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This Is What It’s Like to Be a Latina Writer

…On Not Being Latina Enough: How Boricua Rapper BIA Found Her Place

This points to the fact that more often than not, writers’ rooms at major networks only allocate one slot for a diversity hire, creating a counterproductive sense of competitiveness between talents of color. Rather than building a community, this practice isolates them by making it seem there can only be one person of color on the team at a time. Having someone else with a similar background and perspective can validate ideas and provides a louder voice in terms of the topics and stories being told, as both Ornelas and Ramos can attest.

From getting a chancla gag included in the show to promoting the idea that diversity is a good business model, both writers share lots of tips on how to break in and navigate the white world of writers’ rooms, advice that can be applied to many other creative pursuits. Here are some highlights from the Latino Media Fest session.


Sierra on Her Advice for Being in a Writers’ Room

It was a lot of reading rooms, and trying to figure the way to talk and the way not to talk, taking the temperature of the room that you’re in. Finding a way to be useful, but at the same time, not annoying. At the staff writer level, the margin for error is so big. There’s no reason for a staff writer to be annoying, so much of it is just trying to be a positive force in the room. Be useful. I did all kinds of stuff. I offered to babysit, but don’t do that! Don’t make baked goods and don’t offer to babysit.

Vanessa on Getting Help from a Famous Comedian

An opportunity came up to submit for Jeff Ross, who was doing a Roast-based show called “Burn.” As a kid who grew up watching the Roast, it kind of felt like, “Yeah, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.” I begged a friend of mine, and he was able to get an agent to submit a packet. Jeff Ross has been great to me, and he was very honest. It came down to me and one other girl, and he said, “Look, I’ve known her longer, but I think you’re a great writer. I’ll pass along your stuff for the Roast, “and I was like, “Okay, he’s a very nice man, but he’s very high a lot of the time.” I was like, “Okay Jeff, sure you will.” But he did! He wasn’t that high that time, you guys! So he passed along [to] the Roast of Roseanne.

Sierra on Working with Another Latina Writer for the First Time

We’ve known each other all three seasons, and this was the first experience I had ever had working with another Latina women in the room. I’ve been to brunches with Latina writers because we’re like, “We have to go to brunch, because we’ll never be in the same room together.”

On That Chancla Joke

Vanessa: It wasn’t necessarily a chancla joke, but it was a thing where, Ben Feldman’s character, Jonah, comes in and he’s just met Amy’s mom, and so he’s like, “I’m not fully sure what this means, but she said, you’re not too old to get the chancla?” It was more like him guessing. I pitched that, and then the other writers in the room were like, “What is that?” I’d say, “Oh, it’s like a sandal used to hit kids.” They thought I was making it up, so they had an assistant pull it up, and they were like, “Oh my God it’s real.” Of all the things to make up, why would I make that up? So then [Sierra] backed me up.

Sierra: I had to co-sign the chancla joke. They were like, “This is a thing?” I’d be like, “This is very much a thing, ask any child.” But it was so much fun, and then they started trying to use chancla and we were like, “Don’t try to use chancla.” It was one of those things where you have backup, and it’s a great feeling.

Sierra on the Show’s Focus on Working Class People

I think one of the reasons that Justin wanted to make this show was because diversity is everywhere, but it’s so intrinsically in the workplace. He went to Northwestern, so he’s not a super working-class guy, but he filled the room with a lot of people like that. And I would also say that America Ferrera is just amazing, she’s a Producer on the show. She’s brought in a lot of people who are like consultants, who give lectures. There was a woman who wrote this book The New Working Class. Growing up, there was Rosanne, and so many shows that showed working class people, and I feel like Superstore is one of the few that does that anymore. It’s really trying to pay a lot of respect to that experience.

Vanessa on Being Asked to Play Up Her “Latina-ness” for a Job

We did a story in season one that was based off of this weird job that I had doing promos for a Tequila company in San Antonio. It was in a hotel bar, and they were like, “It’s going to be mostly be white guys, so amp up the Latin-ness.” They wanted me to basically put in a little “Vergara” and it was so ridiculous. I told that story in the room, and we did an episode in season one called Shots and Salsa where America’s character is trying to get people to sample the salsa, and she has to ham it up a bit more, and then people are like, “Oh, what’s happening here?” As soon as she get’s more festive, people are interested.

Sierra Ornelas on Why It’s Difficult to Be a Diversity Hire

There is a hierarchy, and you have to respect that hierarchy. Even if your boss is cool about it and says, “There is no hierarchy,” there is a hierarchy. They trust the people they know the most. They trust the people who look like them, which is why I think being a diverse writer in a room can be difficult. There were times as a staff writer where I would pitch a solution and I’ll get nothing, and some other guy would pitch a solution and it’ll be brilliant. I’d be like, “Fuck that guy,” but as I got older and was in the room longer that’s when my voice became more heard. It’s one of those things where you just have to get that sort of emotional currency going with your higher ups and once you have that you can spend that. That process is so hard to learn, especially when you are terrified.

