Writer's Spotlight: Meet Screenwriter Brandon Tanori

We are pleased to introduce screenwriter, and great friend to SoCreate, Brandon Tanori in our first-ever "Writer's Spotlight" blog post. Brandon has worked for CBS since 2013 as a Writers' Production Assistant on the television drama series, Elementary, and is also the founder and president of the Writers Assistant Network.


Although he now calls the hustle and bustle of Hollywood home, Brandon was born and raised in East Cleveland, Ohio. His true passion for film and writing was discovered while receiving his undergraduate degree in Film Production at Howard University in Washington, D.C. While he enjoyed all of his courses, it was the screenwriting ones that seemed to really resonate best with him. 

Towards the end of his time at Howard University, Brandon decided that he wanted to continue learning and take his screenwriting skills to the next level. After graduation, he made the 2,700 mile move from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles to attend grad school at Loyola Marymount University and receive his Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing and Producing for Television

Like they say, it is all about who you know in Hollywood. During his studies at Loyola Marymount, Brandon took the time to make meaningful connections with professors and mentors in his program, and because of that, found his first industry job just two short months after graduating from the masters program. One of his mentors connected him with CBS Productions, and he landed his job as a Writer's PA for the drama series, Elementary, in its second season. 

In the 4 years that he has been working on Elementary and active in the film industry, Brandon has made quite the impact on the writers' community. Shortly after starting his job with CBS, Brandon decided that in order to continue growing his career, he was going to need to network! One of Brandon's mentors, who was the Co-Executive Producer on NCIS: Los Angeles at the time, encouraged him to host a networking event for different support staffers who worked on other primetime TV shows. 

That lit the spark. He hit the ground running for the event--reaching out to all of the contacts he had and sending others messages on LinkedIn. Everyone was excited by the idea of a networking event. What started out as a small get together with an estimated headcount of 50 writer's assistants, script coordinators, and production assistants quickly grew into a full-size party with 350 guests in just a few days. Writers invited their connections who, in turn, invited their connections, and the buzz about the party spread like wildfire. 

The party was a huge success, and all of the writers had a fantastic time. Brandon knew this wasn't going to just be a one-time thing, and thus was born the Writers Assistant Network. The Writers Assistant Network, founded by Brandon, is a group that offers workshops and networking mixers for up-and-coming industry writers, executive assistants, and literary assistants. The WAN will celebrate its 4th birthday this January with Brandon still leading the charge as the group president! 

Brandon, thank you for everything you and the Writers Assistant Network do for aspiring writers! The work that you do every day makes a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of writers in the tough world that is Hollywood. 

For more information about the Writers Assistant Network and their activities, check back this Thursday for our next blog post! 

Cheers to you, writers! 
Alli 
-alli_unger6

20 Inspirational Screenwriting Quotes

Do you need a little writing inspiration today? Check out 20 of our favorite screenwriting quotes!

