Christopher Scott Wyatt

creative portfolio samples

Screenwriter and Playwright
Programmer and Web Developer
Educator and Researcher

This consolidated portfolio was prepared during the fall of 2015 for the consideration of Chatham University’s Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology admissions committee. The portfolio features highlights from my complete online profile and additional samples demonstrating how the MFA program complements my professional and artistic goals as an educator and storyteller. In the future, this portfolio will be updated to feature new screen, stage, and “transmedia” projects.

 Note: There are no direct links to this portfolio from the detailed public profile. Samples listed here will be updated or replaced. Please do not link other websites to my scripts or other creative works.


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

  • Gospel Singer Poster
  • New Death Poster
  • Women Say Poster
  • The Garden Poster

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.

Screenplays

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.

Stage Plays

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.

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.

Application Programming

  • Text Rite
  • Text Rite Menu Example

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.

  • Manuscript Tracker 2.0
  • Manuscript Tracker 2.0
  • Manuscript Tracker 2.0

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.

Web Developer

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.

Ten years after we launched EveryBit.com, we created an online children’s bookstore. After purchasing Magic Dragon Books in 2002, we quickly realized Amazon was our primary competition, so I created a full-service online retail site that sold books and educational products. The backend database was Microsoft SQL Server and the website was handcoded HTML, JavaScript, and Perl. At the time, Perl had yet to be displaced by PHP and neither Ruby nor Python had emerged as viable alternatives.

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.

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.

 

Complete Profile

Since the early 1990s, I have maintained an online profile. This online presence provides an opportunity to experiment with Web technologies and content creation tools.

My profile is located at: http://www.tameri.com/csw


Writer

Stage plays, screenplays, poems, essays, short stories, novels, blogs and more. I began writing in second grade and I haven’t stopped since. I write to explore socioeconomic issues, through effective storytelling.

Programmer

Coding is writing. I began programming to create tools for composing texts more effeciently. Over time, I became interested in the user experiences created by design choices during application development.

Educator

In the sixth grade I discovered that I enjoyed teaching classmates about science. Realizing that the visual arts are based on science and math, I decided to teach others about technology and storytelling.

and More…

From baking to gardening, I enjoy hobbies that connect art and science. As a writer and programmer, I am fascinated by the history of printing and publishing. I am also an avid reader of philosophical works.