Alright, soooo… I talk about diversity a lot. BECAUSE IT MATTERS. But I don’t really know where I stand on the #OscarssoWhite issue. I’m really only writing about it because it’s trending and I should have an opinion. So, I’ll make it up as I go. Here goes nothing.
Yeah, me, too. But in reality, it's 2015 and there are still many groups of people who cannot turn on mainstream television or go see mainstream movies with people who look like them or have similar backgrounds as they do in it. It's just a fact. However, we often shoot the messenger when it comes to casting. Yes, the Casting Department and producers make final decisions about who you see on the screen. But, writers give them the canvas to begin with and often, it's blank. Well, when you're given a blank campus, you paint it in your color of choice...or leave it blank.
Good question. It can be quite confusing. Here's my attempt at making it "not" confusing. lol
Network: The buyers in the TV world. People come to a network with an idea. The network purchases the idea, then guides it along to what will eventually air on the network. Networks develop relationships with studios and production companies to bring them in on deals where they see fit. The network oversees the entire production each of their shows but they bring in studios and prod. co's to work in specific areas. Networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and so on; Cable (Networks): ABC Family, BET, BRAVO, FX, VH1, and so forth.
The short answer is no. If you had asked this question 10 years ago it would truly be no. But in 2015 more people are getting degrees in film, plain and simple. Millennials are the education generation. Our parents encouraged/enforced education down our throats from the moment we could blink. So unlike the days of old, when high school graduates or hard-working immigrants applied for lower-level jobs in Hollywood that would become networking heaven and eventually turn them into directors, executives, producers, and writers... these days, film school graduates have their own living network.
Wait. Huh? What do you mean? I mean exactly what I said. The screenplay is not the movie. Have you ever read the screenplay of one of your favorite movies? If you're a writer, this is a must. If you're simply a fan, don't do it. It may negatively change your viewpoint of your fave film. Either way, if you choose to read the screenplay, you will be let in on the biggest secret of Hollywood.
I hate to burst your bubble but they are all just titles. Lol. Kidding...not really. Let's start from the bottom up. (Note: These descriptions are simplified. Each role goes above and beyond what's written below.) First some background on Creative Departments:
I applied to several graduate programs. The majority of them were MFA Film or Writing programs, some were MA Film programs and some were MA Creative Writing programs. What's the difference in those degrees, you ask? MFA (Master's of Fine Art) is a practical degree, where you not only study the art but you physically do the art. An MA (Master's of Art) is more of a theoretical degree where you study the art but you don't necessarily practice it. Make sense? Maybe not but that's the gist of it. For example, an MFA is to a Filmmaker what an MA is to a professor (there are always exceptions to the rule).
As I told you, I wanted to be a writer. At this time in my life I had narrowed it down to a TV writer. Well, after taking the GRE twice (only one of my schools needed this score, it happened to be the school I attended!), practically teaching myself how to write a screenplay, and writing more admissions essays than anyone ever wants to write in a lifetime, I was finally accepted into two of the programs: American Film Institute in LA and Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. So therein lies the question: Shannan, why didn't you choose AFI? Well, we have to back up a bit to find the answer.
I was that kid, sitting in my 3rd grade class, learning about descriptive writing and eating it all up. After reading my first descriptive story, my teacher Mrs. Jones told me I should be a writer. Great! At 8 years old, I totally knew what profession I'd be going into. I wrote my first novel at age 10. I wrote short stories that kept me up all night because I didn't want to leave my characters to solve their own problems. I carried R.L. Stine, Beverly Clearly and eventually Terry McMillan in my purse because if boredom ever tried to sneak in, I would disappear into another world.
I wanted to be an author, knowing that I'd need a day job because you don't become Stephen King over night. You have to pay your bills somehow...
Shannan E. Johnson, CEO