20 Inspirational Screenwriting Quotes

  • "I think new writers are too worried it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you."
    - Asha Dornfest
  • "To make a great film, you need three things - the script, the script, and the script."
    - Alfred Hitchcock
  • "Ensure that your script is watertight. If it's not on the page, it will never magically appear on the screen." - Richard E. Grant
  • "A culture cannot evolve without storytelling. When a society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society."
    - Robert McKee
  • "Don't give up. You're going to get kicked in the teeth. A lot. Learn to take a hit, then pick yourself up off the floor. Resilience is the true key to success." - Melissa Rosenberg
  • "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go."
    - T.S. Eliot
  • "You may not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." - Jodi Picoult
  • "Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out." - Paul Thomas Anderson
  • "If you put someone in a room with no script to direct, they're just going to sit there. Writing scripts is the execution for a show. Then the director takes that and hires people. It's like trying to build a house without any bricks. You need a great script." - John Patrick Shanley
  • "Don't get it right. Get it written." - Art Arthur
  • "The best way to get an agent? Write a good script. If your first one isn't good enough, make it better. If it still isn't good enough, write a new one. Once you write a good script, the rest will work itself out." - John Swetnam
  • "Good dialogue illuminates what people are not saying." - Robert Towne
  • "Audiences are harder to please if you're just giving them effects, but they're easy to please if it's a good story." - Steven Spielberg
  • "A screenwriter's currency is a finished script. Not an outline, a take, a beat sheet, a rough draft. A finished script." - F. Scott Frazier
  • "Start writing, no matter what. The water doesn't flow until the faucet is turned on." 
    - Louis L'Amour
  • "Don't lose faith in what you are trying to do, even though you will get pummeled emotionally left and right. There are a lot of NOs to any YES. And that's OK." - Jennifer Lee
  • "The challenge of screenwriting is to say much in little and then take half of that little out and still preserve an effect of leisure and natural movement." - Raymond Chandler
  • "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads." - Erica Jong
  • "Screenwriting is the most prized of all the cinematic arts. Actually, it isn't, but it should be."
    - Hugh Laurie
  • "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't give up." - Richard Bach

Don't see your favorite here? Please share it below! We'd love to hear it. 

Happy Writing!
-Alli 
@alliunger_6

Give Writer's Block The Boot - 10 Tips for Restarting Your Creativity

Let's face it - we have all been there. You finally find the time to sit down and write. You open up your page, your fingers hit the keyboard, and then...nothing. Not a single creative thought comes to mind. The dreadful writer's block has returned once again, and you are stuck.

It's important to remember - you are not alone! Writers around the world are plagued by writer's block every day, but it is possible to overcome these feelings of blankness and keep moving forward! Here are 10 of our favorite tips for restarting your creativity:   

  1. Try writing in a different location. 
    • Do you always write at your desk? At the kitchen table? Switch it up! Try taking your writing outside to your favorite park or coffee shop. Sometimes a change of scenery can provide a spark of inspiration that your routine writing spot cannot. 

  2. Read something that you love. 
    • Re-read that story that first inspired you to write. Take a break from your project and revisit something that inspires you - whether it be your favorite novel, screenplay, magazine, or blog. Fall in love with that story all over again.

  3. Go for a walk. 
    • Take a break from the creative process. Grab some fresh air and think about something other than your project for a while. When you're ready, you can return to your writing feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 
  4. Revisit the drawing board.
    • Oftentimes, the phrase "back to the drawing board" has a negative connotation, but sometimes, that is exactly what your project needs. By going back into the brainstorming phase, you can allow your creativity to flow without the pressure to make all of the pieces fit together. 

  5. Ask a trusted friend, family member, or colleague for feedback. 
    • Ask someone that you trust to review what you have written so far. Their feedback may be the perfect recipe for writing the next piece of your story. (Plus, it gives you a free pass for taking a break while you wait for them to respond 👍).
  6. Create a writing calendar. 
    • Life is busy, and finding time to write can be tricky. Schedule time for yourself every day or week that is dedicated specifically to writing. Create page or storyline deadlines to meet to help encourage you to keep writing even when writer's block strikes. 
  7. Jump to a different part of your story. 
    • Just because you are stuck at one part of your story doesn't mean that you can't work on another. If you are struggling to write the introduction, jump to the ending. Figuring out details that happen earlier/later in the story can make it easier to write the parts you were struggling with before. 

  8. Work on a completely different project.
    • Whether it's a new project or something that's been sitting in your drawer for years, try working on something that is not related to the project you are stuck on. Exercise those writing muscles in another way. 
  9. Silence your inner critic.
    • It is easy to be your own worst critic. Try to silence the self-criticism for a while, and remind yourself that you can always edit later. The most important part of a first draft is writing one! You have to get all of the words and ideas onto the page before you can revise.
  10. Read SoCreate's blog post "Give Writer's Block The Boot" 😉 
    • I am only sort of joking. Take some time to read what other writers find helpful in overcoming their fits of writer's block. Try out some other methods, and then redefine what works best for you! 

