Sometimes I have dreams.

It was a dim morning. The time of the year when the sun starts coming out a little bit later, in the last part of summer. It’s an odd transition and noticeable to someone who wakes up as early as I do. The pain came with force, right to my head. It happened so quickly I thought I was dead. When I came to, a bright light shined in my left eye — a police officer, with a mustache and an earring in his right ear. I remember thinking, police officers aren’t supposed to wear earrings. Blood trickled down to my chin; it crossed my lips without entering my mouth. The blood wasn’t warm, but cold, and the stiff early fall breeze only emphasized its journey down my face.

I woke up when I knew it was safe. A fuzz of blankness was the last thing I saw. Like when the TV signal goes out, and you’re left with just noise.

Always be writing.

-REH

Sex in the Airport Closet

Two travelers, both tired, sit adjacent to each other among others. Both coming from Wichita, Kansas to North Point, Maine. It wasn’t exactly a long flight. A couple hours, the layover in Boston added to it. But what came over these two seemly responsible, uncharismatic, straight-laced people, we will never know.

It started with a glance. Then the horrible news of yet another delay. She took a nap and he doodled in a notebook. He tried to read, but others grabbed his attention. Especially her, in her leggings. She once got up to check on the vending machine. He glanced at her behind and the absence of her underwear. What are the chances? She returned from the vending machine with nothing.

She was far away. He couldn’t possibly make the move, let alone, having to yell over the family of six and the guy with his headphones too loud. He didn’t even attempt it. She had a boyfriend. He figured. How could she not? I mean, sure, he was in a relationship as well, but it wasn’t working out. Why make the effort? Then again, maybe that’s exactly what it’s all about — The Effort. People should put more time into what they want. It’s about the risk, he told himself.

He’ll doodle for another five minutes and take a lunge over there. He has no idea what to draw, so he draws eyes.

He closes the book and picks up his bag. He crosses over and sits down next to her.

 

(Sometimes I write short fictional stories with no real ending)

Always be writing.

 

-REH

Don’t write to live. Live to Write.

It’s not easy to write. Don’t get me wrong…

But it is easy to sit in the chair, sip coffee, and type some dribble into a word document.

I think I’ve been in this desk chair for the majority of the last two years. Sure, my writing has improved and I’ve gotten a lot done…but I’ve also missed out on a lot. And I’m just now realizing this.

Some of the things, I’m glad I missed out on. Choosing writing was the right choice. Other things, I regret missing out on. Finding the balance between writing and life can be difficult. Both need effort.

Recently writing has become hard for me. I have hit more walls than I ever have. My routine has been off and my work has slowed.

BUT I still write everyday. And all those walls have forced me to approach writing a different way…

Now, I write on a whim. With no real schedule. Now it’s true, I haven’t gotten much work done. But the work I am getting done appears to be really good — for my standards anyway.

Let me go back to where I started hitting walls: Now I must state that I don’t believe in writer’s block — mainly because it has never been an issue for me.

I finished a first draft of a script in October. I usually always have another project to move onto next, but this time, I didn’t — that was my first wall. So I began to search out other alternatives for writing. I realized I was bored with writing screenplays, so I was open to anything — perhaps a novel. Or I was going to blog more. Writing short stories or opinion pieces…

None of which I did. Instead I began to journal everyday. And eventually through the journaling a new story started to appear. For the past two months I’ve been working on a new story.  Notes here and there — pages are starting flow and I feel good about it. But my approach is way different than my previous 17 screenplays.

Not only do I think the writing is good. But this is the most personal story I’ve ever written, and I’m enjoying the writing to the fullest extent.

I have changed my tactics for one reason. I was bored.

Now with this new tactic, writing on a whim and writing a story that’s personal and meaningful…I have more time to live. More effort is put into my life outside this desk. I feel alive when I write and before I write.

The work shows that.

Writing less. Writing better. And living to write. Not writing to live.

There was no doubt; my writing was becoming numb writing. It was a job and I treated it like a job. My passion was fading. And my change of tactics couldn’t have come at a better time.

The pressure is limited. The pages are slim. My routine is seemly fucked, but suddenly the passion for writing is back.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

ULTIMATE GOAL: Getting paid to do what you love to do.

I landed a writing job last month, rewriting some script.

Although, it didn’t exactly pay a whole lot, I realized a huge lesson…

I was getting paid to do what I love to do. And as I polished the script, I was enjoying it to the full extent.  I’ve had various other small writing jobs — but until now, I’ve never full understood the lesson.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your artistic integrity and just push through it. The script may not be exactly what you would write, or perhaps the topic isn’t exactly what you would agree with. But I was getting paid to write.

Writing is something I’ve done everyday for the past two years — very often for free.  SO when I saw that deposit in my checking account, all for sitting at my computer, with my tea, music in the background, typing away, expanding my mind, creating and imagining — I realized,  all that hard work, all that reading and practicing, has paid off. Not in full, but it was a start.

And that should be everyone’s goal. Not just for writers. But for anyone with a passion. Learn how to get paid for what you love to do. And suddenly your problems won’t be so immense. Life will have a purpose.

Let’s face it: we need money to make it. We need money to live. We need money to write. And that’s the issue with most striving artists today — they stop being artists, when they need to pay the bills. But what if your art can pay the bills?

