Melissa L. White Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Author
Melissa L. White Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Author

Bio

Originally from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, Texas, Melissa L. White now lives and writes in Los Angeles. Her literary short fiction is quite poetic, as witnessed in her debut collection, On the Green Earth Contemplating the Moon. She has written several short fiction collections, including "Modern Dances and Other Stories,"  "Golden Gate Blues," and "Valley of the Shadow and Other Stories."

 

Modern Dances and Other Stories reflects her passion for dance in eleven stories that range from the heartwarming and nostalgic to the more edgy in nature. Golden Gate Blues chronicles the lives of a vast range of characters, from children to the elderly in eleven stories all set in and around San Francisco. Her distinctive voice has been described as “the voice of youth, rendered with an older, wiser sensibility.”

 

Melissa is most influenced by Jean Rhys, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and the screenwriting of Nora Ephron, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Coppola, and George Lucas. She adheres to the tenet that Isabel Allende was driving at when she said, “Write what should not be forgotten." Melissa firmly believes in following the painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s advice when she said, “Art is about making the unknown known.” And this "knowing" is what fills Melissa’s storytelling with insights into life, spirituality, and the human condition.

 

Melissa recently penned a personal essay titled, "Thank You, George Lucas," about the urgent need to remove CONFLICT as the core tenet of film and literary storytelling, due to the epidemic of "killing culture" we are currently being bombarded with, which is a direct result of the oversaturation of CONFLICT in the media, movies, television, literature, the nightly news, music, and social media. With the exponential increase in mass shootings, hate crimes, and discriminatory hate-speak and/or bullying-- especially in social media-- it is alarmingly obvious that modern-day storytelling has reached a tipping point, and it needs to evolve. ASAP. In essense, the essay is about giving up the past for a better future. This essay refers to letters Melissa wrote to filmmaking legend George Lucas, thanking him for his contributions as an innovator and his influence on her writing. In her letters, Melissa also asked George Lucas if he believed in reincarnation, life-altering love inspired by meeting persons you have known before in a past life, and the interconnectedness of everyone and everything in the Universe. She then asked Mr. Lucas if he would join her in the creation of a shared universal genre which she proposed calling "Life Force" Storytelling, inspired by "THE FORCE,” from his Star Wars franchise. This new genre would focus on character-driven "slice of life" storytelling, without relying on conflict-centered action. The essay was publsihed in the February issue of online literary journal, ArielChart.com. Ariel Chart is a signatory of Poet & Writers Literary Journal. (Ariel Chart Literary Journal, February 1, 2023, Short Non-Fiction Essay, “Thank You, George Lucas,” https://www.arielchart.com/2023/02/thank-you-george-lucas.html  ).

 

Following her debut short fiction collection in 2012, Melissa focused on her screenwriting career, garnering multiple awards. Melissa’s screenplay, No Tomorrow Without Merci (2015), won seven awards at international film festivals. The film is a World War II drama set in Berlin during the final days of the war, for which Melissa received Co-Producer and Co-Screenwriter credits. "No Tomorrow without Merci" won Best Short Film at L.A. Cinefest 2015, and also won Best Screenplay at the World Music and Independent Film Festival 2016, plus five other awards.

 

In 2016, Melissa's screenplay, Sadie Hawkins Day, won Best Screenplay, Comedy, at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood.

 

In November 2017, Melissa was named a Semi-Finalist in the Fox Writer's Lab 2018 Development and Mentoring Program at 21st Century Fox Studios. Her TV Pilot "Undocumented," was selected as one of the top 15 scripts out of 750 applicants.

 

In 2018 Melissa was hired to write a dark comedy script, “Hard Laughter,” for Actor/Producer Gerard Garilli (Fratello), which Premiered in New York in July 2019.

 

Melissa's LGBTQ+ Short film, "CATCH THE LIGHT," premiered in Mumbai, India, in July 2019.

 

In 2017 - 2019, Melissa worked on co-authoring a non-fiction book called "The Final Week" with her husband and writing partner, Terrence Glass, until his death on August 8, 2019. In November 2019, Melissa wrote a short story about Terrence titled, "Twilight Between Aspiration and Despair," (appearing on this website,) and later published her accompanying photograph titled, "Twilight Between," in the UCLA 2022 Issue of the David Geffen School of Medicine Literary Journal, The Beat.

 

In 2020, Melissa started Pre-Production on her feature film Directorial Debut titled "Sunrise Hollywood," for which she was the Writer / Director / and Co-Producer.

 

In 2021, Melissa revised her Women's Fiction Novel, titled "Modern Dances," (which she originally wrote in 2015, based on her 2012 short story by the same name). She later adapted the novel, "Modern Dances," into a trilogy of LGBTQ+ Rom Com screenplays, including the sequel, "Modern Marriage." These are lighthearted romps, with a feel-good storyline, and delightful characters. Her screenplay, "Modern Marriage," won 4th Prize in the 2021 Writer's Digest Screenplay Contest.

 

In February 2021, Melissa completed the rough draft of her latest novel titled "Again." She put it aside for over a year, letting it percolate while allowing herself to assimilate the significance of this story's implications. She completed the final revisions on this novel in November 2022. A hybrid of Historical Fiction and Female-Driven Fiction, the novel is based on actual people-- author Jean Rhys, and the 15th century duchess of Milan, Bianca Maria Visconti, and her husband, Duke Francesco Sforza, and other fictional characters.

 

This is Melissa's most personal novel, and it demonstrates her heightened belief in reincarnation, life-altering pre-destined love, and the interconnectedness of everyone and everything in the Universe.

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