Writing can be tough, so give yourself some slack when faced with writer's block! It's okay to take breaks as long as you come back stronger than before. 

What are YOUR favorite ways to give writer's block the boot? Share with us below in the comments section!

Happy writing!

-Alli 
@alli_unger6

SoCreate Announces Release of Playground for Angular V2

SoCreate is extremely excited and proud to announce the release of Playground for Angular, v2! Revamped and ready to rock!

Just five months after the launch of our original open-source Playground for Angular application in May, we have released an updated version of the sandbox tool that features an improved user interface, updated documentation, and even better performance. 

Are you a developer? Do you build applications with Angular? Are you using Playground for Angular? If you're not, then you definitely should!

What Is Playground for Angular? 

If you are not familiar with our sandbox application, Playground for Angular is an open-source tool that was created by our team here at SoCreate that allows developers to build and work components in isolation independent of a full application. 

Why Should I Add Playground for Angular to My Developer Toolbox? 
  • Store and Quickly Access Your Components in ANY State. 
    • Stage your components with different inputs/outputs, data, mark-ups and styles, and then access each state effortlessly the next time you need to work on it. 
  • Build and Edit Your Individual Components in Isolation.
    • Work on specific components of your application without having to load the entire application. 
  • Easily Document All Of Your Components.
    • Embed staged components within your documentation, whether it's an external style guide, a visual component library, or an entire design system. Each change to a component will be instantly reflected in your documentation.
  • WHY NOT? 
    • Playground for Angular can greatly increase your productivity and improve your workflow. The application is easy to set-up, so WHY NOT give it a try? 
How Has Playground for Angular Improved Day-to-Day Tasks for SoCreate Developers? 

Since the release of the original version of Playground for Angular, our developer team's productivity has greatly increased! Before this post, I had the chance to sit down and chat with 3 of our SoCreate team members about how they use  Playground for Angular and how it has changed the way that they work. 

Graham Marlow (Software Engineer):

Since joining the SoCreate team in July, our software engineer, Graham Marlow, has been very involved in the Playground V2 updates. When developing an app, Graham prefers to model each component individually with Playground before combining them all into the full application. This allows him to easily build and test components before moving on to the next - ensuring the overall success of the final application. By adding Playground to his workflow, he has been able to greatly increase his productivity! (P.S. Keep an eye on Graham's personal blog for some tips on Angular and an upcoming technical blog post on using Playground).

Brian Treese (Chief Designer):

Our chief designer, Brian Treese, who has been working on Playground since the beginning, mentioned that the new updates to the load and refresh times have made a significant difference in his productivity levels. The automatic background refresh eliminates multiple seconds of refresh time which makes quite an impact over the course of a day!

Jami Lurock (Chief Engineer):

Our chief engineer, Jami Lurock, has also been working on Playground since the beginning. Since the release of the original version, Jami said that Playground has completely changed his workflow for the better. While before he used to have to wait for the environment to be set up (which can often take a long time), with Playground for Angular, he is now able to immediately open the application and start working on a project. It's a much faster way of getting started and making some great progress on your app!

What's New in V2 That I Didn't Have in V1?

Some things that you will find in Version 2 that were not available in Version 1 are: 

  • An updated user interface.
    • Our menu UI got a total make-over. It's now much easier to see and find what you need. 
    • Our search has improved for finding components. The new search prioritizes your result set rather than alphabetizing it, making it easier to quickly locate a component. 
    • The new Sandbox Quick Toggle tool allows you to easily flip between scenarios. Holding ALT hides the search menu, allowing you to quickly cycle through each scenario.
  • Faster load times.
    • Unlike the original, version 2 does individual packaging of components rather than all components from the application.
    • The new version will micro-bundle each sandbox individually so refresh times are reduced.
  • Better documentation. 
    • The updated Playground documentation should help you get up and running even faster.
    • The "How To" section on our home page is equipped with some great tips for navigating and developing in the Playground. 

