Let Me Paint the Picture for You

Looking at my four pitches, there are three things that can be easily discerned:

  1. I want to do something more creative and of personal value rather than academic or practical for resume-building.
  2. I am a poet, an observer, a nostalgic, and a lover of stories.
  3. If it doesn’t have a semi-catchy title already in the works, it’s not for me.

When I think about it, none of those things really surprise me about my work, and that’s an exciting (and intimidating) place to be as a writer. It means I know myself – or, at least, I’m getting closer to – but it also means that there’s no arguing with the grinning child in me who demands more paint rather than a nice pencil.

So, all I can do is sigh.

But, truly, I think it will be alright. Talking through my ideas with my partner helped me understand the situation for what it was: a passion project. And if I’m not “all in” about what I’m making, I’m probably going to struggle more than if I had undertaken the thing my heart was set on in the first place.

Taking another look at my pitches, something that is less discernable (but still strikingly evident to a perceptive eye) is that two or three of my four pitches are all getting at the same thing: I want to write and share my stories – either as poetry, creative nonfiction, or both. I want to revisit the experiences that have shaped me, and I want to believe that I am as important as to have learned something worth sharing from the short life I’ve lived thus far.

So, call me conceited. Call me reflective.

Call me thrilled.

Whatever you call me, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

After all, you can’t expect to interrupt an artist when they’re elbows-deep in their work.

Commitment Issues

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I have horrible commitment issues. So pitching ideas for a project that will more likely than not occupy my head space for the next four months is tough to say the least.

OKAY, MEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

It was tough to flush out four ideas to pitch in class. I thought I was in the clear to hold off on decision making for a while, but I know that I’ll blink and the proposal will be due.

When I wrote my pitches, I admittedly was just brainstorming to get something on the paper and writing because I knew I had to, not because I was extremely passionate about any of my ideas right off the bat. Coming into class and having to stand behind my pitches and explain why they’re important, why I feel like the time is right to devote my attention to them was the first time I think I got excited about the any of my ideas. Speaking to others made me want to fight for the pitches that I previously thought might not be good enough to craft into a formal proposal. Now here I am. With four ideas that I’m not just willing to pursue, but eager to devote my attention to, when I thought I had none. And all it took to get me there was to have two heads nodding back at me encouragingly, reassuring me that the things floating around in my head are worthy enough for others to care about them.

And

Here

Come

The Commitment Issues.

1, 2, 3 or 4? What if we could combine 1 and 2? Make 1 more of an introduction to the greater topic of 2. What if I pick 2 and get in so deep only to lose interest? What if I wan’t to explore all of these ideas, but I’ll never again have this time to dedicate myself to them? What if I won’t be able to write about 4 the same way as I can now through the lens of an almost-graduate? So many what ifs.

Is it too early to ask for an extension on the proposal????? Lol jk

… maybe

A Reflection of Day 1: Project Pitches

My last words for the MIW gateway course. Something that never happened lol.

I always find it fascinating how fast time flies. I was in the gateway course what feels like an incomprehensible amount of time ago but really was only two years ago (I think?). Thus, I find that these reflections document our change and growth over the course of the years… our life both in and outside of writing. An archive of our experiences, so to speak. But Before I begin this reflection, I wanted to mention the first thing that I immediately noticed upon revisiting this blog: my last post from the gateway course. I intended to continue this capstone course with writing my novel/novella that I started in the gateway course, though none of the pitches I made today even considered this at all. Again, it just fascinates me how much I’ve changed in both my writing interests and style. Anyway, regarding the pitches…

Overall, my peers commented that they enjoyed my ideas and the diversity in my pitches both in topic and medium. My peers suggested that I encourage challenging myself more however, as most of my mediums were in theatrical playwriting of which I am already fairly comfortable/familiar writing.

The Waitress, The musical which inspired me to want to write a musical too.

My first pitch proposed the idea of a “silent musical” (minimal dialogue, except possibly during the occasional songs which would have lyrics). I am not sure if this is a relatively unexplored genre of theatre/plays, so I thought this would be fascinating to dive into. I was hoping to explore the ideas of love/romance and how gender & hypermasculinity influence people’s relationships. A big part of this is that I wanted to explore not only this unfamiliar/challenging idea of a silent musical (composing music to tell a story and minimising dialogue) but also writing something like an ensemble cast for both characters to allow equal stage time.

An example of a popular notation software, Sibelius, that I would use to compose the music to complement my writing.

