“Sixteen Unsweetened” was born out of a story I wanted to tell of a girl who did not fit in with the expectations of an inner city teen, feeling pressure to be in a relationship as well as be more invested into urban life. I began writing it as a story in 2005 to share with a network of online peers who created original fiction and fanfiction to share it with others. I was a freshman at Purchase College studying film in the university’s conservatory of the arts. It never crossed my mind to write it as something to be filmed.
Years passed and I had written a few feature films while a student at Brooklyn College. I came across an interesting television writing contest. I didn’t have any television scripts written or ideas for television scripts. I thought of adapting one of my feature screenplays, but decided against condensing them to fit episode lengths. I thought of other works I had written and “Sixteen Unsweetened” came to mind. I had posted it online in chapters, so it was already episodic in a sense. I started writing an hour long pilot. After time I realized that it was something I should film myself and the best way to exhibit it was as a webseries. I rewrote the pilot into smaller episodes. I kept adapting more of the story into episodes. Finally I reached the point where I had run out of story for episodes. A full outline of the story arc was written but I never actually finished the story. I sat on it for a while, writer’s block. Then I started having conversations about it. The more I told my friends and family about my webseries plan the more I could see the story and the more I felt pressured to complete it. It was out of my head and off of my pages, and now real for other people. It was like speaking it into existence. This led me to several conversations with my casting director/ assistant director who spoke in terms of dates of deadlines. I started writing the episodes, starting casting, started production and ended production before I had the chance to think and fortunately, before I had the chance to self doubt…to overanalyze….to quit. With limited resources, a short filming schedule and a skeleton crew I completed production of my first original webseries, “Sixteen Unsweetened”