3rd week of the ​4th month in school

I’m currently in Script Analysis and Criticism. The 4th of 12 courses in this MFA-Creative Writing program. This is a program focused on screenwriting, for all you new readers.

So far, I’m getting an A, but I still have 4 more assignments left to be graded for this course. Well, 2 more to finish before they get graded. I’m afraid if I don’t do well I could be getting a B. YIKES! However, I’ll wait to see what I get before I start worrying about grades. My overall grade is a strong A, but it’s weakened some. I hope I can do better in the remaining courses to maintain an honors-level GPA. It’s going to be tough.

Anyway, this course isn’t as simple as I thought, going in. I had done a few script reviews and a couple of movie reviews based on certain criteria and items that most standard readers use. Well, if you don’t understand story structure from a professional level, how can you understand analyzing it?

Exposing too much information or certain things about the course or the material could get me in serious trouble or get me expelled. So, my blogs won’t ever get into to much specific detail. However, I can talk about my own experience, perception, and results of taking this program or its courses.

This course serves up a short and feature film, along with a video game to analyze. This is all to prepare us to not only become better storytellers and writers but become marketable to someday be industry professionals. We’re diving into the differences between autonomous narratives, episodic, and serial stories. That means, feature and short films, along with their sequels, TV and cable shows, webisodes, comics, and graphic novels. Not so much as to how to write them, but what are the differences between them.

The next course, Episodic and Serial writing,  will introduce us to the format and structure of these types of stories. I will indulge my audience in letting them know the differences between these two mediums.

Episodic stories are ones that are all self-enclosed. Meaning, the inciting incident and the climax, which are related, all happen within one installment. Yes, there may be an over-arcing storyline, but basically, a new viewer can come in and not have to know what happened before that episode to enjoy and understand it. Like, “Jerry Seinfeld” or “Big Bang Theory”.

A Serial has an on-going arc and story goal or journey laid out in several installments with the inciting incident happening in the first show, usually at the end. If you come into the middle, you won’t understand the story, world or characters and will be lost.  The season finale usually wraps up the goal or the journey with a new one for the next season. For these shows, it’s best to watch the first show. Like the series, “The Walking Dead.”

I had a couple of story ideas that I started working on before attending school. A TV sitcom and a webisode. The webisode could be episodic where the characters are the same and the stories follow a specific format like, “CSI.” Different suspects and crimes, but basically the same story with a new twist. I’m still working on the outline for both. After I complete this course, that should help me write these spec stories at a professional level. These won’t help me get jobs as a TV writer (not sure if I even want that), but it would be showcased to get me representation and maybe even win some contests or awards.

Third month of school

I finished my third course, Character Creation and Development. On to Script Analysis and Critique. This should be fun. Lots of movie watching and well, script reading and analysis, lol. Still maintaining an A grade (3.75 GPA). However, it’s a low A. I was hoping to get close to 100% as possible, but if I can graduate with an A I’ll be happy. Only 9 more courses and months to go.

Script Analysis and Critique course

So, the current course I’m in is Script Analysis and Critique. The 4th of 12 monthly courses. This course will involve reading and analyzing short, feature, episodic/serial, and other media scripts, like video games, graphic novels, and comics.

We will be introduced to tools and processes to use and follow to fully and systematically analyze these scripts. It will instill strategies and thought processes to better prepare and equip us in not only professionally analyzing other writer’s script, but use that to write better scripts ourselves.

I’m still maintaining an overall A grade and 3.75 GPA. I fear that they will both take a beating with the remaining courses if I don’t get a grip on my writing. It will take more master-level writing and presentation to maintain that grade. I would be very happy graduating with honors. I will have to work hard and fight for it, which is good and should be expected.

So, for those reading this, please offer some encouragement by Liking my posts and Following me here and on FB, Twitter and on other social media under my user ID, jjkhawaiian. Thanks in advance.

The Honduran migrant invasion

John Hamilton

NOV 25, 2018

The US-Mexico Border Caravan situation:

Lots of live feeds on FaceBook and YouTube and other independent news channels are showing the Honduras caravan invading and rushing the Port of Entry at San Ysidro.

This is INSANE!

There are thousands of these Honduras, so-called refugees that are now amassing at the U.S/Mexico border and more are coming in the hopes to cross illegally into the United States of America.

From the Mexico side, the Mexican Federales/Police have been overrun when the movement of the caravan to the USA started. This led to hundreds of invaders running, dragging their children behind them. Hundreds more pushing and stampeding over those who fall.

In all my 54 years as an American native citizen, I’ve never seen this craziness. I don’t know if our borders have ever been shut down. But, today, it happened.

On the U.S. side, the CBP and the military are in full force and working in tandem with the Mexico police to shut down the border, which they have done. No cars, no people and no entry are allowed.

Tear gas has already been used on those climbing over the older aluminum fence. Helicopters are flying along the border, ready to engage. In some cases, migrants (invaders) are trying to find any weakness in border fencing and walls to slip in.

I’m currently watching 4 different views of this event. RKTNN, GlobalNews, Frontera Info, and Milenio.com. Some of these live feeds are on Facebook or Youtube or on their own websites. There are probably more. Even FAKE NEWS is getting in on the situation.

