Writing Portfolio

A few projects I’m working on or looking to have produced. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved in anything you see here. I’m very open to collaboration of any kind.

“Batteries” (script, animated short)

A short animated post-apocalyptic love story, starring a little boy, a dog, a school of odd piranha, zoo animals, ice cream, and a little girl in a cardboard box. It also momentarily stars . . . the people watching the film.

This is 10-page script has been polished with the help of a class of future actors and dramaturgs, who seemed as excited to see it on the screen as I am. I’m now looking for more advanced collaboration opportunities, in the form of an animator/storyboard artist who might be willing to see it brought to life — or as close to “life” as you can get in this story’s strange world. (hint) =)

The story plays along the edges of the serious and comic, a silly love story in a post-apocalyptic world, with a handful of unexpected twists playing with our assumptions of our hero’s situation. It is both precautionary tale and a story of innocence and hope, playing with our idea of what life and love is when life isn’t anymore.

If you are an animator looking for a fun 10-minute story to storyboard or animate for your reel (or a producer or film studio), I would love to talk. In my head I can see the film playing out in Pixar-like, heart-wrenching detail, but my paintbrush is . . . a keyboard. I’m happily open to mutual collaborations and new ideas that would make this story (and others) even funnerer and more visual. Let’s make something cool together! ^_^

“Whale” (screenplay, feature film)

Here’s the first dozen or so pages of a favorite feature film project I’m currently working on.

It’s about a woman driven to bridge the communication barrier between humanity and another intelligent species that has always been here on planet Earth . . . and gets more than she bargained for. In the middle of the ocean she finds herself in the center of a battle between species, and a cover-up that may eventually mean the future of every living thing on the planet.

The story stars a Cetologist with odd childhood memories of a whale saving her from drowning, a high-level businessman with secrets, a quirky man who builds huge robotic dragons, an inventor perfecting a synthetic brain, an ex-military gadget-girl, a shy marine engineer…

And a very unique whale.

A stage reading of my stage play, about the daughter of a mob boss, a heartbroken assassin with a soup fetish, a professional dominatrix and her kid brother who is barely handling his Reverse-Schrodinger Cockroach Experiment, which has ensnared the quartet in a series of wacky realities.

Actors Nick Nolan, Taryn Judah, Madison Shanley, and Drew Pierce. Filmed by Jerry Rous.

The challenge of this project was not just super fun to write, it became a wonderful collaboration that evolved the story (and humor) into a far better piece than I ever expected. I want to do this again! Although I’m relatively new to the genre, I would love to collaborate with someone who has been around the stage a few times to learn even more about this lovely mode of storytelling and create something magical.

If you’re curious how this came about, check out the blog post here.

“The Hand that Moves Me” (poetry)

Here’s a poem I wrote about a well-known person, from the perspective of another. Can you guess who they are? ^_^

The Hand that Moves Me

He made me not in his image
For his skin was not green
But my voice was his voice
His fingers my expression

He made me from a discarded coat and
Ping pong balls when he was fifteen
I shake my head now, realizing
I’m older than he would ever be

He took to TV with a gang of felt misfits
Painting numbers and ideas on the screen
A once-dying program suddenly
becoming a Street unending

He made me bold, to mask his shyness
What he could not say, I was always keen
So much felt came to life by his hands
A creature shop came to be, where

He made amphibian, barnyard expats and rats
Uninhibited vegetables and fruit were routine
He’d created five children, who I met young
Toiling at his shop, just to be close to him

He hid behind me in confounding ways
Shielding himself behind his dream
While I play banjo in a swamp, singing of rainbows
Or riding a bicycle with skinny new legs

He gave me seven weeks on the Top 40
My own star on the walk of fame, unforeseen
You, your parents, your children all know me
But it was his voice, his dream all along

He left us in 1990, breathlessly snatched away
But the dream must go on: we reconvened
Finally honoring a lifetime of selfless genius
By looking down and feigning shock

— Miki Marshall

“Procrastinatrix” (book review/blog)

Hello and welcome to Foibles Monday!

Errr, what?

Oh, damn, not again. It’s Wednesday already . . . ?  ~sigh~

Okay. Let’s start over . . .

Hiii!!! I’m Miki. I’ll be your Procrastinatrix for today!

Yup, that’s a foible I share with too many of you. Am I right? Shhhh . . . I won’t tell. We can blithely pretend its Monday, just for now.

I’ve always wanted to do something blithely. ~blithes stoically. blithes menacingly. blithely giggles. blithes in French~

Hey, this is fun!! Oh, sorry . . . where was I?

So this is what it’s like to be a procrastinatrix. Basically doing anything BUT what you’re supposed to be doing (for those of us pretending not to be afflicted by random moments of blithe-abuse). It’s technically a form of A.D.D., but even better.

In fact it’s not a disorder at all! ~blithely chops off the last “D.” and adds an “A.” for Awesomeness!~ 

It’s just the way some of us are wired . . . that some others of the rest of us can’t fathom to save their armpit hairs.

2015.03.21 035

Basically, according to John Perry, Stanford Philosopher and author of The Art of Procrastination (yes, this really is a real book), procrastinators are, paradoxically, rather prolific do-ers . .  as long as they’re doing some thing to avoid doing something else they don’t want to do more.

Oops. I think I just heard some non-procrastinators’ brains go *poink!* Meanwhile, we procrastinators are all nodding our heads in unison right now. Some are even doing it blithely! ~gives those ones a thumbs up~

Perry calls this structured procrastination. It’s a pretty awesome way of embracing our inner procrastinatrix and using it to be far more productive than those sadly “normal” people out there, who couldn’t blithe to negotiate the safe return of their armpit hairs.