Sierra Ornelas on How Diversity Programs Create Competitiveness

The one thing that these diversity programs create is that there can only be one. It’s like you climb your way Hunger Games-style and then you get thrown in a room with another one and you are like, “There is only supposed to be me,” because you have been trying to so hard and fighting all these people who look like you. One thing I learned very on from Silvia Olivas, who was in the program with us and who had been on Moesha, is how she was so smart at being supportive, helping other writers, and not being competitive. I think as women especially, but also as writers of color, we are taught to compete. I think the more you can help people the better off we’ll be.

Sierra Ornelas on Diversity Being a Good Business Model

Diversity is a good business model. Fast & Furious s the biggest franchise in the history of franchises, and there is a reason for that. People are going to want stories that come our perspective and from our experiences. Now I don’t go in being like, “Thank you so much having me.” No, it’s like, “You want me here because I will make you money and I will tell better stories.” I think having that confidence and trying to project that as, “This is just good business, this is not altruism.” I think that’s important.

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The Business: 99 Free Filmmaking Forms!

by Adrijana Lazarevic
August 1, 2016
Ease your workload (and your mind) with these free templates for everything from storyboarding to contracts to accounting.

[Editor’s Note: No Film School asked Adrijana Lazarevic to collect these 99 templates because of her expertise working with filmmakers at Filestage.io.]

No one really feels like doing paperwork, but let’s be honest: no good film comes without organization and planning. That’s where templates can help you out. I work at a startup that creates software for filmmakers, and we see how busy you are every day, so we collected the most helpful templates, guides and checklists out there to make your life a little easier. They really help save time for what matters most: letting your creativity flow and producing breathtaking movies that won’t be forgotten.

The categories covered in this list are: Script Prep/Pre-production, Storyboard/Mood Board Templates, Shot List Templates, Script Breakdown Sheets, Budgeting, Accounting, Personnel/Cast Forms, Insurance Forms, Equipment Documents, Production/Shooting, and Music Releases.
Script Prep/Pre-production

Much of your planning happens well before production, including trying to get investors on board and starting to determine who your audience will be. Here are some templates for early steps, including a form for “optioning” a story that you want to produce, and a director’s worksheet that lays out what you’d like to see happen in each scene.

1. Director’s Worksheet – Film Contracts
2. Guide to Formatting a Screenplay – Final Draft
3. Literary Option & Purchase – Sonnyboo
4. Ultimate Creative Brief – Filestage
5. Cinematography Pre-Production Checklist – Film Contracts
6. Buyer Persona Template – Filestage
Storyboard/Mood Board Templates

Storyboarding is a cornerstone of the filmmaking process. A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that paint a picture of the your storyline, showing the structure of, and vision for, key scenes. We’ve also included a moodboard sheet for establishing the visual style of your film.

7. Moodboard Template – Filestage
8. Storyboard – Filestage
9. Storyboard – Sonnyboo
10. Storyboard – Filmsourcing
11. TV Storyboard – Film Contracts
Shot List Templates

Organization is the key to a successful shoot. With the help of a shot list, you can easily arrange single shots within any given scene. You can determine, for example, the number of shots necessary to capture a particular action most effectively. Give it a try with one of these practical templates.

12. Shot List – Film Contracts
13. Shot List – Learnaboutfilm
14. Shot List – LAvideoFilmmaker
15. Camera Shot List – Filmsourcing
16. Camera Shot List Advanced – Filmsourcing
Script Breakdown Sheets

Here you can find helpful templates providing detailed descriptions of scenes, and the equipment and personnel assigned to each one. This way, you never lose sight, and can make sure everything is going according to plan.

17. Script Breakdown Sheet – Studiobinder
18. Breakdown Sheet – Michael Wiese Books
19. Script Breakdown Sheet – Sonnyboo
Budgeting

While making a film, you or your producer have to keep a lot of things in mind and, before you know it, you can easily go over budget. This compilation of templates will help make sure that you don’t lose sight of your financial statements. Some of them additionally provide examples of budgeting.

20. Sample Budget – Sonnyboo
21. Budget and Invoice Template – Fstoppers
22. Film Budget Top Sheet – Making the Movie
23. Questions & Budget Creation – Michael Wiese Books
Checklist-Shutterstock

Accounting Records

Once you have a budget, you have to actually do the accounting. Maintaining an overview of your finances and money flow is crucial. Check your financial resources by making notes of their movement. These forms will help you keep track.

Inflows 30
24. Amount Received – Film Contracts
25. Cash or Sales Receipt – Film Contracts
26. Promissory Note – Film Contracts

Outflows
27. Daily Cost Overview – Film Contracts
28. Cash Flow Sheet/PO Log – StudioBinder
29. Final Cast List SAG-UBCP – Film Contracts

General Forms
30. Check Request – Film Contracts
31. Invoice Template – Going Freelance
32. Simple Invoice Template – Steve Hall Video
33. Expense Report – HowtoFilmschool
Personnel Forms

From general contracts and agreements to crew templates, many of these forms are necessary to lay out a foundation for the business behind your film and get a good team on board.

