Every month, we ask members of the collective to contribute to the BTFC Artist Series by providing original content and sharing their personal journeys with our readers. From missteps to triumphs, and everything else in between, we follow the stories of resident Black Artists working to make a name for themselves in the television and film industry.
I’m not really sure why I’ve decided to write. Half of what I write is misspelled, incoherent or in past tense. I’m long-winded and yet, somehow , I have the tits to spend my life as a screenwriter.
That’s right. A woman who is technically illiterate wants to become a screenwriter. Well, I take that back, I’m not illiterate, but there’s some stuff out there that sure makes me feel like I missed the literacy train.
Have you ever felt like that?
Overwhelmed because you feel inadequate in the arena you’re passionate about, but you’re so stubborn no one can tell you anything or stop you?
Listen alchemist, you want it? Go get it dammit.
Maybe the energy I’m pushing out towards this is in some way me trying to prove something or me believing that I can be what I see; that I can be a movie maker. And why not? Why not try to emulate what I see and use this medium to continue to change lives? I only have one life. And through determination, focus, and desire I’m improving on the craft in an impressive way. I hope this candid snapshot of my truth and journey strikes you.
We should all be in this, selflessly – together.
Let’s continue to inspire each other along this journey. I’ll share what inspires me, just as I hope you will share your inspirational moments and little victories with me.
So far, the moments that keep me anchored in writing stem from watching countless shows and movies, but the root of my inspiration stems from simply observing. From the ordinary to the most unique noun. I observe, actively listen and observe some more. This skill has taken patience: the one thing I don’t have.
When you’re on a leash at the age of 5 because you couldn’t wait to get into everything, patience doesn’t always come naturally.
Nonetheless, I strongly encourage the discipline of patience. To elaborate on watching shows a bit, binging on Netflix has been my weakness these days – well since forever, but it’s not because I don’t have a life, it’s because I’m working.
Doing this motivates me as I learn to better analyze, pick apart, and sustain the intrigue to write. Great shows sharpen my description, dialogue and understanding of complex story-lines. It also lets me know what the standards are and learn how to become a master at the difficult task of showing and not telling.
And in order to get more words flowing past the occasional writer’s block, I’ve also been brushing up on grammar books, books on growing personal wealth, books about writing of course (I’ll list them at the end), and anything I can get my hands on about Black studies and literature. The latter has especially helped me to get a better understanding of self which helps me write with a stronger voice as well as add to the script I’m currently working on.
I’m co-writing the script Panther, and I hope that you all will join me on this scary, yet exciting journey! I will do my best to share all of what comes along with that dynamic as well as the script process. The working title for the movie is Panther as we hope that it can serve as an homage the Black Panther Party and the Black Power Movement. Where we’ve added our own flair is in the details — as our story follows a 21st Century Black Female Protagonist who grew up in the party and creates a more modern version of an old story, (with lots of exciting twists of course), the audience will have a chance to identify with a strong, female BLACK protagonist.
Action packed with a mix live action and manga animation — Panther, for the most part, is about a woman whose outer goal is to fight crime and inner goal is to stop following her brain and start following her heart in the quest for normalcy.
To be clear, this is my first script, which is both terrifying and liberating. Terrifying because it’s my first and liberating because, well, it’s my first. As I write this script I can’t help but feel like Peter Pan in a pivotal scene in “Hook” when the lost boys are sitting at the dinner table staring into empty pots and pans waiting on Peter to fix it.
Which, if you’ve seen the movie, you know he eventually does.
That night as Peter starts believing, one of the lost boys says “You’re doing it Peter,” and suddenly the boys are gnawing on turkey wings while pink pies fly around the room. The more I believe the more I write and vice versa. The dream is coming true as I focus on the process.
So my advice to you? Simple. Your motivation, your reason for never giving up, will find you best when you are working.
Stick with me as I divulge more insight, shower you with existential blabber (but yo’ wait, that’s how I really feel though), and share screenshots and ‘snippets’ of Panther. As well as let you know what works and what doesn’t in my writing process.
The Black TV & Film Collective a 501c3 organization that operates as a NYC film collective. In our work, we support all artists of color including but not limited to black filmmakers. We are a collaborative platform that represents diversity in film and supports inclusion in Hollywood and TV. Our professional network of New York City filmmakers gives knowledge to those who want to learn how to produce film, how to make a web series, how to budget film projects and more. We host NYC film workshops that welcome a variety of experience levels from first time filmmakers who are either students in film school or to notables within the television and film industry. See how you can make a difference in the world of cinema by becoming a member of our NYC film collective.
Native Californian and longtime Austinite, Tyra Clark has dedicated herself to the craft of photography, screenwriting and film-making. She received her BS in Sociology from The University of Houston and is a current student at Channel One Media. She is a part-time videographer for www.biovideo.com and an avid movie and TV buff with a passion for inspiring others to follow their dreams of working in film. Currently she is co-writing the feature-length film, Panther, as well as writing for the Black TV & Film Collective.