I’m about to finish writing the final season of my TV show project, which will be an INCREDIBLE accomplishment. It has been a full year and 200,000+ words of what I hope to look back on and consider the beginning of my “writing career”. In honor of its closing I wanted to talk about what I’ve learned on this auto-biographical journey:
1. Things that I didn’t think we’re such a big deal turned out to be pivotal moments in my life.
Honestly, I had SO much self-discovery during this project. There were scenes that got me double thinking of why I had chosen that particular thing to write in. But overall, those little moments uncovered my flaws, my greatest strengths and some deeply ingrained fears. In re-reading episodes, I often put myself on the psychiatrist couch and just learned all about Val.
2. Things that were irritating at the time turned out to be the funniest things to write.
On the other hand, things that were SUCH A BIG DEAL in my teenage world turned out to be nothing. Writing my over-dramatic reactions had me laughing out loud a lot.
3. Writing someone else’s POV caused me to develop a deeper respect for them.
When I was FORCED to come up with reasons why person X did reaction Y it really made me appreciate that person in real life… even if those reasons were completely fabricated. This happened with nearly everyone I wrote about. The more scenes I constructed the more I realized that these guys are some DANG STRONG CHARACTERS. Being able to be that ghostly third-person presence, really helped me to change my perspective.
4. I am a little to a lot conceited…
It is really difficult not to twist things to make yourself seem really great… Soooo this is embarrassing… there are five different male characters who are in love with Elle. Oops. That doesn’t seem bad, but considering how few consistent characters there are… it comes off as A LOT. I think I did this because I was so flattered when anyone liked me that I wanted to write about all of them… all five. I’m sure when my children pick up these old manuscripts they’ll either cringe or roll their eyes.
5. Human memory is really unreliable
Pardon my symbols, but this is freaky as $^*%. I actually had accrued false memories over a ten year span. Memory is a joke. This one scene had me so freaked out, I was wrapping tin foil around my head and crying on the floor. This is how I remembered the memory: I was asked out on a date in the summer… But then I told a friend about it at school who came over after to help me do my hair… But then one of the guys on the date had brass knuckles in a FREAKING COAT POCKET. But guess what? It all took place during the summer after all. What the what!? How can you trust anything that has happened to you in your lifetime? Doesn’t that concept just CREEP YOU OUT?
6. I plan to keep writing.
I really have enjoyed every minute that I’ve poured into these pages and I have a lot more stories to tell. . .
In fact. . .
I will be announcing my next project in September!!!!
Be very excited.
If you can’t wait for my new mysterious project, then let me tell you where to accrue some good reading. Usborne Books is really cool. They have tons of amazing educational kids books. If you’re a mom or a teacher or a weird hybrid mix like me, this is a great resource for you:
Here’s a quick break-down of the main characters in the TV show that I’m writing and the actors that I think could play them. Ideally, I wouldn’t want any well-known actors because I feel that would make the show less relatable. (Just my personal preference) BUT the problem with make-believe casting them is that I only know well-known actors… so here’s as close as it would be.
(Also! Just want to note that because it’s an autobiographical show, these characters are inspired by real people. However, that doesn’t mean that they are real people. For example, MOST of my characters are made up from multiple people that I’ve met. And some of their character descriptions have been altered from real life to fiction.)
ELLE “The Protagonist”
ELLE is a sixteen-year-old human contradiction. She is a very wholesome girl who attends church weekly but has a closet obsession with Halloween and everything horror. She’s talented at public speaking, yet dreads attending large parties. Although she is a fairly pretty girl, she dresses like a mid-aged suburban mom.
It’s hard to cast yourself, but I think someone like Emily Osment would be able to do the job. I need someone who would be able to do comedy and drama interchangeably. Not only that but someone who could showcase the contrast between “wholesome Elle” and “punk Elle”.
When we did the concept art for the show, I cast a young local actress, Hailey, as Elle for the pictures. My photographer pointed out how alike we acted. She flat out said, “Hailey IS Elle”. I would absolutely cast her as me. She’s a talented actress and I feel confident that she would do an excellent job.
RONNIE “The Bad Influence”
RONNIE (17) is a reflection of ELLE’s contradictory personality. He’s a generally quiet person, but really has very little inhibitions. He knows everything there is to know about cool music and his life revolves around it. Under his black and beaten style he is actually quite tall, dark and handsome.
I think a young Diego Luna would be cool as Ronnie. I just really envision this role being played by a Hispanic actor. I don’t know why. The person who inspired this character isn’t even remotely Hispanic.
JEREMY “The Troublemaker”
JEREMY (18) a long-haired “burn-out” dressed in ripped jeans, a black hoodie and beanie. He’s the type of kid that sits in the back of the class and everyone suspects is the uni-bomber. To find another person with even half of his passion would prove impossible. He’s an avid defender of things being just and fair and would probably have the gumption to murder someone over it, if he didn’t love his mother so much.
Okay, I know that casting this person would require a time machine, even more so than the others. But I just don’t care. I want teenage Richard Dreyfus to play this role SO bad. My heart is totally set on it. Not even the real Jeremy can change my mind.