Cast & Crew Lists
34. Crew Contact List – Filmsourcing
35. Cast and Crew List – Studiobinder
36. Cast List – Film Contracts

Crew Deal Memos, Contracts and Agreements
37. Crew Deal Memo – New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-Operative
38. Writers Deal Memo – Film Contracts
39. Deal Memos – Film Contracts
40. Producer Contract – ISP Group Inc
41. Producer Video Release & Contract – Film Contracts
42. Contractor Agreements – Film Contracts
43. Photographer Work For Hire – ISP Group Inc
44. Producer Agreement (Short Form) – Film Contracts
45. Producer Agreement – Sonnyboo
46. Producer’s Royalty Attachment – ISP Group Inc
47. Executive Employment Agreement – ISP Group Inc

Partnership Documents
48. General Proxy – ISP Group Inc
49. Consulting Agreement – ISP Group Inc
50. Investor Suitability – ISP Group Inc
51. General Partnership Agreement – ISP Group Inc
52. Joint Venture Agreement 1 – ISP Group Inc
53. Loanout Agreement – Film Contracts

Cast Forms
54. Basic Actor Info Sheet – Sonnyboo
55. Casting Sheet – Film Contracts
56. Cast Scene Number Breakdown – Film Contracts
57. Cast Deal Memo – Film Contracts
58. Actor Contract – Sonnyboo
59. Freelance Actors Contract – Film Contracts

Appearance Releases
60. Personal Release – Film Contracts
61. Talent Release – PremiumBlog
62. Actor Release – Film Contracts
63. Freelance Performer Agreement – Film Contracts
64. Actor Player Casting Agreement – Film Contracts
65. Nudity Rider for Casting Agreement – Film Contracts
Location Scouting

So you found the most suitable locations to portray your vision. Now, as with everything else, you need to do the paperwork and take care of business These templates have you covered.

Site Info
66. Location Contact List – Film Contracts
67. Location Scouting – Filmsourcing
68. Location Fact Sheet – PremiumBeat
69. Location Information Sheet – Film Contracts
70. Cinematography Location Information Form – Film Contracts

Contracts & Releases
71. Location Contract – Film Contracts
72. Production Location Contract – Film Contracts
73. Location Release – PremiumBeat
74. Production Location Release – Film Contracts
75. Location Agreement – Sonnyboo
film set-shutterstock
Insurance Forms

Keep in mind that life doesn’t always have a bright side. Especially when it comes to accidents or health problems. Therefore, always insure your crew, yourself and the equipment. These templates will get you started.

76. Insurance Claim Worksheet Personal – Film Contracts
77. Actor Insurance Claim Worksheet – New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-Operative
78. Insurance Claim Worksheet Damage – Film Contracts
79. Insurance Claim Worksheet Automobile Accident – Film Contracts
80. Injury / Illness Report Form – Film Contracts

Equipment Documents

A movie is usually not made by a smartphone in one hand and a music player in the other. You need a whole bunch of stuff, plus, you have to deal with it. Cameras, recorders, lights, a whole set, and so on; all this has its price and needs to be paid attention to. These forms can help.

81. Box / Equipment Rental Inventory – Film Contracts
82. Equipment List – Dependent Films
83. Video Equipment Rental Agreement – Film Contracts
84. Special Camera Rigging Authorization – Film Contracts
Production/Shooting Forms

You’ve got your cast & crew, locations, and equipment and now you’re onto the shoot: the time when staying organized is most crucial. To avoid slip-ups, interruptions or any other negative factors that make your life as director harder than it should be, use these forms. This list includes call sheets, your essential tool for communicating requirements with everyone on set.

Production Papers
85. Production Tracking Form – Film Contracts
86. Filming Notice – Filmsourcing
87. Production Requirement – Film Contracts

Daily Tracking
88. Shot Log – Film Contracts
89. Scene / Take Log – Film Contracts
90. Daily Production Report – New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-Operative
91. Continuity Log Sheet – Filmsourcing
92. Actors Production Time Report – Film Contracts

Call Sheets
93. Call Sheet – Filmsourcing
94. Call Sheet – Cast and Crew Call
95. Call Sheet – StudioBinder
96. Call Sheet Cast – Film Contracts
Music Releases

Imagine movies without any music—unthinkable! Music is an essential part of a film experience. But, just as films have their patents and rights of use and enjoyment, sounds and music do too. And the legal use of music can be complicated. Here are some of the papers that help you do things right.

97. Sound Report – Filmsourcing
98. Music Reference – Filmsourcing
99. Music Release – New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-Operative

Source NoFilmSchool