The senior project process, if anything, has been incredibly rocky. But as week 5 of the project begins, I have a much clearer idea of what it is I’ll be studying and what I’ll be producing with this project: How are TV shows written and produced.
Before I get into what I’ll be doing for the next few months, I want to give some background on how I became interested in TV and film production. In 2013, while visiting my family friends in Cupertino for the summer, I was challenged by the aforementioned family friends to make a movie. And in a few days, using a budget totaling up to $0.00, we made ‘War of the Smiles.’ Looking back, I realize that the plot and reasoning of the film are completely incoherent, as are iMovie skills, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
From here on, I grew more interested in film with projects such as ‘Sneeze ‘n’ Babs,’ a bizarre talk show I made with my friends (which was so bad, I’m not going to include a link), music videos made for classes educating my classmates on PCR and the struggles of AP Calculus BC, and this screenplay that I’ve made the foundation for my senior project.
I started writing my screenplay in January 2018 after being inspired by a weeklong binge of Joe Wright’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the best adaptation) and “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” a web-series that told the story of P&P as a modern-day vlog. I was so consumed by Jane Austen’s flagship work and I just wanted more. Specifically, I wanted the story told in the way I read it: as a sitcom. It had all the hallmarks of sitcoms — absurd characters, an overarching love-story, humor, misunderstandings and mishaps, and more. But for some reason, the story was only adapted into dramas. So I decided to create my own content, specifically, Pride & Prejudice in the style of “Parks and Recreation,” complete with snippets of ‘interviews’ and characters looking into the camera.
My first draft was terrible. I’m not going to include a link to it because it’s so bad that when I opened the file, I immediately closed the tab. Instead, here’s a snippet of the garbage I wrote:
I considered turning in my work for a final grade in Dr. Jupin’s Film Studies, but I chickened out and buried it deep in my Google Drive. Until now!
In the weeks since we began our senior project, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Roslind Sanders, a writer for Disney, who is currently working on her own projects outside of the company. She has incredible talent and ability to write across genres and it’s such a pleasure to work with someone who’s as passionate about writing and women in film as I am! In the past month, I’ve:
- Completely revamped my work so that it’s at least in (somewhat) proper formatting
- Revised the ‘revamped’ work twice
- And re-written the revised pilot episode screenplay
For this week, I’ll be taking a break from writing the script/screenplay and will be focusing on creating a ‘Bible,’ which is basically like a Wikipedia entry for your TV show. Bibles answer the questions: why did you want to make this show, what is your show, what is the overarching story, who are the characters, what is the plot of future episodes, etc. Below is an example of the Bible Elizabeth Merriwether wrote for her show (and one of my favorite shows) “New Girl”
Answering the first question has taken quite a bit of soul searching trying to understand what the story of Pride & Prejudice means to me. I mean, I’m a teenage Indian-American girl from California. I could not be further from Jane Austen’s target audience. And yet, I still find myself identifying with Elizabeth and I see my brother and parents in Elizabeth’s sisters and parents. Still need to think more about this.
Well, that’s all for this week, folks and if you read this far, congratulations! I’ll buy you a snack of your choosing! And, you get to find out what I’ve been listening to this week:
It gives me very 90s/early 2000s R&B vibes and I love it very much :’)