Hello friends, MizJenkins here. I am come to you with a plea for inspiration to be crowdsourced from your brilliant, manifold minds. My goal: to make a submission to the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship that was posted on Groupthink and on The Salad Bowl last week.
Not that I fancy myself a particularly great writer, but over the past five years of job/soul searching every time I have come up empty-handed someone has said to me, "You know what, MizJenkins? You should be a writer. You should write a book. You have such a distinctive writing style and voice...". Frankly I'm not sure where this is coming from because as far as I know most of these people have never read anything I've written. And I don't know that it's particularly true. But I have to admit I do spend an inordinate amount of time expressing my thoughts and opinions in writing. And I do think that television needs more stories told from diverse perspectives.
Thing is, I really only ever do it in response to a conversation prompt such as an article on GT or Gawker. For the past year or so I have sworn that I would write more (read: at all) in my journal and/or start on some sort of story or novel, but I always run up against the same barrier: what the fuck do I write about?
HBO is asking applicants to submit a writing sample along with a 500 word essay on their personal background and how it has influenced their storytelling. The latter is no problem, that's basically every university application essay I've ever written ("I am a mixed-race lady adrift in a fucked up racist society and blah blah blah"). But what kind of writing sample do I send? I'm guessing a contract or legal brief would be less than compelling. Presumably they want some kind of story? But I have no idea what kind of story I should tell.
One might say that a person should know the answer to that question before applying for a storyteller's fellowship. Others might say figuring out the answer to that question is the entire purpose of the fellowship. I dunno.
What should I write about? Anybody? Feel free to be as general or as specific as you'd like. You can even throw out a word or phrase improv comedy style...anything I can pick up and run with.
UPDATE: apparently this has to be a tv pilot or screenplay. Er...I don't think I know how to do that. Crap. Also the lawyer in me is wondering if this is not just a really clever way for them to collect ideas for shows without paying for them. I note that they include a release form. Not sure how to feel about that.