About thirty years ago, I was sitting in a Greenwich Village restaurant speaking to Leo and Diane Dillon about art. These were REAL artists, fabulous graphic geniuses (the inset image is from their cover to Harlan Ellison’s DEATHBIRD STORIES), and a husband-wife team who performed as a single mind. When she started a line, he finished, and vice versa. In the presence of such greatness, all my pretense of wanting to interview them to help an artist friend just…dissolved.
Tears streamed down my face, all my bullshit stripped away in the face of such artistic purity. I realized that in trying to maintain a career, to support my family, I had often written things purely for the money, sometimes scrabbling to please people with corrupt values and petty creative minds. “We can’t do that story” I remember being told once. “If we did that story, people would think this show is about something, and our only excuse for putting on a mass murder every week is that this is pure entertainment.”
Name of God. And…I needed the money. Instead of excusing myself and using up a bobbin of mental floss, I stayed and pitched madly, desperate to get that check. Frankly, honestly, it took me a year to recover.
That’s another story.
I explained my situation to Leo and Diane, and choked out the words: “is it too late for me? Can I still find my way to my art?”
They looked at me not with scorn or mocking, but pure compassion. Diane reached across the table and took my hand. Through a film of tears I heard her say words that changed my life: “if you can even ask that question, it’s not too late.”
Bless her. I’ve lost my way at times. We all have. If you have ever wanted to work in Hollywood, you have been tempted to sell out, to change your words, to write what’s “hot” instead of what’s true. It’s the war between heart and head, child and adult, and it is eternal.
In prose writing, the answer is often to write short stories, which cleanse the palate, give you a chance to study your craft for its own sake, and to play with nutty ideas for the sheer joy of it.
But what if you want to make movies? In the process of chasing that dream, is it possible to create a path that takes you CLOSER to your creative impulse, while satisfying your heart, and simultaneously learning the skills you need to succeed in the money game?
Tananarive and I believe there is. And it lies in making short films. We’ve done it for nothing, for 30k, and I’ve done it in writing for television’s The Twilight Zone. There you have it: from zero to 100% Guild, a continuum ANYONE can begin, a road ANYONE can walk, easier than at any point in history because of changes in technology.
This Friday, we’re doing a totally Free webinar to create more material for our exclusive SCREENWRITING MACHINE class. We’d love to have you in the audience for it. We’ll be discussing the nuts and bolts of actual creation of short films, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you want, from the “why” to the “how” and the “how much.” It will be at 6pm pst Friday the 22nd of January 2016, and we’re going to have serious fun, and show you how you can do the same. Not “some day” but NOW.
Join us, please! WWW.HOLLYWOODREVOLUTIONWEBINAR.COM
If you can even remember your dream…it’s not too late.