Marlene Sharp is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl. Firmly ensconced in LA life, Marlene recently served as Director, Production at LEVEL-5 abby, home of YO-KAI WATCH and other hit video game-based franchises.
Formerly, as Producer, TV Series, at Sega of America, Marlene worked on much more than the Teen Choice Award-nominated Cartoon Network series SONIC BOOM. For example, her Hedgehog duties took her to the heights of nerd-dom as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist.
As a freelance journalist, Marlene concentrates on pop culture for buzz-worthy fan destinations, such as DOGTV, ToonBarn.com, Geekified.net, and CultureSonar.com. As a short film auteur, she has snagged recognition at the Kids First! Film Festival, the Canine Film Festival, the San Luis Obispo Film Festival, and many more.
Marlene is the proud winner of 2019 LA Shorts International Film Fest Script Competition (an Oscar and BAFTA-qualifying fest), at which her backdoor sitcom pilot received a staged reading by The Groundlings. And as a human being, she loves dogs. For proof of the aforementioned, please see her website www.pinkpoodleproductions.com.
What’s the last thing you read or watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?
I love Shia LaBeouf’s screenplay for his autobiographical film Honey Boy. The storytelling is clever!
Podcasts are a relatively new obsession of mine, and there are a few standout wordsmiths. American Scandal (Lindsay Graham); Broken: Jeffrey Epstein (Adam Davidson, Julie K. Brown); Gangster Capitalism (Andrew Jenks); and Hitman (Jasmyn Morris) immediately come to mind.
How’d you get your start in the industry?
My start in the biz was almost my end in the biz. I was bitten during pre-K and subsequently began serious research on kids in show business. Sesame Street was the inspiration. It seemed like a neat place to be, and I wanted in. During grade school, I devoured library books about stage moms and such, and then told my mother that I needed an acting agent. She said ‘no’ and encouraged me to play with my Barbies instead, which I did in earnest. She continued tough love at every turn and for many years. When I declared a Drama/Communications major in college, though, it was time for the Sharp family to face the music . . . and drama!
Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?
If one is industrious enough, then one could self-teach. For today’s inquisitive, budding writer, there are so many resources (many are free or low cost): books, eBooks, seminars, writers’ groups, classes, online classes, podcasts, YouTube videos. Perhaps the best resource, though, is actual content consumption, especially in the genres that one loves best.
What do you consider the components of a good script?
Relatable characters and story, clever dialogue, and an unexpected plot turn or two are elements of my favorite scripts. Good non-sequiturs also tickle me!
What are some of the most common screenwriting mistakes you see?
Spelling and grammar errors abound. They’re everywhere!
What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?
I’m really tired of the deus ex machina that recur in garden-variety superhero/fantasy movies, such as the uber hero or uber anti-hero – with his/her signature moves – who appears at the eleventh hour. In my opinion, Joker is groundbreaking (and therefore entertaining), because it discards the usual cliches.
What are some key rules/guidelines every writer should know?
1) Spell check
3) Patience, and lots of it.
Have you ever read a spec script that was an absolute, without-a-doubt “recommend”? If so, what were the reasons why?
Yes! A spec script for The Simpsons by my friend Adam Kosloff. The premise is absurd and hilarious. Adam and his writing partner nail Bart’s character; he becomes a grilled cheese celebrity chef. The humor is magical, laugh-out-loud funny. I’ll never forget it.
How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?
Definitely worth it! Such cost-effective personal marketing! Highly recommend!
How can people find out more about you and the services you provide?
1) My business website: www.pinkpoodleproductions.com
2) My script and bible doctoring services: www.wefixyourscript.com
3) My CV: www.linkedin.com/in/marlenesharp
4) A few of my credits: www.imdb.me/marlenesharp
Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?
A solid tie between pumpkin and chocolate!