screenwriting

Blog post: Online Learning

Blog post: Online Learning 2048 1365 zarnagarg

Once my interest was piqued, I went deep into the online world to look at who was writing movies, how they got started, where else could I learn screenwriting.

I’m a mom of three. There are so many restrictions on my time and energy that I am forced to look for efficient options. Also, I’ve just finished paying off my student loans from years of college and law school – the last thing I was willing to do was take on more education expenses.

But the world is different now. There are so many resources available online for a very low price. One of the first things I found and fell in love with was the MasterClass series. For $99 I could access all their lectures for a year! That worked for me because I am particularly slow and need to watch and re-watch something over and over again if I’m trying to learn from it.

Also, www.writeyourscreenplay.com offered the classes I loved online. Once I started looking, the options seemed endless.

I tore through all the movie and comedy related searches. There was something fun and interesting about each option and my excitement grew. Famous screenwriters, storytellers talked about doing what they did for their love for movies. Huh. That’s a thing?

I couldn’t believe that you could become a screenwriter just because you love doing it, there is no license required, no advanced degree, no technical qualification? So odd. Coming from a world of only knowing a few jobs, law, medicine, accounting, I figured that to do any job you need to check a million boxes – tests, scores, essays, letters of recommendations and more, here I was looking at a job that was available for someone who just wanted to do it because they liked to do it. That’s a thing?

I was so elated and felt so empowered. I decided I could do this and I was going to use every means available to maximum capacity.

Blog post: And someone telling you to get started is not going to get you started

Blog post: And someone telling you to get started is not going to get you started 1365 2048 zarnagarg

I was a confused mess, nervous and anxious when I knew I wanted to write my story as a movie screenplay, but had ZERO idea how to go about it. What even is step one to writing a movie?

Google brought me to the website www.writeyourownscreenplay.com.

Can it be any easier than this? I fiddled around for a few minutes and saw that they had classes in the evening in NYC, and called them to see if I could just stop by to see what they do. They invited me to sit in on one free class.

Of course right before leaving for class, I almost bailed – it was raining, it looked like a horrendous commute, down and across Manhattan and a few blocks of walking too. A headache promptly arrived and I felt ‘faint’.

But this time, I was determined not to succumb to these faux issues. I did make it easy for myself and splurged on a Via ride to reduce the commuting stress. I promised myself a slice of pizza after (was going to eat it anyway – would’ve probably been because I was sad that I bailed on myself yet again) – as a reward.

It’s nuts. I’m 45 years old. But the tricks that worked on my two year olds once upon a time, work on me that day too.

I made my way to the class and walked in with so much trepidation, only to be greeted by the most friendly hellos and a warm group of young ‘uns who said, “Come on in!”

I sat in on my first class in the back seat, hiding in the dark, just wanting to watch and I was RIVETED. The teacher, Jack Kreuger, cracked open the screenplay of the movie American Beauty and opened the class with ‘why this title,’ and a vibrant discussion ensued.

I was so shocked. I had no idea that people sat and discussed all this in the way that I had been discussing with myself in my head. I was hooked. And people were serious in their analysis – the questions were deep and comprehensive.

I got home from that lesson and went crazy searching how to learn more about screenwriting. People do this? How slow am I? I’ve been watching movies most of my life, of course someone is writing them! How did I not know that this is a real job? I felt so stupid, so utterly dumb at not having known that this is what screenwriting must entail.

But this time, my feeling ‘less than’ was not going to stop me. I decided to say to myself what I say to my kids all the time – ‘one foot before the other’ and ‘one step at a time’.

If I don’t tell my own story, no one else will.

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    Blog post: Your Fears Are Normal

    Blog post: Your Fears Are Normal 2560 1707 zarnagarg

    Hi, welcome to Zarna’s journey.

    I’m creating this blog, primarily to share the behind the scenes of the screenwriting business, stand-up comedy business and the speaking business.

    I hope to encourage you all to take a chance at whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do and get involved in your own special way.

    The first thing that held me back before I could start any business was my insecurity around my ability to write in a coherent, intelligent way – the grammar, punctuation, will I make sense? I will probably sound stupid.

    I never learned the rules of grammar as a child. It’s a fact. I don’t understand any of the things people talk about in America, –prepositions, suppositions, even noun, verb is all vague. I have to look it up constantly.

    And I’ve learned that this insecurity is not limited to foreign language speakers like me, but rather, I have native English speakers express their fears to me all the time.

    That fear is real and is holding so many people back and I just want to say – JUMP IN NOW! The idea and thought that you want to communicate is so much more valuable than the perfect prose needed to communicate it. Don’t let a period, comma or hypotenuse stop you! We live in the age of a 140 characters and odd abbreviations, be empowered by those options and get started. Also there are only a million editing apps, get your ideas going, however rickety the start may be and use technology to balance out your weaknesses.

    You may create something that will be judged harshly, that will embarrass you, that will even possibly get you canceled in this culture – but by not creating anything, you’re canceling yourself – why would you ever do that?

    Your ideas and your stories are valuable – if you don’t tell them, no one else will. (My editor fixed the punctuation on this blog post – the first draft that I wrote looks like a murder scene with red ink splattered all over it.)

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      Zarna Garg