We launched our monthly Diversity Initiative in memory of Roadmap Writer Coletta Preacely-Garcia, who passed suddenly in 2016. Coletta was an extremely hardworking writer who was always working to better her craft, tirelessly writing, rewriting, and taking advantage of every opportunity presented to her to gain skills, make connections and improve her screenplays.
Each month, we will be select one diverse writer to participate in Roadmap's month long Pitch Prep Program for free.
This month's winner is writer/comedian Monique Madrid. We had a chance to chat with her and get to know some of her writing inspirations.
How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?
I have never NOT written! As a kid, I wrote my own plays, made homemade books and was constantly writing and filming short videos. My fourth-grade teacher even told my mom I was going to be a writer.
Looks like comedy's your genre. What draws you to it?
My family has a great sense of humor and my parents introduced me to classic SNL and my idol Lucille Ball when I was really young, so it started with a great foundation. The reason I continue to be drawn to comedy probably has to do with a need for therapy. It’s my way of dealing with the bad shit out there – whether my own internal drama or more external factors. Life is hard and most of us are awkward. The least we can do is laugh, which just happens to be my favorite activity.
Which comedians/writers inspire you?
Oh gosh. There are so many! Besides classic comedy heroes like Lucy, Gilda Radner, and Carol Burnett, I love writers and comedians who write for themselves like Issa Rae and Tina Fey. Clearly there’s a theme: Powerhouse Women.
I’m also really inspired by people like Alan Yang, Donald Glover, and Lena Waithe who are pushing the envelope and showing us a more diverse point of view. Honestly, I get inspired all the time. I mean look at someone like Kay Cannon – put a funny, kick-ass (and kind) boss lady in front of me and of course I’m going to be inspired! Plus I spent 10 years in Chicago which is the best training ground for comedy.
What are three things you're currently digging?
I started taking a drawing class once a week which has been awesome. I’m really bad at it, but it’s really fun to do something that has nothing to do with my career goals, but still gives me a creative outlet. I’ve also totally turned into an LA girl and love to go on hikes. And I recently started meditating. Again, I’m not good at it, but it’s helping with my anxiety. Not to mention, damn it, I will not let my busy brain get the best of me. I will learn how to stay still!
What interested you about Roadmap's Diversity Initiative?
The toughest part about trying to reach the goal of writing for television (or any goal in this industry) is that there’s no one way to do it. It’s easy to just throw pasta against the wall and hope it sticks, but that’s not really an effective strategy. While it may work for some, it hasn’t quite worked for me. Since there aren’t clear steps or a...ROADMAP on how to do it, I wanted to find a place that would help me take the next step in my career and teach me the things I don’t even know I need to learn. I figure we all need a helping hand to help pull us up and I love the idea of having mentors and real-life industry people to connect with. Plus, obviously we need more diverse voices in television, so I appreciate that Roadmap Writers offers this initiative to someone ready to level up. I figured why shouldn’t I be that someone?
Writers interested in learning more about Roadmap's Diversity Initiative Program can read here.