Into the Future
a writer pursuing dreams
Completing a master of fine arts degree represents a step towards a life-long dream for me. While in high school, I knew that I wanted to teach in the media arts. Following college, I was fortunate enough to teach photography and journalism at my former high school. Though my path diverged from my original dream of teaching, I continued writing and creating. Now, I am returning to that dream of teaching others how to tell important stories using various media. As an artist, I also seek to be on the cutting edge of transmedia theatrical productions. Studying film and digital production will improve my discipline as a screenwriter and playwright, giving me a deeper appreciation for all aspects of these collaborative art forms.
I entered graduate school in 2004 with the goal of teaching at the university level. I earned my doctorate in rhetoric from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Now, more than refining my own artistic pursuits, I look forward to completing the MFA and returning to the classroom full-time as a specialist in the rhetoric of narrative, with an emphasis on film and the digital humanities.
Screenwriter and Playwright
In grade school, I wrote and staged plays with various puppets. I made props and learned to sew simple costumes with the help of my mother. When my fifth grade teacher asked what I was going to be when I grew up, I didn't hesitate to inform him I was already a writer. That brave teacher encouraged the first "public" production of one of my plays, staged by exuberant classmates. By junior high, I was writing screenplays for friends to produce. I seek to find ways to combine my passions for both stage and screen in innovative ways.
My works employ humor to address serious socioeconomic and philosophical issues. Many of my scripts feature women and people of color, drawing from interviews with individuals. Weeks and months of research help me craft realistic characters and situations to which audiences relate. Film and stage should teach through storytelling, drawing attention to serious issues and raising difficult questions.
Award-winning writers John Logan and David Mamet, two of my role models, have both stated that engaging stories for directors and actors to tell are the key to successful scripts. Both writers emphasize the importantance of a compelling story while recognizing the differences between stage and screen. Logan told the 2015 Dramatists Guild Conference that screenwriting and playwriting are more alike than many playwrights want to admit. Classic plays were among the first movies, and today's movies are often adapted to stage. One story can be told in many ways, as long as the writer appreciates each medium's special strengths. However, I also seek to blend the best of screen and digital media with contemporary theatrical production.
During graduate school I spent summers focused on screenwriting. I completed a dozen feature-length scripts, and registered several of these to pitch to studios. Two scripts advanced in the development process, with production company readers providing valuable insights and encouraging me to submit additional works in the future.
I have worked as a freelance screenplay consultant for several years, revising scripts already in production. Also, clients have hired me to adapt their novels and plays for screen, on a confidential basis. Although my screenwriting work has been limited to work under non-disclosure agreements, it has been rewarding. To date, I have worked on more than three dozen screenplays for clients. I also volunteer with Carnegie Screenwriters, sharing what I have learned from working with industry professionals.
Theater offers a new experience with every performance, and every production offers a new interpretation of the script. Even each audience brings something different to the event, altering the show through their responses. Though our experiences of films change with each viewing, the variability of theater offers something exciting to me as a playwright.
Three of my award-winning plays are adaptations of previously unproduced screenplays. These adaptations demonstrate that a play often emphasizes aspects of a story that might not be cinematic yet prove powerful on stage. Plays must be written with live performances in mind.
- Intentional Icing: 2015 Pittsburgh Fringe Best Ensemble Cast. Read the Pittsburgh Stage review.
- The Gospel Singer: One of three plays selected by Bricolage Production Company for In The Raw 2013.
- A New Death: 2014 Throughline Theatre Company New Play Winner. Read the Broadway World review.
- Women Say Fck, Too!: 2014 Pittsburgh Fringe Audience Choice.
- The Garden: 2002 Fundraising event for The Visalia Community Players.
Programmer and Web Developer
Computer programming is writing, as computer languages follow rules similar to “organic” human languages. Learning a computer language requires understanding that language's nouns and verbs. I love writing, and I love programming. The structure of code reminds me of elegant poetry, with each routine or function having its own meter.
I began programming to create games, the inspiration of many young people. Digital games tell stories, but so should productivity applications. Ideally, like a good story, an application guides its user into, through, and beyond the tasks at hand.
I began programming in elementary school, using early 8-bit Apple, Atari, and Commodore computers. When IBM Personal Computers arrived at Golden West High School, I immediately began learning how to develop software for these clunky monochrome computers. Compared to other systems, the IBM was lacking in graphics and sound, which any game-coding teen knows are the real reason for computers. Because few applications were provided to teachers (or students), the computers often sat unused. Faculty soon realized I might be able to put the IBM PC to some use.
