Go back to where it all started.

When a good idea comes, I write it down. Eventually the really good ones are turned into a screenplay.

But all these “good ideas” are placed into a folder on the computer.

Often when I begin my outline, I copy and past the very first notes into another word document where I can continue to build the idea, thus leaving the very first starter note as is.

So one long night….
I went back to the starter ideas that were turned into screenplays…

What I found:

Most of the time the notes don’t even apply to the screenplay anymore. But I did find that they are filled with meaning and substance.

On the good screenplays I’ve written, that meaning and substance stuck.

On the bad screenplays, the meaning and substance was clearly lost. Probably in the shuffle of structure, characters and the basic to-do list of a screenplay.

I was also inspired by a lot of the notes. They actually brought on new ideas, which I quickly wrote down. I realized that these starter notes were crucial. I wrote them down for a reason. It’s what inspired me in the first place. And when I write a new story, I need to remember where it all started — where it all came from.

Go back and review your free flowing thoughts. I think you’ll find something. I know I did.

Always be writing. Everyday.

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

Making movies reminds me why I write Movies.

There was a time, when I aspired to be a director.

But then I read a quote from Francis Ford Coppola — “If you want to direct you must know how to write.”

Soon after that, I purchased my first how-to write a screenplay book.

We recently wrapped on production of a short film titled Same Ghost Every Night. I produced and ran the camera as Director of Photography. This is my second collaboration with writer and director Gus Péwé

Production couldn’t have gone any better. We had a small cast and crew — the six to eight-hour days were filled with moments of laughter, drama and creativity. After months and months of spending most of my days alone at a desk, with my cats and twenty note books of research and beat sheets, I got to actually get on set and make a movie.

Making a movie reminded me why I write movies. I had forgotten.

The process is so fulfilling.

Ultimately I just want to make a career somewhere, somehow, in the movie industry.

After 9 days of working the camera, talking to people, directing them, enjoying the company of other individuals who aspire for the same thing, I realize how important it is to continue to write. Those 9 days showed why I am pursuing this line of work in the first place.

It’s good to have a reminder every now and then.

Making movies makes you want to write movies. I look forward to my future. I have more energy and inspiration than I have in a long time.

Always be writing. Every day.

-REH

 

Our Next Movie

So hopefully you guys all took the time to watch the latest film I produced called THE BIG WEST.  It was directed and written by one of the more talented people I know, Gus Péwé.

We shot the film for relatively cheap, and seeing as we’re students with minimal wage jobs, I think we produced something very special.  The film is awaiting notification of qualification in The Frozen Film Fest and The New Orleans Fest (Both are festivals where Gus’ previous films have shown).

We have since moved on from THE BIG WEST.  We just finished shooting a music video for a musician, neat beats.  It’s a montage of pretty ladies in lingerie, bathtubs, and twirling around with hula-hoops — editing should be finished at the end of the month.  During this shoot, Gus and I started talking about our next project.

He says it’s his longest script to date — 11 pages.

SAME GHOST EVERY NIGHT, will be the biggest budget movie we have yet to do.

We lined out a budget, secured our locations, paid for insurance out of our pockets, and found our actors.  As of now, we are in massive debt and a camera has yet to be lifted.  If you follow the link below — we have set up a kickstarter campaign.  Look it over and pass it along.  I appreciate any pledge you can make, if any at all.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/352866711/same-ghost-every-night-a-short-film

Thanks for the time.

-REH

I write with instinct. This is how I know.

When I rewrite I first go through with a red pen and make notes on a hard copy. Basic stuff.

I change whatever I think I should.
After I’m done, I set it aside for a week.

When I’m ready to put those changes into my computer for my next draft, I place the hard copy in front of me. I go page-by-page, line-by-line and put the changes in.

Often I get lost on screen. I begin rewriting and often forget about the hard copy in front of me. I forget to reference the changes I’ve already made and just go on instinct, just like with the hard copy, the first time…

I’ll be on page 64 on screen and page 59 on paper.
This is easy to do, especially if it’s a first draft.

So when I finally notice I’m way ahead of myself. I’ll stop and go back. I want to be sure I got all the fixes.

To my amazement, very often, the changes I made on the hard copy are already in the computer.

Again, I would have no way of remembering these little changes. But for some reason, I made them twice. Without even knowing it.

This blows my mind.

If I go through my script ten times, with ten different hard copies, make ten separate “rewrites”– would I still make the same exact changes every time?

For some reason this gives my writing confidence. That maybe I’m not just bullshitting as I go…

It’s almost an “unconsciousness” effort.

Does this ever happen to you?

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH