I wrote this for class an hour before it was due after putting it off for too long… procrastination is my life.
Nora Ephron. Callie Khouri. Leigh Brackett. Tina Fey. Victoria Nye. These women are all screenwriters. Okay, so the last one might be a screenwriter… she just isn’t paid like the others, or dead like some of the others. That last on the list, that’s me!
Screenwriting found me when I was fresh out of high school. The format of it, the seduction of it, grabbed a hold of me and never let go. I always had a passion for writing short stories. I have been writing stories in some shape or form for as long as I can remember being able to write a complete sentence. I spent all four years of high school involved in theater where I gained experience in writing stage plays for class. Being able to see my words on paper come to life in class with students acting in them opened me up to a whole new world of bringing the written word to life! That’s when my mind started coming to life about film and writing for film.
My parents never forced us into a church. My dad was a non-practicing Jew. My mother was a non-practicing Baptist. I might have completed one whole week of some sort of vacation bible school at one point. I can’t really recall what happened there and the only proof I have of ever being there was a butterfly cutout that was pasted to a clothes pin that my mom used for years to hold the bottom of her calendar together. Instead our church was the movie theater. My mom would take me there just about every other Saturday. We saw every kind of movie. When we weren’t at the movie theater she would bring me to the video rental store. Movies have always been a solid part of my life. The fact that there was someone who wrote these movies wasn’t something I had ever considered. The moment I realized that screenplays where the thing the ball rolling for a film to be made, well, there was no stopping me.
There’s been a mostly dry spell that has continued for the last six years. Not without reason though! I went through a metamorphosis when I was 28 when I came out of the closet. The years before that, though, I discovered a never ending well of ideas within me. Ideas that came to me in what I called the “movie projector of my mind.” When a character comes to me while I’m sleeping… or a scene comes to me when I’m driving, that moment of conception just plays over and over in my mind and I build backwards and forwards from there. When I can actually sit down and write I feel at home. I get in a zone where the world around me is a blur and people can come and go and ask me questions and I don’t hear any of it. I’m in a world all my own with a character telling me their story that I’m typing out with great care so as to not miss a beat in this character’s life.
My experience is limited with screenwriting. I have more half written ones that completed ones. Grand total completed is three. Force Majeure, the very first screenplay I ever wrote, was submitted The Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting Competition 2005 where the screenplay made it as a finalist (http://www.film.virginia.org/for-virginians/how-to-get-involved/virginia-screenwriting-competition/screenwriting-competition-2005/)! This was a huge win for me personally as it gave me the confidence that maybe I did have a talent for screenwriting after all. My second screenplay didn’t achieve as much as I wanted but I enjoyed writing it and thoroughly enjoyed doing the research I needed because it was a period piece. My third screenplay I am most proud of. That one is my baby. It needs a lot of more work on it, don’t get me wrong, but for a script that was cobbled together in just a week it has a lot going for it. I submitted it to Amazon Studios first screenwriting competition in 2010. Far From Home made it to the semi-finals! A script that was just a rough draft and was submitted on a whim made the initial cut! (http://hollywonk.com/post/2716349695).
My greatest challenge now is to overcome this dry spell. I had a brief come-back with a short screenplay. I wrote up a short just four hours before a deadline and submitted it to the Blue Cat Short Screenplay Competition 2012. Sunrise on a Cloudy Morning made it to the quarter-finals (http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/short-screenplay-competition/). A short that was created from start to finish in the writing process made the initial cut! I decided then that I really did have a talent for this but I needed direction and stronger foundation. This is why I am here, enrolled in classes, with Southern New Hampshire University. I need structure and I need outlined goals in order for me to make this a success. I know I will achieve success. I don’t want the money or the fame within the film community. I just want to create these stories and have these stories connect with people the way other’s stories have connected with me. I want to be on that list of names for some other writer who adds theirs next to mine because I inspired them. One day… that is exactly where I will be.