Zig Zags are Okay

My oldest attended a screenwriting class and workshop hosted by SFFilm, featuring Nicole Perlman, the co-writer of movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and Detective Pikachu!

Nicole Perlman

The workshop was specifically designed for young women who are interested in taking their writing further – and my oldest took a bunch of notes, which I asked her to share with me!

They even encouraged the girls to come with their own story ideas to get critical feedback and encouragement from Nicole – needless to say, my daughter found the workshop inspiring and she learned quite a bit.

The best thing that we’ve chatted through is the fact that Nicole had an incredibly “winding career path” and that she “tried a lot of different things before landing on screenwriting” – that was a really big comfort and encouragement to Roenne as she has such a wide-range of interests and hobbies!

This is very much in-line with the thoughts around generalization that I have written so much about in the last few years – my oldest, especially, is already headed down that wide and exciting path.

Below are some of the notes that Roenne took – Ive called out one in particular though:

You don’t need to choose who you want to be at such a young age. Your life path can be a zig-zag.

Nicole Perlman

Totally agree.


Notes via Roenne:

  • There are a bunch of kids
  • There is a video on the screen
  • Dang it I forgot a notebook
  • Starts off with some cool questions
  • Very welcoming
  • The screenwriter started writing short stories at 12-13 years old
  • Won second place in sci-do genre for short story writing in the state
  • Was a very competitive writer at a young age
  • I Am Groot scene was the dark scene
  • The second half is usually when the characters find out what they really are about/a moment when it all comes together/oh, I found out what this movie is really about
  • What is the theme: the question you are exploring: what are you saying about that theme (i.e: grief; what does it mean to have grief?).
  • She was the first female writer for marvel
  • She made Guardians of the Galaxy from a bucket of not really known about comic characters
  • The producers and people don’t tell the screenwriters what the plan is for the other movies
  • There is a thing called “writing in spec,” which is like a story that you write that you are really passionate about
  • The second is “writing on assignment,” which is work for hire
  • The third is pitching an idea without actually writing it. You need to be a good writer at the point though.
  • Even if you have the smallest idea for anything, write it down. It can become something big later.
  • If you have a file/binder of things that you find interesting or something you developed awhile ago, it can be fun to put it into your story.
  • Prompts can help you create a cool story idea/add on to a story
  • If she gets stuck on something that she doesn’t know about, she writes what she needs to learn about and then gets back into it; it’s hard to get back into the flow if you come out of it
  • When she was younger, having encouraging people surrounding her, she felt at least that she could do anything and that it was okay to not win. Every story matters is cool.
  • Being in a writing group is helpful
  • Taking notes is especially helpful
  • Be as uniquely you. Don’t write like other people. Write like you. Write like yourself.
  • Enthusiasm will help you to get to Hollywood
  • Being emotionally connected to your characters will help you write better.
  • Learning Mythology can help you become a better screenwriter
  • Taking Journalism is helpful bc you get straight to the point, hook, etc
  • Taking Haiku Poetry is helpful to being a screenwriter as well.
  • NYU isn’t good for community….!
  • NYU also wants you to stay in your lane.
  • Starting at an Agency is helpful as a sideways route to screenwriting, but sometimes people can get stuck.
  • You don’t need to choose who you want to be at such a young age. Your life path can be a zig-zag.
  • Being curious about different people can help

Good notes – the workshop was easily worth the $25.00 entry fee! I love SFFilm so much.

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