So, you’ve landed on my homepage… or more precisely, my blog. This here is the transcript of my first “About” page here on JayPendragon.com which I want to preserve for prosperity’s sake. I like to look back at things I’ve written, to see where I’ve come from and how I have changed.
For a more recent take on “About Jay”, be sure to check out my About page.
First things first: who are you?
… and off I spiral into an identity crisis ;)
Just kidding! It’s taken a while, but I’m finally able to say with confidence: I’m a writer and filmmaker.
In broad strokes: I’m a queer, trans* (screen)writer, whose stories aim to entertain, inspire reflection, and contribute to a more inclusive, global media landscape.
More precisely: I’m a screenwriter, self-published author, have posted more than 1.9 million words of fanfic on AO3, and made two short films as well as produced a few corporate projects.
I first discovered how writing can affect people when I joined my school’s student-run magazine – The Klingon Scandal of 2006 is still one of my fondest memories from that time. Working at my hometown’s newspaper after graduation took this to a whole new level, introducing me to the diversity that can be found in small-town life, albeit appearances to the contrary.
Somewhere between that, I fell in love with fiction and fanfiction.
I’m proud to call myself a fan and a fic writer since fandom has taught me – and is still teaching me – so much about how to tell stories, how brilliant it feels to profoundly move readers with your tales.
I found a home within these communities, formed many profound relationships based on a shared love for existing characters and imagined worlds, and I wouldn’t want to live life without them.
Look, I even got a tattoo that symbolises this fandom spirit and experience:
Onward, to the screen!
While still at school, I uncovered yet another genre – screenwriting.
Verbose expositions never were my cup of tea, so the need to keep to the essentials, to show instead of tell… awesome!
But what if you don’t have access to internships or PA gigs to gather experience in film? Exactly, you take action yourself, like I did when I produced and directed my two short films.
What’s more, filmmaking is a collaborative art.
I learned the joy of being part of a creative team during my time at the Drama Workshop, so the best thing about the process behind the cinematic arts is collaboration. I love working with a crew of passionate individuals to bring a project to completion!
The medium might be different, its scope wider, but it is still about telling stories.
For someone like me, who has experienced first-hand how films, television, and (fan)fiction can change and affect lives, it’s about more than entertaining people.
It even goes beyond affecting people, beyond bringing them joy… or making them curse my name for giving them all these FEELS.
We’re not telling stories in a vacuum and media has POWER because it shapes our reality, as I explained in my (screen)writer’s manifesto. I might have changed my mind about certain things I expressed, but this still rings true:
“How children’s movies portray gender roles influences a child’s view and understanding of the world, and their place in it. If you only ever see white guys playing the superheroes, then being exposed to Black Panther will be a Big Thing.”
“What I’m trying to say is: Television and movies are part of the system we’re raised in and live in. They form part of the environment that socialises us.”
As a trans*/non-binary queer person on the asexuality spectrum, as well as a white person who seeks to be anti-racist in order to be the best ally I can be, I care deeply about representation.
So I don’t “just” want to tell stories that affect people.
I also want my work to have a positive effect on the world, be that by inspiring people to reflect on their lived realities or by simply providing a means of escape when life becomes overwhelming. After all, it doesn’t always need to be ‘essential’.
So there you have it.
That’s what I’m all “about”. No matter what life throws at me, be it depression or an eating disorder, be it the need to work multiple jobs to support myself before writing will cover everything – I won’t give up.
PS: If you wish to read more about my mental health journey, you can find my essays and articles on Medium.