Q&A with Jorjeana Marie, Author of IMPROV FOR WRITERS
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About Jorjeana Marie
Jorjeana Marie is a storyteller. Whether it’s as a writer for Disney’s “Mickey and the Roadster Racers”, as a voice actress enacting all the roles in the “New Nancy Drew Diaries” (where Nancy now uses GPS to find her criminals and spends her spare time Googling herself!) or as a stand-up comedian touring the nation at The Improv and Catch a Rising Star Comedy Clubs, or as a produced playwright in NYC-she focuses on the fun and funny.
As an award-winning narrator of over 250 books, Jorjeana’s narrative skills have earned her multiple Earphones awards, Best Voices of 2014, 2015 and 2016 and a prestigious Audie Award for “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys.
Publisher Weekly calls her “Pitch-perfect” and Audiofile Magazine for “The Assistants” by Camille Perri stated “Bridget Jones meets Working Girl in this audiobook, and holy moly, is it fun. Jorjeana Marie puts this diverse and hilarious cast of New York characters through their many-accented paces like Dorothy Hamill landing a triple axel. In every paragraph. Her warm, bright tone creates just the right mood, and her pacing, balancing humor and looming disaster, is perfect.”
Her article “Laugh Track is featured in the recent issue of Writer’s Digest “The Comedy Issue” and the latest special issue of Writer’s Digest, “Writer’s Workbook”.
On to our interview!
Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.
A: I am a chaser of the child-like wonder attitude. I love writing and how it makes me feel as much as I love committing to a character and how I disappear into them. I am a teacher at heart and love sharing the odds and ends of storytelling and play that I’ve learned along the way. I believe everyone is creative and everyone has a story. I get inspired by nature, improvisation being everywhere and by acts of kindness and craft, art and enthusiasm. They spread like wildfire, wildflowers, the wind.
Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
A: I was telling silly tales and doing voices as a child and although my first produced plays were dark comedies and dramas, I have found a spectrum of tone that I enjoy writing in from whimsical to historical but the characters all have one thing in common, they are plucky, they are positive, they play hard. And I’ve been described that way too, so I gets it’s coming through no matter the particular subject. I have been a writer longer, but acting has buoyed me and supported me on my journey and actually taught me a lot about writing.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
A: I have never felt so passionate about anything as I do about creating the space and time for creative play, thinking, writing, dreaming, expression – through the arts.
I have, since I was in high school felt it got the shorter end of the stick in terms of funding, yet it is the thing that creates hope, inspiration, relief, laughter, respite from heavier times. It is the thing that lifts us up and separates us from the day to day. It opens the doors to possibility. It is therapeutic and even has health benefits. It’s subtle. But a saving grace for so many. It is a salve for the soul and everyone should have a chance to find their own brand of ointment, an opportunity to do their art and share it without fear, without judgement, to simply create and create on the regular. Even if it’s just in their own little doodle book, or making music in the basement, or doing the dancing like no one is watching thing, or building a castle out of pasta on their plates. And we can all begin somewhere, at any ol’ age at any ol’ time.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
A: I found I need a few things to write. I need my meditation ritual, to be in nature, to go for walks, to have the aforementioned space. But then I found I don’t ALWAYS need those things! Because I have the most important thing for me: a deadline. That will shake loose any procrastinating.
When I have pages due for my writer’s group or an assignment from my animation story editor, or a return due date to my editor, I get it done. Some outside pressure is what makes gems, right?
I live by deadlines. Ironic isn’t it?
You maybe wouldn’t expect someone who is exuberant about improv to want structure, but that’s the secret!! Improvisation has all kinds of structure built into it that when followed creates a better experience for all involved. Like an outline. Even if it’s loose. Even if it’s just knowing the one, two, three of it. Or just the one-two. Where we start, where we end.
I have found I turn in better work to the tv shows I write on when I am working from an outline. But other mediums are different. I don’t outline poems. That even sounds weird.
Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
A: Because of my background in improv, I was ready to throw my first book out into the world and worry about marketing it later. We call this approach ‘putting the cart before the horse’ and I had just figured out (been called out on it, actually, by someone) that I do that. A LOT.
So, I thought, whoa, horsie!! Let’s just idle on the side of the trail for a moment and get the lay of the land.
And that’s what I did. I went to some conferences, I listened to experts, I thought about what I really wanted and I thought why not try to get traditionally published. I didn’t know this world, but I knew how to start a career in the arts, so I took what I had learned about acting and tried to ‘map’ it over publishing.
Mainly, I learned I knew very little I did know and pursued learning from people who inspired me.
I also worked up a written plan, because that was something that was key to my other career. We’re writers, I think writing down what we want and some steps to make it happen is always an excellent move.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
A: To have more writers gathered around me. Their support has been absolutely instrumental and I’ve learned so much from reading others material and also hearing their thoughtful feedback. I finally got to the place in getting feedback that I realized everyone really was trying to help me, not stab me with tiny pins in the shins. It would have been nicer to have realized that earlier. And to spend more time with people who build worlds. Because they’re so cool, smart and unique.
Q: What’s next for you in your creative work?
A: Bubble Chicken! The Bubble Chicken Loves YOU! Here’s a teaser: https://vimeo.com/314439042
Q: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
A: Just thank you! What a treat. I really appreciate the chance to talk about all of this!
Improv instructor and writer Jorjeana Marie reveals a new way to generate idea after brilliant idea. Applying the rules of improv to fiction writing, Marie presents fun games and exercises you can do from the comfort of your desk at home.
Surprise yourself with new plots, infinite characters and settings, and a supreme confidence in your own process. Armed with the power of improv—and liberating exercises like Ad Agency, Raise the Stakes, and Family Portraits—you’ll soon be an idea machine. With Improv for Writers, your creative storytelling well will never run dry again.
To Connect with Jorjeana Marie
Award-winning actress, stand-up comedian, playwright, screenwriter, and improv instructor, Jorjeana Marie discusses her groundbreaking work, Improv for Writers: 10 Secrets to Help Novelists and Screenwriters Bypass Writer’s Block and Generate Infinite Ideas.
Improv instructor and writer Jorjeana Marie presents the first book to harness the creative power of improvisation exercises to help both aspiring and seasoned authors defeat writer’s block and generate new ideas.
Suffering from writer’s block and inner critics? Having trouble generating ideas for plots, settings, and characters? Introducing the rules and techniques of improvisation as they apply to fiction writing, improv instructor and writer Jorjeana Marie addresses each major element of storytelling by applying writer’s-block-busting games and inner-critic-quieting exercises to get the creative ideas flowing. Armed with the power of improv–and freeing exercises like Ad Agency, Your Local Library, and Family Portraits–you’ll soon be an idea machine. With Improv for Writers, your creative storytelling well will never run dry again.
Thursday, September 26, 2019 – 7:00pm
1491 Shattuck Ave.