A DISCUSSION ABOUT PERSONAL STATEMENTS
with James Moorer and Robert A.
JAMES MOORER: Creating the best Personal Statement is one of the first steps in building a great screenwriting career and the first step in applying for the Roadmap Writers' Coletta Preacely-Garcia Diversity Fellowship.
ROBERT A: Having gone through it ourselves, we understand how daunting it can be to talk about yourself.
J: But creating a powerful Personal Statement is a necessary evil and an opportunity for you to show us how gifted you are as a storyteller.
R: Our job at Roadmap Writers is to discover the best and the brightest writers who don’t have access or connections to move their careers forward.
J: So here are some tips on how to make your Personal Statement stand out:
• BE A STORYTELLER FIRST:
J: This is a profound opportunity to demonstrate how you craft a narrative, build tension, and deliver a powerful emotional impact for those of us reading you. Please show us your voice as a writer and what makes you unique.
R: Create a clear beginning, middle, and end to the statement as you would any other piece of writing to create a flow and control the tone.
• TELL US ABOUT YOU, NOT YOUR STORY:
J: The Personal Statement is an open door for us to discover you as a person before we've even read your screenplay.
R: Sure, the adversity in all our lives shapes our storytelling. But as a black man born addicted to drugs and alcohol who grew up in highly-concentrated poverty, I still must find MY diversity in that adversity. That is the story of many, but my experiences shape my perspective and influence my voice and brand in storytelling. That best showcases my unique outlook within a world of minorities. We'd like to know more about you, the person.
J: That's right, we need to know about you, the person.
• DON’T MAKE A LIST OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
J: This is a Personal Statement, not a resume. Listing your bona fides, laurels, schools you went to, etc., doesn’t replace nor inform us of you, the person.
R: There will be plenty of opportunities to list those hard-earned accomplishments!
J: We need to learn what makes you want to pursue this as a career.
R: That is what you will pitch to execs, and what execs will pitch to networks: YOU. YOU are your selling point at this stage, not the script. Focus. On. YOU!
• YOU DON’T HAVE TO PROVE YOUR DIVERSITY:
J: By applying, we will affirm whether you meet the requirements or not. If you do, you won't need to remind us of your diverse background.
• DEFINE YOUR WHY:
R: This often can be the deciding factor in many decision-making moments within the industry. Lean into why you want to create what you create and give a deeper dive into who you are as it pertains to your writing. You are the only person who has ever spent every 24-hour cycle with you—no one else. You have the most information on the voice and brand that your soul wants to speak to. Here is where you showcase why everything you have endured amounts to this moment in what you want to create. Who could deny that?
• WE ALL WANT TO SEE STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE US:
J: This has become an easy excuse not to go deeper into who you are as a person who loves to write. Use your skills as a storyteller to demonstrate your desire and dedication to becoming part of an industry that consistently impacts the world. But to be a part of that, you have to show us who you are and create within us a sense of urgency to want to know you better. We will always be interested in writers with a passion for this business, who understand the power of story,
R: And who have something to say, even when it is simply a showcase of one’s own identity and passion for the art!
The Roadmap Writers' Coletta Preacely-Garcia Diversity Fellowship accepts applications on a quarterly basis in January, April, July, and October.
For more information visit: https://www.roadmapwriters.com/pages/coletta-preacely-garcia-diversity-fellowship