Actors and screenwriters came together Saturday night to support the young women involved in WriteGirl at the organization’s annual Lights, Camera, WriteGirl! event.
The organization empowers girls to share their voices with a community of female writers. In the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Calif., scenes and monologues written by the girls earlier in the day were performed by actors Keiko Agena (“Gilmore Girls”), Kelsey Scott (“How To Get Away with Murder”), Aasha Davis (“Friday Night Lights”), Adam Tsekhman (“Legends of Tomorrow”), and Ted Cannon (“Justified”).
The scenes ranged from comical discussion between a health conscious father and his junk-food-loving daughter to an emotional monologue where a boy wished he was no longer invisible. After the skits, a panel of screenwriters provided commentary about the writing style.
Executive director of WriteGirl Keren Taylor said that during the day the mentors and girls focus on “getting away from clichés, talking about what makes for a successful scene, talking about staying away from stereotypes and what it means to develop a strong, female characters.” She said the intent is to “showcase the voices and creative work of our teen girls” and reflect on the current changes in the industry.
One of the mentors is Clare Sera, a screenwriter and a member of the Lights, Camera, WriteGirl! Committee. She said the event, which she co-hosted, serves two purposes. “On a support level, for them to see that their work is worthy of somebody reading it and performing it — it just does wonders for their self-esteem,” Sera said. “On a practical side, when you see your scene or your monologue being performed by an actor, you understand what an actor brings and it can inform your writing the next time they go to write.”
She said a key takeaway she wants the girls to have is to “know your voice, be true to your voice, speak your voice out loud. That’s what Hollywood wants, that’s what the world wants from these young writers.”
Jeanine Daniels, a WriteGirl alum, writer, producer, director, and actor, served as one of the commentators. Although Daniels has hesitant to first join the program, she quickly realized the positive influence it had in her life.
“When you come, it’s a different workshop — songwriting, poetry, screenwriting,” Daniels explained. “Growing up in the inner city, you don’t really learn about those jobs. You just know you can be a doctor, teacher, or police officer. So it really opened my mind.”