Month: January 2016

Why I Want to Write for Children’s Shows

back to the 90s

During my time at Chapman University, I remember being of one the few (there might have been one other girl) in my screenwriting classes who consistently wrote scripts intended for the children’s and family audience. It was unusual, as most students, and most aspiring writers ignore this audience. I’ve been asked a few times why I want to write for children; I’m not a child.

I’ve come to realize that these stories for children and teenagers were more than stories for me. I still idolize my favorite fictional characters because I grew up with them, and they’ve made me the person I am today. I grew up watching Kim Possible save the world and deal with normal girl problems, Cory Matthews and Buffy the Vampire Slayer struggle as they grew into adulthood, and Harry Potter survive as an outsider. They were normal kids, doing extraordinary things. But they were always normal, and they taught me to value family, friends, education, and to do good in the world.

I want kids growing up to experience similar stories and characters that I did. To understand that it is okay to be normal, and you don’t have to be a pop star or TV star, or whatever it is they’re watching the Disney Channel characters do now. I feel that with the digital and social media age, kids have lost sight of what’s important in life, and narcissism has become a problem.

I’m hoping that one day I can change all of that. I hope to one day have control of what’s on children’s television. I’m working on writing scripts with these values, as we speak. I will make it my goal to have these produced and seen by kids all over the world, so they can grow up with the same values as my generation. At the very least, I’m pulling out my old DVD collection, and my kids are growing up watching the same magic I did.

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Buffy Season 2: One of the Best Seasons Ever

buffy season 2

I’ve seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer probably four times over. But whenever I want to watch a random episode, I almost immediately look for one from Season 2. In my opinion, Season 2 was the strongest of the series, and possibly one of the best seasons in television history. Here’s why:

The Villain:

Season 2’s Big Bad was Angel, Buffy’s true love. The other villains in the series were great, but none were better than Angel, aka Angelus. Buffy never had more difficulty killing a villain than when she had to kill Angel, her own boyfriend, at the end of “Becoming.” It was one of the most emotional moments of the series. Angelus was also fun and scary at the same time, an interesting contrast between Angel, who was timid and as Cordelia called him “A Care Bear With Fangs.”

Buffy and Angel:

Their star-crossed romance was one that will forever go down in television history. When Angel turned evil after his moment of happiness with Buffy, we all felt her pain. And we knew that killing Angel was the hardest thing she would have to do.

Cordelia:

One of my favorite characters in the series was Cordelia Chase. Her one-liners were always classics and some of the funniest lines in the series. Her character really evolved in this season, going from snotty, rich girl to snotty, rich girl who helped save the world. And her relationship with Xander was very funny, a pre-cursor to the geek-gets-the-girl relationship we saw with Seth and Summer years later.

The Balance of Drama and Comedy:

The later seasons of the series, from Season 5 onward, were a change in tone in that they were very dramatic. Season 2 was a nice mix between funny and tragic. Although there were heart-breaking moments, from Miss Calendar’s death to Angel’s death, there were hilarious plotlines: every girl in Sunnydale falling for Xander (and Buffy turning into a mouse because of it) to Spike crashing Parent-Teacher night. Overall, Season 2 was a fun, emotionally intense ride.

Writers Who Inspire Me

Trying to conjure up some inspiration to get back on the write track (puns haha) so I decided to think of the writers who made me want to be part of the starving (well, in my case, lots of Costco chicken dinosaurs and pasta) artist’s life.

J.K. Rowling

jk rowling

One of my fondest memories of my childhood was reading the Harry Potter books.  I wish I had the ability to re-read the books for the first time. I would spend days in my room alone, just reading the book. She inspired me, and my generation, to read, which is an amazing accomplishment. She created a phenomenon. Every kid wished they were a wizard, that they could play Quidditch and attend Hogwarts. I know I did. When I was ten years old, it was my goal to write a book series that was as exciting and as magical as Harry Potter.

Joss Whedon

joss whedon

Joss Whedon was the show-runner behind one of my favorite TV series of all-time, Buffy. He wrote most of the landmark episodes of the show, including “Becoming,” which I believe is one of the greatest television episodes of all-time. He wrote and directed The Avengers, one of the greatest superhero movies, and one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments. He knows how to create strong characters. He is one of the few writers who can balance humor and drama perfectly in a story. He’s also shown that action series can be more about the Michael Bay-esque explosions, and that the story is still the most important. I hope to one day write my own teen action series, have the chance to write a Disney movie (he was one of the writers of Toy Story), and write and direct a big budget action film. Joss Whedon has shown me that this is all possible.

Kevin Williamson

Scream will always be one of my favorite movies. I don’t like horror movies, but I admire what Scream did for the horror genre, and cinema in general. It revived the horror genre. It was the perfect mix of humor and horror. Most importantly, it was one of the few horror movies where I was worried about the safety of the main characters. Sidney Prescott was relate-able. The Scream stories were about her coping with her mother’s death and becoming strong and independent. Kevin Williamson showed me that horror movies can be good stories, with the right mix of characters and relate-able drama. Shortly after the first film, he created Dawson’s Creek. Although I find the series a bit overdramatic and unrealistic, it was very impactful on teen television. It was one of the first shows to deal with real teens and their problems. Its success spawned other teen classics I watched, including Gossip Girl, The O.C. and Smallville.

John Hughes

john hughes

I’ve never seen a writing portfolio as expansive as that of John Hughes. He wrote dozens of movies. My most favorite were Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Christmas Vacation, and Mr. Mom. He’s most known for his so-called “Brat Pack” films, but his stories impacted viewers of all ages. “Home Alone,” “Plains, Trains and Automobiles,” “Maid in Manhattan.” I hope to write family movies one day, and to have an expansive resume like him, although a far-reaching goal, is something to aspire to.

Lessons Buffy Taught Me (and us all)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is consistently ranked on “Best TV Series of All-Time” lists. That comes as a surprise to a lot of people. But really, it’s everything that a good TV show should be. It sounds like a silly idea, and it kind of is. My sister used to make fun of me for watching it, but once she watched an episode, she got hooked on it (and she watched one of the worst Buffy episodes ever made).

There’s many reasons why Buffy has become a cult classic. But the main reason is: It’s writing at its best. It’s surprisingly funny. It’s dramatic at the right times. The characters are some of the best ever written. It’s a great coming-of-age story. And Buffy is a perfect role model for any girl growing up.

I just finished re-watching Buffy (I think this is the 3rd time), but this was the first time I watched the episodes chronologically. I’m sad to be done watching it, that there aren’t any more episodes to watch. It had 144 episodes in total, which is a lot, and the fact that it wasn’t enough for us Buffy fans speaks a lot.

These 10 Things Perfectly Sum up What I am feeling right now:

10 Things We Miss About Buffy

buffy the vampire slayer