Sunday, May 7, 2017

Moorpark College: A Reflection

This has less to do with writing, and more to do with reminiscing. But it is about Moorpark College.
Now that my final days at Moorpark College are coming to a close, I feel it appropriate to reflect on my journey at this...fine institution.

I began attending Moorpark right after graduating High School in June of 2015. I distinctly remember my sister (2 years my elder) announcing that she would attend community college, right out of high school. I thought it was the biggest joke. Community college wasn't necessarily painted as this...glamorous bastion of knowledge and learning. I thought it was where drop-out's belonged, or people who needed a supplementary education after finding their course in life. I remember laughing at my teacher's suggestion of a "junior college".

I was kind of a little shit.

Anyway, fast forward two years, and I was in my sister's shoes. Planless, mediocre grades (nothing U.C. worthy), and no direction.

That's a one-way ticket to Moorpark College.

So, I watched my friends all get their letters of acceptance and rejection. I watched them hitch their every belonging to their cars, and spread out across the country, and even, the world. I was left behind. In Moorpark.

...Suffice it to say that I was incredibly disheartened.

The first thing I remember was parking. I came, on my first day, to find every single spot taken. I parked in a staff spot, and came late to class.

I learned to leave an hour early, the following morning.

I remember feeling bouts of loneliness. I felt small, and insignificant, and I didn't want to raise my hand, ever. I'm not an introvert, but I don't like participating when I feel like I don't quite belong.

I remember trying to figure out the registration system like it was damned calculus equation. Waking up at four in the morning to reserve spots was insanity at its finest.

...And then my second semester came. And my third, and now my fourth.

I am still late to class, despite my best efforts.

I still feel bouts of loneliness.

Sometimes I do still space out in class.

But that doesn't mean that progress hasn't been made.

I came to this campus with the intention of honing my interests and skills to become a formidable transfer student, and eventually, job candidate.

I learned many valuable lessons:

1. You don't need to be surrounded by friends all the time.
2. You can do good work, no matter the institution.
3. People seriously don't care about your background, what you wear, or anything like that in the real world.
4. Ask and you shall receive. (Alternatively: Do NOT stare at the professor in hopes that he will understand that you desperately need help because you're too shy to ask for it)
5. Doing your homework on time is SO underrated.
6. There is ALWAYS someone better at what you think you're the best at. Be humble.
7. Do not judge people based on where they live, or go to school. You will be surprised.
8. There is a beautiful sort of comradery that develops when there's a big test coming and no one is prepared.
9. Rate my professor is USUALLY pretty damn accurate.
10. Moorpark has really, really beautiful sunsets.

There are many more, but these were some of the most common.

I will always look back fondly at my time here at Moorpark, despite the fact that I often wish I wasn't here. (That's just the hip thing to do, right?) I will always see it as a sort of safe haven of growth, where I learned a lot more about who I was, and more importantly, who I could be.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Word Count Wednesday!

What am I working on:

I have started working on the screenplay that's coming up in class!

How do I feel about it:

I am desperately trying to ignore the fact that it feels cheesy and reminds me of "contact".

What am I reading?:
Nothing, at the moment.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Word Count Wednesday!

What am I working on? 

Still working on that screenplay. Who would've thought screenplays take time and effort?  

How do I feel about the process? 

I'm actually revising a decent chunk of it. It needs to reflect the struggle of the countries oppressed by western imperialism and terror while simultaneous touching on the plight of Americans who are subject to become sheep to whatever the mass media says.

That's a mouthful. 

What am I reading? 

A wiki-article titled, "What to do when you have writer's block". 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fears of Job Security and Other Fun Things

This is less of a post, more of a rant, I suppose. Actually, less of a rant, and more of a...concern? I think that maybe, this might be the best outlet to share these concerns because (unfortunately), we might all be in the same boat. I say this because the majority of us are likely seeking some sort of creative career involving writing. For some of us it's the goal of being a published author, for others, it's becoming an editor, and some, screenwriters.

I'm not sure if I'm just coming from a conventional, strict sort of family, but I do get a plethora of interesting responses when I inform someone of my intended career path.

I get a lot of, ", on the side of your actual job, right?"

Sometimes, it's just flat out, "Oh. Risky, huh?"

Other times, it's the sympathetic relative who wants to crush your dreams gently, without doing so directly. So they whip up some response, and it generally comes out like: "Well, as long as you know that it's not likely, and that you pursue something else, and do this on the side, why not?"

And while my initial reaction might be, "No Cheryl, I can't be a screenwriter and a neruosurgeon at the same time," I feel inclined to understand.

