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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Writing Prompt: Cartoon Characters

Anime Marilyn By Jeff Bernstein

By Marilyn Friedman and Alana Saltz

Do you remember how wonderfully lazy Saturday mornings were when you were a kid? As a child, Marilyn would wander downstairs in her PJ's at around 9 or 10 a.m. on Saturdays, grab a bowl of Rice Krispies, and spend hours watching cartoons like "The Smurfs." As an adult, she has to spring out of bed by 7 a.m. on Saturdays and get Writing Pad East and West ready for morning classes. Gone are the days of carefree weekend mornings without long to-do lists! Sigh. This week's writing prompt (at the bottom of this post) is inspired by Marilyn and Alana reminiscing about the simpler days of childhood.

Speaking of fun times, we have many cool events and classes at the Pad this week. If you're looking for something fab to do Friday night, join us for Crime Scene Confidential with award-winning mystery author David Corbett (“Done for A Dime”, NY Times Notable, Several Best Novel Awards), bestselling author James Scott Bell ("Plot & Structure", "Deceived") and screenwriter and novelist Bill Rabkin ("Monk,""Psych"). Meet these fantastic writers and learn how to write crime stories so real that you can see the yellow crime-scene tape. Admission is only $10 (includes Marilyn's famous sangria).

Also, on the Eastside on Sunday, award-winning performer Ann Randolph (Best Solo Show LA Weekly, Best Solo Performer LA Times & SF Examiner) will turn your life’s trials and tribulations into a hit one-person show in The You Show: A Solo Performance Intensive! Her fun exercises will help you generate powerful material quickly and figure out what your show is really about. She’ll even give you customized improv exercises to craft a compelling, emotionally honest performance. Ann's class will blow you mind.

And on on the Westside on Sunday afternoon, if you have an idea for a crime story or thriller waiting to be transformed into a bestselling novel or a blockbuster, you'll want to take The Spine of Crime: Structure and the Crime Story with award-winning author David Corbett who is known to many students as "the story whisperer." David will teach you how to use character and theme to drive your story and help you create a mini-outline! 

Below are a ton of class options as well as a free writing prompt! See you soon.

Note: classes with an asterix (*) will be held at our new, posh Westside location in Westwood!

Fiction, Memoir, and Romance
Storytelling At Light Speed: The Art Of Flash Fiction

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing
Personal Essay Clinic*
What Do You Think? Writing the Op-Ed or Cultural Essay*
Getting to "Like": Crafting A Compelling Blog
Query Letter Clinic: Writing The Pitch That Sells Your Story

Playwriting and Writing for Actors
Storytelling Bootcamp: A Spoken Workout

Dr. Ed's Development Bootcamp: Crafting Your Webisode Calling Card (1 DAY)*

Writing Prompt:
Growing up, most of us had a favorite cartoon character that we dreamed of becoming. Marilyn wanted to be Wonder Woman so much that she showed up to costume day at camp in her Wonder Woman underoos and long, red winter boots (she wasn't the only one!). She spent the rest of the year walking around in a bathing suit inspired by Wonder Woman's outfit and those same red winter boots. She would spin in her living room until she was dizzy and had dreams that she actually was Wonder Woman but was missing one of her power accessories (like the bullet proof bracelets or truth producing lasso). Maybe you idolized Superman or perhaps you had a thing for one of the Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Make a list of three cartoon characters that you (or your fictional character) adored as a kid. Pick one. Now, add a sensory detail that you associate with this character (e.g. smell, sound, touch, taste). Then write for 10 minutes about the character and the images and memories you associate with him or her. What made this cartoon character so cool? Also, make sure to include the sensory detail in your piece. When you are finished, post your story in the comments of this blog!

What cartoon character did you want to be as a kid? Don't forget to share the results of your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog to be entered in the contest for a free class!


Allegra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allegra said...

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Babs Bunny from Tiny Toons. Not in a literal sense, but she had a lot of qualities I admired. Mostly, she was funny and she was a girl. She also did a lot of different characters and voices. I liked that she seemed able to transform herself into different characters at a moment's notice.

i also identified with Babs' love of old movies and TV shows, from silent films through the "golden age of Hollywood." In one episode, Babs did research about a female silent film actress (whose name I can't remember- she was some sort of cute bug or something), and she ended up meeting her in person. Babs was inspired because this silent film actress was a funny girl, just like herself. I remember feeling the same way- I liked both of them for being funny, capable female characters with a goofy sensibility and a passion for silent film.

If I remember correctly, Babs also had a good singing voice, and I always wanted to sing as a kid (and now I do! Hooray). I really liked the idea of being funny and being able to sing- those were the two main talents I admired.

Frankie Foster said...

I was a latchkey kid growing up in the 70s. My mom Mary worked as a waitress at an exclusive country club on Long Island; she did not get home some evenings till after 8pm. She would serve fancy dinner parties to members, but she would get big tips. I had the TV to babysit me when I got home from school. I remember sitting at the television on my red and black paisley patterned couch, with my TV table, eating my preferred TV dinner--Swanson Salisbury steak and mashed potatos. I would watch my assorted favorite shows: The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy reruns, sometimes The Munster’s. But my all-time favorite was the Bugs Bunny show!

I would watch endless slapstick skits and silly jokes executed perfectly by this cute so called innocent grey haired, white tailed, hare! Bugs was the ultimate wisecracker. “Ehhhhh, what’s up doc?”-I would say that to my Dad every day, just enough to make him nuts! Bugs was the ‘wasculy wabbit’-always into trickery and perfect one liners. I could relate to Bugs because he always out smarted everyone. His arch nemesis, Elmer Fudd, was always chasing him around aimlessly, but he never seemed to get the rabbit! What did he want the rabbit for? Was he actually going to eat Bugs? Or was it just the thrill of the hunt? What I loved the most about Bugs Bunny is he could make me laugh, you the belly laugh, crack up kind. And I thought I was a pretty silly, just like Bugs. Watching him it made it ok.

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