So, if you are a developer using Angular and are looking to improve your productivity, you should definitely check out Playground for Angular, v2!

Here at SoCreate, it is our mission to provide the best tools possible for all the communities that we care about and are involved in - whether it be our SoCreate platform writers' community or our Playground's developer community. We are SO excited to provide you with this awesome tool!

A huge thank you to our team for all of the hard work that they put in every day to make Playground the absolute best it can be. 


Get your code on! 
-Alli 
@alli_unger6

 

How To Format Your Screenplay : Spec Scripts vs. Shooting Scripts

As an aspiring screenwriter trying to "make it" in Hollywood, it is important to know and understand the different types of scripts used in the industry.

You only have one chance to make a good first impression--so make sure it's the best it can be by using the proper screenplay formatting!

The large majority all of the scripts written each year are spec scripts. That script that you have tucked away in your drawer? Spec script. That script you wrote and passed along to your friend to read? Spec script. That script you took with you to last year's PitchFest? You guessed it, spec script! Spec scripts, as defined by Wikipedia, are "non-commissioned, unsolicited screenplays usually written by screenwriters with the hopes that they will someday have the script optioned and eventually purchased by a producer or production company/studio." A spec script is written specifically for a reader, rather than a director. The main goal of a spec script is to get the reader's attention with your story and spark enough interest for them to push to represent you or option your script. 

A shooting script, on the other hand, is "the version of a screenplay used during production of a motion picture." This version of the script is the blueprint for the making of the movie. It includes information that is not included in the spec script, such as camera directions and film crew instructions. 



Want to know more? Check out some of these other great resources! 

Thanks for reading! Happy Writing! 
-Alli 
@alli_unger6

Help Us Welcome Our New Team Member, Lauren Spence!

Ladies and gentlemen, readers and writers: Please help us welcome our newest team member, designer Lauren Spence!


Lauren was born and raised in Cupertino, CA. She spent the first 18 years of her life in the Bay Area before an acceptance letter to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo brought her down to the Central Coast. After starting out as an English major, Lauren discovered her true passion for graphic design in an introductory Graphic Communication course. After the class' tour of the Cal Poly Shakespeare Press Museum, Lauren fell in love with letterpress and the hands-on nature of the major's curriculum. After some thinking, but probably not too much convincing, she made the decision to switch her major from English to Graphic Communication (GRC), and instead just minored in English. 

During her time at Cal Poly, Lauren was extremely involved in the campus GRC happenings. Soon after officially changing her major, Lauren accepted what she describes as her "first real job" as an assistant at The Graphic Communication Institute (or GRCI). While working at the GRCI, she gained valuable experience building websites, creating programs, and developing her HTML knowledge. Towards the beginning of her 4th year, Lauren also started working as an intern at Cal Poly University Graphic Systems. As an intern at UGS, she had the opportunity to run the university's web offset press, which is responsible for printing the campus-wide newspaper, the Mustang Daily (now known as Mustang News). 

Following in line with her original captivation by the letterpress museum, Lauren also spent the last two years of her time at Cal Poly serving as the President for one of the three Cal Poly Graphic Communication clubs, "The Shakespeare Press Museum Club." As president, Lauren spent her time sharing her love for letterpress by training others on the art of letterpress printing. 

Lauren graduated from Cal Poly in 2013 with a job already lined up with the online marketing firm, Rosetta (now known as SapientRazorfish), in San Luis Obispo. While at Rosetta, Lauren worked as a front-end web developer, creating websites, web pages, and HTML emails for a variety of large-scale commercial websites. After working with Rosetta for a little over four years and growing from an associate developer to a senior developer, Lauren made her next career move and joined our design team here at SoCreate. 

We are so excited to have Lauren and all of her great web development experience on our team! When asked what SHE is most excited about, Lauren said that she is really looking forward to being part of a team where everyone believes so strongly in what we are building--to be part of a smaller company with great communication that is creating something that can really make a difference for writers all over the world. 