And I mean, to some degree, I understand. When the job market is already so competitive, why on Earth would we plunge ourselves into one of the least stable career groups? Why not become a doctor, or a lawyer, or an engineer, (or all three, if my parents had their way)?

I often ponder if I'm on the right track. There's a lot of evidence that suggests I am, but I do feel insecurities creeping in sometimes. First and foremost, I love writing. And this is setting aside any concerns of whether I'm any good, or if I'll ever make it "big". I simply enjoy the processs. There's something cathartic and therapeutic of being able to string words together to perfectly encapsulate what I'm thinking or feeling at any given time.

It's all I've ever really been good at (arguably). Suffice it to say, I'm not the best math student, there's no career for me in history, and if all the people with my grasp of science wanted to go into the field, the world would be doomed. I thought I couldn't have a career in politics because of underqualifications, but this last presidential election sure proved me wrong. 

I know that this job, (screenwriting, in my case), is the only sort of career that will ever make me truly happy.

But I also know what it's like to have food on my plate every night, and I'm kind of attached to that stability, too.

Maybe this is just an exaggeration, but I feel as if this is how our society regards those who aspire to go into creative fields, whether it be an artist, a writer, a performer, etc.

I wish I could tie this to a solution, right about now. It certainly feels expected, what with the way I've formatted this post. But I don't have one. It seems, everywhere I look, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to ignore my fears in pursuit of my dreams. And while people often say, "Follow your dreams at any costs"- those people probably have stable jobs themselves, and don't fear paying off college debts and being jobless right out of university.

Just something to ponder, I suppose.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Fine Line Between Progression and Being Out of Character

Recently, I've run into a bit of a paradoxical situation when I've been writing characters that I've established for quite some time now.

I can best pose it in the question, "How far can character progression go before they simply become, 'out of character'?"

Let's say we have character A, who's known to be a hardass, a stickler for the rules, disciplined, etc.

Over the course of the novel, movie, story, whatever, character A softens up to the people around her. She cracks more jokes, she smiles more, she's even okay with playing hooky from work, all because of her exposure to this new friend group that she's made, or something to that effect.

Look at what you've started with, and what you've ended with. The dynamic is completely different. The way they'd respond to something in the beginning of the story should be a complete 180 from how they would react at the end.

This might be a good thing. It might be bad. But this begs the question, is that progression?

Readers tend to get attached to the way certain characters behave. If you're constantly shifting the morals and the attitudes of a character, it feels...messy. You're not really sure where they stand, or how they're going to respond to something, and it's this ambiguity that bothers certain readers. They expect a character to be a certain way.

Again, an example:

Let's say that character A is asked to skip work to embark on the roadtrip of a lifetime.

Your readers now have different ideas of what the response is. Reader 1 might argue, "Well, she's obviously going to say no, because work is everything to her, and I like that about her. She gets shit done."

Reader 2 might say, "Oh, she'll totally say yes, because she's changed, now. She's happier."

So who's correct? How can both versions of the same characters exist at once?

This sort of idea of progression frightens me a little, because it takes an established character, and does away with the characteristics that make them who they are, in a sense. And if people don't agree with this new version of your character, are you shit out of luck?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Word Count Wednesday!

What am I working on? 

I started working on a new screenplay/play that's doubling as my assignment for class. It's the weirdly controversial one about the terrorist and his (or her) roots. 

How do I feel about the process? 

It's a little difficult to really get the message of the story across without also spreading a message that condones terrorism? I want it to reflect the roles the general "west" has on these people without naming countries. I want to express what a day in the life of one of these innocents was before western occupation, then what happened to forge them into the spiteful people we seem them as, (at least how the media portrays them). It's not really meant to be a sympathy piece, or a message of accusation. It's supposed to just be an unbiased reflection of the other side of the story, what we don't hear in media outlets. I'm not really sure how or if it will come together, but it's been interesting doing the amount of research that I have.

What am I reading? 

Lots of articles from the past few years regarding the subject. I bet the CIA is suspiciously monitoring my google searches, now. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Creative Writing Experiment 6

A world exactly like our own, except...

  1.  A world exactly like our own, except when someone does a terrible parking job, they lose their rights to drive an automobile forever 
  2. A world exactly like our own, except you are fined every time you utter a curse word. 
  3. A world exactly like our own, except intellectuals are revered over entertainers. 
  4. A world exactly like our own, except gender does not exist. 
  5. A world exactly like our own, except Pangea never split up. 
  6. A world exactly like our own, except colleges PAY YOU to attend. 
  7. A world exactly like our own, except the need for food and water is gone. 
  8. A world exactly like our own, except you can purchase knowledge. 
  9. A world exactly like our own, except the government is pure and uncorrupted. 
  10. A world exactly like our own, except space has been colonized.