping to write a spec script or read scripts to help them with their craft.