When she is not developing awesome webpages, Lauren also enjoys sewing and reading "a lot" of Sci-Fi and mystery novels. She is also very involved in her church communities and loves spending time with her husband, cat, and dog. 

Welcome to the team, Lauren! 

Until next time, readers. 

-Alli
@alli_unger6

SoCreate Proudly Sponsors The 2017 Central Coast Writers Conference

And that's a wrap on another informative and inspiring Central Coast Writers Conference! 



This past weekend, SoCreate had the opportunity to sponsor the Central Coast Writers Conference for the 3rd year in a row! The Central Coast Writers Conference, which celebrated its 33rd anniversary this year, is cited as one of the best writers conferences in the United States. Located at the Cuesta College campus in beautiful San Luis Obispo, the conference offers 2 full days of workshops for writers of all genres and experience levels taught by remarkable guest faculty--ranging from Academy Award winners to New York Times Best Selling authors. 

Sponsoring this conference is always a special experience for us. At SoCreate, our main mission is to empower writers and provide them with all of the tools that they need to be successful, and this conference does exactly that. Our sponsorship gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to and help out the people that we care about most--writers! Oh, and did I mention it takes place right in our SoCreate backyard? How awesome is that?

The conference opened at 5pm on Thursday, September 28 with registration and some tasty drinks and appetizers outside of the Cuesta Performing Arts Center. After an hour of socializing, everyone headed inside for the opening introductions and keynote speaker. Teri Bayus, the wonderful conference organizer, welcomed everyone and explained a quick roadmap of the weekend events.

Once the welcoming remarks from Teri, the Cuesta College president, Gil Stork, and the SoCreate Director of Community Outreach--oh yeah, me!--were through, Teri welcomed the night's keynote speaker, screenwriter Tom Schulman, to the stage. Tom is an Oscar-winning screenwriting best known for his 1989 film, "Dead Poets Society." Some of his other well-known screenplays are Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" and "What About Bob?" In his presentation, Tom shared about his screenwriting journey, including his writing process, his Oscar-winning experience, and some helpful tips for all of the aspiring writers in the audience. His keynote speech left everyone feeling inspired and ready for a great weekend!

Friday morning started off on a motivational note with keynote speaker, work-life balance expert Mary LoVerde. Her presentation, titled "Winners Quit. Seriously" touched on the importance of quitting things that get in the way of our writing. Mary's opening keynote was followed by a lunch buffet and then the start of the workshops. Attendees had the opportunity to select workshops (4 on Friday and 5 on Saturday) that they would like to attend from 9 different tracks: 

  • Beginning Writing
  • Marketing
  • Poetry 
  • Children's
  • Agents and Editors
  • Publishing
  • Writing for Screen
  • Making Money with Words
  • Characters

As you would imagine, our team spent a majority of our time in the workshops for "Writing for Screen," listening to great presentation after great presentation from renowned screenwriters including:

Friday's workshops were followed by an event titled, "Burn the Bully" inspired by conference faculty member, Jay Asher, author of the book Thirteen Reasons Why which inspired the Netflix hit series. For this event, attendees were invited to write the name of a bully they have faced, either in writing or in life, on a piece of paper and place it into the fire pit. The burning of the written name symbolized the destruction of all bad memories associated with that bully.

After we had all "burned the bully," we drove out to Morro Bay for an evening of storytelling, networking, and delicious appetizers at the Inn at Morro Bay.

Saturday started bright and early with the first workshop at 9am. We again spent our day on the "Writing for Screen" track and heard from some other inspiring screenwriters including: 

In between workshops and during breaks, our intern, Sam Solis Ramirez, and I had the opportunity to sit down with writers Doug Richardson, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, and Ross Brown, and chat with them about their careers as screenwriters. They shared their own personal stories, experiences, and some really helpful tips for aspiring writers. 