BRANDON “The Judgmental Ex”
He has thick hair and a sharp, pointy face. That fact that he is attractive in only the mildest sense does nothing to deflate his Adonic self-concept. BRANDON (17) is a very clean cut boy, and although there is no conscious reason not to like him something is very insincere about the way he smiles.
Will freaking Poulter. Oh my gosh, just look at this kid’s face. Don’t you just want him to see him be a snooty villain? Plus Poulter’s comedic timing is impeccable which is just what this over-the-top character needs.
TAYLOR “The Bridge”
TAYLOR (17) is a stunning, dark-haired girl. She is unenthused about being at rehearsal since she had auditioned for the play just a few weeks ago and didn’t make the cut. Her not being cast was probably chalked up to school politics rather than talent, because TAYLOR is very good at acting. In fact, she is very good at everything. She excels at school. She is the president of the student association. She is even very good at being naturally beautiful which is churning JEREMY’S stomach just looking at her.
I just have a feeling that someone like Emily Browning would do a good job as Taylor. And that’s really it… nothing more than just a feeling. Logically, I want to say that someone like Miranda Cosgrove would be able to pull off her personality better but I’m just stuck on Emily Browning for some reason.
TYSON “The Voice of Reason”
ELLE turns to her desk partner TYSON (17) a smart, well-dressed kid. He’s a master of dry humor and is constantly lost in his own irony. He’s the one that you can always count on for the truth even when you don’t want to hear it.
There’s a myriad of YouTube personalities that could fit well as Tyson. Shane Dawson is both sarcastic and personable enough to be able to capture this more complex character.
ADAM “The Mysterious New Student”
The door swings open and in breezes ADAM (17) a classic Hollywood-handsome boy. Every girl in class drops her jaw, including ELLE. As ADAM walks down the aisle amongst the chairs, several of the girls quickly move their purses and backpacks off of the seats next to them. He quietly picks a seat in the back of the room away from everyone.
This is the only character that I care about being “good-looking”. And that’s only because it moves some of the plot elements forward. I feel like Adam would be the hardest character to cast for hands down. It would need to be someone effortlessly talented, since Adam has to make the audience feel the entire spectrum of emotions. I’m still not sold on anyone, but maybe if I could resurrect a healthier River Phoenix. He could probably pull it off.
CASEY “The Second Act Hero”
If CASEY (16) didn’t look so humanistic you might mistake him for a puppy. Excitable, friendly and loud – very loud. Fiercely loyal, athletic, always thinking about food… CASEY is absolutely dripping with personality and leaves puddles of personality everywhere he walks.
To cast a Casey it would have to be a Casey. So I would look at actors who just radiate fun. Someone like Zach Levi or Chris Pratt (without all the fame to his name).
Also I want to cast my teenage celebrity crush, Ricky Ullman, as my husband when he appears in the series.
AM I WRONG?!??
To learn more about this creative writing project click HERE.
Every week I give a small business or creative endeavor a shout-out at the end of my blog post. If you need more views or traffic and are interested in being featured, please contact me.
If you didn’t already know, my latest project that I’ve been writing is a teen drama/comedy television show called “Identity Crisis”. The show is mostly based around my own life. My experiences, my friends, my crushes, my heart aches and my hilarities.
Synopsis:After a messy break-up with her overly religious boyfriend, Elle seeks revenge by trying to fit in with a group of burnouts. After spending time with her new friends however… she begins to wonder who “the bad kids” really are.
I didn’t write it just to be self absorbed. (Even though yeah sort of). I wrote it because I had a lot of old crazy memories that I didn’t know what to do with. I guess I’ve never been much of a conventional diary person. The idea to make an autobiographical TV show was always a consideration. Even when I was personally living major plot points of the now-series, I remember thinking… Wow… this could make a good soap opera. I actually came up with names for a couple of the main characters at the time (“Ronnie Johnson” and “Adam Levenski”). So yeah, I’ve been kicking around the idea for a while now.
Here’s a short sample from the pilot episode, if you’re interested in checking it out. (Disclaimer: mild language and drug use)
I’ve been writing the show since August 2016. I’m currently working on season 5 of the six season set (each with 10 individual episodes). I have a small circle of readers who have been asking for the novelization or production of Identity Crisis. But unfortunately, because the show is based on real people and events it would need to be further fictionalized before I would release it publicly. If there’s enough interest in it, I will add the revision to my project line-up.
For a quick overview of each season you can also check out the main description page here:
*Fun fact! Hailey is wearing my authentic high school clothes in the photos. During the shoot I couldn’t stop talking about how weird it was to see a teen dressed up like “teen-me” and Hailey kept laughing at what I used to wear a decade ago.
If I ever DID make the show, let me tell you who I would want to do all the music. My friend Chris is insanely talented, his voice makes my heart weep with joy. Listen to this song. And then you know what? Go and listen to all of his other songs! You will not be sorry. Be prepared to fall in love.