Strive to reach this goal. Whatever it is, master it and get paid to do it for the rest of your life.

That’s my goal.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

New Orleans Film Festival, here we come!

Good news!

The short film I produced earlier this year was selected for the 2013 NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL!

I blogged about it about five months ago, just after our kickstarter-funded production wrapped.  The writer, director, and editor, Gus Péwé, is just finishing up the final cut to send it off.

In all honestly, we weren’t expecting to have a final cut until Spring 2014.  You have to understand, this movie is like none other.  One of the characters in this 20 minute film, is completely rotoscoped.  Frame-by-frame animation had to be done.  It’s a total pain in the ass.  Just ask Gus.

To make things easier, I purchased Gus a Wacom Tablet, along with a carpel tunnel wrist guard.  The past month has been long and tedious for him.  I commend his endurance and drive.

So a trip to New Orleans should ease all the pain…

Our big plan was to take our time to finish the cut, and complete the animations.  We would then work the film festival circuit, and try to build a platform for the film.  Then we would release it  online.  From here, we would seek out funding for our next film — a feature Gus is currently writing.

But, we released a short teaser trailer this summer.  Actually two of them.  The second one was more revealing than the first. This is when Gus received a message from the director of the New Orleans Film Festival.  He he had watched the trailer and was very excited to see the final cut.  He  also expressed interest in the possibility of  showing the film in this year’s festival. See, another short Gus made, This Vacuum is Too Loud, was shown there last year.  So Gus knows it is a great festival.

Gus uploaded a very ROUGH cut of Same Ghost.  He sent it over to the director along with an access password.

A couple days later, Gus received a message.

The film was selected and, according to him, everyone at New Orleans was very excited to screen such an original movie.

Despite unedited sound, and animation that wasn’t even close to being done, the film was selected.  A deadline was set, and Gus got to work.

The NOFF staff saw what Gus and I saw when we filmed this movie: an original piece of work.

We are honored to premiere the movie at New Orleans this October.

We just recently purchased train tickets to New Orleans (I don’t fly).  We are ecstatic about the trip.  We are forever grateful for those who donated to our Kickstarter campaign, to those who helped make this possible and most of all, the support we have received from NOFF,  and our family and friends.

Today, we are looking forward to what the future holds.

Be sure to check out the trailer here.

-REH

Be patient. Don’t force it. But be adamant in your search.

Something is missing. It’s flat. It’s boring.

I have had these feelings on various occasions upon finishing a 1st draft of a script.

Even after all that pre-writing and outlining, the story is missing something. Perhaps it’s a bigger plot point, or action or something riveting that really makes the story original.

I didn’t notice when I was prepping the script. I was so excited that I thought the story had it all. This is why rewrites are so important.

Trust that you’ll find that missing piece in the rewriting process…

When this first occurred it was easy to shutdown and give up. I had gone through about five drafts of an old script and it still felt flat. I wanted to scream, even after all that digging and searching, the script didn’t have it. I had options….

I could panic. Throw it away and move on.

Or I could relax. Take a deep breath and be patient.

This recently occurred for a feature I’m writing. The first draft was junk. But I knew I would find it. I took it on with patience. I didn’t force it — forcing it results in a lot of further drafts that will be again, flat and unoriginal. But instead, I stepped back and reviewed everything.

I go back on my original notes for the script. I try and see what sparked the original idea in the first place. Sometimes those little tidbits of great stuff get lost in all the other writing.

I go back to the books. I began researching, looking for loose threads that can lead to somewhere great.

How can I change this story? What can happen? What is missing?

I am patient. I don’t force it. But I am adamant in my search for the missing piece.

I also trust my instinct when I find the missing link. I know it as soon as it pops in my head. Sometimes I’ll be writing something else, or be in the shower, or in bed, playing tennis or with my cats. I immediately find a pen and notebook to jot it down.

If I’m at my desk, alone, I will CHEER to myself. Literally, I clap my hands and say,  “I got it!”

It’s a wonderful feeling. Suddenly all that bore and flatness of the story goes away and the script comes to life and hope is again, rejuvenated.

These are the joys of rewriting. These are joys of molding a story into something you love.

I am sad to say I have given up on one or two scripts, which I couldn’t “find”. That’s okay. Sometimes they still pop in my head, and a loose thread is tied. I write it down and say to myself…I’ll eventually come back to that.

I write on.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Leave it all on the page

I played football in high school and the coaches would always say “Leave it all on the field”.

They meant: put all your emotion and physical stamina into the game. When you walk off you should have nothing left. Leave it all out there.

I can compare this to writing. After an emotional day of writing, I tend to take the emotions with me — after I leave my desk.

This can hurt.  Sometimes I tend to dramatize life. As screenwriters we have to put our characters into the worst possible situations to create drama on the page. Our imaginations have to carry us into a situation where ANYTHING can happen.

This can really affect our “reality”.  I sometimes sit there and imagine every situation taking a sudden turn for the worst. My imagination runs away. I’m horribly neurotic. Sometimes this is when I come up with my best ideas…

I have to look back and take the lesson from my coaches.

When I leave my desk, those emotions, those characters should remain there. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ALWAYS BE WRITING — but be able to realize that you’re not living in one of your movies.

If you put all that emotion on the page, the writing will show. You’ll create a better screenplay and hopefully a future film.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH