Writing Process Blog Tour

I'm grateful to Leesa Dean for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  Leesa is the one-woman dynamo who writes, directs and hand animates the hilarious and addictive web series Chilltown TV ("the best in scathing urban animated comedy") which I like to describe as The Simpsons meets Pulp Fiction by way of Chien Andalou.  It's that good.  

The format of this blog tour is to answer four questions and introduce three new writers.  Here we go: 

WHAT AM I WORKING ON: I’m working on Season 3 of The Louise Log, the comedy web series which has been my consuming passion since late 2007.  

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE: It’s very hard to keep up with all the new web series cropping up but I think that The Louise Log differs from other comedy series in its focus on the inner life of Louise, a housewife/frustrated artist.  You see the polite smile, the mask…but then you hear what she’s really thinking from her inner voice.  

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO? I have a lot of different motivations for writing but mostly I write about things in an effort to understand them.  If something in the news, a movie or a book makes me laugh and especially if I don’t understand why I find it funny, I often steal it and use it.  The act of writing is crucial for both focusing and developing my thoughts.  

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?  I don’t really have a writing process as much as I have corrals to corner me and get me to write.  

  • The brain drain.  First thing in the morning, before talking or being talked to, I scribble on three sides of 8 1/2” x 11” paper.  Julia Cameron’s excellent book The Artist's Way  introduced me to this discipline and, at this point, I’m superstitious about giving it up.  Some of the voice-overs and many of the themes of The Louise Log come from this free-writing.  

  • Trial webs.  Gabriele Rico developed this truly astonishing way of writing and explains it in great detail in her book Writing The Natural Way.  After being moved to tears by the essays some supposedly “ineducable” high school boys wrote using her method, I felt hopeful that maybe it would work for me.  I use it for any and everything I write- letters, a blog post, scenes, character development, voice-overs, etc.  The radical aspect of this approach is that you don’t have to have an outline or even an idea of what you’re going to write.  All you have to do is let a feeling, an image or an idea affect you and then jot down what comes to mind as it does.   

  • Deadlines. Without a deadline, I rewrote one feature script for seventeen years.  Monthly deadlines have worked well for me on The Louise Log.  

Finally, here are three writer/artist friends who are extremely productive and (I think) really smart.  They'll post blogs on this tour next Monday, June 2nd but you can take a look at what they're up to right now.

Henry Sheppard is a novelist and screenwriter. His novel Play the Devil, published last December, is the fruit of a number of years spent in Pentecostal churches, where he encountered hypocrisy, sexual and financial abuse, and a pyramid of personality cults. He has also written several screenplays, all romantic comedies, and is currently working on converting the novel into a TV series.  http://adelaidescreenwriter.blogspot.com.au/ 

Susan Kouguell's internationally award-winning short films are in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection and archives and were included in the Whitney Musuem's Biennial. Awards include top prizes at the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, Marburg International Film Festival, Bucks County Festival, Berline Interilm International Festival and the Baltimore International Film Festival.  

She has worked on over a dozen feature films including Mariel Hemingway’s The Suicide Club and voice-over narrations for Miramax Film Corp (assigned by Harvey Weinstein). Kouguell is the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including the MacDowell Colony, Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS) and Edward Albee Foundation.

In addition, Kouguell has taught screenwriting at Tufts University for fourteen years, at Prague Film School, Harvard University Extension School, Antioch University, School of Visual Arts, at Screenwriters Online and is a regular contributor to many screenplay and film publications.  http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/

Marie Christine Katz is a multi-media artist. Her work is an intuitive and spontaneous gesture in reaction to current event(s) or a personal situation that is developed over time.  

She uses paper, fabric, threads, wire, hair, yarn, lint, glass and wax to text, performance & participatory art, sound photography and video. 

Exhibition highlights:  Velada Santa Lucia, Venezuela,  Art in Odd Places NYC, Sell out at No Longer Empty LIC,  Brooklyn Utopias "In TRANSITion", Mapnificent BRAC and Dixon Place NYC.  Marie Christine Katz had an Artist Residency at The Field and Art Omi in 2011. www.mariechristine.com