Author's Corner

Screenwriter Aleisha Gore talks chocolate and procrastination

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Since her childhood dream of becoming a professional football player with the Oakland Raiders didn’t quite work out, Aleisha Gore has pursued another goal — writing! Read on for how this self-described poet and journal writer has parlayed her passion for adventure into an exciting turn as a screenwriter.

Screenwriter Aleisha Gore celebrates "Chocolate is Not Better Than Sex" (Courtesy photo)

Screenwriter Aleisha Gore celebrates “Chocolate is Not Better Than Sex” (Courtesy photo)

Q: What are some of your current projects?

A: I’m in the middle of producing one of my scripts and in December my fellow producers and I are shooting it. It’s a romantic comedy called “Chocolate is Not Better than Sex.”

I’ll then be finishing up the movie script version of a book I wrote called “Marney + Me, Best Sisters 4Ever” about a seven-year-old genius named Samantha, who gets put into the 7th grade, and like a fish out of water, she has to deal with the mean teens and she does so with her big sarcastic mouth (all narrated by her character).

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Also, a I took on a writing partner for a vampire comedy project and we’re hoping to finish the first draft soon. I recently submitted a pilot TV sitcom to Amazon studios and that’s all I want to say about that — for now.

Q: What are some of your biggest challenges you have faced in the profession and how do you address them?

A: Procrastination. That is a writer’s worst nightmare. I can handle writer’s block, quite easily, as really there is so much in my head and heart, it’s easy to write. But, I know, for certain, I was more disciplined before I became an adult. Seems odd, I know. But, as a kid, I think I had more time, wasn’t hard up for money, I had more of my own private space, I felt freer. So, the truth is, discipline is really important, but it’s secondary to organization.

Organizing just the right space, with the right tools, and setting the mood whether you like things perfectly quiet, like I do, or whether you like music playing like some of my writer friends, that is key to breaking through the procrastination. Because if you have no excuses, you will write. The trick is not to grant your excuses any importance.

Q: What advice would you have for writers looking to break into film writing?

A: Read a lot of good scripts. Read that again. Read a lot of “good” scripts. Just because a movie gets made doesn’t necessarily mean the script was good. We can all think of one or more movies that we cringed during the dialogue or even wondered how the movie got funded in the first place. Secondly, read about script writing from the greats. There are a lot of screenwriting books out there. But I recommend “Elements of Style for Screenwriters” by Paul Argentini, “The Writer’s Guide to Writing Your Screenplay” by Cynthia Whitcomb, and “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder. I’ve read many, many more, but as I’ve gone on, these three books have been my Bible. Syd Field’s “Screenplay” also won’t steer you wrong.

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And you know, maybe I was born to be a writer, maybe I have a gift, but I took a lot of writing classes. When we are born, we are a blank slate and if you think you know everything, you’re wrong. I recommend classes, TV script and screenwriting classes. Writers write, yes, but you must learn to write if you’re going to have true confidence in your work and not put out just cocky arrogant babble. What you release is a part of you. It becomes what people think of you. If you put out garbage, maybe someone will eat it, but eventually they, too, get sick.

Also, among my pet peeves are spelling and grammar mistakes. Please, for goodness sake, learn to write well, properly with no spelling and grammatical errors. If a potential buyer sees those novice errors, your script will go into the bin.

Q: Describe your writing ritual.

A: I can get inspired by a number of things, sometimes it’s a current event, sometimes it’s when I’m having a brisk walk and my mind wanders. Sometimes it’s listening to and observing people that inspires me, because life is funny. The funniest places I’ve been inspired are in bed while dreaming and in the shower. So when I’m ready to write, I seek out a quiet space and get my tools ready. I usually have 5 or 6 blank lined notebooks and dozens of pens lying around so I never have to be without materials. I also have a few different writing programs or blog sites at my disposal depending on where my mood and subject matter takes me.

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I don’t like Starbucks as a place to write. If I can’t get a quiet place, as I said before, I’ll put on the headphones and create some kind of white noise, by listening to the jungle sounds I find on youtube. There are several hour long videos that I can plug into in order to get some peace.

Q: Where can people find your work?

A:You can read my blogs and stories, and see the short films I wrote at espritfilms.com/watch.html and even find out about my self-published books on a website I created: girlinahouse.com.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at EducatedWriter.com and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com

Kerri S. Mabee

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