Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life's Big Left Turn at Albuquerque

One of the screenwriting forums I'm on asked "Why do YOU write movies?" It got me writing about why I made the turn from wanting to be an actress to wanting to be a screenwriter. I'm going to copy and paste my answer here.

"Why do I write movies? The simple answer is I'm a frustrated actress who has discovered that she likes to tell everyone's story instead of just one character's.

The long answer has to do with advice I got my senior year in college from my acting professor. She said to "You might want to consider some other part of this glorious thing we call theater other than acting." At the time it hurt (and to be honest, it still hurts) because I had dreamed of being an actress, particularly a movie actress, since I was in fourth grade. So for the prior eleven years, I had focused on that goal, taking all the drama classes I could even though I didn't get cast in many roles and certainly never in the lead. (I'm not pretty enough and always has been on the generously padded side.)

I finished the theater degree (this advice came during finals week fall semester senior year and I had already signed up for the spring one) and became a full time housewife. (I had married just before my sophomore year.) I moped and did the housewife thing with no interest in pursuing a career in movies for three years. Then there came a movie that captured my imagination and caused me to start writing what amounted to fan fiction. That movie- Pirates of the Caribbean- Curse of the Black Pearl.(Terry, I owe you and Ted a creative debt I can never repay. You guys and this site have inspired me to find a way back into the industry I always wanted to be a part of.)

Not long after that I started writing original scripts and spec episodes of tv shows I like. I realized that I had always made up stories in my head and now I could get them down on paper and someone else might actually get to read them. I have sold any, yet, but I have entered some contests and placed some on script boards for comment. So other people have read my scripts. Someday it will be people who want to make them into films.

I have realized what makes me a lousy actress is that while I don't care what an audience or the general public think of me but I do care what my fellow cast mates and friends think. That always hampered me from making the choices I needed to in order to fully inhabit my characters.

So the type of movies I write are movies I want to see. My taste is eclectic so I have a western, a couple rom-coms (I'm a sappy romantic at heart), a time traveling drama, a Steampunk adventure, and have a black comedy in the works."