I had previously written a basic text editor for Commodore computers, and assumed I could program something similar for the IBM systems. The result of my efforts, Text Rite, seems simplistic today, yet it had more features than the EasyWriter program that arrived with the IBM PCs. What made the program different from other editors was its on-screen menu system. Other programs required memorizing special keystrokes to format text. Soon, we were using Text Rite in journalism and yearbook classes. Teachers in the science department also adopted the program.
I followed Text Rite with a database application and a gradebook. Writing applications might not have been “fun” like developing games, yet I loved that so many people were using my software. And I did write games for the IBM PC, including a Spanish-language text adventure for my Spanish III class and a poor Pac-Man clone for my computer programming class.
Coding for Better Writing
As a writer, I still seek ways to use technology to manage my projects and improve my writing. I no longer code my own text editor, but I do rely on coding skills to make my preferred tools more useful. Because most academic writing is in Microsoft Word, I have developed Visual Basic for Applications macros that identify weak words and phrases in my writing. Other macros help me reduce repetition in texts, verify document structures, and perform other editing tasks. Knowing the power of macros and templates helps any writer focus on words instead of formatting documents.
Once a screenplay or stage play is completed, it has to be submitted to producers and directors. Using my database development skills, I have created several document management systems. Currently, my wife and I use Manuscript Tracker 2.0, a FileMaker Pro solution that allows us to track our projects. The solution supports Web and mobile access, with responsive forms.
I have been fortunate enough to participate in every stage of the Internet's rise. While attending the University of Southern California during the late 1980s, I worked for USC University Computing Services. My responsibilities included documenting mainframe programming tools and developing user interfaces to command line tools. As a junior systems programmer, I was asked to develop an early interface to network email, USCMail, which the university distributed internationally. What I soon realized was that visual interfaces to this new “internetworked” world were going to revolutionize communications.
In 1992 the World Wide Web was born, and that same year my wife and I launched a dial-up Internet Service Provider in Central California, EveryBit.com. I designed the graphical user interface for EveryBit, creating the original icons on graph paper. By 1994, we had established an online presence for our freelance writing and editing services, and the Tameri Guide for Writers was born.
I have developed websites for several employers and clients over the years. The following samples range from my earliest online store to new CMS-based designs for Pittsburgh non-profit organizations.
- Military Writers Society of America: Designed with Drupal 7 and customized PHP template code. An Apache server running on the Linux operating system, with MySQL as the database.
- Pittsburgh Stage Online Magazine: Designed with Drupal 7, similar to the MWSA website architecture.
- Carnegie Screenwriters: Designed with WordPress 4.3 and a customized template. An Apache server on Linux, with MySQL as the database.
For my personal projects, I still prefer HTML and CSS over a CMS platform. This portfolio was coded in Adobe Dreamweaver, and uses the Dreamweaver template system to ensure consistency with other parts of my personal website. The code is HTML5, with XHTML-compliant tag formatting to reduce potential block errors. The responsive grid system relies on the HTML Kickstart jQuery library and media queries. For icons, I choose the FontAwesome webfont library.
Educator and Researcher
One of my dual goals for completing an MFA is a return to teaching at the university level. I have enjoyed teaching at all levels, including primary, secondary, and post-secondary classes. My ambition during my undergraduate years was to teach high school media arts classes. I now intend to continue researching digital design and teaching media courses at a university as a tenure-track research professor.
Education and Technology
Every university course I have taught since 2004 has included online supplemental materials. At the University of MInnesota, I designed a hybrid writing course, which met face-to-face and online during the week. The hybrid course developed for the University of Minnesota included iTunesU lectures and screencasts. As a professor at Robert Morris University, I created online courses in literature, technical writing, and editing. When appropriate, course assignments have included the creation of digital media.
Digital Design and Pedagogy Research
My graduate research focused on the design of online writing classes. Studying the shortcomings of learning management system (LMS) designs can help application designers improve accessibility and overall usability. This research allowed me to explore the connections between writing and technology.
- Doctoral Dissertation
Online Pedagogy: Designing Writing Courses for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Master’s Thesis
The Blackboard Barrier: Student and Teacher Perceptions of Blackboard Online Learning
- Book Chapter
Wyatt, C. Scott. “Accessible Writing Spaces: Designing Virtual Spaces that Accommodate Difference.” Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, and Multiliteracies. Ed. James Purdy and Danielle Nicole DeVoss. Online: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2013. Online. [http://www.digitalwriting.org/ms/ (Chapter 4) and in this portfolio]