I received fairly positive feedback for this idea. My peers wanted me to challenge myself if I were to continue writing plays, as I have mostly written plays in my creative writing background. However, they were receptive toward the idea of challenging myself with composing music/lyrics as well as silent storytelling. My peers could see that I was passionate about exploring both of my hobbies in music and writing, combining them into an interesting medium of storytelling through the silent musical.

A performance of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (a UM alum!)… Miller’s methodology of storytelling is my inspiration and model for playwriting.

My second idea was to write a traditional full-length play for the theatre. The topic of the writing would entail exploring mental health and mental differences (often referred to as “mentally challenged”) and how people’s different perceptions of the world because of this can influence their meanings and evaluations of life. My curiosity in this lies in my weaker background on the topic, so I wanted to simultaneously write and research & learn about mental health.

The feedback I received about this was that although the topic was interesting, the medium was not exploring a new form of writing for myself. Because of my background in playwriting, this would not challenge me in my writing abilities so much as the other pitches. Nonetheless, because the topic is still valid, I might wish to explore applying this topic in other less familiar mediums to still utilise the main story components whilst also exploring another form of writing.

An example of how a product white paper looks like… which also happens to describe how it should look like itself.

The third idea I proposed was the idea of writing several product papers for a B2B security solutions/tech software startup for which I head sales/customer experience. I thought this would be a very creative writing experience, since the product paper is inevitably highly multi-modal and explores the usage of space & structure in formatting the paper’s design. Because I would also have to cater it to my audience’s needs (the customer), I would also be able to explore writing several product papers to produce multiple different yet similar kinds of work that I have not done before.

The feedback I received was mixed about this one. Agreeing with my peers’ sentiments, I also found it to be far too professional for my tastes of creative writing — it felt more like a job/task as opposed to exploring creative writing. Although this would be a highly challenging and multi-modal piece, I do not think it is what I seek to learn from the class’s goals & learning environment.

The fourth and final idea I had was to explore screenwriting. I proposed rewriting one of my plays as a film and seeing how that goes. This pitch arises from my interest in entering the film/media entertainment industry and how I want to see how my previous experience in playwriting will effectively transfer over to screenwriting. Because I have no experience in this, I thought this would be a nice incentive/initiative to begin.

My peers found this to be the best pitch despite the fact that I would be rewriting a play (and thus not ideating new content necessarily). Because I have never explored screenwriting before, yet it is still within some scope of comfortableness due to the similarity of playwriting to screenwriting, this connects well to introducing the screenplay genre to myself.

All in all, the pitching experience was highly beneficial. Not only did I receive feedback for each pitch, but I learned what made each pitch strong and weak in terms of exploring my writing learning experience. Overall, to align with challenging and thus learning as much as I can through this course, I think I will follow through with the fourth idea of screenwriting. I also explored this further by possibly taking a screenwriting course simultaneously (intro to screenwriting), though I think I find myself more effectively learning through rigorously challenging myself in this environment.

I took a pretty dissected and objective analysis of my peers to help myself parse through the pitching session so this might not have been the most fun read. But, anyway… because of the interesting topic of mental health I also discussed earlier, which I know very little about, I might combine both this unfamiliarity with the topic of mental health and unfamiliarity with screenwriting to create a feature film about mental health and the mind.

I have some ideas boiling & ready to explore, so I’m looking forward to the semester!!

Cheers,

Alex

Extra! Extra! Read All About It: My Capstone Project Pitch

It feels good to be back. As a Communications Major and Writing Minor, I thought about what ideas would interest me the most to spend a semester researching and developing for my capstone project. After reminiscing on the past summer I spent interning at an advertising agency where I wrote and published articles for the company website, I was initially drawn to a capstone project on advertising. In addition to the writing I was assigned this summer, I had the opportunity to engage with media industries in an elective course for my major. The class required us to study the operation of media industries and eventually write a final paper on what we had learned. I ended the semester of that class writing a paper from the perspective of a professional at an agency, which is first how I became interested in this field.

For my capstone project, I pitched four ideas that were all variations of a topic within advertising. While none directly correlate with the paper I had written for my elective class or the writing I produced this summer, this work motivated me to pitch ideas in the same vein. After hearing feedback from my professor and classmates, I think I have a solid plan moving forward in my project. Ideally, I will walk viewers through an online site where I have created my own advertisement. It will begin with a client coming to an advertising agency and explaining what they are looking for, and it will end with the finished advertisement shared either online or in print – whichever works the best for my site. As of now, the only challenge I can see is with creating the advertisement. Since I have never created my own before from start to finish, I will need to do extensive research to make my capstone project the best it can be. I am looking forward to diving in.