What do these “caravan” people want? They want all your stuff. They want to overrun our country and take everything they can. There are tens of thousands watching to see what happens with the thousands now trying to cross into America. Our America. Our nation. To steal, rape, kill and do everything they can to destroy America. This is WAR and this is an INVASION!

If all the South American countries want to try this, BRING IT! We’re ready for a war and will smash your armies into dust. Honduras, Brazil, Guatemala, Columbia, etc. You’re all on the watch list and will FAIL. You might as well try and revolt in your own country because there’s no room at the inn and there’s no problem with us using deadly force.

The U.S President Trump has been aggressive and assertive in defending our borders. He has given General Mattis full authority to use lethal force, if necessary, against all who throw rocks or use any weapons on CBP or American Military. If the caravan does repeat what they did coming into Mexico and expect to just waltz in untouched, they have another thing coming.

Many Americans don’t want more illegal aliens, claiming asylum or not. Most of these caravan people may be fleeing very dangerous situations, but I suspect that is a small number within the caravan. Our nation already has up to 10% of illegals, some have infiltrated our government, military, and other roles and places of law enforcement and legislation. In the meantime, American law enforcement has been ordered to stand down and ignore lawbreakers from the illegal alien community.

Even our native American government officials have worked to change their Cities and States status as Sanctuary, instead of enforcing immigration laws while working against I.C.E. working on rounding up criminals to deport these mostly repeat defenders. Most law-abiding illegal aliens (an oxymoron) are being ignored at this point.

However, President Trump is working hard to thwart these sanctuary cities and states plans. Federal funding is one way to stop their sedition and rebellion. Sending the F.B.I. in to investigate possible criminal violations by these officials is another. Then, indicting and charging them with those infractions. Finally, finding them guilty with evidential diligence by presenting them in a court of law is a final push in stopping this madness.

In conclusion, this insanity of the Central/South American invasion of America is real and has started with this caravan. It’s nice to see the response by Mexican and American forces to block these invaders. Many more Americans are gathering together into militias across the whole border to defend illegal entry joining US CBP and military to help strengthen our forces.

School Update

Alright, it seems it’s been a while since my last post. I’m in the 3rd month of 12-month masters degree creative writing program. Character Creation and Development. Last month was The Art of Visual Storytelling. Before that was Mastery. I got A’s in both classes. I hope to get an A in this current course, but it’s tough.
Lot’s of reading AND writing. My Instructor is Michael Tabb. He’s a professional screenwriter and WGA member. I hope to learn a whole lot from him, this course, and this program.
I have three Hint and one Flash Fiction I wrote. I also wrote three different prompt-driven stories. Also, I wrote 3 new loglines for features and working on a premise-genre short story in this current class.

New Hint Fiction stories

Hint Fiction is a complete story using only 25 words. Below were the requirements that I was to follow. More relevant information is below.

The Prompt:

  1. Write a 25-word story.
  2. Give it a clear conflict.
  3. Create a compelling character.
  4. Provide clear stakes.
  5. There should be a beginning, middle and end
  6.  Edit it
  7. Revise it

Hint Fiction is short, but it is a high-wire act of creativity.

Start with the conflict. What is in-between the protagonist and his or her goal? Set it up in the front, close it out in the back. Like a mullet hairdo (business in front/party in the back), you want to take care of the business of clarity and set-up in the front. Unlike a mullet, it might not be a party the story leads to but a funeral. Either way, the Hint Fiction must have three parts, and that includes resolution. Cliffhangers are not what we are looking for here.

The Stories

Below are the three stories with two versions. Let me know which story you liked and why. Also, if you liked the revised version(s)  better.

Story 1: The Red Balloon –

Old: Most balloons knew their place in society. Red wanted more and one day got his chance. He soared like the birds; his skin wrinkling, fast.

New: Red didn’t want to be just one of the herd. He made his escape, playing among the clouds, realizing too late he’d made a mistake.

Story 2: Invisible –

Old: Like a middle-child; transparent imagery with silent vocalism, like background furniture. However, unique blandness that shone like a found penny, washed ashore. Dazzles, sparkling.

New: A cursed power to live in the light of shadows, among the ghosts. Breaking chains to rejoin the living, this time on her own terms.

Story 3: Bigfoot –

Old: Deep in the woods, alone, hiking. Sense of warning issued by his quickened breathing. Dreading turning around from fear, yet compelled. Scared shitless. Bigfoot smiles.

New: Myth lives among these dark woods, they say. Tepidly, I broke off path. Heartbeat in my throat hearing unknown terror from behind, tripping. Bigfoot laughs.

Second Month at Full Sail

Another month has risen upon us Full Sail University students in the MFA Creative Writing program.

The Art of Visualization, just about nearing the end of first of four weeks, is going to be a challenge for us writers. Hint, Flash, and other short story formats are in store. We are going to start building our professional writer portfolios here on out.

I’m still excited and doing well in my studies, except for one pre-test that resulted in a less than desirable grade. I will have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and make up ground to keep a 4.0 GPA.

Here’s to hard work, drive, determination and creative talent!