Bri Castellini: Fame, Branding, and Chubby Women – @brisownworld

Image credit goes to Marshall Taylor Thurman, who has the unique ability to get incredibly unflattering photos of my giant arms.

by Bri Castellini

Been thinking a lot about branding recently. It’s a topic that comes up a lot in indie filmmaking, because it’s important that all of your projects’ assets follow similar themes, colors, etc so that people can easily tell what accounts and posts are yours. It’s also something pretty integral to my ambitions in the media and entertainment world, because online, personal brand is everything.

I know how much me and my personal identity entangles with my work and the promotion of it. I know I’m one of the most Google-able (if not THE most Google-able) person in my casts and crews. I’m the only Bri Castellini on the internet, baby, and you can basically find my entire life story in the first few pages of search results. Plus I literally run all the social media and email accounts associated with my projects (as well as the social media for one of my friends) and at this point people are wise to that.

I’m also not ashamed to type here in my decade-old personal blog that I want to be famous. Whenever anyone asks what my plans for the future are, I say “get very famous,” and I’m only a little bit kidding (because my actual plans are to get MASSIVELY famous). With fame comes power, and with power comes the ability to be creative full time and pay my collaborators the crazy amount of money they’re absolutely worth.

I want to be famous, and therefore I spend a lot of time thinking about my brand. I can’t just be “Bri Castellini, person.” I have to be “Bri Castellini, pre-famous filmmaker and writer,” and that’s distinct, even if only subtly. This means I also have to be conscious of the kinds of projects I’m developing, because if I make things that are too dissimilar from each other, it’ll be hard to leverage my existing audience that I fought so hard to attract. Granted, that audience is pretty tiny right now, but it’s not nothing.

I’m very curious to hear what y’all think my “brand” is, so leave thoughts in the comments if you have them. In my mind, based on the projects that have been successful/gotten me my teensy audience, these are the Bri Castellini keywords I’ve come up with:

  • Millennial woman
  • Comedy
  • Profanity
  • Asexuality
  • Mental illness/anxiety/depression
  • Zombies

Looking at this list, struck me today that despite it being a pretty obvious option, I haven’t really leaned into the chubby facet of my identity. While I use my struggles with mental illness and my asexuality a lot in my work, further strengthening the “authenticity” of my brand as it relates to my creative endeavors, I haven’t really explored weight. Both Alison Sumner and Sam from ‘Sam and Pat’ are chubby because they’re me, but their weight literally never comes up in their stories. I have often wondered if this is a mistake.

You don’t see chubby women on screen very often, especially not as “women.” Chubby women are reduced (hah) to their weight, or to the undesirable comic relief character, and rarely find opportunities for lead roles or roles more complex than “fat lady trying to lose weight.” So even though it wasn’t really my intention or a part of my development process, the fact that Alison Sumner is a chubby girl with a voracious sexual appetite and a romantic arc never once mentioning her weight is kind of amazing. The only example coming immediately to mind of a chubby women on film getting a romantic arc without her weight being mentioned is Sookie from Gilmore Girls, although that show (and it’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s writing in general) has its own weird issues with weight and fat people.

It’s weird that such a massive (hah) part of my own identity literally never occurs to me when writing. Maybe it’s internalized fat-phobia from having never seen fat female protagonists on screen. Who can say?

I guess the question is… is that bad? Am I doing my chubby sisters a disservice by not mentioning the weight of characters I play? Or by explicitly writing characters with a little more junk in the trunk? Or is not mentioning the weight of chubbier characters the more nuanced way to approach this and promote further positive representation? Is this a part of my brand I should be leaning into to reach my full (HAH) potential as an independent artist, or is “loud depressed asexual feminist” enough?  Am I missing out on a significant potential audience? DOES ANY OF THIS REALLY MATTER? (probably not)

I don’t know the right answer here. Boiling myself down to my base keywords is a weird way to spend an afternoon, and a weird way to think about my online activities as they service my overall ambition of incredible fame and fortune. For the record, this isn’t an invitation to weigh in (HAAAAAH ok I’m done), especially if you’re of the male persuasion, but if other similarly sized ladies have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.


Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Liaison at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch Bri’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE This post first appeared on her seriously cool blog.