Perry goes on to describe such awesomeness as horizontal organization, task triage, and right-parenthesis deficit disorder. I guarantee these things will remove that icky stigma of being a procrastinator (or procrastnatrix) forever, or until you get around to thinking about it.

It’s an awesome little book. I recommend my fellow procrastinatrixii get a copy and read it . . . but only after you write a lovely three-page comment below about how awesome I am for introducing you to it.

See what I did there? You’ll want to read the book instead now!

You’re welcome.

“Ms. Amoeba, P.I.” (fiction)

The bullet holes were gone. I felt around my chest and abdomen, but they were nowhere to be found. Maybe I’d imagined the whole thing and simply fainted, like women are always doing in old movies. Twits. But the memory of the bullets tearing into me was painfully clear. The two goons with the semi-automatics had fired at least a dozen rounds into me and left me for dead in this trash-strewn alley.

Or so I thought. Even my dress was unscathed.

I got up, shook it off, and made my way to Tony Desilio’s lounge, determined to find the answers to my first mystery. The second would have to wait, the one with the tiny saucer that had landed in the street in front of me and gone squish. I wasn’t sure I saw that either, especially the weird ooze that leaked out. I know I shouldn’t have touched it. Or imagined I had. The blur of memories that hit me at that point don’t bear thinking about, at least until I got a drink in me.

If I wasn’t dazed from all that I wouldn’t have let the thugs drag me into the alley and kill me.

Or so they thought.

When I arrived at Tony’s, I expected more trouble, but the goon at the door, the one built like a meat locker, just gave me the hairy eyeball and let me in. The weasel that shot me first was waiting inside the wide foyer. I could see the lumps from their smoking guns holstered under sweaty armpits.

“Sid, the broad’s still alive,” said the bouncer .

“Shut up, Dob, and check her for a vest,” said Sid, eyeballing me. He looked less cool than he acted.

The bouncer, as chivalrous as a hockey player, bounced me against the wall—hard—to make me more cooperative, but the effect was anticlimactic. My back seemed to flatten against the cheap paneling, then bounce back.

Weird was not the word.

With his other meaty paw, Dob reached toward my blouse, a flicker of something unsavory in his eyes as his fingers hovered over my cleavage. I felt that helpless thing women hate so much, for about three seconds. That feeling always pissed me off.

I shifted and something went squish. The arm that was wrenched behind my back melted away–and reconstituted in front of me. I didn’t have time to freak out about it. Maybe later.

All I knew was, they were trying to do to me what they already did to my family. I could feel my anger focusing into the clenching of my relatively small fist, becoming a rock-hard ball of hate, a fist-sized boulder of it. Without thinking, I swung it up, striking Dob hard enough to send him flying off his feet. Everyone in the room was shocked, including me.

Sid brought his gun up, but the big one rolled over and jumped me first, pinning me to the floor under 400 pounds of smelly flesh.

The next thing I knew I was on my feet again, slapping away Sid’s pistol, then Sid, who hit the far wall, then folded onto the floor. The bouncer hoisted himself off the floor staring at his hands.

“What the hell are you, lady?” he said, “You melted. Slipped away like Jello.”

I stepped toward him and he backed away.

“Shoo!” I said and he disappeared out the front door under his own steam.

I stepped past Sid’s limp form and headed for Tony’s office, my mind reeling with what just happened. Whatever it was, it didn’t stop me from my original goal. Nothing could stop me from that. Tony was going to pay. I entered and closed the door behind me. Tony swiveled his chair around and smiled at me.

“Hey, babe. Nice to see you. Still looking good despite reports of your untimely demise. I don’t know how you manage it.” He was a cool customer right to the end. “You’re really starting to annoy me.”

“I’m just getting started.”

He didn’t seem impressed. I’d left my gun back at the office, I wouldn’t have been impressed with me either. I was about the same shape as a cocktail waitress. A smart one. Packed into a five-feet-nothing package of pure attitude.

Tony stood up from his desk and came toward me. I decide to meet him halfway.

“You killed my family,” I said through my teeth. “Burned them alive in a fireball. Got anything to say for yourself?”

“Only that my boys are getting clumsy. They were just supposed to get you. I don’t like nosy women in my business. Here, let me get the boys in here so we can tie up this loose end.”

He went to whistle and I caught his hand. He looked down, mesmerized as my hand melted and flowed over his. The look of terror came when I pulled him to me and his body became engulfed in parts of me, as well. I didn’t know what I was doing, but my body did. He dissolved quickly, thousands of horrible deeds flashing into my mind as his skull was digested into me. When it was done, there wasn’t a cell of him left and I knew his every secret.

Half disgusted, half vindicated, I dropped into his chair and stared at my hands. They looked completely normal. I had become some kind of human-amoeba thing, and I’d just digested someone alive. I sensed serious therapy in my future.

I was a PI, not a late night cinema monster. What do I do with this?

The tiny UFO came to mind, squashed under the tire of that checkered cab. The answers had to be there. No sooner had a I thought the thought, than memories flooded in. Memories that weren’t mine.

Frantic fighting to get control of my ship. Strange oversized buildings flashing past, then asphalt, racing up to meet me. There was an awful jarring crash. Then a close-up of the zigzagged tread of a Michelin putting out my lights, before I could react. All I felt then were memories of memories–also not mine.

Seems aliens’ lives flashed in front of them at death, too.

I saw the history of a world far from our own, familiar weirdness filling my human side with awe. This creature was not a monster. It had been an emissary of peace, a critter with an important mission. And as it died it came to a desperate decision.

I came to my senses realizing a dead alien emissary had somehow passed something of itself into a skirt-wearing P.I., who could suddenly do things to bad guys that would put her off her grain for weeks.

Lucky me.

–Excerpt of Ms. Amoeba, by Miki Marshall

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