BC hosts screenwriter Lisa Seidman for MFLA 2019
Anabel Sanchez and Clara St. Fleur
Online Editor and Contributing Writer
The 5th annual MFLA week kicked off on March 18 when BC’s Miramar West Campus hosted author and screenwriter Lisa Seidman.
Organized by the chairman of this year’s MFLA, Dr. Billy Jones, this year’s theme was “The Power of Storytelling.” Dr. Jones along with Dr. Joanne Leoni arranged the commencement event, which brought students up close and personal with Seidman.
A veteran playwright and screenwriter in both Hollywood and Russian television, Seidman spoke animatedly to students, sharing anecdotes about her career and her beginnings as a writer.
“I was an avaricious reader and two of favorite shows were “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible,” she said. “And at night I would dream story ideas. And so, in high school when my guidance counselor asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I said I want to write for television.’’
Seidman started writing speculative screenplays while attending Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, which was where she honed her screenwriting craft. Her persistence landed her the opportunity to move to Los Angeles where Seidman would initially write for low-paying shows.
Due to the unavoidable periods of struggle, which she’d been warned about, Seidman stressed that it’s the passion for writing that should inspire you and not the money.
“Because if you get into any kind of writing, you do not do it for the money,” she explained. “You do it for the love.”
She would then go on to write drama scripts for shows like “Cagney & Lacey” and “Hill Street Blues” before working full-time as an editor for the 1980s hit series “Falcon Crest,” which featured Oscar-winning actor Jane Wyman.
This was then followed by a stint as a writer and executive story consultant on the hit show “Dallas” in 1990. While working on these series, she learned invaluable lessons.
“You have to be a team player. It’s about how well you get along with everyone else. You still have to listen to others,” she said.
Regarding the process of writing for a series, Seidman also extensively explained the importance of drama and conflict. She stated that it was always essential to be curious about the stories you are writing and to be aware of the audience you are writing for.
Eventually, her talents granted her the opportunity to work in Russia on the popular 2003 series “Poor Nastya”. It would win her an honorary award equivalent to the Emmy’s. Since then, Seidman continues to write for American soap operas and television. She also lectures at University of Southern California.
Event attendee Jessy Robinson, a psychology major at BC’s Central Campus, related to Seidman’s advice on pursuing what you love.
“A lot of people study psychology and after listening to her, I’m of the similar opinion that you should also chase what you want to do instead of worrying about the money or worrying about what people are saying,” Robinson said.
Dr. Leoni, who teaches business and college skills courses on Central Campus, feels that empowering students to consume good writing and storytelling is important.
“If you look at history, everything is written. We have to keep it going. People still buy novels and still read newspapers in some form or other. The written word lasts forever.”
MFLA, which stands for music, film, literature and arts is an annual week-long celebration of the arts at BC. Students and faculty members are encouraged to attend events that feature movie screenings, art workshops, live poetry and special panels.
Photo: Screenwriter Lisa Seidman speaking to students at BC’s Miramar West center. Anabel Sanchez/The Observer.