This blog post was written by Lissa Sangree-Calabrese, a first year Digital Media Mentoring Program mentee. Lissa writes about her experience at the workshop in November. This workshop was on sitcom screenwriting.
I am someone who has, as my dance teacher put it, “an obsession with the grotesque,” so writing something predominately funny and lighthearted, like a sitcom, is not what I’m used to. On the day of the sitcom workshop I entered feeling a little wary, already assuming I’d hate whatever I wrote, but because I love to challenge myself and trust Girls Write Now, I was still excited.
We spent the workshop going step-by-step through what a sitcom is and the elements that every sitcom has. Then, after working independently for a bit, we combined into small groups to come up with a short scene involving all of our characters. That small group talk was surprisingly fun. I found myself getting caught up in the intricacies of miscommunication, the behaviors of every character, and the complexities of language itself. By the time we left for the second half of the workshop, developing our own sitcoms, I was feeling much more confident.
When we finally sat down to write I found myself easily typing out pages of text–the hardest part was getting down the particular format of screenwriting, but after the short lesson on it I found it relatively easy. In no time I had five pages of my sitcom written, and I was feeling pretty good about it. Even after I went home and edited what I had written, sharpening up transitions, finishing the scenes, and clarifying characters, I found I still loved it. I saw the potential of writing an entire episode from the little that I had. It still excites me now, several weeks later, that I was able to do a complete 180. I went from being intimidated and nervous, to genuinely enjoying what I was doing. I even plan on attempting to do more funny, if not sitcom, writing in the future, which is a huge leap for me and not something that I would have ever ventured into if not for Girls Write Now.