Welcome to week one of AFF at Home! In this time of distance and restrictions – we wanted to promote a sense of community, engagement, and creativity. AFF at Home will guide you through a week’s worth of content and stories in the hopes to not only inspire but to motivate you to complete your next creative step. To quote the great Bill Wittliff, “if you take care of your writing, your writing takes care of you”. This program is designed to help you on your journey to becoming a better writer. And since it’s all virtual, your writing community is now spanning the globe. We encourage you to use this space to connect with others, and who knows, you might connect with a virtual writing partner that you might have met sitting at the Driskill Bar!
This week’s theme is “Spark Your Story”. Whether you’re jumping back in or taking the first step, we want you to hit the ground running! We have five actions, each with different content, for you to engage with.
We encourage you to go at your own pace and keep us updated on Twitter with #AFFatHome.
Spark Your Story
All writers experience writer’s block – from the amateur to the professional. This week, listen to panelists Ashley Miller (Thor), Amy Louise Johnson (The Long Road Home), and Herschel Weingrod (Trading Places) as they discuss tips for tackling the blank page.
Listen to the raw audio from these inspirational panels straight out the On Story Archive at the Wittliff Collections:
- A Shot of Inspiration (2007) featuring Daniel Petrie, Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop) and Robin Swicord (Little Women), moderated by Dawn Wiercinski
- Inspiration Panel (2004) featuring Barry Blaustein (Coming to America) and Bill Wittliff (Lonesome Dove), moderated by Bud Shrake (Tom Horn)
CONNECT WITH US
How will you apply the wisdom of the panel to your writing this week? Tell us on Twitter using #AFFatHome or in the forum below.
Q&A with Wendy Calhoun
What have you always wanted to ask a writer about starting a new project? We’re doing a virtual Q&A with Wendy Calhoun! Submit your questions here or on Twitter using #AFFatHome by Thursday 3/26 by 11:59pm and we’ll publish her selected responses here on Monday 3/30.
MORE ABOUT WENDY CALHOUN
Peabody-award winning writer/producer Wendy Calhoun’s unique career spans one-hour dramas, unscripted series, VR, and gaming. Currently in an exclusive overall deal at Warner Bros. Television Studios, she serves as Consulting Producer on FBC’s Prodigal Son. Her scripted drama credits include Co-Executive Producing and writing the historic first season of Fox’s Empire, as well as debut seasons of ABC’s Station 19, Nashville, Revenge, and FX’s Justified. Calhoun’s developed seven drama pilots with NBC, The CW, Netflix, FX, Twentieth TV Studios, and ABC Signature Studios. Her forty hours of unscripted credits include producing and directing for FBC’s Hell’s Kitchen, TLC’s Ballroom Bootcamp, Discovery’s Monster House, and VH1’s 100 Greatest Dance Song. Calhoun wrote and directed the virtual reality short, Left Behind, which screened at the 2016 Austin Film Festival and won “Best in VR” at Digital Hollywood. She worked in gaming as the Narrative Consultant for Electronic Arts’ Battlefield Hardline video game. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Calhoun is an honored film and television alumni of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She enjoys speaking about diversity and inclusion in popular entertainment at creative conferences and film festivals around the world.
Submissions closed, read about Wendy Calhoun’s answers to your questions.
Student Screenwriting Corner
Whether your classes are canceled, or you are looking for a creative outlet during remote learning, AFF at Home is here for students. Each week, I will provide resources and an activity specifically designed for young writers with an interest in writing a short screenplay. Never written a screenplay before? Don’t stress! Now is a great time to try a new medium. Stick with me, and I’ll show you the basics!
This week’s theme is Spark your Story! I know first-hand that students have some of the most creative ideas around, but they struggle with funneling those big ideas into story. Check out this worksheet from our Digital Storytelling Lesson One: Setting up a Story. This will help make sure your idea has the elements it needs to translate into story.
On Story Movie Night Pick:
Sometimes, as a writer, you need help finding your spark. As we learned in Monday’s podcast, Reigniting Your Spark – Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson found the characters of Bill and Ted by collaborating with a group of artists who were committed to pushing themselves creatively. While it may take a little extra effort these days to reach out, collaborators are more important now than ever. Be excellent to each other.
This week we’re recommending you binge watch Issa Rae’s breakout digital series Awkward Black Girl. When inspiration hit Issa, she didn’t wait for permission for her story to be told. She took her story into her own hands – producing the digital series that would later lead to her award-winning HBO series, Insecure. Her path as a trailblazer serves as a great piece of motivation for the first week of AFF at Home. You might be wondering what your next step is – Issa shows you why it should be a leap of faith.
Catch up on the series and then check out the On Story episode where creator/director/producer/star Issa Rae discusses the unique challenges that surround creating an independent webseries and the freedoms and challenges that come with doing it your own way.
A Conversation with Issa Rae
Language barriers are broken when two strangers start drumming on the subway.
Sometimes your experience of connecting is your story. Listen to co-director Elaine Poon share the inspiration for their short and then enjoy the 2014 AFF short film, Entrain.
CONNECT WITH US
Which movie or show did you watch? Did it inspire your writing? Spark the conversation on Twitter using #AFFatHome.
“All great scripts start with the spark of an idea. But what connects a great idea to a great script? A plan of action. Perhaps you’ve found yourself with a little less structure these days, and while less structure certainly can lend itself to more creativity, it can also lead to procrastination. Whether you are just getting started or getting back on track, here are some materials for you to create a plan of action that works best for you.
Download this week’s writing resource below. You’ll find a step-by-step guide to continue to move your writing forward. Having trouble budgeting your time writing? Access your own plan of action and keep up-to-date with the included schedule – it’s a whole writer’s kit to keep yourself accountable!”
– Sage Kosiorek
Script Competitions Director
A WRITER’S REWARD
It’s time to celebrate the completion of the first week of AFF AT HOME! While sadly we can’t unwind at the Driskill Bar, we encourage you to host a virtual happy hour. Make your favorite cocktail or try our favorite from the Driskill bartenders, The TX Revolver. Just like you would after a long day at the Festival, connect with friends to chat about what each of you worked on this week, reflect upon what inspired you, or make a new friend. Send us a photo of your concoction and tell us what writing you got done this week using #AFFatHome.
It might not be the same as meeting new friends or discussing writers block with your screenwriting hero, but grab your glass (be sure to wash your hands!) and make a toast to a job well done.
Send us a photo of your concoction and tell us what writing you got done this week using #AFFatHome.
See you next Wednesday for a new theme.
Cheers – you deserve it!