Marlene is living the dream. A working writer in LA who has blessed projects with her Sharp wit (see what I did there), creative vision, and unapologetic drive. Marlene’s worked on some big projects which have allowed her biggest dreams come to life. It is my pleasure to introduce you to someone who is the living proof that through hard work, time, and perseverance you can make it happen.
This is Marlene Sharp…
I originally hail from New Orleans but I am now a San Fernando Valley girl. I am the Director of Production at LEVEL-5 abby, home of “Yo-kai Watch” and other video game-based franchises. My focus is on TV and film iterations of LEVEL-5’s noteworthy interactive titles. Formerly, I was a Producer of TV Series, at Sega of America, where I worked on several projects including the Teen Choice Award-nominated cartoon “Sonic Boom.” My hedgehog duties took me to the heights of nerd-dom as an official San Diego Comic-Con 2017 panelist! As a short filmmaker, I’ve snagged prizes at the Canine Film Festival and the San Luis Obispo Film Festival. As a human being, basically, I love dogs. For proof, visit my website www.pinkpoodleproductions.com.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
My entertainment career has involved into a slew of writing, mainly as a creative development executive. [Note that such a label sometimes is employed as a euphemistic job title for an uncredited writer/producer, re-writer, and ghost writer, who earns a steady paycheck. That’s been me!] But my original, girlhood dream was to have Tina Fey’s career: writing, producing, and starring in my own creations. In pursuit of that goal, I graduated with two media-centric degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Drama/Communications (Loyola University, New Orleans) and Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre (SDSU). I have performed onstage as an actor and as a standup comedian. Standup comedy forced me to write for my life . . . or die trying! Without good writing, standup comics suffer, often at the hands of clever hecklers. While working on standup material, I tried my hand at spec TV scripts and other original fare that incorporated some of the Marlene Sharp standup shtick. The two pursuits complemented each other.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
My favorite celebrities are multi-hyphenates, and their careers inspired me a lot. Examples include pre-scandal Woody Allen, Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Penny Marshall, and Christopher Guest.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
My late, maternal Grandma and Grandpa are my fan club founders. They prepped me for a showbiz career by indulging my love of dress-up/let’s pretend play during my formative years. They gamified “The Miss America Pageant,” in that they made it a parlor game for the three of us. Grandpa played emcee, Grandma was my backstage handler, and I was the perennial winner. No matter that I am not – and never was – beauty queen material! Sometimes imaginary versions of my friends were contestants, but the farthest they ever advanced was to runner-up. To Grandma and Grandpa, I was queen!
Q: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
The moment of my receiving legit script validation is the moment that I felt a screenwriting something stir. Many years ago, I entered a semi-autobiographical one-act play script into a local New Orleans playwriting competition. The play became an official selection, and a couple of my friends and I performed it in the festival. What a beautiful memory!
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Let’s revisit success and happiness another time. When I retire comfortably at my Malibu beach house with frequent visits to my villa in Spain, then I will be better equipped to define success and the inevitable happiness that follows.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.:
Are you sure that people want to know this about me? Marlene Sharp is the interview subject here (as opposed to Emma Stone, a Kardashian, the British royals, or your generic, garden variety target of tabloid fodder.) I am skeptical about audience interest in the minutiae of Marlene Sharp, but here goes:
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? I am a Night Owl forced into Early Birdship due to grown-up responsibilities, such as employment.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? I groan. Sometimes, I mix it up by saying, ‘Noooooooooo . . . .’
What’s for lunch? I usually eat at noon. My lunches waffle between Lean Cuisine Macaroni & Cheese and a turkey sandwich. Never the two at once, though . . .
What do you do during the day? I work full-time as Director, Production at LEVEL-5 abby. I also drink one High Brew Cold Brew Dark Chocolate Mocha coffee beverage during this interval. It contains the caffeine equivalent of 2 cups of coffee and only 90 calories. Pure magic!
Do you have a pre-bed ritual? Commuting, feeding and walking my dog, and eating dinner while watching TV Land’s nightly line-up of classic sitcom reruns.
How do you define a successful day? If I go to bed with all of my faculties/limbs intact, and my dog next to me, then it’s a happy day!
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
The most important skill is critical thinking. I have balanced this with empathy and compassion, especially for obscure, unsung writers and their anti-hero creations. I am a huge champion of the underdog, both real (as in, actual human writers) and virtual (as in, fictional protagonists).
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
The biggest challenge is finding time to write my own material. I write almost all day, every day, but it’s part of my full-time job. On weekends, requisite naps cut into my personal writing time. It’s a quandary.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
The greatest reward is simply to earn a living as a Los Angeles-based professional in the entertainment industry. The second greatest reward has been to generate content and shameless attention for my dog Blanche DuBois Sharp in some of my pursuits. I am an unapologetic stage dog mother.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
Brevity in communication is one goal that immediately comes to mind! I like words, and sometimes, I can’t stop . . .
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