A big part of the beauty of the Central Coast Writers Conference is the ability to have these one-on-one conversations with industry professionals. You most likely would not have an experience like this at a larger conference. Attendees can easily walk up to a faculty member and chat, or schedule a time with them for a personal critique session.

The Central Coast Writers Conference is truly a remarkable and one-of-a-kind event, and we are always thankful to be able to support writers in our community. A huge thank you to Teri Bayus and her team for another successful event. I know I can't be the only one counting down the days until #CCWC2018!

Cheers to you, writers! 

-Alli 
@alli_unger6

How To Use Capitalization in Traditional Screenwriting

Unlike some of the other rules of traditional screenplay formatting, the rules of capitalization are not written in stone. While each writer's unique style will influence their individual use of capitalization, there are 6 general things that you should capitalize in your screenplay.

Of the six uses listed above, #6 ("Integral sounds, visual effects, or props that need to be captured in a scene") is by far the most disputed. Keep in mind that not every sound, visual effect, and prop needs to be capitalized. The number one priority is that your script is as easy to read as possible. Ask yourself, "Does capitalizing this word enhance the reader's experience?" If the answer to that question is a thundering "yes," then capitalize. However, if your answer is "maybe" or "no," it is best to not capitalized. Keep your use of capitalization for this scenario limited to a minimum. NO one WANTS to read AN ENTIRE SCRIPT that IS PLAGUED with CAPITALIZATION. Less is more! 

There are a number of great blog posts and forum strings on this topic. Check them out here for more!: 

What are you thoughts on capitalization? Feel free to share in the comments below! 

Cheers to writing!
-Alli 
@alli_unger6

SoCreate Welcomes New Lead Software Engineer, Jon McElroy!

Hello readers, and Happy Friday! 

Please join us in welcoming our newest SoCreate team member--Lead Software Engineer, Jon McElroy! We are all excited to have you on board, Jon. 


Jon grew up just down the 101 freeway from our SoCreate office in Santa Barbara, CA. He made the 94-mile move up the Central Coast to San Luis Obispo in 2005 when he was accepted to Cal Poly to study Computer Science. During his college years, in addition to his classes, Jon worked as a student developer at the Cal Poly CADRC (Collaborative Agent Design Research Center), now known as Tapestry Solutions, for 3 years--fine tuning and growing his software development knowledge.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Jon was accepted to the Cal Poly Master's Program for Computer Science. In 2011, he successfully defended his thesis, graduated, got married, and landed a job all in the same month. Talk about busy!

After graduating from the Master's Program at Cal Poly, Jon started his career as a developer at Shopatron (now called, Kibo Commerce) in San Luis Obispo--working mainly in PHP on development of their e-commerce platform. Over the course of 5 years and a lot of hard work, Jon made his way from developer all the way up to technical lead.

In 2016, Jon took the next step in his career and accepted a job as Senior Software Developer for HPD Software LLC, another local company that develops lending software for banks. After a year with HPD, Jon made another move--our favorite move!--and accepted a job with us at SoCreate! 

Jon is joining our team at an extremely exciting time as we are really starting to take off with our new screenwriting platform. He is most looking forward to architecting such a cool and modern platform from the ground up. 

When he is not working on developing software, Jon enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids. Although a 5, 3, and 1-year old take up a good portion of his free time, he also enjoys home improvement projects and mentoring others in his church community at Mercy Church in SLO. 

We are thrilled to have you on our team, Jon, and are excited for all that the future has in store for you at SoCreate. Welcome!

Happy Writing!
-Alli
@alli_unger6

SoCreate End of Summer Trip 2017

Where has the summer gone? Although the end of summer may mean the end of warm nights or weekend BBQs, it also means time for our annual company End of Summer Fun Trip! 

Last week, our SoCreate team hit the road and headed down to Southern California for a very full, but very fun two-day adventure. The End of Summer Trip is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other outside of work and have some fun away from the office. 


