Onward and Upward

This weekend we finished post-production on a short film, No Time for Romance. It’s a fourteen minute short about a pregnant wife who must decide to stay with her live-in boyfriend or prepare for the end of the world. It’s really about much more than that though: the rising nuclear tensions and the effects it has on a relationship with differing views.

My producing partner and I shot the film earlier this year. It’s been a long time coming. The production didn’t go as planned and the audio was a mess. There were disagreements on the script (that never fully felt complete by the time of filming). In short, we learned a lot.

Upon finalizing and exporting the film, my partner expressed how much he liked it. How good it felt to be done. I felt the same way, but differently.

I replied, “No one will watch it and we’ll make more. Onward and upward.”

He agreed. This might sound complacent but it’s the opposite.

The film won’t win Oscar. And it most likely won’t launch our careers into quitting our jobs and becoming full-time moviemakers. We had a story and we wanted to tell it. Did it come out EXACTLY the way we wanted? No. But that’s okay. Few things do.

I have boughten into this idea/advice from filmmakers like Mark Duplass (and others) whose motto of “just make movies.”

Every project is another lesson for the next one. We have other projects in the works, both together and separately, my producing partner and I. Writing is the same way. With every project you learn something, you get better, you home your voice, your practice.

And as much as we’d love the fame and attention for our projects, the likes and the shares and the views—we know it’s not about that. It can’t be. If it was, we would have quit a long time ago. It’s about the work, the process, the collaboration, the storytelling.

Just write. Just paint. Just workout. Just sew. Set your goals but know it can’t be about the outcome. It has to be about the work.

When facing that lurking feeling of creative self-doubt, born from resistance, waiting to devour all of your dreams and ambitions—Theo Roosevelt said it best:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Come join us in the arena.

This isn’t our first film and it won’t be our last. The next one will be better, and the next one better than that. Fail again. Fail better.

Check out the film here:  No Time For Romance

Thanks for reading. Always be writing.

 

-REH

Have a reason to wake up in the morning.

Sleeping is great.

I need at least 10 hours of solid sack time. And without my alarm I could go all day.

But work doesn’t get done while you’re sleeping. But as of late, the holidays and all, getting work done was awfully tough — goal achieving was slim.

I slept a lot.

In many ways, all that sleep felt great. But I knew I was quickly falling behind. All that drive to get up and strive was fading quickly. My routine was slipping and I felt inadequate. I was having a tough time deciphering why.

And then it hit me…

I had no reason to wake up. Besides writing, my day job hours were slim. My days were filled with nothing. I had nothing to do…and this how time gets wasted. And wasted it, I did.

What I needed was a new project.

I was in between projects. Waiting on coverage for a screenplay. I hadn’t outlined anything new in about two months. SO I had nothing on the slate. This was the issue. I know it was. I don’t remember the last time where I didn’t have something to dive into every morning… It had been at least two years.

Why? I don’t know.

But the point is, we all need something to wake up to. This is the very reason why staying busy is important. We set goals to meet them. We meet them by working everyday. Waking up is the first obstacle in achieving those dreams.

I’m currently still trying to get back into the old routine that I relied on so greatly.

Eventually, things will be back to normal.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Judgement Day, for writers.

They say Friday, the world is going to end.

Scary stuff. But writers have bigger issues.

Friday, I’m doing a mass send-out of my query letter in hopes of landing a sale.

Big dreamer, I know.

There is a sense of anxiety whenever you send out your material. This will never change. There is an ego that you hold over your work. You’ve been indulged in it for eight plus months and suddenly your ready for people’s opinion.

We don’t have a choice in this matter. As writers, we have to get our work out there if we ever want to make a career out of writing. This is our judgement day.

It’s tough living, knowing judgement day approaches. Preparation is crucial.

I have spent the past four weeks, fine tuning a query letter, compiling a send-out list and researching the market. I’m ready.

When the last week approaches, the anxiety kicks in.

“I’m ready for this” — “I’m ready for these people to see my work”. You can hear the doubt in my voice.

This is a battle you’ll have to fight. Don’t let doubt take you over. It will only handicap you. Do your research and prepare for the worst.

And remember this won’t be your last chance. Wish me luck.

Always be writing.

-REH

Every writer needs a platform

If you build it, they will come.

The writer’s platform is simple. The platform is designed to build your name and sell your product. Every writer needs one if they plan on financially supporting themselves through writing.

Start building now.

In this world of social networking, blogging and internet — marketing yourself has never been easier.

I have been building my platform for the past year. Since, I have landed an agent and have had multiple scripts read by multiple companies.

Building never stops.

I devised my own “PLATFORM DAILY BUILDING”. Each day is set up to build and market myself using various techniques. How you prioritize these practices is up to you. But are all important in making a career out of writing.

Here is what I have done:

–Created a website, using WEBS. It was easy, cheap and worth it.  A website is an easy way to present your work. It’s easy access and can be a great calling card.

Check it out http://www.robertehoxie.com

–Social networking. I got a twitter and updated my Facebook. I began to utilize these free sites to push my brand. I link these together for an umbrella of networking. This is a great way of connecting with people. Take it seriously. Take advantage.

–Blog. The only reason I started this blog. It not only hones my skill in writing, but it can also spark people’s interest in my work. Many pro-writers started with blogging. This is the most enjoyable part of building.

–Marketing tools. I spend three days a week , two hours a day, writing queries, synopsis, log-lines and treatments. These marketing tools  sell my work. I also set aside time at the end of the week to send these tools out. I try and keep a quota of how many send-outs per week.  I always note where and what I send out. Make sure your tools are the best they can be. I advise you take time out of your rigorous writing schedule to create your own marketing tools.

— Marketing research — Find out who’s buying, who’s making, who’s producing. Where it’s at and how they got there. Know your market inside and out. The internet is a great source.

Many people see writing as escaping into the wilderness, with candle light, in a small cabin beside a lake. Well it’s all that and so much more. You have to get out of that cabin and show people what you’ve done.  You have to market yourself, so you can pay for that candle and that cabin.

Make yourself legit.

Building has to be consistent. Even if it’s an hour a week, any building will help in the long run.

Always be writing. Always be building.

-REH