InkTip.Com is More Than Just a Catchy Name

EDITOR’S NOTE: InkTip.Com and TVWriter™ have been associated for almost 20 years, but this is the first time the site has been reviewed here in over a decade. How’s the place holding up? Dawn McElligott tells us all about it:

by Dawn McElligott

From the “About” section at InkTip.Com:

InkTip was born in 2000 after witnessing the difficulties associates and friends in the industry have had in getting exposure for their works, let alone getting their scripts sold. The mission of InkTip.com is threefold:

  • Help the producer easily find a good script
  • Save time for the agent and manager in locating the right people for their clients’ scripts, or new clients
  • Greatly increase exposure for the screenwriter

InkTip seems more to this writer like Q-Tip, since it has a soft touch. Wary of scams but compelled to try a service that connects writers and producers, I registered two screenplays with InkTip at the end of February. As of this writing, the loglines for my works have been viewed 50 times by producers.

To register a script, the writer completes a questionnaire so that InkTip can categorize it for prospective producers. The survey asks about the genre, possible sub-genre, locations, etc. The writer must also be able to supply proof of prior registration with a creative works protection organization such as the Writers Guild of America, in order to list a script or a book on their website, https://www.inktip.com/.

After registering a script, I received an email from InkTip about loglines. The web service has a logline lab that gives practical guidance for a crucial ingredient in marketing: the logline. Writers can easily revise their loglines, synopses and scripts at no extra charge from InkTip.

After eight production companies read my loglines and went no further, I consulted the website’s loglines lab. Revising the logline caused me to re-think the essence of my work. The experience made me feel better prepared for an eventual sales pitch.

If I had a question, I was advised to email the company’s President, Jerrol LeBaron, at jerrol@inktip.com. Within 24 hours, either Jerrol or one of his employees would politely respond to my question. The website does publish a Writers’ Protocol, admonishing writers to first, wait three to six weeks before contacting production companies who’ve viewed their scripts and to do so only by snail-mail letters.

The company also advises writers to contact only those producers who have viewed their books, treatments or scripts. Contacting producers or production companies after a view limited to the logline and/or synopsis, is prohibited.

A non-refunded removal from the website is a published consequence of breaking these rules so writers are encouraged to play nice. As of this writing, at least one producer has assigned my script to a reader. InkTip notified me by email and the producer’s physical address was given.

The website states that viewing scripts is limited to members only and producers hoping to join are thoroughly scrutinized. Two of the criteria for membership as a producer are proof of funds and a perceived ability to make a film.

The website boasts that since its establishment in 2000, over 350 movies have been made through its services. The cost for listing a script is $60 for four months with discounts for multiple listings. The website also offers many other goodies, such as listings of networking events.

Receiving worldwide exposure from vetted producers makes InkTip.com a sound investment. Being treated politely and fairly will keep me coming back.


Dawn McElligott is a an award-winning writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles by way of Philadelphia and other points East. You can learn more about her HERE

Cartoon: Tom Gauld on Showbiz

Tom Gauld is one of the most influential cartoonists of the 21st Century. This example of his extraordinary talent and insight into the writer’s plight originally appeared in The Guardian.

More of Mr. Gauld’s work is HERE

What? You’re still sitting there? CLICK!

Dawn McElligott: Philly to L.A. – The First Step is a Doozy

by Dawn McElligott

In February 2017, I was living in Greater Philadelphia and working at a global not-for-profit organization. The pay was low, the work was hard, and I was having tension headaches. Relief came in the form of feedback on the 2016 People’s Pilot contest from a distinguished gentleman with the initials, LB. The gist of the feedback was that the script showed enough professionalism to earn a staff writing position on a TV show but moving to Los Angeles was the first step.

By late March, I was ready to take that step. I quit my job, notified the landlord and started sorting my belongings. It took me two weeks of non-stop work to donate my used furniture to various charities and pack what I could take in the car. I borrowed money from a retirement plan for the journey. Finally, my car was packed a little after 5 pm on April 5, 2017.

I set the GPS for 200 Santa Monica Pier. Pulling out of the apartment house parking lot, I felt like I was blasting off for the moon. I drove as far as I could that evening. Fearing the effects of fatigue, I pulled over for the night and stayed at a low-budget inn. I had gotten as far as Shanksville, PA, the final resting place of Flight 93. Not exactly a good omen, but I took it to mean this was a significant journey.

The next morning, I headed out into the rain and drove to West Virginia. I had lunch at a McDonald’s restaurant. Returning to my car, an older, bearded man laughed heartily at, I suppose, my bumper stickers promoting the Hillary Clinton campaign. He got into his black pickup truck and drove away. I continued my journey too, reaching another small town, outside of St. Louis, MO, the following night.

The next morning as I prepared to leave the Comfort Inn, my Hillary Clinton bumper stickers yielded pairs of raised eyebrows from the older man and his wife, parked next to my car. Nevertheless, they seemed good natured and jovial, understanding that interstate highways bring all sorts of people together, even liberals and conservatives. They drove away and so did I.

Throughout the drive, I had too much time to think about dead relatives and friends that had passed away. In the solitude of my vehicle, I simply cried about my losses and fears for my future. Driving without the distractions of local traffic, allowed me to cry out numerous frustrations.

I might have wept out the heartaches that led to the tension headaches in Philadelphia. I began to realize why road trip movies had been so popular, years ago. Driving long distances does force introspection. The physical journey becomes a spiritual one.

Around New Mexico, I start to regret my decision not to buy a GoPro for the car. I would have picked up such spectacular footage! New Mexico’s tranquility informs me why it’s called “The Land of Enchantment.” I imagine my great loved and loving Shepherd-Rottweiler, “Punkin,” dead since 2014, reliving her youth by running happily throughout the valleys.

On Sunday, April 9, I set out from Albuquerque, NM to drive as far West as I could. I drove into Arizona and saw my first road signs, saying Los Angeles was a certain distance, 500 miles or so. What a welcome sight! I felt tired as I drove through Arizona, but I was determined to reach California, that evening.

As twilight descended, I arrived at the state’s westernmost frontier. The setting sun gilded the pointy peaks of the mountains before me, adding drama and an air of fantasy to the long-anticipated drive over the Colorado River, into Needles, CA. Hollywood couldn’t have staged a more dramatic entrance into the Golden State. Alas, no GoPro!

Not seeing any Comfort Inns or any other predictable, franchise establishments, I continued westward, despite the fatigue, until reaching Barstow. In Barstow I stayed at a hotel, part of a well-known chain. Undergoing major repairs, the inn appeared to be as close to collapsing as I was. Waking up the next morning, I realized that neither I, nor the hotel, was in a pile of rubble. It seemed like a good sign to me.

After paying the bill, I headed for my car in the parking lot. A lady parked next to mine said to me, “I love your bumper stickers… we tried.” We chatted for a bit and she left. I knew I was in a better place. I headed for Santa Monica. A traffic jam caused me to pull off the freeway in El Monte.

I found a business that does oil changes and car washes. When I paid for both, the cashier urged me to sit outside at a cute, little table in the warm sun. This was in high contrast to East Coast oil changes where I’ve been stuck indoors, pouring non-dairy creamer into coffee brewed during the Spanish-American War. Now, I was in the Golden State. Sipping soda outdoors, watching people towel dry my Hyundai Tucson, I thought of the new world I was entering.

I continued further until reaching the destination on my GPS: 200 Santa Monica Pier. A decade and a half earlier, I had lived in Anaheim but had to go back East when the Southern California economy collapsed in 2002. Now I did something I’d been waiting to do ever since. I waded along the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

Too exhausted to spend the rest of the day looking for an apartment, I treated myself to tacos, beer and conversation with the gentleman at the next table. It turned out that he had been raised in a small town next to Monroe, NY, where I’d grown up. He appeared to be an out of work actor, and in spite of facing homelessness himself, he wished me great success as he left with a wave and a “Welcome to L.A.!”

During much of the drive, I’d been afraid Southern Californians would see me only as “a woman of a certain age” arriving in Tinseltown too late for the party.  I’d thought of them as having arrived before me because they were more successful, alpha types who would see me as a failure upon arrival. I’d even envisioned them locking arms to prevent my entry into the City of the Angels.

As I watched the man go, it came to me that I was being hurt by old prejudices that I had to shed. Nobody here was trying to stop me. The only person I had to overcome was myself.


Dawn McElligott is a an award-winning writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles by way of Philadelphia and other points East. You can learn more about her HERE

Cartoon: ‘Zits’ About Binge-Watching

From March 16th, a topic that, for us at least, marks the high point of this strip…ever.

Well, for those of us at TVWriter™ who are over a certain age, anyway.

ZITS,by Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman is all over the web and newspapers. (You remember newspapers, right?) Y’all definitely should check it out.