Day 1 (Sunday, September 10) started bright and early with a 7am scheduled departure time from our San Luis Obispo office in order to beat L.A. traffic and make it to our first surprise destination on time. "Surprise destination?" you may ask. That's absolutely right! The majority of the trip's plans were kept a secret from most our SoCreate team members. All they knew was that they needed to bring an older change of clothes that they wouldn't mind getting dirty. The rest was a total mystery. 

Once everyone had arrived and our documentary camera crew (who also hit the road with us) was set-up, we packed into two 14-passenger vans and started our trek down to SoCal. 

After about 4 hours of driving and numerous guesses from the team on where we were going, we arrived at our first location: Paintballing at Hollywood Sports Park in Bellflower. 


Armed and ready to go after some quick training, our team took to the field for an exciting (but very warm in the 90 degree weather) game of paintball. It's safe to say the competition was not the only thing heating up out there! After a few games and a few new bruises for some, we turned in our masks and paintball guns and headed back to the nice, air conditioned vans. Who would've guessed our team would be so excited about getting back into the vans for more driving?

Next up was a quick trip to our hotel, Loews Hollywood, located right off of Hollywood Boulevard for some lunch and time to clean up after an intense paintballing session before heading to Secret Destination #2. 

Feeling refueled and refreshed after our short break, we hopped back in the vans and headed south to our next stop: The Quest Factory Escape Rooms in Los Angeles.

Reviewed as one of the best escape room locations in L.A., our team split up into three groups and conquered 4 of the 6 available escape room adventures that The Quest Factory had to offer. The room themes that we played included the horror-themed "Clinic," the pirate-themed "Queen Anne's Revenge," the adventure-themed "Aztec," and the spy-themed "Impossible Mission." Each team had the opportunity to play two rooms of their choice over two hours. We all had a great time, and the escape rooms were the perfect team building exercise. We all had to work together to solve the puzzles if we wanted to escape within the allotted 60 minutes of play time.

With tired minds and hungry stomachs, we headed back up to Hollywood for some dinner at La Velvet Margarita Cantina, known for their funky Gothic atmosphere and delicious Mexican dishes. After dinner, it was back to the hotel for some much needed shut eye before another eventful day on Monday.

The next morning (Monday, September 11) started early once again to make it to our 7:30am breakfast reservation in Beverly Hills, at Nate 'n Al's Delicatessen, a New York style deli known for its occasional Hollywood star spotting. While we didn't spot any famous customers, we sure enjoyed our delicious breakfasts.


Next up on the agenda was our final secret destination: An Open-Top Hollywood Van Tour with Access Hollywood Tours.

With two open-top vans filled with our team and camera crew, we cruised all around Hollywood, seeing the city's most famous sites including:

Once the tour was over, we had some lunch at a great burger place in Hollywood called Stout, and then packed back into the vans for the last leg of our trip.

Final Destination: Electric Go Kart Racing at K1 Speed in Anaheim--a SoCreate team favorite from last year's End of Summer Trip. 


This was the only destination of our trip that was not kept secret from the rest of the team. Helmets, head socks, and seatbelts were securely fastened as our team took off from the starting line and raced 14 laps around the 0.3 mile track.

On your marks, get set, GO! 

After everyone raced together in the initial warm-up race, we split up into two smaller groups to allow for more room on the track during our final two races--a qualifying time trial of 14 laps and a final race, for the big medals, of 16 laps. The top three racers for each heat were awarded with trophies and medals, and took their places at the Winner's Circle for a quick picture. Congratulations to all of our winners! Our software engineering intern, Tim Stoddard took 1st place in the final overall race standings, and our designer, Amber Black, came in the with fastest lap time.

We had an awesome time, and everyone really enjoyed ending the trip on such a fun note! We will be back, K1. 

After a fun-filled two days, we got into the vans one last time and drove back to San Luis Obispo. Back to reality.

The summer of 2017 may be coming to a close, but our team is feeling rejuvenated and excited for all of the great things that the rest of the year has in store here at SoCreate! 

Happy Writing! 
-Alli 
@alli_unger6