16-ти октомври 2014

Тичах аз, тичах в града голям,

при теб аз да стигна.

За миг да те погледна

и да ти се усмихна


Градът голям всякаш ме бе погълнал.

Тичах аз, продължавах аз да тичам, блок след блок.

Подминавах сграда подир сграда.

Слънцето скрило се бе вече от хоризонта.


“Продължавай, тичай, тичай” — изрече ми някого тихо.

С походка ускорена и усмивка широка,

вървях аз по улиците прашни

и си шепнех, че до теб аз ще стигна.


Стоп. Спрях.  Огледах се.

Кръстовище. Сграда. Хотел. Бях стигнал.

Сърцето ми затуптя звучно.

Поех дъх аз и се затичах отново.

A journey full of thorns


It was February 11, 2008. It was freezing outside, and I had woken up early to go to the capital with my grandfather. I was a junior in high school, and he was taking me for an interview at the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission. I had applied for Fulbright’s United States Achievers Program. I mailed in the application at 5 PM on December 31st, right before the post office was about to close for the year.

I was selected as one of the 46 high school students from 18 cities and 24 schools across the country. I was one of the 22 candidates invited to the interview. I was the only representative from my high school. My mom was working in Spain at the time. My father was unemployed. I read the email one more time in the morning before I left:

Georgi Kardzhaliyski (SEPTEMVRI)
“Konstantin Velichkov” High School of Mathematics

My grandfather came to my room and asked me if I was ready to go. I looked around the room, my brother was sound asleep. I looked at my watch, gazed at my grandfather, smiled, and grabbed my bag. We were out the door. He braced the cold with me, and we left to catch the train. Little did I know that he’ll be taking me to the Fulbright Advising Center on a regular basis during the school year.

Script Writing W1: Mini Bible

The “bible” contains most of the information needed to understand what the series is about: an overall description of the series, main characters defined, episodes outlined, the story arc of the first season. Here is my “mini bible”:

Тhe series showcase  the writer’s personal perspective into the experience of those coming to the United States and trying to make the most of their lives, while dealing with the difficulties of money and being so far away from home. The pilot shows the protagonist in his home country leading up to the move to America. The season finale ends with an episode of him arriving in America and it being completely foreign. It shows just a glimpse of the struggles and adjustments that the protagonist is going to have to make in his new life. As the story progresses, it demonstrates the complexities of the protagonist in his natural environment, his ties to his family and community, contrasted with him being a foreigner in a setting where he can’t blend in effortlessly.

The main character is Gogata, a 19-year-old boy from Klisura, a village located in Bulgaria’s Eastern Rila mountains. At the end of his junior year of high school, he applies for the Fulbright Commission’s United States Achievements Program and gets selected as one of the 20 high school students to join the program. This begins his journey of taking the U.S. standardized tests and navigating the U.S. college application process. He receives an acceptance letter telling him he’s been accepted to attend one of the best tech school in the country on a partial scholarship. He still needs to find ways to fundraise the remaining portion of the tuition expenses and room & board.

The other main characters in the series are his family members: Katerina, his mother; Nikola, his dad; Stefan, his brother; Georgi and Stoyanka, his grandparents. Scenes with the protagonist laying down in his grandfather’s bed thinking about the opportunities and challenges ahead of him are gracefully shown. Gogata is facing the dilemma of whether to stay in his home country for one more year, or take the plunge and deep dive into the unknown. There are one of the most touching scenes in the first season.

Other characters in this series are his three best friends: Genadi, Monkata, and Emil. They support him throughout the entire application process; Genadi generously gives the money collected from his family and relatives in honor of his high school graduation for Gogata’s ticket to Boston, Massachusetts. He does not even think twice: they’ve known each other since kindergarten and have stayed best friends since then.

As the protagonist is figuring out how to make his dream come true, his dad remembers that Gogata has a cousin, Kiril,  living on the East Coast. They haven’t seen each other for 15 years. Gogata and his parents visit his cousin’s parents and call his cousin via Skype. The two of them reconnect after not having seen each other in so many years.

   Additional characters are his high school teachers, the staff from the Fulbright Commission, his high school friends, and relatives.

   In parallel with the application process, Gogata actively promotes setting up the successful launch of a WorldTeach program in the region of his high school during the summer of 2009. He provides essential information tools and local knowledge to establish critical institutional partnerships allowing the program’s implementation. To illustrate, he initiates actions to establish a partnership between the municipality and the local Rotary Club. He helps chart letters to request support from these institutions and takes up the responsibility to arrange meetings and represent our common initiative before potential partners. Throughout the episodes, the viewer gets a feeling of Gogata’s degree of result-oriented self-initiative, determination, capacity to fulfill his commitments and leverage his experience and local connections, allowing the expansion of the projects into the schools and foster homes. As a result, Derek and William, two American volunteers come to teach English for two months. What initially starts as just an extracurricular activity ends up with Gogata gaining two lifelong friends who each play an important role later when he arrives in the United States.

Gogata asks them endless questions about the United States: famous quotes, history, cities, and everything else  under the sun. This shows his unabashed curiosity, and his strong desire to understand big ideas thoroughly and with  complexity. They tell him what they think is positive, as well as negative, about the American culture; he participates in that same debate about his culture. He seeks to expand his mind and better understand his fellowmen. His actively  engages in both Bulgarian and American cultures, even before he leaves for America.

     Gogata even  helps the Americans form  a new program during their stay. He helps coordinate with a local orphanage to have their students join them in volunteering there. They go to the orphanage on Gogata’s birthday. Even thought it’s his birthday, he’s there ready to work. This highlights how  selfless Gogata is and how willing he is to share. Even on his birthday, he understands the importance of compassion and public service.


Script Writing W1: Episode One Pitch

I’ve published the pitch for episode one. I welcome comments and feedback. Here is the pitch:

The first episode takes us to the protagonist’s junior year of high school. The episode starts by showing Gogata in his surrounding environment through the eyes of his classmates: shy, stubborn, quiet. In one word: an outsider.  Yet, this boy distinguishes himself by winning competitions and scholarships on national levels. Coming from a middle-class family with no college graduates, he constantly looks for opportunities and considers applying for colleges abroad. His first thoughts are to stay close to his family and apply for schools in Europe (Denmark, The Netherlands, The UK); this changes when Gogata hears about the Fulbright Commission’s United States Achievements Program. The protagonist applies at the very last day and gets invited for an interview.